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CIHR, NSERC & SSHRC

Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master's program

The agencies acknowledge that the widespread disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may hinder your ability to access official and up-to-date versions of your transcripts in advance of the deadline date, particularly at institutions that do not currently provide official electronic versions of these documents. As such, for the December 2022 deadline, unofficial transcripts in lieu of official transcripts will be accepted. Refer to This link will take you to another Web site CIHR’s, NSERC’s and This link will take you to another Web site SSHRC’s program news for more information.

Instructions for completing an application

General information

About the program

Read the Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s (CGS M) program description before completing the application.

Application deadline

The program description has information about the application deadline. However, in preparing to meet this deadline, the following points may affect the timing of your application and should be taken into account:

  • The application platform will open within five business days of the launch of the funding opportunity.
  • If you select health as your field of research, you must provide a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) personal identification number (PIN). It takes up to one full working day to process your CIHR PIN request.
  • If you are contacting former institutions to obtain official transcripts and supporting documents, remember that it may take time for them to provide you with the information requested.
  • Attachments to the application must be uploaded in a specific format (refer to Research Portal presentation and attachment standards). Documents that have been password-protected cannot be read and, therefore, cannot be attached. Do not password-protect documents you plan to attach to your application. Document file names should be fewer than 15 characters long each and must not contain special characters (excluding the underscore).
  • Any formatting issues should be resolved in advance of the deadline.
  • As the deadline approaches, delays may occur due to high traffic on the Research Portal; this may prevent the timely submission of your application, and you should plan accordingly. Requests to submit late applications will not be accepted.
  • Allow enough time for your application, including the reference assessments, to be completed in advance of the application deadline. It is your responsibility to follow up with your references. We recommend that you contact references at least four weeks before the deadline.
  • The This link will take you to another Web site Research Portal will not permit the submission of incomplete or late applications (refer to Steps for completing and submitting the application).
  • No changes or updates can be made to an application once it has been submitted, either before or after the deadline. Only personal contact information may be updated through your Research Portal account.
  • The status of your application can be verified by logging in to the research portal and selecting Open under the Action column to see your application status at each proposed institution.
  • If the deadline falls on a weekend, applications must be submitted by the following business day before 8:00 p.m. (ET).

Presentation standards

For presentation standards, consult the Research Portal presentation and attachment standards.

Collection and use of personal information

For information on the collection and use of personal information, refer to the Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s (CGS M) program description.

Self-identification information

You must complete the self-identification form found in the person profile of the Research Portal when applying for funding. This data provides information on the diversity of the population applying for and receiving agency funds. This information increases the agencies’ capacity to monitor their progress on increasing equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in their programs, to recognize and remove barriers, and to design new measures to achieve greater EDI in the research enterprise. If you do not want to self-identify, you have the option to choose I prefer not to answer for each question, but you are required to select a response for the questionnaire to be marked as complete. Self-identification information is not part of your application and will be neither accessible to nor shared with external reviewers and/or selection committee members. For more information, refer to the This link will take you to another Web site frequently asked questions about the self-identification questionnaire.

Eligibility review decisions

Institutions make eligibility decisions based on guidelines for the CGS M program. You must ensure that your application is complete and meets the standards of the institution(s) to which you are submitting. If your application is deemed ineligible and you wish to appeal, such appeals are reviewed and decided by the institution rather than the three agencies.

Steps for completing and submitting the application

There are 12 steps for completing and submitting a CGS M application. All steps must be completed successfully for your application to be forwarded to the institutions for consideration.

1. Create an application

After logging in to the This link will take you to another Web site Research Portal, click on Create applications to gain access to the funding opportunities (programs) available. Select the CGS M program from the list and click on Create.

Note: The Research Portal has a time-out period of 20 minutes of inactivity within each section. After 60 minutes of inactivity, you will be logged out of the Research Portal. Typing does not count as an activity. Remember to Save and validate frequently; otherwise, the information entered will be lost.

If you require technical assistance in preparing your application, you should communicate with the This link will take you to another Web site help desk well in advance of the application deadline.

2. Application overview

Identification

Selections and entries may be used for identification purposes, to determine eligibility, to assign your application to reviewers and/or to evaluate your application.

Application title

The title should describe the research to be carried out during your graduate program. It should not contain a company or trade name. Spell out scientific symbols and acronyms.

