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Summer Undergraduate Research Assistants

NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA), and Work Learn Undergraduate Research Awards (WLURA) give promising undergraduate students the opportunity to spend a summer working on a project with a Statistics professor. These awards represent a chance to gain valuable experience in many aspects of research, including data analysis and coding.  You can enhance your resume for employment or for graduate school application, and find out what sort of career in statistics you want to pursue. 

Summer Undergraduate Research position applications for NSERC USRA's for summer 2024 is open. 

The application deadline for students to apply to a potential supervisor is until midnight February 29th 2024.

Please find a detailed description of the Summer 2024 projects in the link here along with the contact details of who you should submit your application to. 

Science Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE Award)

These research awards are similar to the NSERC USRA and Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Awards in that they provide the opportunity for students to work on research projects.

These awards are open to both domestic and international UBC Vancouver students.
There is no formal application for SURE awards; NSERC USRA and Work Learn International applicants who do not receive those awards will be automatically considered for SURE awards.

Work Learn Undergraduate Research Awards (WLURA)

Are you an international undergraduate student looking for full-time research opportunities for Summer 2024? The Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Awards could be the program for you! Gain valuable research experience as you work closely with a faculty member on a research project while developing skills in communication, problem-solving, and project management.

The call for research proposals has now opened as of November 20 2023. The application deadline has been extended to February 6th

Submit a research proposal with a faculty member on UBC CareersOnline

For more information, please visit our website or contact us at worklearn.iura [at] Information on other undergraduate research opportunities can be found here

Position Details:

Summer Undergraduate Research positions run for a minimum of 16 weeks, with the possibility of extension at the discretion of the supervisor. The positions are full time, so you must be willing to be on-campus every weekday for the duration of the summer, unless otherwise stated by your supervisor. This means that you will not likely be able to take any courses on top of the position. Please do not apply if you are unable to commit to these time requirements. Award holders are required to submit a short report on their activities at the end of the award term.

Value of Award:

The stipend for these awards is a minimum of $7,500.00.

Aboriginal USRA Positions:

We strongly encourage Aboriginal students to apply for these opportunities. Please indicate your Aboriginal status in your application.


NSERC USRAs are available to Canadian citizens and permanent residents only.

WLURAs are available to international students only and who are residing in Canada.

To be eligible for either of these awards you must:

  • be registered (at the time of application) in a bachelor’s degree in the term immediately before holding the award
  • International students MUST hold a valid study permit, and be registered as a UBC student. This means that International Students who graduate in May are NOT eligible for this award. If you are unsure of your eligibility, please contact the USRA coordinator AND an International Student Advisor BEFORE you apply
  • Have a cumulative GPA of B- (68%) or greater
  • At the time of the award, have completed all course requirement of at least the first year of university
  • NOT have started a graduate program in science or engineering


  • You may still apply for the program if you already hold a bachelor’s degree, and are enrolled in a second bachelor’s degree
  • You may only hold one USRA per fiscal year (April 1-March 31)
  • You may hold a maximum of three USRAs during your university career
  • If you are a graduating student, you may hold the award in the term immediately following the completion of your degree requirements, regardless of your graduation date. The exception to this is International Students who do not hold a Post-Graduate Work Permit (see above)
  • You do NOT have to be a Statistics major to apply, but please note that the positions are competitive, and priority will be given to students with a background in Statistics
  • Individual supervisors may require you to have taken certain courses, or have a specific skill set

You are NOT eligible if:

  • You are enrolled in an undergraduate professional degree program in the health sciences (e.g., MD, DDS, BScN, BScPharm)
  • You hold higher degrees in sciences or engineering
  • You are an international student who has graduated (or will graduate in May), and you do not hold a Post-Graduate Work Permit

Detailed information on awards and eligibility can be found on the Faculty of Science USRA webpage.

Application Procedures:

  • Check out this years list of projects, and decide which projects you are interested in, making sure that you meet the required skill set/prerequisites that are mentioned. Competition for these positions is very keen, so it’s a good idea to apply as soon as possible.
  • Additional projects MAY be added, so check back periodically if none of the projects currently posted are applicable to you
  • Remember that you're not restricted to the projects on the list. If you have an idea for a project, you are encouraged to contact a faculty member with your idea to see if they are interested in supervising you.
  • Email your application package to the project supervisors with whom you are interested in working. Your package should include a copy of your unofficial transcripts, along with a cover letter explaining what interests you about their research, and what you think you can contribute to the project. Make sure you submit your application as soon as possible, as these positions go fast.
  • Project supervisors will contact students with whom they are interested in working, and may request an interview.
  • Should you be chosen to work as a summer research assistant, you will be asked by the research supervisor to fill out an NSERC online application form , Form 202 Part I online at NSERC website. Instructions will be given to you at that time.
  • Don't procrastinate. We receive a limited quota of positions, and they are filled very quickly!


Contact the Statistics USRA coordinator at gradinfo [at] (subject: Undergraduate%20Research%20Assistant%20opportunities)

Profiles of some previous Summer Undergraduate Research Assistants:

Angad Kalra, a Combined Major in Math and Computer Science, worked with Prof. Sara Mostafavi in the summer of 2017. Angad first performed literature survey on the problem of open chromatin region classification. He then examined the available tools for deep learning and learned one of them, namely TensorFlow. Using TensorFlow, he implemented and tested a network architecture analogous to the state-of-art for a similar problem. Finally, he presented how to apply TensorFlow for deep learning to the lab. In addition to this project, he also helped with implementing an algorithm for solving a linear mixed model in associating gene-by-environment interactions to gene expression, which he also presented to the lab.

Joanna Zhao, graduated with a BSc. in Statistics, and is now a graduate student in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science at SFU. Joanna worked with Jennifer Bryan. “My part in the project was to systematically work through “Creating more effective graphs” by Naomi Robbins and produce all the plots using the ggplot2 package in R language. The goal was to create a convenient and simple tool that can provide users with clear instructions on how to create each and every graph using ggplot2. Ultimately, a web application was put together to present an organized visual collection of all the graphs and the corresponding code. I have learned how to make a web application framework for R and improved by knowledge and usage of R functions to organize and manipulate data. I have also learned how to use knitr and Rmarkdown to generate documents/reports from R, and how to write a Makefile to compile source code."