Introduction – Overview of NSERC’s programs and eligibility requirements for postgraduate students
Summary of the NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships program and the Canada Graduate Scholarships program
Summary of the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships program
Summary of the Industrial Postgraduate Scholarships and Industrial Innovation Scholarships programs
Summary of summer programs in Japan or Taiwan
postgraduate programs summary
August 25, 2011
This video summarizes NSERC's postgraduate programs.
The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council supports students at all stages of their post-secondary education. This video will provide information about NSERC's programs for postgraduate students. Keep in mind that this is intended as an overview only. For more details, you should read the complete program description and instructions for completing an application.
NSERC offers a variety of programs at the postgraduate level. They offer support for both university and industrial settings for students enrolled in, or considering, master's or doctoral studies.
The NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships program requires you to be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to be eligible for support. The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships, Industrial Postgraduate Scholarships and Industrial Innovation Scholarships programs allow foreign candidates to apply. For awards that require you to be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, NSERC will require that you provide proof of your status at the time of taking up the award. Acceptable documents include a Canadian birth certificate or citizenship card, an official document indicating your landing date in Canada, or a permanent resident card.
To make sure your research and program of study fit within NSERC's mandate for support, consult the Eligibility Criteria page of the Web site. Your office of graduate studies can also provide valuable advice. NSERC encourages interdisciplinary research, but your proposed work must contribute to advancing a field in the natural sciences and engineering. You should be aware that NSERC will reject proposals that fall mainly within the mandates of other federal funding agencies.
Students can receive NSERC support for their postgraduate studies for a maximum of four years through any combination of programs. Students who hold an NSERC postgraduate scholarship may also be eligible to apply for supplementary funding programs. NSERC's Aboriginal Ambassadors in the Natural Sciences and Engineering Supplements program seeks to help Aboriginal students promote interest and participation in science and engineering in Canada's Aboriginal communities. The Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplements help students pursue exceptional research experiences for three to six months at research institutions abroad. A number of other organizations also offer supplements to students who hold NSERC postgraduate awards. For deadlines and application information for these supplements, check the NSERC Web site.
Canada Graduate Scholarships and NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships are available to master’s and doctoral students in the natural sciences and engineering. There is a single application process for these awards. The top-ranked applicants will be offered a CGS, while the remaining meritorious applicants will be offered a PGS. A CGS can be held only at a Canadian university. The selection criteria for these awards include your academic excellence, research ability or potential, and communication, interpersonal and leadership abilities. The complete program description includes more details on these criteria, including their relative weightings. The submission deadlines vary according to how you are applying. If you must apply through a Canadian university, consult your institution to find out its internal deadline. Universities have to submit their selected applications to NSERC by November 25. Applications that are sent directly to NSERC must be received electronically by October 15. The selection committees review all eligible applications, and the results will be available in late March.
Students apply for CGS or PGS awards through either a Canadian university or directly to NSERC, depending on their registration status at the time they apply. This slide shows the different scenarios in which you must apply directly to NSERC.
This slide will show you the scenarios in which you must apply through your current university, or the university where you were registered during the year of application. It is important to verify your status, since applications submitted directly to NSERC that should have gone through a university will be rejected.
Your registration status, and the number of months completed in the program for which you are requesting funding, will have an impact on your eligibility to apply. This slide shows the different eligibility scenarios for a PGS/CGS master’s level award. You will note that you may be eligible to apply for a master’s scholarship with the intention of entering a doctoral program; hence maximizing your funding at the graduate level. If you previously received any tri-agency funding at the master’s level for the same program of study, you are no longer eligible to apply to the program. If you received credit towards admission to the program for which funding is requested, these will count towards the number of months of study completed. Finally, you must have achieved a first-class average in each of the last two years of full-time study.
