Undergraduate student research awards

Each year, the University of Waterloo is awarded a specific number of Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Undergraduate Student Research Awards. These fellowships enable undergraduate students to spend a term (Summer, Fall, or Winter) doing research in world-class laboratories supervised by experts in their field. Undergraduate students from other Canadian universities are especially invited to apply. 

These awards are meant to stimulate your interest in research in the natural sciences and engineering. They are also meant to encourage you to undertake graduate studies and pursue a research career in these fields.

The awards will be held for 4 months either in the Spring (May to August), Fall (September to December) or Winter (January to April) terms.

Application Deadline

The application deadline for scholarships to be held in Fall 2024/ Winter 2025 is Friday, May 10, 2024.

Applicants will be contacted by e-mail. A rapid turnaround is required, so be sure to monitor your e-mail regularly.


Students may apply if they are a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada or a Protected Person under subsection 95(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada), as of the deadline date for applications at the institution. The assistantships will be awarded on the basis of grades, and the availability of projects and funds. The USRA will also be subject to the rules and regulations of NSERC.

  • Students applying for a USRA must be registered in a bachelor’s degree program at the time they apply to be eligible and have obtained, over the previous years of study, a second class cumulative average (normally a B-; check with your institution). Students can hold the award in the term immediately after their 4B term.
  • Students must have completed all the course requirements of at least the first year of university study (or two academic terms) of your bachelor's degree.
  • International students are not eligible.
  • Students may hold only one award per fiscal year and can hold only three awards throughout their undergraduate career.
  • It is the responsibility of the NSERC USRA (co-op) recipient to inform the co-operative education center in a timely manner about their intention to hold a USRA rather than seeking employment through co-op. 

How to apply

Once a student establishes that they are eligible, they should then browse for a professor whose research matches their interests. The student and the professor will put together a research project which will be included in the professor’s portion of the application.

Search for a supervisor by research area:

  • The student must login or register as a new user on the NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) website and attach an unofficial transcript. External applicants will be required to provide an official transcript to the department by the deadline date. Once the student has completed and verified their Form 202 Part 1, they will be issued a reference number. The student must provide this reference number to their University of Waterloo supervisor.
  • The Waterloo supervisor will then go to the NSERC USRA website, and login or register as a new user. At this time, he/she will be prompted to enter the reference number which the student has provided for them. Once the supervisor has verified and submitted Form 202 Part 2, the application will appear to the Liaison Office Assistant (LO Assistant) in the on line portal.
  • Information about the NSERC USRA program can be found on the University of Waterloo Office of Research website. 


The monthly stipend will be the minimum of $2257 per month, which will include vacation pay and benefits.

For non-Waterloo students, a travel allowance will be provided by NSERC.

Questions or Further Information

Please contact Maya
e-mail: physupport@uwaterloo.ca
office: PHY 246