Undergraduate Student Research Awards

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Undergraduate Student Research Awards

The McMaster Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRAs) 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 Spring/Summer or Fall/Winter Term. 


Next Round of Applications: Due October 31, 2023 


About McMaster Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRAs)

The McMaster Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRAs) support research partnerships between undergraduate students and faculty members in the Faculty of Social Sciences. USRA projects normally take place over approximately 12 -16 weeks under the supervision of a faculty member, with students expected to devote approximately 10-20 hours per week to research activities. The outcome of the USRA will be a research poster presented by the student at the annual USRA poster symposium.


USRAs are valued at $7,500, and there are up to 18 awarded annually. Application deadlines are March 31st and October 31st each year (or the following Monday, if these dates fall on a weekend). In consultation with your supervisor, USRAs can be taken up in the Fall, Winter, or Spring/Summer terms.*


USRA applications are submitted to the Arts Research Board (ARB) review committee by the faculty supervisor after completing the application form with the student. Applications will be evaluated based on clear articulation of:

  1. Overall project description.
  2. Potential significance of the research.
  3. Fit of the project within the supervisor’s larger research program.
  4. Feasibility of executing the project within the proposed timeline.

Interested students are encouraged to contact a faculty member about the prospects of their being involved in their research well in advance of USRA application deadlines. Students from equity-deserving groups are strongly encouraged to apply.


The McMaster Undergraduate Research Awards (USRAs) are supported by the Office of the Vice-President, Research, and the Faculty of Social Sciences.


* If a faculty member and/or student are successful in their Fall USRA application and wish to apply for the Spring competition, the proposal must be for a different project.

Undergraduate Research Award Student Information

The Undergraduate Research Award gives undergraduate students a paid opportunity to gain hands-on experience with research, working alongside a Faculty member.


As a student, USRAs allow you to:

  • Obtain funding for meaningful research-based activities with a faculty member.
  • Explore career opportunities in a research environment.
  • Develop skills and gain experience.
  • Learn more about a specific area of interest.
  • Foster a positive working relationship with a faculty member, research team, and/or other professionals.


To be eligible for the USRA, students must:

  • Be registered as a student in the Faculty of Social Sciences (including combined honours students with a program in another Faculty).
  • Be in good academic standing with the university (not on academic probation).
  • Be in good financial standing with the university (no outstanding financial accounts on the student record).
  • Have received fewer than two (2) USRAs to this point in your studies at McMaster.
  • Work with an eligible supervisor in the Faculty of Social Sciences at McMaster. Eligible supervisors include: all full-time faculty members; associate faculty members; adjunct professors; and contractually limited appointments (CLAs) whose appointments run in the Faculty of Social Sciences through the duration of the award.

Download Application


Julie Gouweloos

Julie Gouweloos

Student inquiries


Academic and Experiential Learning Coordinator


hollins christine

Christine Hollins

Faculty inquiries


Research Administration Analyst

L.R. Wilson Hall (LRW) 1806


(905) 525-9140 ext. 24097


The USRA process has changed. Completed USRA applications are to be submitted electronically by the faculty supervisor. Applications submitted after 4:00 p.m. on the due date and incomplete applications will not be considered. It is the joint responsibility of the student and supervisor to ensure that applications are complete, and that all information is accurate. 


Visit our YouTube page to hear from previous recipients of the Social Sciences Undergraduate Student Research Awards.