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Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA)

‘Winning the USRA has been the most rewarding event in my undergrad career thus far. I spent the summer doing academic research and have been incredibly grateful for such an opportunity. Beyond getting paid to produce research that will give me a competitive edge when searching for employment, there is also the possibility of publishing your work. This will only make you more appealing to potential employers – and undoubtedly something to be very proud of. This experience has strengthened my professional relationship with my supervisor, opened new doors for me, and has helped me justify my interest for consumer research and strategy’
-Erica, Former USRA Recipient

Undergraduate Student Research Awards provide undergraduate students in Humanities an opportunity to create their own research-based employment with a faculty member (one who is in a Contractually Limited Appointment or higher) over the summer.

Successful recipients will receive $6000 to cover 15 weeks of full-time, student-initiated research. This is an opportunity to build positive relationships with faculty members, gain academic summer employment, and develop the research skills and experience valued in graduate school and professional organizations.


Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Registration in an Honours or Combined Honours program in Humanities*
  • a minimum cumulative GPA of 8.0
  •  Eligiblity to work in Canada during the time the award is held
  • Previous USRA recipients are welcome to apply, but preference will be given to first-time applicants.
  • Students from all levels are welcome to apply. Preference may be given to levels II and III students

Students in a combined program with Social Sciences must apply to the faculty to which their potential supervisor belongs (e.g. if a student is in Honours History & Political Science, and their potential supervisor is a member of Political Science, they must apply through and follow the guidelines from Social Sciences). Social Sciences has an earlier deadline to apply.

How to Apply

The Humanities USRA Application is a fillable PDF and must be completed in full. Any incomplete application will not be accepted. Students may receive guidance from their potential supervisor in preparing their application, but it must be written and completed solely by the student.

The character count includes spaces. When filling out the application, it is recommended you first do your proposal in a word program to ensure you can easily modify and count the number of characters, then copy and paste the final piece into the document. It may require some modification once it is pasted into the application. The recommended steps are:

  • Type your proposal in Word and check the character count
  • Paste the text into a plain text program such as Notepad to remove all formatting
  • Paste this text into the proposal and modify as needed

Or you can type directly into the document if you prefer.

Though you may feel you don’t have enough space to say all you would like to in your proposal, remember that the ability to be concise yet comprehensive is a skill needed not only for this application, but many others for professional schools, graduate schools, and employment positions. The committee will look at not only the content of the proposal, but also the quality of writing when reviewing applications. The questions for the proposal do not need to be directly answered in order. Rather, the committee wishes to see that you have addressed them somewhere in your answer.

Deadline to apply: Applications are due by Monday 25 February 2019 at 4:00 p.m. to CNH-107. No incomplete or late applications will be accepted.

USRA 2019 Application (Fillable PDF)

Research Ethics Approval Handout (PDF)

Information Session

The faculty will be hosting an information session for potential applicants regarding the application process and the general USRA experience. Past USRA supervisors and students will be on hand to answer any questions you may have.


The USRA Poster Session

Considering applying for a USRA? Students are strongly encouraged to attend the USRA Poster Session. USRA recipients from 2018 will be in attendance to discuss their summer research experience with you. No registration is required and the event is on a drop-in basis.

The 2018 USRA Poster Session will be held on Thursday 1st November 2018 from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. in CIBC Hall (MUSC 3rd floor).

If you have any questions regarding Humanities USRAs, please contact Jennifer Richardson.