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GPA not good enough for research award in Canada what to do?

  1. Jan 10, 2013 #1
    Hey, I'm at McGill in 2nd year Joint Honours Mathematics and Physics. I want to apply for a research award (I haven't done so before) in either maths or (preferably) physics. I had a tough bunch of classes to start with and have a 3.14 out of 4.00 GPA. It looks like an NSERC USRA is out of sight at this point - competitive applicants have >= 3.7.

    I don't really feel like spending my summer in Montreal.. or Quebec for that matter. I really want to get some research experience this summer. Is it possible to do unpaid research elsewhere in Canada for external students? what should I do?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 10, 2013 #2
    Well, by far your easiest option would be to approach current professors who know you and ask you if you can work for free in their labs. So, you're making life unnecessarily difficult for yourself by ruling out staying at McGill for the summer. Montreal's a lot nicer in the summer, if that helps...
  4. Jan 10, 2013 #3


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    NSERC scholarships aren't the only funded summer positions. Ask around. Some professors have positions in their labs for summer students. And yes, lots of programs are willing to hire outside students for the summer. It's a way for students to do something of an exchange and the departments get the opportunity to evaluate potential incoming students. Usually students between their thrid and fourth year are favoured for these, and of course, they are also competative, but they're worth looking into.

    On top of that, sometimes the postitions aren't always advertised. In my experience, funding for these kinds of things can be in limbo until the last minute. So the students who get the jobs are sometimes the ones who contact the programs asking about the positions before they're advertised.
  5. Jan 11, 2013 #4


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    I know TRIMUF in British Columbia sometimes (or used to?) have summer research internships, so you might poke around their site to see if they have anything. You might run into the same GPA problem, though, as they are paid positions.

    I would still apply for the NSERC anyways, and try and focus on how excited and passionate you are about research in your application. You might not get anything because they decide to choose an applicant with a higher GPA, but you certainly won't get anything if you don't apply. It's like Gretzky said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."
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