Visiting Student Researcher (VSR) Program

NOTEInformation

A visiting student researcher (VSR) is a Canadian or international student conducting research on a full-time basis at the University of Ottawa under the supervision of a uOttawa faculty member. A VSR must be enrolled in an undergraduate, master’s or doctoral program at a university in Canada or abroad.

Advantages of enrolling as a Visiting Student Researcher

Student status

Students are considered full-time students who are conducting academic research. A visiting student researcher (VSR) is registered in RCH 3000 (undergraduate students) or RCH 7000 (graduate students), which are non-credit course codes with no associated tuition fees.

NOTE: VSRs cannot register in courses at the University of Ottawa.

Visiting student researchers have access to:

  • University of Ottawa Library and email services;
  • University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) coverage (mandatory for international students only, at a monthly cost of approximately CA$52); and
  • Other uOttawa services and facilities such as Sports Services (applicable fees).

How to participate

Are you interested in doing research at the University of Ottawa? Here’s how you can join us!

Eligibility criteria

Students must:

  • Be enrolled at a Canadian or international educational institution other than the University of Ottawa;
  • Intend to come to the University of Ottawa solely for the purpose of conducting research on a full-time basis on a project that is part of their curriculum or academically relevant to their program; and
  • Have obtained approval from the host and home supervisors for the research activities to be conducted at the University of Ottawa.

Academic research activities:

  • Must not involve payment to student (scholarships are not considered payment); and
  • Must not lead to credits from the University of Ottawa. 

Duration of research stay:

  • Undergraduate students: Maximum of 4 months (must be fewer than 119 days).
  • Master’s students: Maximum of 12 months.
  • PhD students: Maximum of 24 months.

NOTE: If you feel your research activities would require a longer stay, please get in touch with us to discuss your case: vsr@uOttawa.ca

Steps for finding a University of Ottawa faculty supervisor

It is the responsibility of the student to identify, contact, and obtain approval from a University of Ottawa faculty member to supervise their research activities.

Students are invited to consult the lists of faculty members on the websites of academic units in order to find a supervisor. Most professors also have a personal web page that provides details about their research.

The uOttawa experts page and the uOttawa Research Network page can help students identify potential supervisors according to their research specialization.

Send an email to potential faculty members to discuss the possibility of becoming your supervisor. We strongly suggest that you avoid generic emails when contacting a faculty member. Instead, describe why you’re interested in working with the professor and/or why you feel you would be a good fit for their research team (including relevant academic or professional experience and any applicable skills you possess). You could also attach your resume and transcript to highlight your academic and professional achievements. 

Here are two templates that you can use as a guideline when contacting faculty members: 

  • Students coming with their own research project:
    • Dear Prof. [FirstName LastName],
      I hope this email finds you well.
      I am doing a research project on “[Research Topic]”, as part of my [Academic program: Bachelor of..., Master of..., PhD....] at [Name of University/Academic Institution] ([Country]) and I would highly appreciate if you could be my research supervisor.
      The University of Ottawa offers a Visiting Student Researcher (VSR) program, where students from other institutions come to do research with a faculty member of the University. Being my supervisor will require meeting with me once every week or two weeks to discuss the progress of my research, and to provide me guidance regarding the research and the direction I should take.
      It would be a great honour to do my research project under your supervision, as your research on "[Research Topic and/or Title of published papers]" is closely linked to my research project.
      I am planning to come to Ottawa from [Starting Date - Ending Date]. Shall you agree to supervise my research, you would have to sign the attached VSR form.
      I have attached a copy of my resume and transcript for your records, however let me know if you have any further questions regarding the research project or myself. 
      Thanking you in advance for your consideration.  

      Sincerely,
      [Name]
  • Students wanting to join a research group (coming without a research project):
    • Dear Prof. [FirstName LastName],
      I hope this email finds you well.
      I am currently a student at [Name of University/Academic Institution] ([Country]) and as part of my [Academic program: Bachelor of..., Master of..., PhD....] I need to do a research internship. I am contacting you because it would be an honour to join your research team.
      The University of Ottawa offers a Visiting Student Researcher (VSR) program, where students from other institutions come to do research under the supervision of a faculty member of the University. Being my supervisor will require providing me guidance regarding the research and the direction I should take. And in return I will be supporting directly your research endeavours.
      It would be a great honour to join your research team, as your work on "[Research Topic and/or Title of published papers]" is closely linked to my research interests.

