Undergraduate Research Explorer
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Why Research?

“U of T wants undergraduate students to gain a real-world understanding of what our scholars across the disciplines are doing to expand our fundamental knowledge about the world and our place in it, and how critical their work is to the development of new policies, ideas, methodologies, pharmaceuticals and life-saving inventions that improve the lives of all Canadians.”

Leah Cowen

Vice-President, Research and Innovation, and Strategic Initiatives

The University of Toronto is a leader in research and innovation.

Campus Aerial View

Engaging in research as an undergraduate student at U of T can transform your experience from one where you receive information to one where you are actively and critically thinking about the information shared, asking new research questions and making your own connections. Research experiences provide you with opportunities to join and participate in a research community that is grappling with questions core to our human experience.

Six Benefits of Participating in Undergraduate Research

You might pursue higher education because you’re intellectually curious— you have questions about an area of interest. Our hope is that by pursuing research you are not only discovering answers to those initial curiosities but also opening-up new pathways for exploration.

Photo of Angela Zhou

Angela’s Story

In her co-op program, Angela Zhou conducted research at Harvard Medical School that focused on coming up with solutions for unmet clinical needs. As she emersed herself in an environment bustling with research innovation, Angela shared that she “realized the importance of possessing an inquisitive mind and that discoveries arise through consistent diligence and effort.” Angela has continued her research now studying the mechanisms of vascularization for tissue and organ regeneration as she pursues her combined MD / PhD at U of T.

As Canada’s leading research-intensive university, students’ active participation in research allows for connection and collaboration with our renowned faculty researchers and the opportunity to contribute to ground-breaking discoveries and newfound curiosities. With guidance, support and resources in place, you will build confidence in your research skills while creating a research network and meaningful relationships with faculty. 

Amber McNeil

Amber’s Story

Through her work as part of a collaborative research team, Amber McNeil helped to design the layout of the Innis College Garden— a space to grow food in the heart of downtown Toronto. Amber spent four hours every day working with faculty supervisors and other undergraduate researchers. As she shared, “Many of our research days were spent brainstorming as a group, drawing on chalkboards, and working together at the garden. Doing this work independently would simply not have been possible.”

Certain research opportunities fall within the curriculum and are consequently unpaid. In comparison, options like Research Assistantships, the Work Study Research Experience Stream and Research Studentships / Fellowships are co-curricular and paid research opportunities that can be leveraged as potential sources of student income. Use the filters in the Undergraduate Research Explorer to learn more about paid research opportunities. 

Photo of Jordan Young 

Jordan’s Story

Jordan Young won a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Undergraduate Student Research Award (NSERC USRA). Receiving financial support to undertake research allowed Jordan to create 3D models of early Cambrian sponges, also known as Archaeocyaths, using software called Blender. As Jordan shared, he had previously tried to learn to use Blender on his own “but came out with very little success.” The NSERC USRA afforded Jordan the dedicated time and space along with a supportive research environment to learn how to effectively use the software.

Research can involve collaboration with external partners including local communities, grassroots organizations and non-profit organizations external to U of T. Through these partnerships, you could have the opportunity to work closely with communities, including your own, to address their needs and priorities.

Alicia Corbierre

Alicia’s Story

In one of her research experiences, Alicia Corbiere worked with the archives related to Deskaheh, also known as Levi General, the Haudenosaunee chief and speaker of the Six Nations Hereditary Council. The experiences taught Alicia about the importance of community-based research. “As an Indigenous student who hopes to work in and for communities in the future,” Alicia shared, “being able to attend meetings with community members helped me see how everyone’s voices and needs are heard.” Now pursuing her law degree at the University of Toronto, Alicia hopes to use her research and law experiences to help support Indigenous communities.

Research helps prepare undergraduate students for life beyond graduation. It familiarizes you with different forms of research and methodologies, and helps you to consider if you aspire to pursue research at the graduate level. It also helps you to understand how to utilize research to problem solve and come up with solutions to complex issues, an essential workplace skill. 

Naima Hussein

Neima’s Story

In partnership with the Sentencing and Parole Project (SPP), Neima Hussein studied the role enhanced pre-sentence reports play in Canada as a legal tool and what purpose they serve in promoting just and equitable sentencing decisions by judges. Inspired by this research experience, Neima is now pursuing her Master’s of Social Work where she hopes to continue to explore the impact of incarceration on mental health through a community-based research approach.

As undergraduate researchers, students play a critical role in U of T’s research and innovation success. Throughout your undergraduate journey, you can learn from and collaborate with other U of T scholars who are working across diverse fields to improve our collective health and well-being by addressing the major challenges facing society. In doing so, you’ll gain a window into the very best research and innovation going on in Canada today.

Photo of Robert Firsov

Robert’s Story

After receiving the Dean’s Undergraduate Student Summer Research Pivot Fellowship from the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, Robert Firsov had the opportunity to work in the ATOMS lab studying battery cell logistics in electric vehicles. For Robert, the exposure to cutting-edge research and discovery was exciting! “This environment helped me understand how exciting it is being at the forefront of innovation and development of a particular field, especially one as exciting and fast moving as electric vehicle batteries.”

Research Discoveries

At U of T transformative research and innovation is happening across a breadth of fields and disciplines.

$1.4 B

In sponsored research funding


Canada Research Chairs

Top 5

In the World for Research Output


In Canada by Top-Ranking Metrics Worldwide