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Research Opportunities for Canadian Student

  1. Oct 20, 2014 #1

    I am currently looking for potential 2015 summer research opportunities. And as the title suggests I am a 2nd year Canadian undergraduate physics and computer science student, hence places like NASA are not possible since such opportunities require US citizenship. I know its earlier, and most job postings are available in January for summer opportunities, but I'd like to plan ahead. Ideally, I'd like to get a position that relates somewhat to applied science (where that can be something related to scientific computing, something experimental, or something more applied). Interests include; applied plasma physics, accelerator science, optics, thermal science, fluid mechanics (but I would generally be satisfied with anything given its not purely theoretical). At this point, TRUIMF, and possibly opportunities within my university are the only places I have. Any other possible suggestions, or places (labs or research facilities) I can check out (within Canada or outside, but that allows Canadian students to apply) that offers summer research positions to undergraduate students.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 20, 2014 #2
    There are many research opportunities for physics undergrads in Canada. You are correct in that most applications will be open between January to March.

    The biggest opportunities are through NSERC USRA's (A Canadian version of the REU) that are awarded through each Canadian Universities' Physics Departments (the ones that have physics departments). These awards are very prestigious and fund you (the undergrad) to do summer research at the host University (it doesn't have to be YOUR university, a significant amount of USRA's go to Canadian students from other universities). The research topic is up to you and the host university. I highly recommend looking into this program around January, or if you are eager, ask your department head about it. You will have to apply separately to each University you are interested in. I was awarded one such award, feel free to ask me any further questions about the application process.

    TRIUMF, as you mentioned, hires many undergrads. When I was employed there, there were ~40 undergraduates all working on different research topics. The applications will open late January to early February, these positions are also highly competitive.

    Each university will also have many other programs that involve doing research as an undergraduate. The best way to learn about these is to visit the University's department website and look for a 'research opportunities' link. Most positions are open to all physics students (from any school). If you have trouble finding information, email the department, they will surely have information from last year available.

    Also, if there is a specific professor that you wish to work with (in your school, or another in Canada), don't be shy, ask them if there are any opportunities for an undergraduate to do work with their group. Once you start looking, you will be surprised by how many diverse opportunities are out there for you.
  4. Oct 20, 2014 #3
    Can undergrads actually do research in second year? I mean by that time you only know Calc 2, and just some general physics? Is it possible to give me some examples of what you actually do there? I would imagine they make you do the lesser jobs, that don't have much to do with the actual physics?
    I don't mean to hijack the thread, but if you can actually do research job as second year, it would make me very excited.
  5. Oct 21, 2014 #4


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    A lot depends on the opportunities available at the time. It's rare that a student has the capacity and the means to lead a research project, but experimental work can involve repetative measurements, simple number-crunching type analysis and/or basic programming. Even high school students can participate in research under the right circumstances.

    If you're interested, start asking around at your school for opportunities.
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