Undergraduate Research and Projects

Courses

The School of Computer Science at McGill University offers undergraduate students the opportunity to take courses where you can work one on one with a professor.   This can be a research project,  or a technical project which involves software development, or learning about a theoretical topic for which no course is available.  

Undergraduate research in particular is often the highlight of a student's learning experience. It gives you a chance to work alongside the professors and their graduate students. Students are generally paid to stretch their imagination, and test their ingenuity and creativity. At the same time, they learn valuable problem formulation and presentation skills which will be useful in any career.

COMP 396  Undergraduate Research Project

An elective course, available to qualified students starting in their 2nd term at McGill.

Computer Science professors post available projects in the central Faculty of Science web site. However, make sure to check out all the other 396 courses from other departments too, since one objective of these courses is to allow interdisciplinary research. You may find a professor in another department looking for a student with a computer science background.

Note that many 396 offerings are based on a student expressing interest in a research area, and the student and professor write the proposal together.    So don't be shy to talk with the Computer Science professors about new projects that could be proposed.

COMP 400 Project in Computer Science

This course is required in several of the Honours programs but it can also be used as a complementary course in most other programs as long as the student can find a supervisor and the course get approved by the Undergraduate Chair. If you have found an area that excites you, talk to the professors for courses in those areas and see if you can work out a project proposal with them.    

COMP 480  Independence Studies in Computer Science

This is an independent studies course where a student learns about a topic for which no other course is available, rather than carrying out research or writing software.  

Summer Research Projects

Summer research projects may be paid research assistantships which are typically funded through an NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA),  or a McGill Science Undergraduate Research Award (SURA).     Students can apply for these awards starting in their U1 year at McGill (your 2nd year if you started in the Freshman Program, and in your 1st year if you came from a CEGEP).  If you are doing well in your studies, remember to apply for these early in the Winter term.

Ask your professors for some help and for potential projects. Professors love to have NSERC USRA or SURA students working with them in their labs and they will help you out with your applications.

More detailed information about the program and application procedures is available at here.

Undergraduate Summer Research Symposium

At the end of each summer we hold the annual Undergraduate Summer Research Symposium where undergraduate students present their research, and have the opportunity to meet the other students and faculty members involved in the program. During the Symposium, a panel of judges selects the winner of the Undergraduate Research Excellence Prize.