Western Undergraduate Summer Research Internships

Students looking at technical equipment

The Western Undergraduate Summer Research Internships (USRIs) provide undergraduate students with engaged research experiences under the mentorship of a faculty member and are intended to stimulate undergraduate students’ interest in research through direct exposure and hands-on experiences conducting research. This program seeks to provide undergraduate students with first-hand experience in undertaking an exciting research project under the direction of a qualified faculty mentor/supervisor. Through participation in this program, students gain valuable and high-impact research, technical and professional skills that will help support academic and career development toward their future professional goals. Faculty mentors benefit from meaningful engagement, and assistance toward their research program and can use the opportunity to further a diverse HQP training environment.

Download the Application Form

Note: Unmatched students from the Department of History should also submit this additional form.

Student Objectives

  • In consultation with their faculty supervisor, students will develop and produce a research project.
  • At the end of the summer they will produce a final research output oriented to lay audiences (e.g., infographic, research poster, blog, podcast, short video etc.) See examples of previous research.
  • Students will also participate in at least four professional development workshops.

Faculty Mentor/Supervisor Objectives

  • Co-develop a learning and development plan with a USRI student, with clear expectations to ensure an equitable working environment.
  • Plan to attend the end-of-summer virtual exhibition of research outputs if possible.
  • Participate in program evaluation through surveys to monitor program success.

Funding and Term

USRIs are valued at a minimum of $8,680 for a 16-week term through May to August, with $6,944 from Western,  and a faculty-level match of $1,736.



  • Must hold a research-eligible appointment in Social Science; if you hold a joint appointment, please apply to your primary Faculty.
  • Additional co-supervisors do not need to hold a research-eligible appointment


  • All students currently enrolled at Western are encouraged to apply.
  • Preference will be given to students entering their fourth year of study in Fall 2023, but any student planning to return to Western in Fall 2023 as an undergraduate or graduate student is eligible.
  • We will give preference to applications from under-represented, economically disadvantaged, and first-generation students.

Two Application Streams:

In Social Science applications will be accepted from two streams:

Matched Stream

Students and supervisors who wish to work together on a research project apply together.

Unmatched Stream

Students apply individually. The department will match the student to a suitable supervisor and project based on mutual interests.

Final rankings will give equal consideration to each Track. Please choose the one that best suits you.

2023 USRI Application Form (Faculty of Social Science)

Note: Unmatched students from the Department of History should also submit this additional form.

We encourage students to contact their potential mentors and develop their research ideas

Deadline: March 31, 2023

Key Dates

  • March 31:
    • Last day for students to submit applications to department.
  • April 14:
    • Department rankings submitted to the Associate Dean's Office.
  • April 21 (tentative):
    • Dean’s office will communicate notice of decisions/waitlist to departments. Departments should communicate results to successful candidates as soon as possible after this date.
  • May 1 (tentative):
    • Earliest date for internships to commence.



“I want to thank you so much for this opportunity and creating a program that allows students like me to explore research. As a student that is aspiring to go into graduate studies, this opportunity helped build my understanding, confidence, and relationships in my educational career.”

“I had a great experience with my supervisor and everyone in the lab. I am now completing my honours thesis with the same supervisor, and I think the USRI is a great first step to prepare students for their thesis as it can familiarize them with their supervisors research and with their lab prior to completing the thesis.”

"I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to be part of such an amazing internship that fosters both the curiosity and innovation of students.”

“I cannot understate the value I see in this program, particularly for those of us that don't have graduate students in our programs. [The student] made valuable contributions to pushing my research forward this summer, represented Western well in collaboration with other institutions, and is now doing a thesis with me this year."

Link: https://www.uwo.ca/se/thrive/blog/2020/my_usri_experience.html


Please note the information about the program is still subject to change and may be updated for summer 2023. Please check back before the application deadline for any updates.

    1. I am a student in Social Science major but my potential supervisor is in another Faculty. Where do I apply?

      Your proposed supervisor should apply to their home faculty.

    2. I am a student in a faculty other than Social Science. Can I apply for a USRI in Social Science?

      If you wish to apply to the matched stream and your proposed supervisor holds a primary appointment in Social Science, yes. They should submit your application to their home department. However, only Social Science  majors may apply to their home department if they are choosing the unmatched stream.

    3. Can a student enrolled at another institution eligible to apply?

      USRIs are reserved for students registered in an undergraduate program at Western in the 2022-2023 academic year. Preference should be given to students who are planning to return to Western in the Fall 2023 semester whether as an undergraduate student or graduate student.

    4. I have a 4th year student who would like to apply for this opportunity, would they be eligible?

      Yes, however preference will be given to students who expect to enroll at Western in Fall 2023 as an undergraduate or graduate student.

    5. Will students be taxed on this funding?

      The award is categorized as a fellowship and will be reported to the student on a T4A tax slip (non-employment income) at the end of 2023. There are no statutory deductions required to be withheld from the payments.

    6. Will students be able to come to campus to do research?

      Students and supervisors should discuss expectations for on-campus vs. remote work as they develop their project, and prior to taking up the USRI. All on-campus activities should follow current safety protocols, and these may be updated regularly as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve. Please see our website for information about current safety protocols
      Please also check for updates here: https://www.uwo.ca/research/covid19_updates.html
    7. What is an individual learning and development plan?

      A template will be provided which outlines the program requirements. The learning and development plan will help guide the goals for the summer and will encourage students to think about how to integrate what they learn in the workshops into their research output. The learning plan will establish an agreement between the student and faculty supervisor concerning expectations of research activity, attendance, communication, and the final research output.

    8. Can a Faculty mentor oversee more than one USRI award?

      Yes, a supervisor can oversee more than one student or USRI project during the summer program. The final decision will be up to the discretion of the home Faculty.

    9. Can a student hold more than one USRI award?

      No, an undergraduate student can only hold one USRI award during the summer. However, the program welcomes returning students who participated in previous summers.

    10. As a supervisor, do I have to attend the EDI-D workshop?

      The EDI-D workshops are not mandatory but given the importance of EDI-D among research funders and the critical contribution to research creativity and excellence, participation is strongly encouraged.

    11. Are Western undergraduate students who are involved in research but not USRI Fellows allowed to participate in the professional development workshops?

      Yes, undergraduate students working through other summer research opportunities offered at Western are welcome to register for any USRI workshops being offered.

    12. Where do I submit an application?

      Applications must be submitted to the supervisor’s home department (Matched Stream) or your own home department (Unmatched Stream).


    For program-specific questions, please contact your Department’s Administrative Officer.

    Anthropology - Janice Sutherland
    DAN Department of Management & Organizational Studies - Gloria R Dawson  ​
    Economics - Roma MacFarlane; Debra Merrifield
    Geography & Environment Kylie Willis
    History Rebecca Northcott
    Political Science - Shannon Doyle ​
    Psychology - Kimberley Baxter
    Sociology - Gayle Finlay