In 2013, as part of the CGS Harmonization Project, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) jointly redesigned the Master’s component of the Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master's Program (CGS M Program). The new harmonized delivery model came into effect in 2014.
This guide replaces and supersedes the relevant provisions in the award holder’s guides of the agencies ( CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC). For issues not covered in this guide, including those indicated by the hyperlinks throughout this guide, all other provisions of the agency-specific guides continue to apply.
The agencies are currently jointly reviewing their post-award administration policies and guidelines related to all training awards. Until this work is complete, the present guide should be referred to for all questions related to the post-award administration of the CGS M Program.
In this document, these terms have the following meanings:
Agency: CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC.
Award: funding provided by one of the agencies through the CGS M Program.
Award holder: a graduate student who is receiving CGS M funding from a host institution.
CGS M: Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master’s. (CGS M includes the CIHR Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarship, the NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship, and the SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship.)
Completion of degree: the date on which a graduate student has met all of the requirements for a degree (including, if applicable, successful defence and submission of the corrected copy of the thesis in accordance with the institution’s regulations); completion of degree is not the conferred or convocation date indicated on the transcript.
Faculty of Graduate Studies (or its equivalent): the office or official vested with responsibility to oversee the graduate studies programs at a host institution, including the administration of CGS M awards. This office or official may have a different name or title at each institution.
Host institution: an institution that offers and administers a particular CGS M award.
Institution: a Canadian university or other post-secondary institution that receives an allocation of CGS M awards.
Recipient: an applicant who has received an offer of a CGS M award.
Research Portal: the web-based system used to manage the CGS M Program.
To hold an award, you must:
CGS M awards may be held only at the eligible Canadian institution from which the offer of award originated.
* Refer to the section Value and Duration of Award for details regarding part-time admission.
Offers of awards are made by the host institution using the Research Portal as of April 1 every year. It is the responsibility of the applicant to periodically verify the Research Portal as of April 1, up to January 31 of the following year, for results of the competition. For further information, refer to the section Notification of Results in the program description.
Recipients of offers of awards must accept them using the Research Portal within 21 days of the date of the award offer by a host institution. They must also indicate the proposed start date of the award (refer to the section Start Date). The status of offers not accepted within that period of time will automatically be set to “Declined” on the Research Portal, and the offer will be considered cancelled. This change in status is irreversible.
An offer must be accepted even if the recipient intends to request a deferment.
Recipients of offers of award should contact the Faculty of Graduate Studies (or its equivalent) at the host institution for information regarding institutional requirements for accepting an award.
The value and duration of the award is detailed in the Notice of Award generated by the Research Portal and may be adjusted to take into account any changes in the status of an award holder (early completion of a degree, termination of the program of graduate studies, etc.). Refer to the section Termination of Award.
Award holders should be registered in their program of study full-time. However, the host institution will consider requests for part-time support for reasons of disability*, illness or family responsibilities. Requests for part-time support must be directed to the Faculty of Graduate Studies (or its equivalent) for consideration and approval. Supporting documentation (for example, birth, adoption or medical certificate) justifying the reason for and the duration of the request along with other documentation may be required by the host institution.
*For purposes of holding an award part-time, disability is defined as "a functional limitation resulting from a physical, sensory or mental impairment which, for an indefinite period, affects the ability of the student to perform the activities necessary to participate fully in his or her learning."
The start date of the award must be the first day of May or September of the year in which the award was offered, or the first day of January of the following year. Award holders may select a start date that precedes the date of acceptance of the award as long as the award holder was meeting all of the eligibility requirements at the start date selected. Choice of start date does not affect the duration of the award, as long as the award holder continues to be eligible for the award throughout its duration.
In order to take advantage of the full value and duration of the award, award recipients who are already enrolled in their program of study are encouraged to take up their award on the earliest available start date; otherwise, it is possible that they may complete their degree before the end of the award. In this case, they will be required to terminate the award (refer to the section Termination of Award).
