Student Eligibility

Students must meet the following criteria to be eligible to apply for and hold an Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA). NSERC encourages qualified Indigenous and Black students to apply for these awards.

In addition to the information provided herein, please consult NSERC’s Program Guide for Students and Fellows and the Frequently Asked Questions for Applicants and Proposed Research Supervisors.

To be eligible to apply for a USRA, you must:

  1. be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada as of the deadline date for applications set by the university.
  2. be registered at the time of application, in a bachelor's degree program at an eligible university (including Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) students).
  3. have obtained a cumulative average of at least a 'B-' standing (>=70%) during the course of undergraduate study to-date.
  4. have not held a previous USRA in this fiscal year. Can only hold one USRA during this fiscal year (April 1 to March 31).
  5. have been registered in at least one of the two terms immediately before holding the award in a bachelor's degree program at an eligible university. Note: students registered in co-op placements over these terms are eligible.


  • You may only hold a maximum of three (3) university USRAs throughout your undergraduate university career. Experience Awards do not count toward this limit.
  • If you already hold a bachelor's degree and are studying toward a second bachelor's degree in the natural sciences or engineering, you may still apply for this award.
  • There are no conditions of financial need.

To hold a USRA, you must:

  1. have completed all the course requirements of at least the first year of university study (or two academic terms) of your bachelor's degree and have obtained the required cumulative average as stated in 3 above.
  2. not have started a program of graduate studies in the natural sciences or engineering at any time.
  3. not have registered for more than two (2) courses while holding the USRA. If the courses are during normal working hours, special arrangements with the supervisor must be made to make up the time spent on the course. The USRA may be held concurrently with a co-op placement.
  4. be engaged on a full-time basis in research and development activities in the natural sciences or engineering during the tenure of the award. USRA holders are not permitted to do thesis research during the term of the award.
  5. Remote work is acceptable with supervision expected on a frequent basis.