Undergraduate Student Research Awards


The Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) program provides opportunities for undergraduate students to be part of a major research project, supervised by a university professor.

Are you an undergraduate student who would like to obtain research experience in an academic setting?

There are various USRAs available with funding coming from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), SFU's Vice-President, Research (VPR) with additional awards funded through donors and/or departments.

There is no separate application process for the Donor/Departmental USRAs. Departments nominate students for these awards within their regular competition process.

Did you know?

Undergraduate students may be eligible for completing graduate credits that you can use to enter into an Accelerated Master's program while working on your undergraduate degree.

Learn more

To Apply

To be eligible to apply for a USRA, students must abide by the eligibility outlined:

  • be registered in a Bachelor's degree program at an eligible university
  • have obtained a CGPA of at least 2.67 or a B- average
  • abide by additional eligibility and criteria specific to the award

To Hold

To be eligible to hold an award, students must:

  • have completed at least two academic terms of a bachelor's degree
  • have been registered in at least one of the two terms immediately before the term in which you will hold the award
  • not have completed your undergraduate degree (as an exception, if you have completed your degree, you can only hold a USRA in the immediately proceeding term)
  • not started a program of graduate studies, including a concurrent program
  • have held 2 or fewer previous USRAs (including VPR and NSERC USRAs) in the past (Note: only 1 USRA is allowed per fiscal year April 1 – March 31)
  • not enrolled in a thesis course during the USRA term

Further Information

  • For SFU students, unofficial transcripts are accepted for USRA applications (NSERC, VPR and other USRAs). Transcripts must be recently issued, showing a Spring 2024 date of issue.
  • Non-SFU students applying for NSERC USRAs must submit official transcripts.
  • Full time USRA holders can take two courses, with permission from their supervisor, in their USRA term. Students should not receive academic credits for the work done during the term of a USRA
  • USRA holders are not permitted to do thesis research during the term of the award
  • For the purposes of the USRA program, the credits assigned to co-op placements are not considered academic credits
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University is not an eligible institution (we cannot recruit USRA students from KPU) 
  • Interdisciplinary students (i.e. students who have not yet declared their major or who are applying to a department other than the department of their declared major) are permitted to apply.
  • If a student is considering working with more than one supervisor on different research projects in different terms, they are permitted to submit two applications.
  • Students with a supervisor who holds a joint faculty appointment can apply to both of the departments in which the faculty member holds the joint appointment. Ultimately, the student can only hold one USRA in a competition year

Choose a USRA

View the types of USRA available for eligible students.

Learn more

For more information

If you have any questions or are interested in Departmental USRAs, please contact your academic unit.

View list of program contacts