This slide shows the different scenarios for the eligibility to the PGS/CGS doctoral-level award. If you previously received any tri-agency funding at the doctoral level for the same program of study, you are no longer eligible to apply to this program. If you received credit towards admission to the program for which funding is requested, these will count towards the number of months of study completed. If you registered in a master’s degree and subsequently transferred to a doctoral degree, the months in the doctoral program will be calculated starting from the date on which you were officially registered in your PhD program. Finally, you must have achieved a first-class average in each of the last two years of full-time study.
Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships support outstanding Canadian and international doctoral students. This program is administered by the three granting agencies. The awards are valued at $50,000 per year for three years. You must be nominated by a university for one of these awards and complete the application form in collaboration with the nominating university. The electronic form and more information are found at the Vanier CGS Web site (vanier.gc.ca). Once the application is complete, your university is responsible to submit all the required elements of the package to NSERC. It is important to note that all Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada can submit Postgraduate Scholarships applications to NSERC in addition to their Vanier CGS applications.
Vanier CGS candidates are encouraged to explore new research horizons by pursuing their studies beyond the Canadian university where they earned their previous degrees. Because of this, students who are proposing to complete all their degrees at the same university will be required to provide a justification. Universities are also being encouraged to make more concerted efforts to recruit new foreign as well as Canadian candidates to their respective institutions.
The Industrial Postgraduate Scholarships and Industrial Innovation Scholarships programs help graduate students gain work experience in an industrial setting. These awards help improve students’ employment prospects and develop the innovation capacity of these organizations. Students registered in Quebec universities apply to the IIS program, which is administered in collaboration with the Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la nature et les technologies. Students in the rest of Canada apply to the IPS program. The funding agencies do not have deadlines for these programs, but your university may have internal deadlines. These scholarships are valued at a minimum of $21,000 per year for two or three years. You should refer to the complete program description for other specific requirements. Foreign students are eligible to apply for these scholarships, but certain restrictions apply.
Applications must be completed in collaboration with your university, and the university submits the complete package. Begin by contacting your Office of Graduate Studies, and remember to check for any internal deadlines. The eligibility rules for an IPS are the same as for a Postgraduate Scholarship or Canada Graduate Scholarship, with the exception of the marks you are expected to have. You must complete Form 200, while your university will assist in the preparation of various pieces of supporting documentation. You must also complete an IPS agreement with your host organization, which covers issues such as the organization’s commitment to its contribution to your award, the ownership of any intellectual property generated by the project, potential conflicts of interest and publication of research results. Consult the IPS checklist, which is linked from the program description, to help ensure that your application package is complete. Read the program description on the NSERC Web site for specific eligibility requirements.
Applications for an IIS must also be completed in collaboration with your university, and the university submits the complete package. Go to the Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la nature et les technologies Web site to access the on-line application form. You must then bring a copy of the completed form to your Office of Graduate Studies. They will assist in the preparation of the additional documents required and submit the complete application package to the FQRNT. This will include an IIS agreement, which includes the same elements as the IPS agreement. FQRNT forwards a copy of your application to NSERC, and both agencies will review it. Students who are working at organizations located more than 150 kilometres from their university may be eligible for supplementary funding to cover any additional costs. Read the program description on the NSERC Web site for specific eligibility requirements.
Students who hold an active NSERC postgraduate scholarship are eligible to apply for an eight-week, hands-on, research experience in Japan or Taiwan. These awards are valued at a minimum of $2,500, plus allowances for travel and living expenses. You must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to apply. The application form is not available on line. Contact NSERC for more information and to request a copy. Application deadlines for these awards vary. Check the Web site for the most up-to-date information. The competition results for this program are announced in April.
While some students are successful in obtaining direct support through scholarships, others may have an opportunity to receive indirect support from NSERC through research grants held by university faculty. A significant part of most NSERC grants is devoted to supporting students who help conduct the grantee’s research. The grant programs available to university professors also include the Collaborative Research and Training Experience program. CREATE is designed specifically to provide students with training opportunities that complement their academic training by developing their professional skills, interacting with different universities and sectors, and increasing their exposure to interdisciplinary research. To find out more about these opportunities, contact your university.