Canada Graduate Scholarships – Doctoral program
The Canada Graduate Scholarships – Doctoral (CGS D) program is a federal program of scholarships awarded through national competitions by the granting agencies: 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).
|Value||$35,000 per year|
|Tenure||Canadian institutions only|
|Application deadline||Through a Canadian institution with a quota: Contact your institution
Directly to the agencies: October 17
|How to apply||Refer to the Application procedures and “Where should I submit my application?”|
|Application forms and instructions||CIHR: ResearchNET and instructions
NSERC: Online System and instructions
SSHRC: Online System and instructions
- Agency-specific doctoral awards
- Program of study
- Application procedures
- Application deadlines
- Selection process
- Indigenous applicants
- Selection criteria
- Notification of results
- Conditions of the award
- Official languages
- Related opportunities
The objective of the Canada Graduate Scholarships – Doctoral (CGS D) program is to promote continued excellence in Canadian research by rewarding and retaining high-calibre doctoral students at Canadian institutions. By providing support for a high-quality research training experience to awardees, the CGS D program strives to foster impacts within and beyond the research environment.
The CGS D program supports and promotes research excellence in a wide variety of disciplines and broad fields of health, natural sciences and engineering, and social sciences and humanities, including interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research. This support allows scholars to fully concentrate on their doctoral studies, to seek out the best research mentors in their chosen fields and to contribute to the Canadian research ecosystem during and beyond the tenure of their awards.
Agency-specific doctoral awards
In addition to the CGS D, each agency has its own doctoral awards.
For all three agencies, one application must be completed and submitted to be considered for both a CGS D award and either an agency-specific doctoral award (for NSERC/SSHRC applications) or any available doctoral Priority Announcements (for CIHR applications). CGS D awards are then offered for the top-ranked eligible applications in each agency’s competition.
Some eligibility requirements for CGS D differ from those of the agency-specific doctoral awards. Refer to the appropriate literature for CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC for further details as well as information on doctoral awards tenable at foreign institutions.
To be eligible to apply, you must
- be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada or a Protected Person under subsection 95(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada), as of the application deadline
- have completed no more than 24 months of full-time study in your doctoral program by December 31 of the calendar year of application if previously enrolled in a graduate program
- have completed no more than 36 months of full-time study in your doctoral program by December 31 of the calendar year of application if enrolled in a joint program; for example, MD/PhD, MA/PhD
- if you fall into this category, you have access to the 36-month window whether or not you were previously enrolled in a master’s program
- have completed no more than 36 months of full-time study in your doctoral program by December 31 of the calendar year of application if enrolled directly from a bachelor’s to a PhD program (not previously enrolled in a graduate program)
- direct-entry applicants must be enrolled in their doctoral program at the time of application
Note: You may be eligible to apply to the CGS M program for your first year of doctoral funding. Applying for a CGS M, if you are eligible, will maximize your potential period of funding. You are responsible for choosing the type of award for which you apply.
Number of months
Eligibility for CGS D is based on the number of months of full-time study toward the degree for which you are requesting funding by December 31 of the calendar year of application. Two terms of part-time study count as one term of full-time study.
Note: The agencies count all studies toward the doctoral degree for which funding is requested, whether or not they were completed at the degree-granting institution.
Fast-track and joint programs
If you were registered in a master’s program and subsequently transferred to a doctoral program (fast-track), the months of study completed are calculated starting from the date on which you transferred into the doctoral program.
If you are registered in a doctoral program, and a master’s degree is obtained as part of the program (for example, MA/PhD), the months of study are calculated starting from the date on which you are officially registered in the joint program (including the master’s portion of the program).
- You can submit a maximum of one scholarship (master’s or doctoral) or fellowship application per academic year to either CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC. Nominations to the Vanier CGS program and applications to the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships program do not count toward this limit (other exceptions may apply to CIHR internships).
- You cannot have already received a doctoral-level scholarship from CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC (does not apply to CIHR Fellowships).
Program of study
An eligible doctoral program must include a significant research component that leads to the completion of a thesis, major research project, dissertation, scholarly publication, performance, recital and/or exhibit that is merit/expert-reviewed at the institutional level as a requirement for completion of the program.
Joint programs with a professional degree (for example, MD/PhD, DVM/PhD, JD/PhD, MBA/PhD) as well as clinically oriented programs of study, including clinical psychology, are eligible if they have a significant autonomous research component as described above.
Selecting the appropriate agency
You should complete the agency application that is best aligned with your research subject matter to ensure that it is reviewed by experts in disciplines closest to your field(s) of study. For more information refer to Selecting the appropriate federal granting agency.