To change the start date of an accepted award, an award holder must contact the Faculty of Graduate Studies (or its equivalent) as soon as possible.
If an award holder cannot fulfil the conditions for holding an award before the latest available start date, then the award holder must decline the award. If the award holder remains eligible, they can apply again for the following competition.
After accepting an award, but before the award payments have begun, an award holder may request to defer the award for up to two years for reasons of parental leave, child rearing, illness or health-related family responsibilities; the award can only be deferred one year at a time.
Requests for deferment must be directed to the Faculty of Graduate Studies (or its equivalent) for its consideration and approval. Supporting documentation (for example, birth, adoption, or medical certificate) justifying the reason for and the requested length of deferment should be included with the request along with any other documentation required by the host institution. Updated documentation will be required for each period of deferment.
An award may not be deferred in order to take up another award, to accept or hold employment, or to pursue studies other than those for which the funding has been received.
Award holders receive payments of awards in accordance with the host institutions’ internal payment schedules. For more information on the payment of awards, contact the Faculty of Graduate Studies (or its equivalent).
Requests for interruption of an award must be sent to the Faculty of Graduate Studies (or its equivalent) for consideration and approval.
For approved interruptions, the host institution will suspend payment of the award for the duration of the interruption and will resume payment when all conditions of the award are met. The interruption will not reduce the total amount of support. Refer to the section Reinstatement of Award for information about restarting an interrupted award.
In order to reinstate an interrupted award, an award holder must notify the Faculty of Graduate Studies (or its equivalent) of the exact date for reinstatement and provide proof of enrolment.
A notification of change to a program of study, supervisor, research project or degree must be sent to the Faculty of Graduate Studies (or its equivalent).
If the research area of the project or program of study is modified, the award holder must submit to the Faculty of Graduate Studies (or its equivalent) a one-page outline of the new proposed research, along with any other documentation required by the host institution. The subject matter of the research must be aligned with the mandate of the original funding agency. Additional information on subject matter eligibility is available on Science.gc.ca. If the research project or program of study is modified to an extent that it would no longer be supported by the original funding agency, the award will be cancelled by the host institution. Agencies reserve the right to review the one-page outline to ensure that eligibility guidelines are met.
Award holders enrolled in a Master’s program at the time they take up their award may continue to hold the award if they transfer into an eligible doctoral program at the same institution while the award is active. Similarly, award holders may begin an eligible doctoral program at the same institution after completing all the requirements of their Master’s degree without affecting their award, as long as there is no gap in registration and/or enrolment (i.e., award holders must maintain eligibility throughout the full duration of the award).
Awards must be held at the institution from which the offer of award originated and are not intended to be portable between institutions. Exceptions may be made in extenuating circumstances at the discretion of the host institution, according to its academic and administrative regulations. Awards may be portable within the host institution and within the same field (for example, change of department), at the discretion of the host institution, as long as award eligibility requirements continue to be met.
An award holder who anticipates completing a graduate degree before the end of the award, or intends to terminate the award early for any reason, is responsible for notifying the Faculty of Graduate Studies (or its equivalent) as soon as possible.
The institution will determine the end date of the award based on information provided. An award holder’s registration status may change in certain circumstances (e.g., completion of degree, start another program of study, termination of studies, change to part-time status or acceptance of full-time employment). If award holders are uncertain as to whether their registration status has changed, they must contact the Faculty of Graduate Studies (or its equivalent). Should the award holder become ineligible to hold the award, the final value of the award will be prorated based on the end date, as determined by the institution.
If an award holder accepts full-time employment, even if the degree program has not been completed, the award will be terminated as of the effective date of the contract of employment. The value of the award will be prorated.
The institution will contact the award holder to reclaim any overpayment of award.
The agencies must ensure that Government of Canada funding used for research is acknowledged. In order to promote the value of research to Canadians and help strengthen public understanding of support for government-funded research, we ask that award holders acknowledge agency support. For more information, refer to the related document on the appropriate agency website ( CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC).