Undergraduate Student Research Award

What is an Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA)?

The Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) are intended to cultivate and support research partnerships between undergraduate students and faculty members. There are 6 awards available to students in the Arts & Science Program, each worth $7,500. This amount is intended to provide for 15 weeks of full-time, research-based activity over the summer term. Student award recipients agree to present their research in a poster session in the following academic year.

Why Consider a USRA?

Through an Undergraduate Student Research Award students can obtain meaningful summer employment; explore career opportunities in the research environment; investigate and learn more about an area of interest; gain valuable skills and experience; develop a positive working relationship with a faculty member.

Role of Faculty

It is the responsibility of the student to secure the agreement of a faculty member to supervise the research project. The faculty member may belong to any Faculty at McMaster. In past competitions, students who worked more closely with their proposed faculty supervisor in developing their research project had an increased likelihood of success in securing the award. Please note that the faculty supervisor must sign the application form before it is submitted.


To apply, students must:

  • Be a full-time undergraduate student currently enrolled in the Arts & Science Program
  • Be eligible to work in Canada
  • Normally have a CGPA and Fall/Winter Average of at least 8.0 to be considered
  • Preference will be given to level 2 and 3 students and students in level 4 of a five-year program.
  • Preference will be given to students who have not previously held a USRA at McMaster.

Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Clearly articulated student learning objectives
  • Clearly articulated process of how learning objectives will be met
  • “Richness” of research experience and/or “hands on” involvement of student
  • Involvement of faculty supervisor in the proposed research and student learning
  • Articulated connection to the student’s academic studies
  • Evidence of student’s preparation to undertake research
  • Overall quality and feasibility of the proposal
  • Academic record


The deadline for applications is Friday 22 February 2019 at 4pm. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

Please submit your application to Dr. Jean Wilson, Director, Arts & Science Program via Shelley Anderson or Rebecca Bishop, LRW-3038.

Application Form

USRA Application (Word format)

Arts & Science Recipients


Student Faculty Project
John Cyfko Dr. Ranil Sonnadara The Role of Observational Learning in the Acquisition of Complex Motor Skills
Mahmood Haddara Dr. Beth Marquis The Effectiveness of Canadian Soccer Coaching Education in Improving Player Performance and Experience
Marco Handa Dr. Hans Boden Research Project in Knot Homology Theories
Tianqi Lei Dr. David L. Clark Can the University Stand for Peace?: Freedom of Expression, Protest and Dissent
Sadie Neufeld Dr. Louis Schmidt Temperament and Technology-Based Intervention of Preoperative Anxiety in Children
Avery Qurashi Dr. Susie O’Brien A Taste of Our Own Medicine: Conceptions of “Nature” Within Naturopathy
Hailey Wright Dr. Patrick Bennett Neural Processing of Face Perception

USRA Recipient List (2010-17)

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