Field of research

You must select the field of research (health, natural sciences and/or engineering, or social sciences and/or humanities). Each field of research is associated with a list of fields of study, a list of areas of research and a list of institutions to which the application may be submitted.

You must make only one selection for field of research, even if your proposed research is inter- or multidisciplinary in nature and/or appears to span the mandates of more than one agency. Additional information on mandate and subject matter eligibility is available on This link will take you to another Web site science.gc.ca.

Once you select a field of research in the application form, the proposed institutions available to you will be those with a CGS M allocation in your chosen field of research.

Institutions are responsible for ensuring that the field of research selected corresponds to the mandate of the agency. Institutions may modify the field of research selection if it is deemed to be incorrect.

Proposed start date of program of study

Indicate the date you enrolled or expect to enroll in the program for which you are seeking support.

Number of months of graduate studies completed as of December 31 of year of application

Enter the number of months you will have completed in the eligible program of study as of December 31 of the year of application. In general, all studies toward the eligible program will be counted, whether or not they were completed at the degree-granting institution.

If you have not enrolled in a program of study, indicate this by entering 0 months.

Canada Graduate Scholarships – Michael Smith Foreign Study supplements

These supplements are available to active CGS (master’s or doctoral) or eligible Vanier CGS holders to help offset the costs of undertaking research studies outside Canada for a defined period. In your CGS M application, indicate whether you are interested in applying for this supplement by clicking the radio button. For more information, refer to the Canada Graduate Scholarships – Michael Smith Foreign Study supplements program.

Supplements/joint initiatives

Department of National Defence Mobilizing Insights in Defence and Security (MINDS) scholarship initiative

This joint initiative between the Department of National Defence and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) offers two streams of funding for those who select the Social sciences and/or humanities field of research in their application form:

  • MINDS master’s scholarships for Indigenous students are one-year, non-renewable awards valued at $17,500. If you self-identify as Indigenous and your research is related to the This link will take you to another Web site MINDS policy challenges and/or Canada’s defence policy, This link will take you to another Web site Strong, Secure, Engaged, you are eligible to apply for these scholarships. To be considered for this funding opportunity, you must
    • select the MINDS master’s scholarships for Indigenous students option from the drop-down menu
    • indicate your agreement with the self-identification and consent statement by selecting the appropriate checkbox
    • complete the Personal statement (3,000 characters max)
    • complete the Statement of thematic relevance (1,500 characters max)
  • MINDS scholarship initiative supplements are one-time supplements valued at $10,000. If your research is related to the This link will take you to another Web site MINDS policy challenges and/or Canada’s defence policy, This link will take you to another Web site Strong, Secure, Engaged, you are eligible to apply for these supplements. To be considered for supplemental funding, you must
      • select the MINDS scholarship initiative supplements option from the drop-down menu
      • complete the Statement of thematic relevance (3,000 characters max)

If you are eligible you may apply to both streams of funding.

For additional information, consult the description of the This link will take you to another Web site MINDS scholarship initiative on the SSHRC website.

Note: To be offered a MINDS master’s scholarship for Indigenous students or a MINDS scholarship initiative supplement, you must first be successful in the CGS M program competition.

Indigenous Scholars Awards and Supplements Pilot Initiative (NSERC and SSHRC)

The Indigenous Scholars Awards and Supplements Pilot Initiative provides financial support to Indigenous scholars who are meritorious in the CGS M program.

  • The Indigenous Scholars Awards and Supplements Pilot Initiative consist of a one-year, non-renewable supplement valued at $5,000 for all meritorious Indigenous CGS M applicants and a one-year, non-renewable award valued at $17,500 for all alternate candidates, subject to the limit of available funding. If you self-identify as Indigenous you are eligible to apply for this initiative. To be considered for this funding opportunity, you must
    • select the Indigenous Scholars Awards and Supplements Pilot Initiative option from the drop-down menu
    • indicate your agreement with the self-identification and consent statement by selecting the appropriate checkbox
    • complete the Personal statement (3,000 characters max)

For additional information, consult the description of the This link will take you to another Web site Indigenous Scholars Awards and Supplements Pilot Initiative on the SSHRC website.

Proposed host institution

You must indicate the institution(s) at which you intend to hold the CGS M award. You can select up to three institutions; however, you may select only institutions where

  • either you are currently enrolled full time* in an eligible program of study and intend to pursue your studies
  • or you will apply for full-time* admission to an eligible program of study by the internal deadline set by the institution(s) indicated in your application

Your application will not be automatically sent to your current institution. If you want the institution you are currently registered at to receive your application, it must be selected as one of your proposed host institutions. Verify that your proposed host institutions are correct before submitting your application.

