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Undergraduate Student Research Awards


The McMaster Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) are intended to cultivate and support research partnerships between undergraduate students and faculty members. The award provides you with an opportunity to receive funds to cover research-based activity during the Fall/Winter or Summer Term. 

NEW FOR 2016/2017: There are now TWO USRA Competitions!

Fall USRA (part-time):
There are 3 awards of $3500 available to cover part-time, research-based activity over the Fall/Winter Terms (November - March). The Fall USRA will take place over 20 weeks where students will complete 12 hours per week.

Application deadline: October 7, 2016 before 4:00pm

Summer USRA (full-time):
There are 12 awards of $7500 available to cover full-time, research-based activity over the Summer Term (May - August).  The Summer USRA will take place over 15 weeks where students will complete 35 hours per week.

Application deadline: February 1, 2017 before 4:00pm

All USRA applications must be submitted electronically.  Please see the Student Information Document and/or the Application Form for further details.You can propose a research project which:

  • conducts your own independent research under the supervision of a faculty member, or;
  • takes on a defined and specific role within a research project currently being conducted by a faculty member.

Preference may be given to students proposing their own research ideas.

Please note: The McMaster USRA is separate and distinct from the external program NSERC-USRA.

You are encouraged to attend a Poster Session where the 2016 award recipients will be showcasing their projects.  Award recipients will be on hand to answer questions. This is a good way for you to get started in planning your own research proposal.

The USRA Poster Session will be held on Thursday, November 3, 2016 at 2:00pm - 4:00pm in MUSC, CIBC Hall (3rd Floor).  This is a drop-in event.

Student Eligibility

 To be eligible for a USRA, you must:

  • be a full-time undergraduate student enrolled in the Faculty of Social Sciences in a degree program;
  • be eligible to work in Canada;
  • have received fewer then two (2) USRAs to this point in your academic studies at McMaster; and,
  • normally have a term and cumulative grade point average of at least 8.0.

Students registered in the Faculty of Humanities who are registered in a Combined Honours degree program with a Social Sciences discipline will apply to the Faculty in which their supervisor resides.

Students are eligible to apply for a USRA in their graduating year.  For graduating students applying to the Summer USRA, preference will be given to students who have applied for graduate studies commencing in September 2017.

Students registered in the Arts and Science Program are not eligible to apply for the Social Sciences USRA.

USRA Travel

USRA project proposals may involve travel.  However, McMaster University cannot fund an activity if travel warnings issued by Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada advise Canadians to avoid travel to the location of the student experience for any reason including civil unrest (visit for more information).  It is also the responsibility of the student to determine if any inoculation/medical intervention or insurance is required for travel related to their experience and to ensure that these requirements are completed appropriately before departure.

Complete information about the USRA, including application information:

All other USRA forms and documents can be accessed by clicking the links below:


For more information about USRA, please contact:
Cristina Foley, Programming and Outreach Manager
905-525-9140 ext. 23228
KTH 102