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General questions on research and awards

I am a student who is interested in the URA

I am a student who is interested in the URF

I am a student interested in the NSERC USRA

I am a student interested in the MURA


General questions on research and awards:

What are the main differences of the NSERC USRA, URF, MURA or URA?

There are several research awards available and it can be confusing to know which award(s) to apply to. Below is a summary of our research awards at a glance. Notable areas to review before applying are the hours per week (part time vs full time), eligibility requirements, etc.   

Research awards at a glance:

  USRA URF MURA URA
Hours per week 35 hours per week/ 16 weeks 35 hours per week/ 16 weeks 35 hours per week/ 16 weeks Approx. 5-10 per week
Funding $6,000 $7,500 $6,000 $1,000
Top up required? Top up required from supervisor, minimun $1,980. Top up required from supervisor of $7,500. Supervisors are required to supplement at least 25% ($1,500).

For eligible students, supervisors required to supplement minimum $600, and the School will provide a $400 top up.


If a student does not meet the criteria, the supervisor must supplement the entire $1,000.

Student status Canadian and Permanent Resident
*International students are not eligible to apply
Canadian and Permanent Resident. International students must have a valid SIN. Canadian and Permanent Resident. International students must have a valid SIN. Canadian and Permanent Resident. International students must have a valid SIN.
Application Process NSERC online application (student & supervisor fill out form 202 – I and II) URF online application (via website or Waterloo Works) MURA online Application (faculty of Math website) URA online application form (CS website)
Deadlines Beginning of term (co-op and end of term deadline) Deadlines correspond with deadlines from WaterlooWorks Beginning of term Beginning of term
Student eligibility – term 2A 3A 2A 3A
Student eligibility – average 72% 80% 80% 80%
Eligibility – supervisor Faculty member has agreed to supervise student for 1 term must hold an active research grant from NSERC/tri-council Faculty member has agreed to supervise student for 1 term and meet top up requirements Faculty member has agreed to supervise student for 1 term must hold an active research grant from NSERC/tri-council

Faculty member submits project on URA website to receive student applications

Students can also search the faculty list for find a faculty member

Important to notes: A student can not hold both a USRA &  MURA during the same term
*USRA can be supplemented with URF
Can be supplemented with URSA or MURA (not both)

A student can not hold both a USRA & MURA during the same term

*MURA can be supplemented with URF

Students can only hold 1 URA per term

Student can not hold a URA during a co-op term

How do I find a supervisor when applying to either the NSERC USRA, URF, MURA or URA?

You can connect with a supervisor in multiple ways.

  • Browse through the list of potential faculty supervisors and their project descriptions to see which research project you are interested in.
  • If you have an existing connection with a CS faculty at Waterloo, you can also reach out to them personally and see if they have an upcoming project you can participate in.
  • Explore the research page for cool projects and find faculty working in that field.

Do I have to be a CS student to apply?

Students from other programs/Faculties can apply, however, preference will be given to CS students.

I am an international student, can I still apply to either the NSERC USRA, URF, MURA or URA? 

International students must have a work permit and plan to reside in Canada to be eligible for the URF, MURA, and URA program only. International students are not eligible to apply to the NSERC USRA.

Do I need to have a NSERC USRA, URF, MURA or URA to do research with a professor?

No, you can always do research with a faculty member if they have the resources to supervise you! The awards are available to provide financial support to students.

Students must connect with a potential supervisor before applying to a URA, USRA, URF, or MURA when applying to a research award. To process any application, the supervisor is required to submit their portion during the application process. Please note, along with completing a portion of the applications, supervisors must also meet the specific eligibility criteria outlined by the award they are applying to with the student. Please refer to each award page for more detail on a supervisor’s eligibility.

Can I use NSERC USRA, URF, or MURA for coop?

Yes! Students can use the research opportunity provided by the USRA, URF and/or MURA as a co-op work term.The URF is the only award that applicants have the option to apply through WaterlooWorks.

Do I need to be on coop to apply for the USRA/URF/MURA?

No, you do not need to be a co-op student to be eligible for this award. You can hold this award over the spring term as an example.


I am a student who is interested in the URA:

What is a URA and how is it different from other awards?

A URA is an opportunity for students to assist a professor with a research project on a part-time basis during a school term. The URA is a great starting point if a student is considering pursuing research for work term.

I am currently on co-op, can I still do a URA?

No, a student can not be on a co-op term and do a URA.

 


I am a student who is interested in the URF:

Do I need to have a recommendation letter when I apply?

The recommendation letter is optional but encouraged, as it provides us with more information about your background and experiences.

What should I include in my personal statement?

Tell us about you! We want to hear what you are passionate about and why you want to pursue a work term in research.

How will candidates be selected for this role?

Your application will be reviewed by a committee consisting of faculty members and graduate students. Students will be selected for an 30 minute online interview. Some students may be asked to attend a second interview with a faculty supervisor. After the interviews, the committee members will independently rate each student’s application, then meet to discuss the aggregated results. The decision is based on the calibre of the student, faculty recommendation/endorsement, as well as factors such as EDI (equity, inclusion, diversity), broad coverage of and equal representation from different research areas/topics, previous history of the faculty/student being awarded an URF, etc.

 


I am a student who is interested in the NSERC USRA

Why are there two deadlines in a term for the NSERC USRA?

The first deadline for the NSERC USRA allows students who choose to pursue research during a co-op term to apply before the recruiting deadlines outlined by the Co-op office. The secondary deadline is the last possible day CS students and their supervisors can submit their application before the term.

Can I apply to both the NSERC USRA and MURA?

No. You cannot hold both the NSERC USRA and MURA at the same time. The NSERC USRA can be supplemented with the URF.


I am a student who is interested in the MURA

Can I apply to both the NSERC USRA and MURA?

No. You cannot hold both the NSERC USRA and MURA at the same time. The MURA can be supplemented with the URF.