Scholarships and Awards

Doctoral Tri-Council Scholarships

Students are encouraged to seek funding from Canada's three major research grant agencies: the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council (NSERC); the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council (SSHRC); and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). In addition to the information provided below, students should always check the agency website for detailed instructions and requirements on applying for, activating, holding, and renewing awards.

NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarship - Doctoral (CGS-D)/Postgraduate Scholarship - Doctoral (PGS-D) Competition 

There are two levels of NSERC funding for doctoral students:

• The Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship – Doctoral Program (CGS-D), and
• The NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship – Doctoral Program (PGS-D).

There is one application process for these two scholarships – students apply for the PGS-D and the highest ranked PGS-D applicants are automatically considered for the CGS-D.

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  • Value
    The CGS-D is valued at $35,000/year, for two or three years.*

    The PGS-D is valued at $21,000/year, for two or three years.*

    *Please note that recipients of doctoral Tri-Council scholarships will also receive Top-Up funding in the form of the President’s Doctoral Prize of Distinction
  • Eligibility

    Eligibility requirements:

    • Must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
    • Must have completed or expect to complete a degree in science or engineering (other fields may be considered at NSERC's discretion)
    • Must intend to pursue, in the following year, a full-time doctoral program for which you are requesting funding as of December 31st, 2018
    • If you were a direct entry from a bachelor's program to a doctoral program, you must have completed between four and 36 months of studies in the doctoral program for which you are requesting funds as of December 31st, 2018
    New for the 2019 Competition:

    1. First-class average in each of the last two years of completed study is no longer an eligibility criterion. Universities will recommend the top-ranked applications to NSERC.
    2. Joint programs with a professional degree (e.g., MD/PhD, DVM/PhD) are eligible, provided they have a significant research component.

    For complete eligibility requirements, please visit the NSERC Website.

  • Selection Criteria

    Applicants are evaluated and selected according to criteria in the following categories:

    • Academic excellence
    • Research ability or potential
    • Communication, interpersonal, and leadership abilities

    For complete selection criteria, please visit the NSERC Website.

  • Application Procedures

    Students must complete their applications using NSERC’s On-line Services, and must notify their Department of their intention to apply. If Departments require a copy of their students’ applications for internal adjudication purposes, students must provide this directly to their Department. FGSR does not provide copies of students’ applications to Departments.

    It is student’s responsibility to submit any required official, up-to-date transcripts to their Department by the Departmental deadline. University of Alberta transcripts are not required. If FGSR has up-to-date official transcripts required for their NSERC application on file (example: submitted and all conditions cleared for Admissions purposes), applicants are not required to re-submit them.

    NSERC On-line Services Transcript Submission and Timelines

    It is the responsibility of the Department to inform students of the name and contact information of our U of A designate. Students are to contact their Department for information.

    1. Once students complete their application section and the letters of reference have been submitted, students must click “verify” only. At this time, students will not be able to click “submit” as FGSR will still need to upload their Transcripts at a later date.

    2. Following the application/Department submission deadline of October 15, FGSR will then review students’ applications for eligibility and completeness based on the list provided by Departments.

    3. Mid-November, FGSR will upload students’ transcripts in the portal and will send a notification email to the departments so that they may advise their students that all transcripts have been uploaded, and that students can click “submit”.

    4. Results of the NSERC competition at the University level will be shared to Departments. Only those students who’ve been nominated to NSERC will receive a notification email from FGSR that they have been forwarded to the national competition level. Unsuccessful students will be notified via the NSERC portal.

    5. Final NSERC doctoral results are expected to be announced in April 2019.


  • Nomination Procedures

    Students must contact their department to indicate their intent to apply and be considered for the NSERC doctoral awards. Departments forward necessary students’ transcripts and an alphabetical list of eligible applicants (including Student ID numbers) to the FGSR by October 15, 2018.

    Results of the NSERC competition at the University level will be shared to Departments. Only those students who’ve been nominated to NSERC will receive a notification email from FGSR that they have been forwarded to the national competition level. Unsuccessful students will be notified via the NSERC portal.