To complete the application process, refer to the appropriate agency’s application website and instructions.
CIHR: ResearchNET and instructions
NSERC: Online System and instructions
SSHRC: Online System and instructions
Where to submit an application
You must apply either through a Canadian institution or directly to the appropriate agency depending on your registration status at the application deadline date and/or your registration status in the calendar year of application. Failure to submit an application through the correct channel will result in your application being rejected.
To determine the correct channel, you must
- determine if an institution has a quota for your selected agency
- refer to the chart and supporting information in the document Where should I submit my application?
If you are unsure of your registration status in the calendar year of application, contact your faculty of graduate studies (or its equivalent).
The term “quota” refers to the maximum number of applications an institution can forward to each agency’s national competition. Institutions receive separate quotas from each agency (CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC).
If you are applying through an institution, you must submit your application by the deadline set by the institution, which may be well in advance of the agency deadline.
The institution will review and rank all applications received and submit the recommended applications to the agencies by November 21. If the deadline falls on a weekend, applications can be submitted the following business day before 8:00 p.m. (ET).
For more information about institutional deadlines, you should contact your faculty of graduate studies (or its equivalent).
If you are applying directly to one of the agencies, you must submit using the appropriate agency application portal before 8:00 p.m. (ET) on October 17. If the deadline falls on a weekend, applications can be submitted the following business day before 8:00 p.m. (ET). Incomplete applications will be rejected.
The faculty of graduate studies (or its equivalent) at each Canadian institution is responsible for coordinating the institutional evaluation of CGS D applications. Institutions then submit applications according to their quotas for consideration to each agency.
Agency selection committees review applications (whether sent directly to the agencies or via the institutions).
Institutions may recommend applications from self-identified Indigenous applicants to the doctoral awards competition beyond their application quota. Indigenous applicants must agree to their personal information being used for this purpose by making the appropriate selection in the application form.
The evaluation of CGS D applications, whether by institutions or the agencies, is based on the following criteria:
- quality of research proposal
- specific, focused and feasible research question(s) and
- clear description of the proposed methodology
- significance and expected contributions to research
- relevant training, such as academic training, lived experience and traditional teachings
- research experience and achievements relative to the applicant’s stage of study, lived experience and knowledge systems
- quality of contributions and extent to which they advance the field of research—contributions may include publications, patents, reports, posters, abstracts, monographs, presentations, creative outputs, knowledge translation outputs, community products, etc.
- demonstration of sound judgment and ability to think critically
- demonstration of responsible and ethical research conduct, including honest and thoughtful inquiry, rigorous analysis, commitment to safety and to the dissemination of research results and adherence to the use of professional standards
- enthusiasm for research, originality, initiative, autonomy, relevant community involvement and outreach
- ability or potential to communicate theoretical, technical and/or scientific concepts clearly and logically in written and oral formats
- scholarships, awards and distinctions (amount, duration and prestige)
- academic record
- duration of previous studies
- program requirements and courses pursued
- course load
- relative standing in program (if available)
- professional, academic and extracurricular activities as well as collaborations with supervisors, colleagues, peers, students and members of the community, such as
- teaching, mentoring, supervising and/or coaching
- managing projects
- participating in science and/or research promotion
- participating in community outreach, volunteer work and/or civic engagement
- chairing committees and/or organizing conferences and meetings
- participating in departmental or institutional organizations, associations, societies and/or clubs
|Research ability and potential||
Indicators of research ability and potential:
|Relevant experience and achievements obtained within and beyond academia||
Indicators of relevant experience and achievements obtained within and beyond academia:
Notification of results
Applicants whose applications were submitted to the agencies, whether directly or via their institution, will be notified of results in April.
The agencies will publish the names (and other basic award information) of scholarship recipients on their respective websites.
For more information, see the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.
Conditions of the award
Applicants and award holders must comply with the policies and guidelines set out in the Tri-agency research training award holder’s guide and in any other documents related to scholarship applications and awards.
The agencies reserve the right to interpret and enforce the policies and guidelines for their funding opportunities set out in their published materials.
Award holders may be eligible to hold their awards part time. Refer to the Tri-agency research training award holder’s guide for further information.
Applicants may submit their application in the official language of their choice. Institutions must have mechanisms in place to review both English and French applications.
CGS D holders may be eligible for:
- Canada Graduate Scholarships—Michael Smith Foreign Study supplements
- Canada Graduate Scholarships to Honour Nelson Mandela
- SSHRC supplements and related initiatives
- NSERC supplements
- CIHR related initiatives
For further information, contact the appropriate agency:
CIHR contact centre
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