You are not eligible to hold a CGS M award from an institution where you are not enrolled or where you have not applied for admission to an eligible program of study. If you select an institution but have not met the above criteria, your application will be deemed ineligible for that institution.

You may submit only one application per competition year, and you may select only one department at each of the selected institutions. If your department is not available from the drop-down list in the Research Portal, contact the faculty of graduate studies (or its equivalent) at the selected Canadian institution(s) for guidance.

At some institutions, the department selects the awards. The department you select in your application must be the same department for the program to which you will apply for admission. Otherwise, your application might not be considered. Contact the faculty of graduate studies (or its equivalent) at the selected Canadian institution(s) for more information.

*Refer to the Tri-agency research training award holder’s guide for details regarding part-time status.

Summary of proposal (abstract)

Provide a brief summary (1,800 characters maximum, including spaces) of your outline of proposed research in language that the public can understand. This plain-language summary may be made available to the public if your application is successful.

3. Activity details

Themes

If you select health as your field of research, you must make a selection from the following list:

  • biomedical
  • clinical
  • health systems services
  • social, cultural, environmental and population health

CIHR personal identification number

If you select health as your field of research, you must provide a CIHR PIN. For instructions on how to obtain a CIHR PIN, you must first This link will take you to another Web site register with CIHR.

It is your responsibility to allow enough time to process your CIHR PIN in advance of the CGS M deadline.

Certification requirements

The following questions relate to certification requirements that may apply:

  • Does the proposed research involve humans as research participants?
  • Does the proposed research involve animals?
  • Does the proposed research involve human pluripotent stem cells?
  • Does the proposed research involve controlled drugs and/or substances?
  • Does the proposed research involve Indigenous peoples? (for statistical purposes only)

Consult This link will take you to another Web site section 2.4 of the Tri-agency framework: Responsible conduct of research, for additional details.

Sex- and gender-based analysis

The following questions relate to sex- and gender-based analysis that may apply:

  • Are sex (biological) considerations taken into account in this research proposal?
  • Are gender (socio-cultural) considerations taken into account in this research proposal?
  • Describe how sex and/or gender considerations will be considered in your research proposal. (Note: This question will appear only if you have selected Yes to either of the above two questions).

For a guide to sex- and gender-based analysis, consult the This link will take you to another Web site CIHR website.

Keywords and fields of study

Select the Field(s) of study that most closely correspond(s) to your proposed research. The list of available fields of study will change, depending on your selected field of research.

Use keywords to further describe your proposed field of study.

4. Outline of proposed research (attachment)

The single attachment consists of two separate sections: Outline of proposed research and Bibliography and citations. Each of these sections must be only one page. Pages in excess of the number permitted may be removed before the selection process, and your application may be at a disadvantage as a result.

Outline of proposed research (one page maximum)

Provide a detailed description of your proposed research project for the period during which you will hold the award. Be as specific as possible. Provide background information to position your proposed research within the context of current knowledge in the field. State the objectives and hypothesis, and outline the experimental or theoretical approach to be taken (citing literature pertinent to the proposal) and the methods and procedures to be used. State the significance of the proposed research to a field or fields in the health sciences, natural sciences and/or engineering or social sciences and/or humanities, as appropriate.

If the output of your degree program is an artistic creation rather than a thesis, clearly indicate the research component of your proposed work. Outline the objectives of your research, the context, methodology and contribution to the advancement of knowledge.

If your degree program does not involve a thesis, a major research paper/essay or a major research project, clearly outline the research component of the degree.

If you have not yet decided on a specific project, you must still provide a detailed description of a proposed research project. You may change your research direction or activities during the course of the award. Certain restrictions may apply. Refer to the Tri-agency research training award holder’s guide.

In addition:

  • You are expected to write your outline of proposed research independently. Ideas and text belonging to others must be properly referenced.
  • Include all relevant information in the outline. Do not refer reviewers to URLs or other publications for supplemental information.
  • In the outline of proposed research, provide the requested information according to the guidelines and format standards outlined in the presentation standards.

Bibliography and citations (one page maximum)

Provide a bibliography that includes citations for all works referenced in the research proposal. These citations should be in a format used by the primary discipline of the proposed research. You must ensure that all citations are clear and complete, to allow reviewers to easily locate the sources.