    2019 NSERC Memo to Departments
  • Adjudication Procedures

    All complete and eligible applications are reviewed by the Graduate Scholarship Committee. A list of recommended applications is chosen and sent to NSERC for final adjudication at the national level by November 25th, 2018. The University of Alberta’s quota for recommended applications for the 2019 competition is 84.

    NSERC will notify all recommended applicants of final decisions by April 2019.

  • Deadline

    Each department sets its own internal deadline for receipt of applications and students are encouraged to apply well in advance. Contact the Department for their deadline information.
    The deadline for Departments to forward students’ transcripts and an alphabetical list of eligible applicants (including Student ID numbers) to the FGSR is October 15, 2018.

    The deadline for FGSR to forward nominations to NSERC is November 25, 2018.

    Final NSERC doctoral results are expected to be announced in April 2019.

SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship - Doctoral (CGS-D)/Doctoral Fellowship Competition

There are two levels of SSHRC funding for doctoral students:

• the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Graduate Scholarship – Doctoral Program (CGS-D),and
• the SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships Program.

There is one application process for these two scholarships; students apply for the Doctoral Fellowship and are automatically considered for the CGS-D if eligible.

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  • Value
    The CGS-D is valued at $35,000/year, for three years.*

    The Doctoral Fellowship is valued at $20,000/year, for one, two, three, or four years.*

    *Please note that recipients of doctoral Tri-Council scholarships will also receive additional Top-Up funding in the form of the President’s Doctoral Prize of Distinction.
  • Eligibility

    Eligibility requirements:

    • Be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada at the time the application;
    • Must be pursuing doctoral studies in the social sciences or humanities;
    • Must not have already received a doctoral-level scholarship or fellowship from SSHRC, NSERC or CIHR to undertake or complete a doctoral degree or combined MA/PhD;
    • Not be applying in the 2018-19 academic year to NSERC or CIHR for a fellowship or scholarship;
    • For students in combined MA/PhD, fast-track or direct-entry PhD programs, additional rules apply.
    • NEW* The previous requirement for applicants to be pursuing their first PhD has been removed. Students may now apply for this competition, even if they have been conferred another doctoral degree.

    For complete eligibility and to determine registration status at time of application submission, please see the SSHRC website.

    Applicants whose proposed research is health-related should consult CIHR’s mandate first to explore eligibility. CIHR has policies and procedures to adjudicate the full range of social sciences and humanities research proposals related to health research. See General Guidelines for the Eligibility of Subject Matter at SSHRC.

  • Selection Criteria

    Applicants are evaluated solely on academic merit, measured by:

    • Past academic results, as demonstrated by transcripts, awards and distinctions;
    • The program of study and its potential contribution to the advancement of knowledge;
    • Relevant professional and academic experience, including research training, as demonstrated by conference presentations and scholarly publications;
    • Two written evaluations from referees; and
    • The departmental appraisal
  • Application Procedures

    Students must use the SSHRC Web-based Forms and must print, sign and submit the completed application to their department by their internal deadline. Students are to check with their Department for information and may view the 2019 SSHRC Memo to Departments (under Nomination Procedures) for additional details.

    A complete application must include the following materials; refer to SSHRC’s Application for a Doctoral Award Instructions (Web) for complete details (available with the Web-based Form). Note that digital signatures cannot be accepted:

    • Application checklist (mandatory to print out)
    • Completed application form (completed, printed, and signed by student)
    • Program of Study (two pages maximum, plus bibliography - five pages maximum)
    • Bibliography and Citations - (five pages maximum)
    • Research Contributions (one page maximum)
    • Supplement and/or Joint or Special Initiative Justifications (if applicable, maximum one page per justification)
    • Allowable Inclusions (if applicable, maximum one page)
    • Official transcripts from all postsecondary institutions attended. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure FGSR has all official up-to-date hard copy transcripts, including but not limited to transcripts from institutions at which students took only a few courses, and transcripts for partially completed degrees. If a student is unsure which transcripts are with FGSR, they must provide FGSR with their student ID number and a list of transcripts they wish confirmed. If FGSR has the official up-to-date transcripts, these transcripts do not need to be submitted again. FGSR will generate a U of A transcript.
    • Two Letters of Appraisal (completed, printed, and signed by referees using the web-based form)
    • Departmental Appraisal (completed, printed, signed, and submitted by the Department)
    • Consent to Disclosure of Personal Information form (completed, printed, and signed by student)

