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

There are two levels of NSERC funding for doctoral students:

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

There is a single application and review process for the CGS-D and the PGS-D programs. The top-ranked applicants are awarded the CGS-D and highly-ranked applicants in the next tier are awarded the PGS-D.

Value

The CGS-D is valued at $35,000/year (tenable only in Canada), for three years.

The PGS-D is valued at $21,000/year (tenable in Canada and abroad), for three years.

Eligibility

Eligibility requirements:

  • Must be a Canadian citizen, 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 date;
  • Have completed no more than 24 months of full-time study in their 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 their joint program by December 31 of the calendar year of application if enrolled in a joint program; such as, MD/PhD, MA/PhD
    • if students fall into this category, they have access to the 36-month window whether or not they were previously enrolled in a master’s program
  • Have completed no more than 36 months of full-time study in their doctoral program by December 31 of the calendar year of application if enrolled directly from a bachelor’s to a PhD program (without having completed or enrolled in another graduate program)
    • direct-entry applicants must be enrolled in their doctoral program at the time of application
  • Submit only one award application to either CIHR, NSERC, or SSHRC in a given academic year (nominations to the Vanier CGS program do not count towards this limit). Should more than one application be submitted, the eligible application submitted first chronologically will be retained;
  • Not have already received a doctoral-level scholarship or fellowship from CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC.
  • Proposed research must clearly lie within the natural sciences and engineering (NSE), rather than the health sciences. Refer to NSERC's Eligibility Criteria for Students and Fellows for additional information. Students in joint programs with a professional degree as well as clinically oriented programs of study are to refer to NSERC's website.

For complete eligibility requirements, visit the NSERC Website.

Selection Criteria

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

  • Research ability and potential - 50%
  • Relevant experience and achievements obtained within and beyond academia - 50%

For complete selection criteria, please visit the NSERC Website.

Application Procedures

The application submission deadline listed below is for applications submitted through the University of Alberta only. Failure to submit an application through the correct channel may result in an application being removed from the competition. For more information, refer to the flow chart “Where should I submit my application?” of the CGS D Scholarships descriptions. This flowchart details which option should be selected within the online application form. Note: all applicants registered in a degree program at the UofA (with a quota) at any time during the calendar year of application must apply through the UofA, even if they intend to pursue their studies elsewhere.

Applications submitted this Fall 2022 term are for awards to start May or September 2023, or January 2024.

1. Review 2023 NSERC Memo to Students and Departments and the complete PGSD/CGSD Program details and requirements.
2. Start NSERC's Online Application:
Students are to complete a full application by following NSERC's Application instructions, and submit through NSERC's On-line Services portal. It is the student's responsibility to read all instructions and be familiar with the application process before applying.
  • Students should consider requesting letters of recommendation (NSERC's Reports on the Applicant) as early as possible in order to meet the application submission deadline of October 3, 2022. It is highly recommended students give their referees a deadline at least one week prior to any application deadline in order to avoid possible delays/changes. Students are responsible for ensuring their references have completed and successfully submitted the Report on the Applicant via the NSERC online portal.
  • Edits or corrections such as spelling, grammar, formatting, attachments, etc. are the responsibility of the student and will not be checked by FGSR. Students who do not follow NSERC's application instructions and On-line Presentation and Attachment Standards may jeopardize their application.
3. Transcripts:
FGSR designates are no longer tasked with uploading student transcripts to NSERC’s On-line Services Portal. Students are responsible for obtaining official transcripts for all institutions attended and attaching them on the Transcripts page of their application.