5. Transcripts (attachment)

Up-to-date official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate studies must be included in the application, including transcripts for the fall semester of the year of application whether they contain grades or not. Transcripts serve to confirm the number of months of graduate studies completed, determine your first-class average and confirm your current registration.

If your transcripts include transfer credits from another institution, the original transcript with the grades shown should be included, or your application may be deemed ineligible. Contact the faculty of graduate studies (or its equivalent) at the institution(s) selected in your application to determine their requirements.

If you have not provided the up-to-date official transcripts needed to determine whether you have achieved a first-class average in each of the last two completed years of study (full-time equivalent), your application will be deemed ineligible.

Retain the paper copy of any uploaded transcripts, as you may be asked to provide it for verification purposes.

Definitions

Up-to-date transcripts are defined as transcripts dated or issued in the fall session of the year of application (if currently registered) or after the last term completed (if not currently registered).

Official transcripts are defined according to institutional guidelines. Ensure that the transcripts uploaded meet the internal requirements at each institution selected in your application. Contact the faculty of graduate studies (or its equivalent) at the institution(s) selected in your application to determine their requirements.

If your institution does not provide transcripts, you can submit, in lieu of a transcript, a letter bearing the official institution seal/stamp or a letter signed by the dean of graduate studies or an equivalent confirming 1) your program of study, 2) your registration status and 3) the fact that the institution does not provide transcripts.

Presentation standards for transcripts

For presentation standards, consult the Research Portal presentation and attachment standards.

Troubleshooting attaching PDF documents

If the size of your transcript attachment is not accepted by the system, the following message may appear: PDF must be in 8.5” x 11” (216 mm x 279 mm) or A4 (210 mm x 297 mm) format.

To resolve this issue, please try the following:

  • Open the file in your PDF program.
  • Go to File > Print.
  • In the Printer field, select the PDF program you are using.
  • Under Properties > Layout > Advanced > Paper size, select Letter (8.5” x 11”).
  • Click OK.
  • Return to the Print window and click Print.
  • Save your file as a PDF document, and upload it to the system.
  • If you are still experiencing difficulties, contact the This link will take you to another Web site help desk.

6. Canadian Common CV

You are required to complete a This link will take you to another Web site Canadian Common CV (CCV) . Select CGS-Master’s from the Funding source and CV type drop-down menus. A complete CCV must be linked to the application by following the instructions provided in the Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s program: Instructions for completing a Canadian Common CV web page. Creating a CCV is personal and subjective, therefore you are the best person to determine under which section specific information should be listed and what type of information will positively impact an application.

Information concerning language ability is used for statistical purposes and may be used to identify prospective reviewers for this or other CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC programs. Where appropriate and depending on your discipline, language ability may also be used to assess your capacity to pursue the research proposed—for example, if the subject matter requires the study of foreign texts.

7. Special circumstances

The agencies require institutions and reviewers to take into consideration special circumstances that may have affected your research, professional career, record of academic or research achievement or completion of degrees. Relevant circumstances might include administrative responsibilities, maternity/parental leave, child-rearing, illness, disability, cultural or community responsibilities, socio-economic context, trauma and loss, family responsibilities or a pandemic. Specify the dates for any delays or interruptions in the Leaves of absence and impact on research section of the CCV if appropriate. Approximate dates may be used if providing a timeline of a significant life event.

8. Reference assessments

Each application must be accompanied by two reference assessments.

Assessments should be completed by individuals who are familiar enough with your research and/or other abilities that they can provide a meaningful commentary (for example, current or previous academic research supervisor, industrial supervisor, employment/volunteer supervisor, teacher or thesis advisor).

You must contact your proposed references to ensure they are willing to complete an assessment for you well in advance of the application deadline. In the Invitations section of your application, enter the required information for each of the references. Once the information is saved, references will receive a system-generated email containing the link to their reference assessment. The status of the request can be verified in this section.

You will not be able to submit your application until these assessments have been completed and linked to your application. It is your responsibility to ensure your reference assessments are complete and submitted early enough to allow you to submit your complete application in the Research Portal before the December 1 deadline. References must verify and validate their Research Portal account well in advance of the deadline to address system issues (such as forgotten passwords, locked or multiple accounts), which may prevent the timely submission of the assessment.

There are multiple steps to the reference assessment process. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that you clearly communicate an early deadline to your references for the completion and submission of their assessments.