    New this year, applications from self-identified Indigenous applicants may be considered for submission beyond the University’s quota. Indigenous applicants who would like their application considered for submission beyond their institution’s quota are asked to select the “Option for Self-Identified Indigenous Applicants” in the “Identification” section of the online application form. Once completed, this information will be displayed on Page 1 of the application form.


    NOTE: Applications involving Indigenous research count towards the University’s quota unless the applicant has also selected the option to have their application considered for submission beyond their institution’s quota.

  • Nomination Procedures

    Students must contact their department to indicate their intent to apply and be considered for the SSHRC doctoral awards. Departments forward necessary students’ transcripts, completed application, and Department Appraisal form to the FGSR by October 31, 2018.

    2019 SSHRC Memo to Departments
  • Adjudication Procedures

    Once the FGSR receives ranked applications from departments, they are reviewed by the Graduate Scholarship Committee. A list of recommended applications is selected and forwarded to SSHRC for final adjudication at the national level by January 9, 2019. The University of Alberta’s quota for recommended applications for 2019 is 68.

    SSHRC will notify all recommended applicants of final decisions in Spring 2019.

  • Deadline

    Each department sets its own internal deadline for receipt of applications and students are encouraged to apply well in advance. Contact the Department for their deadline information.

    The deadline for Departments to forward student’s applications to the FGSR is October 31, 2018.

CIHR Doctoral Research Awards Competition

The Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarships Doctoral Awards (CGS-D) and Doctoral Foreign Study Awards are not administered by the FGSR. For more detailed information, students can contact the Research Facilitator in their faculty/department.

Please note that recipients of doctoral CIHR scholarships are also eligible to receive additional Top-Up funding. Doctoral CIHR award-holders should provide the FGSR with a copy of their Notification of Award from CIHR in order to receive this additional Top-Up funding.

President's Doctoral Prize of Distinction

The President’s Doctoral Prize of Distinction (PDPD) is a Top-Up award given to students registered full-time in a doctoral degree program who have won one of the eligible major doctoral-level scholarships listed below under 'Eligibility'.

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  • Value

    The President’s Doctoral Prize of Distinction is valued at $10,000 (Year 1) and is valued at least equivalent to tuition and fees for a Canadian student for an academic year (9 credits in each of Fall and Winter terms and 6 credits in each of Spring and Summer terms) in subsequent years that the major doctoral award is held. In 2018-2019, Year 2, 3, and 4 PDPD's are valued at $5,800.

    A student may receive the President’s Doctoral Prize of Distinction valued at $10,000 only once during their doctoral program and may hold only one President’s Doctoral Prize of Distinction per year.

  • Eligibility

    Eligible Doctoral Awards are as follows:

    • Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Vanier CGS)
    • NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship - Doctoral (NSERC CGS-D)
    • NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship (PGS-D)
    • SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship - Doctoral (SSHRC CGS-D)
    • SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship
    • CIHR Frederick Banting and Charles Best canada Graduate Scholarship - Doctoral (CIHR CGS-D)*
    • Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarship

    *CIHR Industry-Partnered, Priority Announcement and Strategic Initiative Doctoral Research Awards are not eligible for the President’s Doctoral Prize of Distinction.

  • Application Procedures

    Recipients of eligible NSERC and SSHRC scholarships will be awarded the President’s Doctoral Prize of Distinction upon receipt of the NSERC/SSHRC Payment Activation form or the NSERC/SSHRC Progress Report in the FGSR. There is no application form.

    Recipients of eligible CIHR awards and the Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarship will be awarded the President’s Doctoral Prize of Distinction after submitting a copy of their Notification of Award to the FGSR. The Notification of Award must be submitted at least six weeks prior to the start date of the eligible major award