Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Awards

About the Awards

Designed for International Undergraduate students who are interested in research, the Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Awards subsidizes professors to hire students to work on their research projects. The program provides students with workplace experience through undergraduate research opportunities, particularly for students interested in research as a career.

Am I eligible?

To be eligible to apply for an award, you must:

  • Be an international undergraduate student

  • Have been a registered full-time student in Winter Terms 1 & 2 OR be registered in full-time studies during the summer. See UBC's definition of "full time" for immigration purposes here

  • Have a valid study permit

  • You must also have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN), which in some cases can take weeks to obtain; be sure to plan ahead

In addition:

  • Graduating international undergraduate students are eligible only for the academic term directly following the completion of your program requirements (regardless of your graduation date). Students who finish their courses in Winter Term 2 (April) and graduate in the spring (May) will be eligible to hold a Work Learn in the summer term. You must have applied for a post-graduation work permit or have some other form of authorization to work in Canada. If you have questions about your eligibility, please speak with an International Student Advisor.  
    • UBC students who have completed program requirements and whose program completion letter is not yet available are considered by UBC to be “full time for immigration purposes.”
    • Full time students who meet certain conditions may work. Once a student’s program completion letter becomes available, they must apply for a PGWP or obtain some other form of work authorization. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure they have the necessary work authorization documents to work after completing their studies.”

      You must also have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN), which in some cases can take weeks to obtain; be sure to plan ahead. If you have questions about your eligibility, please speak with an International Student Advisor.

  • You may hold only one Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Award per fiscal year (April 1 to March 31) and hold a maximum of three Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Awards throughout your university career.
  • You must be engaged in research activities on a full-time basis (35 hours per week) for a minimum of 16 weeks at the UBC Vancouver campus
  • You must work under the supervision of a faculty member.
  • At the end of the award, you will be asked to complete a short summary report of your experience and complete an evaluation, which will be initiated by the Work Learn program office. 

Value and payment

  • These awards have a value of $4,500. This amount will be reimbursed to your project supervisor's account.
  • The minimum pay for the tenure of your award of 16 weeks is $6,319.04 (inclusive of 4% vacation pay). If the award is longer than 16 weeks, your pay should increase by a minimum of $394.94/week for each additional week. This amount is based on BC’s minimum wage of $10.85/hour for a 35 hour work week.
  • In addition, supervisors are required to fund benefits (CPP, EI, WCB) amounting to approximately 7.48%.
  • We require that students holding a WL International Undergraduate Research award be paid at minimum wage or higher for their research time, which will require additional funds from research grants, supervisors, or other sources. 
  • You will receive your payment from the university in accordance with its pay procedures. You will also receive a T4 or T4A slip (Statement of Income) for tax purposes from UBC Payroll.
  • We will not reimburse for any period during which you worked part-time. No payment will be approved for any vacation leave you take during the tenure of the award.


  • The minimum normal duration of the award is 16 consecutive weeks of full-time work.
  • Under exceptional circumstances, the Work Learn program may approve awards for periods of less than 16 weeks (prior approval from the Work Learn program is needed).
  • WL International Undergraduate Research Awards are held in the Summer term (May 1 – August 31), the latest a student can start working on their award to meet the minimum 16 week requirement is May 12, 2016.

Find opportunities

Create your own research opportunity by contacting eligible professors you would like to work with and tell them about this program. Many professors will be happy to talk to you about the opportunity to hire you at a subsidized wage. If you find a professor who is interested, ask them to contact their Faculty/School Coordinator for more information. Here are some tips:

  • Know what you are going to say: be prepared to talk about your interests, knowledge areas, and lab or volunteer experience. Familiarize yourself with the professor's research subject so you can ask informed questions about it. This will show that you are genuinely interested in helping with the research

  • Bring a copy of your resume

  • Regardless of whether you get the position or not, thank the professor for their time after you meet with them

How do I apply?

Each Faculty or School will have its own adjudication process for identifying and selecting eligible award recipients. Please contact your Faculty/School Coordinator regarding the application process and submission deadlines for each individual faculty and school.

The application period for the summer 2017 competition opens January 2017.

Applied Science 

Jenny Reilly 

Mary Murphy

Find more information on the Faculty of Applied Science research awards here.

Apply by: March 6, 2017 @ 4pm


Marcy Caouette

Apply by: The internal deadline for Arts applications has passed, please contact the Coordinator directly for more information.


Chiara Longhi

Tony Loring

Apply by: March 13, 2017


Fran Harrison (contact Dr. Mark Carpenter)

Apply by: March 6, 2017

Land and Food Systems

David Kitts

Mona Lee

Apply by: March 10, 2017

Please visit the LFS Summer Undergraduate Research Award page for more information.


Frances Chandler

John Ries

Apply by: March 17, 2017


Contact department coordinator as listed below:


Alice Liou 

Apply by: February 20, 2017


Wayne Mah

Find more information on the Department of Chemistry summer research awards page.

Apply by: January 31, 2017

Computer Science

Carrie Schroeder

Find more information on the Department of Computer Science research awards page.

Apply by: February 10, 2017

Earth and Ocean Sciences

Kimberly Low

Apply by: March 2, 2017 @ 9am


Marina Skinner

Apply by: TBD

Institute for Resources Environment, and Sustainability (IRES)

Stefanie Ickert

Apply by: February 24, 2017 


Darren Rogers

Apply by: February 1, 2017

Microbiology and Immunology

David Oliver

Find more information on the Department of Microbiology and Immunology’s summer studentship information page.

Apply by: February 15, 2017

Physics and Astronomy

Salena Li

Find more information on the Physics and Astronomy undergraduate summer research opportunities page.

Apply by: January 23, 2017


Andrea Sollberger

Apply by: March 3, 2017


Gerard Cowan

Apply by: February 20, 2017 @ 4pm

Student stories