For more information on the reference assessment form, refer to the video tutorial.

9. Verify that the application is complete

You must ensure that the application is complete and accurate and is submitted by the deadline.

All mandatory sections of the application must be completed, including all attachments and the two reference assessments. Incomplete applications cannot be submitted.

A complete application includes the following:

  • Application form
  • Outline of the proposed research, including bibliography and citations
  • All required undergraduate and graduate transcripts
  • CGS M CCV
  • Two reference assessments

A green checkmark will appear when each completed section has been saved and validated and when each reference assessment has been received.

10. Extract the application

Click on Export application and attachments to PDF to create and view a PDF copy of your application. Review your application before submitting; your CCV and reference assessments will not appear in the extracted application. The Submit button will not appear until this step has been completed.

11. Submit the application

Once the application has been exported and reviewed, you must click the Submit button.

12. Accept the terms and conditions of applying

The Terms and conditions of applying will appear in a pop-up window. You must read and agree to these terms and conditions for your application to be considered for the CGS M competition. Retain a copy of the agreed terms and conditions for your records.

Once you have agreed to the terms and conditions of applying, you will receive an email confirming the successful submission of your application. When your application is successfully received by the institution(s), your status will change to Received by administrator in the Research Portal.

Modifications or additions after submission or after the deadline are not permitted. However, you can update your personal information under the Profile tab.

Application statuses

Received by administrator: The completed application has been successfully submitted to the institution by the applicant.

Offered: An offer has been made to the applicant by the institution.

Alternate: The application has been deemed meritorious in the institution’s competition; however, due to its ranking, it falls below the allocation cut-off. The applicant is therefore on the alternate list. Should an award become available due to a decline, an applicant on the alternate list may receive an offer.

Not offered: The application has been deemed non-meritorious in the institution’s competition. Subsequent offers will not be made to the applicant.

Ineligible: The application has been deemed ineligible based on the eligibility criteria outlined in the funding opportunity description.

Accepted: The offer has been accepted by the applicant.

Declined: (a) The offer from the institution has been declined by the applicant; or (b) an offer from a different institution has been accepted by the applicant and, therefore, all other pending offers are automatically set to Declined; or (c) an offer has not been accepted within 21 days from the date of offer.

Deferred: Before commencing an award, the applicant may defer an award for up to three years, for a maximum of one year at a time. Conditions apply; see Tri-agency research training award holder’s guide for details.

Acceptance withdrawn: The acceptance of the offer has been withdrawn at the applicant’s request.

Notification of results

Offers of awards will be made available in the This link will take you to another Web site Research Portal as of April 1. Alternate offers may be made until January 31 of the next calendar year. You will receive a system-generated email inviting you to log in to the Research Portal each time the status of your application changes. You must regularly check the Research Portal between April 1 and January 31 for results of the competition.

To view the application status, log in to your Research Portal account and click Open to access the Application Overview page (which contains your application, the CCV and all attachments). In the Application status section, you will be able to view the current application status(es). When the results are released, your application will be given one of four statuses: Offered, Alternate, Not offered or Ineligible.

Applications may be deemed Ineligible as early as the day following the application deadline. If your application is deemed Ineligible, you will receive an automated email notifying you of this update.

If you are Offered an award, you will have 21 days from the date of each offer of award to accept or decline through the research portal. The status of offers not accepted within the 21 days will automatically be changed to Declined.

You may accept only one CGS M offer. Once an offer has been accepted, the system will automatically change all other offers and statuses to Declined, and you will not be eligible to receive further offers.

If you accept an offer of award and you are on an alternate list for admission to your program of study, your CGS M award will be conditional upon admission to the program of study. An offer of award is considered official only once you have been formally accepted by the institution in the program of study to which you have applied.

Refer to the Tri-agency research training award holder’s guide for policies and requirements concerning post-award administration.

Contact

For technical issues related to the Research Portal, contact the This link will take you to another Web site help desk and be sure to follow the prompt instructions correctly.

For program-related information, your first point of contact is the faculty of graduate studies (or its equivalent) at the institution(s) where you intend to hold the award.

You can also contact any of Canada’s three agencies for information about this program. You should communicate with the agency whose mandate corresponds to your field of research (health, natural sciences and/or engineering, or social sciences and/or humanities).

The agencies aim to respond to inquiries within 48 hours. During peak periods (November to January), the response time may be delayed.

For questions about submitting an application