      I am planning to come to Ottawa from [Starting Date - Ending Date]. Shall you agree to host me, you would have to sign the attached VSR form.
      I have attached a copy of my resume and transcript for your records, however let me know if you have any further questions regarding my academic background or research skills.
      Thanking you in advance for your consideration.

      Sincerely,
      [Name]

NOTE: Students should use these emails as templates, however we advise to personalize it to their specific circumstances before sending it.

Application process for Canadian or permanent resident students
  1. Pay the processing fee of CA$300.
  2. Complete the VSR admission form.
  3. Submit the complete admission package, which must include:
    • Proof of payment of processing fee;
    • Completed VSR admission form;
    • Copy of official identification; and
    • Confirmation of enrolment at home institution.

NOTE: Your application will be processed once the complete admission package and all required documents are received. Please ensure to submit a complete admission package months in advance your planned arrival date as your research project may require ethics approval. 

Upon acceptance, you will receive a letter of acceptance from the Centre for Research Opportunities as proof of enrollment in the VSR Program. The letter will also include your University of Ottawa student number.

Three weeks prior to your arrival in Ottawa, please send an email with a copy of your letter of admission to us at vsr@uOttawa.ca so we can arrange your orientation session. 

Application process for international students
  1. Pay the processing fee of CA$300.
  2. Complete the VSR admission form.
  3. Submit the complete admission package, which must include:
    • Proof of payment of processing fee;
    • Completed VSR admission form;
    • Copy of your passport; and
    • Confirmation of enrollment and support from home institution.

NOTE: Your application will be processed once the complete admission package and all required documents are received. Please ensure to submit a complete admission package months in advance your planned arrival date as your research project may require ethics approval.

Upon acceptance, you will receive a letter of acceptance from the Centre for Research Opportunities for immigration purposes.

For additional information, please see the section on additional information for international students.

Three weeks prior to your departure to Canada, please send an email with a copy of your acceptance letter, confirmation of your travel document type (visitor visa, study permit, electronic travel authorization, i.e., eTA), and the address where you will stay in Canada to vsr@uOttawa.ca so we can enroll you in the mandatory University Health Insurance Plan (see the section on additional information for international students), and arrange your orientation session. 

Once you're accepted

Congratulations! You will now join hundreds of other students that have benefited from the VSR Program. The following sections provide key information that will help make your research experience rewarding and successful.

The next step, before going any further, is to determine whether your research project needs ethics approval by consulting the responsible conduct of research checklist.

Responsible conduct of research checklist
Airport arrival

From the Ottawa International Airport

  • By taxi
    You can take a taxi from the airport to the University campus. It will cost approximately $35.
  • By bus
    For under $5, you can take Ottawa’s public transit, OC Transpo, bus number 97 (Bayshore). Get off at the LAURIER station, the stop for the campus. Visit OC Transpo for information on schedules and the most up-to-date bus route information.

    Shuttle buses also run from the airport to downtown several times an hour and stop at the main hotels. The Novotel Hotel is the closest to the University. The cost for this service is approximately $10.

From the Ottawa train station

  • By taxi
    You can take a taxi from the train station to the University campus. It will cost approximately $15.
  • By bus
    Take OC Transpo bus number 61 (Terry Fox). Get off at LAURIER station, the stop for the campus (approximately a 10-minute ride). Visit OC Transpo for information on schedules and the most up-to-date bus route information.

From the Ottawa Central Bus Station

  • By taxi
    You can take a taxi from the train station to the University campus. It will cost approximately $15.
  • By bus
    Take OC Transpo bus number 7 (St Laurent eastbound. Ask for a transfer. Get off at the Bank and Slater stop. Turn right onto Slater and take OC Transpo bus number 94 (Millennium) to LAURIER station, the stop for the campus (approximately a 20-minute ride). Visit OC Transpo for information on schedules and the most up-to-date bus route information.

Uber

  • Uber ride service is available throughout the city of Ottawa.
Housing

Here are some tips for finding a place to stay:

Food and shopping

Grocery stores close to campus

Average cost of groceries per month is about $400 for one person) but can vary depending on dietary preferences. The two local grocery stores, below, offer a 10% discount to students Tuesdays and Thursdays. Just be sure to bring your student ID card.

