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  1. Jun 29, 2011 #1
    This mainly concerns students in Canada.

    I've read here and there that students can only make one application to NSERC a year or something... does that mean that I can't apply for an USRA and PGS/CGS in the same year? I might want to hold an USRA immediately preceding graduate school so I'm quite curious. Thanks!

    Also, what kind of cutoffs are in place for the NSERC PGS/CGS awards at various schools (mainly interested in UBC, UofT)? Would a GPA of 3.7~3.8 in each of the last two years of undergrad be good enough to score one of these?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 29, 2011 #2
    When you say you've read about this "here and there", did you actually go to the source, that is, the NSERC website that has this information, and in case of any questions, also has a "contact us" section? Or is that something you don't feeling like doing at this point?

    For the second question, did you actually go to the source, that is, UBC's website, or googled, say, NSERC UBC, and then went to check the eligibility link? Or is that something you don't feel like doing at this point?
  4. Jun 29, 2011 #3
    Uh... I don't understand why you have to be a dick.

    I have looked around and I decided not to waste any more time. Might as well ask the forum where someone probably knows and do some work instead?

    Find something better to do, geez.
    (e.g. finding the answer for me)
  5. Jun 29, 2011 #4
    As much as I hate people being arrogant and rude on PF I have to agree with Ryker, this information is easy to come across on your own.. Telling someone to find something better to do via finding a simple answer for you isn't going to get you anywhere closer to the answer on here.
  6. Jun 29, 2011 #5
    If I could find it so easily I wouldn't be asking, would I? Obviously I've had trouble, I don't get why everyone has to be such a smartass about it.

    I wasn't completely serious.
  7. Jun 29, 2011 #6
    30 seconds of reading and I found:

    "You may submit only one application per academic year to NSERC or CIHR or SSHRC."

    To make sure this includes USRA and PGS.. etc. I searched again on google: "Hold USRA and PGS in same academic year"

    Found a bunch of powerpoint presentations from UNB, UWO, and Carleton. All say
    "You may only apply to one council per academic year" except in the slides for the Northern Research Internships in which it explicitly states: "Student may hold a USRA, Vanier CGS, CGS/PGS, IPS or PDF at the same time" but ONLY for the NRINT's.

    Now to the UBC specific things. I know at my University (UWO) the cutoff will depend each year. Usually to have any chance you need >80% (at UWO) which is equivalent to an A- at UBC (or 3.70 GPA). and that's the bare minimum to get looked at. You're better off with a minimum of 3.90 (high 80's) to have a chance in hell (again, this is from my experience at UWO).

    A quick search for UBC (searched "UBC NSERC USRA Physics") clicked on the first link.

    Eligibility: To apply you should be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident completing the 2nd or higher year of an undergraduate Physics/Astronomy/Engineering Physics program. You should have obtained a cumulative average of at least B+ over the previous years of university study.
  8. Jun 29, 2011 #7
    My question wasn't really answered...
    This was the reason why I created this thread, I was confused since I didn't understand why we couldn't apply for an USRA in the summer preceding graduate studies if we planned to go for a PGS/CGS immediately afterwards.

    I would understand that they don't want you to apply to NSERC, get rejected, then apply to CIHR, etc. - but USRA and PGS/CGS are two separate awards so why not? I was mainly looking for people who have done it before or know someone who has done it. Also, you technically wouldn't be holding an USRA + PGS/CGS at the same time since they would be given for different time periods... so in a sense, I kept seeing "You may submit only one application per year to either NSERC or CHIR or SSHRC." and all I wanted to do was confirm whether or not I could have an USRA and then a PGS/CGS right after that.

    As for cutoffs, I wasn't looking for admission cutoffs to the university itself, but cutoffs to make you eligible to apply for NSERC PGS/CGS through the university - e.g. http://www.mcgill.ca/files/gps/fNSERC_PresentationMcGill.pdf [Broken] page 12 of the presentation - McGill lists a 3.7/4.0 (as defined by NSERC for McGill cutoff to apply to PGS/CGS-M. I was wondering if anyone at UBC/UofT knew similar cutoffs at their respective universities (for PGS/CGS), because I couldn't find it on their websites.

    http://medbio.utoronto.ca/students/awards/nserc.html [Broken]
    "When you apply, you may be:

    in the last year of your undergraduate degree program (i.e., less than 12 months away from completing all your degree requirements);
    in a qualifying year of graduate studies;
    in the first year of a master's program;
    in the first year of a doctoral program, if you were admitted to the Ph.D. program directly from your bachelor's program; or
    not attending university."

    Can I apply for CGS/PGS near the end of this year (Oct/Nov 2011) and then apply for USRA in early 2012 for summer 2012? Would I be unable to because they're within 12 months of each other, or would I be able to because they're in different years 2011 and 2012?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  9. Jun 29, 2011 #8


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    Wait, if you're applying for CGS/PGS in 2011, then you'll have graduated for summer 2012 and not be a student. Perhaps this is idiosyncratic to my department / university (Alberta), but I'm not aware of anybody having a summer NSERC (USRA) after graduation and prior to starting grad studies. What some people here usually do is get paid by the prof they're working for (as a research assistant) before formally starting their grad program (and getting paid by NSERC).

    You're probably in iffy enough territory that you really should contact your academic advisor (not the prof that you want to work with, the prof in the department that sits on the committee adjudicating NSERC applications).
  10. Jul 3, 2011 #9

    if you're enrolled for grad studies, then you can't hold a USRA the summer before.

    that is why i am taking a year off to travel after my BSc in math at UWO so I can hold my 3rd and final USRA come summer 2013.

    (you can hold a USRA even if you have your Bachelors or are going for a second bachelors, but not if you're enrolled for MSc+)
  11. Jul 12, 2011 #10
  12. Jul 12, 2011 #11
    Well there's two options that could explain this then:

    A 2010-2011 academic year runs from September 2010 to August 2011.

    Thus for someone entering grad school in September 2011 could still hold a USRA for the 2010-2011 academic year from May 2011 to August 2011


    Those USRA students wont be holding a CGS/PGS once they enter grad school
  13. Jul 12, 2011 #12


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    I'd agree that it's probably more situation 2--PGS/CGS is harder to get than USRA. However, responsibility for following the rules probably lies at the department level, and mistakes have been known to happen (not specifically in this department at the U of T, just in general). You could fink them out to NSERC, but it's unlikely they'll get the funding yanked. You also set yourself up for being under the microscope.
  14. Jul 12, 2011 #13
    There is absolutely no reason why option 2) would have to be true.
  15. Jul 12, 2011 #14


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    According to Kindayr's link, you can't hold a USRA if you "have started a program of graduate studies in the natural sciences or engineering"

    Now, when you officially start your graduate program may be another matter entirely.
  16. Jul 12, 2011 #15
    Well, it's clear that they start their graduate studies in September 2011.
  17. Jul 12, 2011 #16


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    I would probably just e-mail NSERC and ask directly for clarification.


    They might say no on the basis of you graduating from undergrad, so you wouldn't be a student during the summer before you ship off to grad school. If it happens to be the case that you will technically still be a student during the summer and will graduate at the end of summer/early fall before heading off to grad school (or slightly overlapping with it), and hence are eligible for the award, then you should make that clear.
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