Research Opportunities

Research Opportunities

There are four main research and teaching groups in the Department: Applied Mechanics and Design, Biomedical Engineering, Manufacturing and Control, and Thermofluids.

Research is generally associated with graduate students in the department, but for undergraduate students who wish to get involved, there are technical electives offered in the areas of certain professors’ specialties. Availability of these courses will depend on student interest and may change from year to year. For information on the various research groups our faculty members are part of, and the projects our faculty members are working on, visit the Research Section of our website.
Please see the following research opportunities for undergraduates:

MECH 493 is an undergraduate course specifically designed to introduce fourth-year students to academic research. To apply for this course, students submit a research proposal, typically related to the work of a supervising professor. They then use this course, and the guidance of their supervisor(s), to prepare a research thesis. For more information on MECH 493, please visit their wiki: MECH 493: Introduction to Academic Research

Undergrads interested in research should consider our exciting new CREATE-U program!  Combining Research Experience and Technical Electives for Undergraduates (CREATE-U) is a new immersive, cohort-based experience featuring research education opportunities in Mechanical Engineering.

Open to Mechanical Engineering undergraduates, CREATE-U is a unique opportunity to complete 6 credits of course work + a research project in the summer. Students are paid $6000 for the summer work term and can count it towards co-op. The applicants are chosen based off a diverse selection criteria – it’s not just about grades. There are up to 10 spaces available for the summer of 2021!

CREATE-U has the following elements:

  • Course 1 (3 credits): MECH 410G Research Skills and Data Analysis;
  • Course 2 (3 credits): MECH 410H/500C Research Communication;
  • A paid research project work term within a Mech research lab that can count as a co-op work term, with support from graduate student mentors;
  • A supportive structure, including welcome events, networking events, and a fall poster session (may be virtual).

CREATE-U is unique as it integrates and coordinates coursework with individualized, authentic research lab experiences. A supportive structure and courses with modern pedagogical practices help students bring together technical skills and knowledge with communication skills, interpersonal skills, ethics, equity, diversity and inclusion, and other key competencies. Classroom topics can be immediately applied, and course learning outcomes (including a research poster presentation) encourage students to disseminate their work.

Need more information?

Information Session
Due to timing issues, there is no information session for 2021.  Read the slides here for the detailed program description, application and matching process, course descriptions, program timeline, project examples, and more!

If you have further questions, please email jen@mech.ubc.ca.

How to apply

Apply until December 13 at https://ubc.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_d9Xzpwvt9MAACLr

Your application should include:

  • Your answer to these four questions:
    1. What motivated you to apply for CREATE-U?
    2. What is something you are (or have been) curious about? How have you explored this interest?
    3. Describe a challenge you have faced - academically, professionally, or personally - and how you overcame it.
    4. Describe a problem you had that did not have an obvious path to a solution. What did you do?
  • Your unofficial transcript,
  • A ranking of the available projects in order of your preference. View 2021 CREATE-U Project postings.

The minimum GPA required is a 76% average in 200-level and higher courses, with the exception of students in Year 2, whose GPA will include 100-level courses.

The NSERC USRA program is an excellent way for undergraduate students to gain exposure to university research. It can also help students decide if they want to pursue research in the future, whether through graduate studies or industrial research positions. The program is open to Canadian citizens and permanent residents who have completed all required first year engineering courses, hold a cumulative average of at least 68% (note that the competitive average is usually above 80%) and who have not started graduate studies (although you can hold a USRA for the term directly after your graduation requirements are met). Students do not need to be in mechanical engineering to work with a mechanical engineering professor.
Important: For information about undergraduate student research awards, and the application process, please look at these documents:

Application packages for Summer 2021 - Spring 2022 awards are due to Mechanical Engineering Student Services (students@mech.ubc.ca) by Sunday, March 14th at 11:59 PM.

When applying, please be advised of the following points:

  1. All applications must first be submitted electronically directly to NSERC, including the upload of transcripts. A copy of your Form 202 (Parts I and II),  transcript, cover letter, and resume are also required to be submitted to the Mechanical Engineering Student Services Office electronically as a PDF addressed to students@mech.ubc.ca
  2. Student-faculty pairs should apply to the department of the faculty member.
  3. International Students - Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Award Program may also be available. For more information and the deadlines, please refer to https://students.ubc.ca/career/campus-experiences/undergraduate-research/work-learn-international-undergraduate-research-awards

The following links are also useful during the USRA application process:

NSERC’s website

NSERC USRA Information Page

NSERC USRA Openings

Openings will be posted as they are received.

Work Learn International Undergraduate Research Awards (WLIURA) allow undergraduate international students to gain relevant work experience in the research field by working a full-time paid term from May to August.

Openings will be posted as they are received.