  • Loblaws (363 Rideau St, Ottawa)
  • Metro (245 Rideau St, Ottawa)

Shopping centre closest to campus

  • Rideau Centre (50 Rideau St, Ottawa)
Transportation options

U-Pass

A discounted student transit pass that is good for a full term, known as the U-Pass, is available to students registered in the VSR program. If you wish to purchase this pass, bring your uOttawa student ID card to the Student Federation Office (room 07 on Level 0 of the Jock Turcot University Centre, also known as the Uni-Centre). It is located at 85 University Street, at Cumberland. The U-Pass allows you to take public transit anywhere in Ottawa and Gatineau.

The fee is currently CA$202.46 per term:

  • Fall term: September to December
  • Winter term: January to April
  • Spring/Summer term: May to August

Transit Presto card

The monthly Ottawa adult transit pass can be purchased for $116.50 (as of July 2018), plus the initial cost of a Presto card ($6). Once you have a Presto card, you can add any amount (minimum of $10) online with your credit card online at Presto Card or in person at an OC Transpo Customer Service Centres (closest one located in the Rideau Centre).

Additional information for international students
Travel documentation (visas/study permits)

Please present the letter of acceptance you receive when applying for required travel documents, such as a study permit, temporary resident visa and electronic travel authorization, i.e., eTA.

Students enrolling at the University of Ottawa for six months or more should apply for a study permit. Students enrolling at the University of Ottawa for a period less than six months do not require a study permit but will require a temporary resident visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA), depending on country of citizenship.

If you need further information related to the immigration process, please contact your local Canadian consulate.

University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP)
NOTE
InformationAs of September 1, 2018, all international students must enrol in the University Health Insurance Program (UHIP), at a monthly cost of approximately CA$52. 

UHIP is a mandatory insurance plan for international students (and dependants if applicable) that covers standard medical visits and other medical and hospital expenses during your stay in Canada. It also can help with obtaining certain medical devices, such as wheelchairs and hearing aids. UHIP does not cover dental care or the cost of prescription or other drugs.

NOTE: If you or any accompanying family members have a medical condition, we advise you to postpone your research stay to a future date as medical treatment can be costly for non-Canadians. 

Current VSRs

Are you a current visiting student research (VSR) and looking to get the most out of your research experience at the University of Ottawa? This section provides you with information on services and programs available to you.

Health Services

You have access to the uOttawa Health Services on campus. During your stay you can visit the campus walk-in clinic to see a doctor.

Sport Services

Recreational

Stay active and in good health while at university by taking part in recreational activities on campus. Sports Services offers a variety of group fitness classes and services.


Intramural

Intramural programs offer you the chance to play your favourite sports with other students on a regular basis in competitive and recreational leagues. Sports include basketball, dodgeball, flag football, ultimate frisbee, hockey, soccer and volleyball. Learn more about intramural sports, including how to register.

Social and cultural activities

If you want to know about the events and activities happening on and off campus in the Ottawa region, follow our VSR Facebook page to get all the details! You’ll find information on cultural and social activities and program updates and notifications.

 

Altitude

Are you a VSR at the master’s or PhD level? Then you can benefit from the services offered under the Altitude program.

The Altitude program was designed to enhance the learning experience of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, preparing them for the workforce and the professional academic world. Altitude offers a variety of events and workshops which help hone particular skill sets, such as communication, teaching, and writing. These free workshops allow students to not only improve their academic success, but also to gain an extensive understanding of the job market. Altitude takes learning beyond the classroom, bringing the graduate experience to greater heights.

Visit the Altitude website for more information and like Altitude on Facebook!

Extending your VSR status

NOTE: As of September 1, 2018, visiting student researchers that would like to extend their research stay must pay a processing fee of CA$300.

  1. Please contact vsr@uOttawa.ca to arrange a meeting to explain the reasons for the extension.
  2. If extension is approved by the Centre for Research Opportunities, pay the processing fee of CA$300.
  3. Email the following documents to vsr@uOttawa.ca
    • Proof of payment of processing fee;
    • Letter of support of extension by University of Ottawa supervisor; and 
    • Letter of support of extension by Home Institution.

For more information

vsr@uottawa.ca

 

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