Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Awards

About the Awards

The Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Awards are designed for international undergraduate students who are interested in research.

These awards subsidize professors to hire international undergraduate students to work full-time on their research projects in the Summer Session (May to August). International students who receive the awards gain workplace experience through an undergraduate research opportunity.

For more information, review the frequently asked questions (pdf).

International exchange or visiting students are not eligible for this award.

Application timeline

Applications for Summer 2023 are now closed. Check back in November 2023 for 2024 summer applications. If you’re interested in applying, review the eligibility requirements below and how to apply.

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible to apply for an award, you must meet all the following requirements:

  • You are an international undergraduate student at the UBC Vancouver Campus.
  • You have a valid study permit.
  • You are on a scheduled break or are considered full time for immigration purposes.
  • You have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN). If you don't, it can take several weeks to apply for one.
  • You are residing in British Columbia, Canada during your work term.
  • You will be engaged in research activities at the UBC Vancouver campus on a full-time basis for at least 16 weeks. This includes 35 paid hours per week plus a one-hour unpaid lunch break everyday.
  • You will be working under the supervision of a faculty member.

If you are an international undergraduate student that is graduating, you are eligible only for the academic term directly after you complete your program requirements, regardless of your graduation date.

Students who finish their courses in Winter Term 2 (April) and graduate in the spring (May) are eligible to hold a Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Award in the summer term.

Program restrictions

Consider the following restrictions before you apply:

  • You may hold only one Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Award per fiscal year (April 1 to March 31).
  • You may only hold a maximum of 3 Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Awards throughout your degree.
  • Students are not eligible to hold a Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Award position in the same term they are holding an NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award or a Work Learn placement.
  • Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Award students are recommended to not have more than 3 credits in one summer term  (maximum 3-credits in Term 1 and/or 3 credits in Term 2), in order to focus on the 35 hour per week requirement of full-time work in their position.

Work authorization documents

UBC students who have completed their program requirements and whose program completion letter is not yet available are considered “full time for immigration purposes” by UBC.

If your letter of completion is available, 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 work eligibility, please speak with an International Student Advisor.

It is your responsibility to ensure you have the necessary work authorization documents to work after completing your studies.

Undergraduate international students who are planning to work full-time during the summer must be on a scheduled break to meet the full-time definition for immigration purposes. This includes Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Award recipients.

How to apply

You have 2 options for applying to the Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Awards: 

The deadlines to apply differ depending on the option you wish to take.

Review the application timeline overview (pdf) for more information on the overall application process.

Submit a Research Proposal with a Faculty Member

You are encouraged to create your own research opportunity by contacting a UBC Vancouver faculty member and letting them know about the program. The faculty member must submit a research project proposal on UBC CareersOnline through an employer account by the February deadline.

You may choose to work with your faculty member to complete the online proposal form. Please refer your faculty member to the Faculty and Staff webpage for additional information on how to submit a research project proposal. 

The call for research proposals has been extended to Fri, Feb 3, 2023.

The faculty member will be notified whether or not they have received the award in early March.

Apply on UBC CareersOnline 

If you do not have a research opportunity in mind, the second option is to look out for research opportunities within the Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Awards that will be posted on UBC CareersOnline which you can access through your student account. You will apply directly to the faculty member by the method they have indicated in the posting on UBC CareersOnline.

Research opportunities in the Summer 2023 term will be posted from March 13 to 26, 2023.

To prepare for your application, please take note of the following:

  • Ensure you have a valid study permit and a social insurance number (SIN). A SIN is required for working in Canada. Visit the Government of Canada website for information on how to obtain a SIN if you do not already have one. If you have any questions about working while you are a student, visit International Student Advising.
  • Have a specific resume and cover letter for each application you apply to. Generic cover letters rarely get looked at. Find opportunities you are interested in and highlight what excites you about the opportunity as well as the skills and experience that would help you be successful. Find more tips on how to write your resume and cover letter.
  • Prepare for your interview by reading the position description carefully. Be prepared to speak to why you are interested and what you hope to learn from the experience. Anticipating what questions you might get asked will help make you feel more confident for your interview. Learn more about interview preparation.

For more information, review the information sheet for student applicants (pdf).

Award period

The minimum normal duration of the award is 16 consecutive weeks of full-time work, including 35 hours a week and a one-hour unpaid lunch break. Under exceptional circumstances, the UBC Career Centre may approve awards for periods of less than 16 weeks. Approval is needed in advance.

Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Awards are held in the Summer term (May 1 to August 31). The latest a student can start working on their award in Summer 2023 to meet the minimum 16- week requirement is May 12, 2023.

At the end of the award, you will be asked to complete an evaluation which you will receive from the UBC Career Centre.

Value and payment

Award value

The Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Awards have a value of $6,000 each, and $8,700 for the Faculty of Arts. This amount will be reimbursed to your project supervisor's account.

Faculty supervisors are required to supplement the amount of the award using other sources such as university funds or other funds from research grants to meet BC’s minimum wage requirements.

Work payment and benefits

Based on the current BC’s minimum wage requirements (min. wage of $15.65/hour) The minimum pay for the tenure of your award of 16 weeks is $9,000.63, inclusive of 4% vacation pay. If the award is longer than 16 weeks, your pay should increase by a minimum of $569.66 for each additional week, inclusive of 4% vacation pay, or $113.93 for each additional day, inclusive of 4% vacation pay.

Supervisors are also required to fund benefits such as Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Employment Insurance (EI), and Workers Compensation Board (WCB). These benefits amount to approximately 7.48% of the salary.

You will receive your payment from UBC in accordance with its pay procedures. You will also receive a T4 or T4A slip (Statement of Income) for tax purposes from UBC Payroll. Learn about taxes in Canada.

Your supervisor will not be reimbursed for any period during which you worked part-time. No payment will be approved for any vacation leave you take during the work period of the award.

Finding research opportunities

You can 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 email for more information, or submit a proposal on UBC CareersOnline, the online job board for UBC students. For detailed information on the application process, view the “How to apply” section below.

Tips for connecting with a professor

  • 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. This will show that you are genuinely interested in helping with their research.

  • Bring a copy of your resume.

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

Work Learn Fundamentals

If you’d like to apply for a Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Award or you are currently a Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Awards student, take the Work Learn Fundamentals Canvas course. The first topic, “What is Work Learn”, is not applicable to students with this award.

The course covers the following topics:

  • Finding a Work Learn job
  • Starting your work term
  • During your Work Learn term
  • Wrapping up your work term

If you have questions