USRA Information for Students

Dates below are tentative, please check back for updates!

Students Instructions

Engineering Science will receive an unspecified number of NSERC USRA’s (Undergrad Student Research Awards). These awards are meant to stimulate interest in research and encourage undergraduate students to undertake graduate studies and pursue a research career. These awards are earmarked for Engineering Science students and are full time or part time 16-week positions. 

This USRA award is derived from two sources; the 'award' portion and a Faculty supplement. The USRA program supports undergraduate students working in a graduate level research capacity with an academic supervisor.

Full-Time Duration: 16 weeks, 70 hours bi-weekly 

  • The award portion is $6,000
  • The faculty supplement is valued at a minimum $4411.8 (11% statutory benefits included)*
  • 2 weeks vacation for each full calendar year of service or 4% vacation payout from the supervisor if vacation is not taken

*Faculty supplement is subject to change when minimum wage and/or employer’s cost for the statutory benefits change. 

USRA holder is appointed as "Research Assistant" which is an SFU employment. Other employment details can be found here. USRA in sciences cannot be held part-time. More informaiton can be found on Graduate Studies website here

The deadline to apply for these NSERC research positions is Thursday, February 1, 2024.


Eligibility of the Student

  1. BASC Engineering Science student at SFU
  2. Canadian citizen or permanent resident at the time of application (*Note: International students may apply for the VPR USRA but not the NSERC USRA.)
  3. Enrolled as a full-time student (i.e. minimum 9 credit hours or enrolled on a co-op) the semester prior to the research term, except for students in their final semester when they are only required to enroll part-time to complete their degree. 
  4. Completed at least two academic terms by the time he/she holds the award.
  5. Obtained over the previous years of study, a cumulative average of at least 2.67 or a B- average. 
  6. Employed full time by NSERC in Summer (16 weeks x 35 hours per week) if applying for full time awward.
  7. Hold only one USRA per fiscal year (April 1 to March 31) and up to a maximum of three USRAs throughout his/her university career

Please review carefully the complete eligibility criteria on the NSERC site and Graduate Studies site


NSERC stipulates that students must work full-time (70 hours biweekly) on their NSERC project, but will allow a maximum of one course concurrently with written permission from their supervisor. The email must outline the course, days/times of the class you wish to take, and the days/times when you will make up the hours.

Targeting of Awards to Women

NSERC closely monitors the participation of women in the USRA program and strongly suggests that universities use the USRA program as a tool to encourage more women to pursue careers in science and engineering. The Council expects that universities will endeavor to ensure a minimum 50% participation rate by female students.

Aboriginal Students

NSERC is continuing with its initiative to encourage Aboriginal students to pursue university studies in the natural sciences and engineering. Awards that departments make to qualified Aboriginal students will be IN ADDITION to their quota of awards. Hence, it is important that Aboriginal students identify themselves on their application as they are eligible for a separate competition in addition to the regular awards.


The Vice-President, Research (VPR), often supports VPR USRAs for many of the applicants who are only eligible for a VPR USRA or B-listed for an NSERC USRA. If students do not meet the eligibility criteria for an NSERC USRA, they may be eligible for a VPR USRA. (For example, international students, or students wishing to work with a faculty member whose research support is not from NSERC). All rules for holding the award remain the same and eligibility criteria and application process can be found on the VPR website. Note that non-SFU students are not eligible to apply.

Application process

Step 1 - Apply

Students submit an email application(s) to professor(s) by February 1, 2024 with a resume/cover letter/unofficial transcript. To prepare for the next part you should also fill in and send  scan of a completed NSERC Form 202 Part I (see below) and Reference Number. no later than February 21, 2024.

To complete an NSERC Form 202 Part I:

  • Register with the NSERC Online System to create your account and produce your NSERC application. Go to:
  • Register if you are a 1st time user, or login if you are already registered. Take note of your Username and Password.
  • Under “Forms Management”, click on “Forms – Student”.  In the drop down menu, select “Form 202 - USRA (Part I)”.  Complete the online form. When you “Save” the form, you will see a Reference Number listed.
  • Open the Preview and PRINT the resulting PDF – it must include a Reference Number which is automatically produced by the application process. It is used to match applicants with openings.) (Note, the supervisor must submit form Part II online before the student will be able to submit their form online. This is done after matching of students and professors, and after the student has uploaded a scan of their official transcript.)

**Applications without the Reference Number will not be accepted**

Step 2 – Interview/Selection Process

Professors will contact students directly and set up interviews, select the best candidate, and rank the candidates by February 14, 2024.   

Step 3 – Student Rankings

Students must provide rankings for their preferred projects within one day after the interview(s) by February 15, 2024. Please submit these rankings to: and

Step 4 – Ranking/Matching

The ENSC USRA committee will rank the projects. The overall project ranking will be a combination of the student and faculty ranking. Professors will notify his/her candidate(s) if their application was successful and matched with their project pending receipt of funding. Professors must also notify the candidate that they must now order an official transcript. Professors notify student(s) not matched. 

The professor must complete Form 202 Part II and submit it online. The professor must submit the form online before the student is able to submit Form 202 Part I. The professor will notify the selected applicant that Part II has been submitted, and that the student must proceed with their online Part I application.

IMPORTANT: At this time, successful applicants must order an OFFICIAL SFU transcript which will confirm that they are eligible and enrolled in a minimum of 9 credit hours in Spring (or on a co-op). To order a transcript go to:   Once the hardcopy transcript is picked up, scan the transcript and upload the resulting PDF to a section within the online NSERC application. (Tip: if you have difficulty uploading the transcript rotate the document to portrait style.) “Preview” the application to ensure that it is accurate and then go back to the My Portfolio page and select “Verify” to ensure that all the information has been entered. Note, once verification is completed, no changes are allowed. Once the transcript has been submitted, notify the professor that it has been done. Failure to submit a complete online application will result in the loss of the position.

If you wish to count this is a mandatory co-op, notify your co-op coordinator and attach your SIS.

You must confirm your acceptance of the faculty offer by February 21, 2024

Step 5 - NSERC Submission

ENSC will submit paper application forms Part I and II and a ranking to the Dean of Grad Studies office by February 28, 2024. Award Offer Letters and Award Acceptance Forms will be sent via email starting mid-late February.

Top ranked ‘B’ listed applicants will be considered for VPR USRA Science awards and offers will be sent via email.

All the deadlines are available here