  • FGSR does not provide copies of transcripts from student records held on file at FGSR (includes transcripts from other Canadian/international post- secondary institutions, UAlberta transcripts, and transcripts included in former, recent, or in progress admission/award applications). Students are responsible for ensuring transcripts for all institutions attended are included in their application.
  • Missing, unofficial, or illegible transcripts may deem students' applications as incomplete and will not be reviewed. It is the students’ responsibility to follow NSERC's Transcripts or proof of registration for transcript requirement guidelines (ex. definition of up-to-date; ALL postsecondary coursework undertaken, etc). These instructions are imperative, as non-compliance with transcript-related guidelines is the primary reason for the rejection of applications.
  • The following transcripts are to be scanned and uploaded to the Transcripts section of student's application:
    1. An up to date official UofA transcript; unofficial transcripts printed from BearTracks are not acceptable. UofA transcripts must show current Fall 2022 full time registration (courses/thesis in progress) if the applicant is current registered. Visit the Office of the Registrar's website to easily obtain an official transcript: How to Request Official University of Alberta Transcripts.
      • Either a scanned paper copy or e-Transcript are acceptable to upload to NSERC's Portal. If ordering an e-Transcript, select the download PDF option for a “blue ribboned” PDF (must pay the associated fee). Do not add a password or expiry date. Students need to share the link with themselves (choose the send a link option to their own email). By accessing the shared link (login through the link they are sent), they can then have the option to download it from there. Adobe9 or higher is required to view the e transcript.
      • Only PDF e-Transcripts with the blue ribbon and cover letter are considered official and unmodified. The blue ribbon will be removed if combined with other transcripts and this is acceptable for uploading purposes to the portal; students are to retain the original blue ribbon e-transcript as they could be asked to provide it for verification purposes.
      • Transcripts shared/sent to FGSR’s email address or shared via the organization recipient option will not be accepted. 
    2. Official, up-to-date transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate studies undertaken. Transcripts associated with transfer credit MUST be included. 
  • It is the student's responsibility to ensure that their transcripts are complete and legible once uploaded. In all cases, the applicant is responsible for ensuring that the application is complete by reviewing the final version of the online application.
4. Application Deadline and Submission
October 3, 2022, 11:59 pm (MST): Deadline for students to submit their completed application via NSERC's On-line Services portal (including Reports on the Applicant and uploaded transcripts). Note that there is no system shutoff in NSERC's portal October 3, 11:59 pm; however, student’s applications will be date and time stamped once submitted, and this will be the copy used for university review and adjudication. Applications submitted after this date will not be accepted and extension requests will not be granted.

  • Changes cannot be made after the application has been submitted. Students will not be offered the opportunity to revise their applications.
  • Students are responsible for ensuring their references have completed and successfully submitted the Report on the Applicant via the NSERC online portal by October 3, 2022.
  • Edits or corrections such as spelling, grammar, formatting, attachments, etc. are the responsibility of the student and will not be checked by FGSR. Students who do not follow NSERC's application instructions and On-line Presentation and Attachment Standards may jeopardize their application.
  • Clicking "Submit" does not mean that a student's application has been forwarded to the national NSERC competition. All eligible applications will be shared to the Graduate Scholarship Committee (GSC) adjudicators for review.

NOTE:Institutions are permitted to recommend an unlimited number of self-identified Indigenous* applicants to the PGS D program above their application quota. To be considered for this, Indigenous applicants must provide consent within the application form to share this information with their institutions and NSERC. 

Note that applicants are not automatically forwarded to the national level; they will be reviewed and recommended by FGSR’s Graduate Scholarship Committee among the full pool of applicants.

*“Indigenous peoples” is a collective name for the original peoples of North America and their descendants. “Aboriginal peoples” is often used as a synonym. For the purposes of these programs, NSERC uses the Canadian Constitution act, 1982 definition as including the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.

Adjudication Procedures

All complete and eligible applications are reviewed by the FGSR Graduate Scholarship Committee. A list of recommended applications is chosen and sent to NSERC for final adjudication at the national level by November 21, 2022. The University of Alberta's quota of recommended applications for the 2023 competition year is 72.

NSERC will notify all recommended applicants of final decisions by April 2023.

Deadline and Timelines

See Application Procedures for complete details leading up to the application submission deadline.

October 3, 2022, 11:59 pm (MST): Deadline for students to submit their completed application via NSERC's On-line Services portal.

October 4 - Mid October, 2022: FGSR Award Services reviews applications for eligibility and completeness. Note: Students will not be offered the opportunity to revise their applications.

Mid October - Mid November, 2022: FGSR's Graduate Scholarship Committee reviews applications and selects nominees to be forwarded to NSERC for review at the national level.

November 21, 2022: Deadline for FGSR to forward university nominations to NSERC for the national competition.

End of November, 2022: Results of the NSERC competition at the University level will be shared with Departments. Students whose applications have been forwarded to NSERC will receive a notification from FGSR. Unsuccessful students will be notified via the NSERC portal.

April 2023: Final NSERC doctoral results are expected to be announced.

Additional Information
Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement: Active CGS-D holders who wish to undertake research outside of Canada for a defined period of time may consider applying for this supplement.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada Aquatic Science Supplements and the Supplement for Research in Field Impact Assessment: Active NSERC PGS-D and CGS-D awards holders with research in the areas of ocean science and impact assessment are eligible for the supplements. NSERC will identify applications from amongst active award holders; no further application is required for these supplements. Offers will be made to award holders from NSERC. Payments will be made in the same manner as the award: via FGSR.