Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA)

NSERC | VPR

The Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) give students hands-on research experience while working on actual projects. These awards prepare students to pursue graduate studies and encourage interest in research careers. 

The awards are supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and SFU's Vice-President, Research (VPR).

Full-Time USRA awards are valued at $6,000 for a minimum of 16 weeks, 35 hours per week. The faculty will supplement this amount with an aditional minimum $2,512 + 9.8% (for statutory benefits). These awards are provided to encourage undergraduate student interest in research and graduate studies. 

Working on a USRA project can potentially be counted towards a co-op work term. Please contact the Science Co-op Office to learn more.

Eligibility for USRA's

SFU Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies USRA guidelines can be found here:

NSERC USRA guidelines can be found here:

Procedures for applying for Math USRA's...

Please be sure to review full eligibility criteria, guidelines, and application forms on the NSERC USRA and Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies: USRA websites listed above, BEFORE beginning the application process.

*Please Note: While we do our best to match students up with their preferred projects/supervisors, we cannot guarantee a preferred match due to the competitive nature of the awards.

NSERC Application - Step One

Due by: TBD

  • Interested and eligible students should contact the supervisor with regards to the project they would like to work on.
  • Students must create an NSERC Online Account, complete the application for an Undergraduate Student Research Award Form 202: Part I, and upload scanned copies of their official or unofficial transcripts. Advising transcripts are not acceptable.
  • Students must email the following documents to the Math Chair's Assistant (mcs@sfu.ca):  
    • Cover letter with a ranked list of at least three choices of projects
    • A curriculum vitae (CV)
    • A PDF of Form 202: Part I
    • Copies of transcripts
    • Their NSERC Online Reference number
    • Two reference letters
      • NOTE: Your references should directly email their reference letters to the Math Chair's Assistant (mcs@sfu.ca) by the deadline above. We do not accept reference letters submitted by applicants. 

NSERC Application - Step Two

Due by: TBD

If you are nominated for an NSERC USRA:

  • Email your selected supervisor and have them complete Form 202: Part II; your supervisor will need to know your applicant’s reference number to do so.
  • Your proposed supervisor must complete Form 202: Part II online, email it as a PDF to the Math Chair's Assistant (mcs@sfu.ca), and confirm with you.
  • You must verify your application online and advise your supervisor. Do not submit yet.
  • Your supervisor will submit the application online. This completes the NSERC administration process.
  • NOTE: The SFU Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies (GPS) Office makes the final decision for awarding all USRAs. An award is not guaranteed until GPS sends out an award letter. 

VPR Application - Step One

Due by: TBD

Note: 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 are eligible for a VPR.

  • Interested and eligible students should contact the supervisor with regards to the project they would like to work on.
  • Fill out the VPR USRA Application Form (located on SFU GPS: Deadlines + Application Procedures website).
  • Email the following documents to the Math Chair's Assistant (mcs@sfu.ca):
    • A cover letter indicating a ranked list of at least three choices of projects
    • A curriculum vitae (CV)
    • A PDF of your VPR USRA Application Form
    • A copy of your unofficial transcript
    • Two letters of reference
      • NOTE: Your references should directly email their reference letters to the Math Chair's Assistant (mcs@sfu.ca) by the deadline above. We do not accept reference letters submitted by applicants. 

VPR Application - Step Two

Due by: TBD

If you are nominated for a VPR USRA:

  • Email your selected supervisor and ask them to complete Page 2 of your VPR USRA Application Form.
  • Your supervisor must email the completed form as a PDF to the Math Chair’s Assistant (mcs@sfu.ca)
  • NOTE: The SFU Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies (GPS) Office makes the final decision for awarding all USRAs. An award isn’t guaranteed until GPS sends out an award letter. 

Current Research Projects

Below are the available research projects in mathematics from faculty members who are taking on qualified undergraduate students. Unless otherwise specified, each project is available to one student only.

The Summer 2021 USRA competition is closed. 

Please check this page in December 2021/January 2022 for the Summer 2022 USRA projects.

For questions, please contact: 

Rachel Tong, Secretary to the Chair