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:
|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|
|Top up required?||Top up required from supervisor, minimun $3,639.||Top up required from supervisor of $4,500.||Top up required from supervisor, minimun $3,639.||
For eligible students, supervisors required to supplement minimum $600, and the School will provide a $400 top up.
|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
Students can only hold 1 URA per 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.
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.
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.
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. There may not always be a second deadline depending on how many remaining NSERC USRAs are remaining for the department.
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.
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.