Note: Any reference to M level funding includes: PGS A, PGS M, CGS M and IPS 1.
What kind of support do these scholarships provide?
The Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarships-Doctoral Program (CGS D) and NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships-Doctoral Program (PGS D) provide financial support to high calibre scholars who are engaged in a doctoral program in the natural sciences or engineering. The CGS D will be offered to the top-ranked applicants and the next tier of meritorious applicants will be offered a PGS D. This support allows these scholars to fully concentrate on their studies and seek out the best research mentors in their chosen fields.
Are you eligible for scholarship support?
To be considered eligible for support, as of the application deadline date, you must:
- be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada;
- intend to pursue, in the following year, full-time graduate studies and research at the doctoral level in an eligible program (see Eligibility Criteria for Students and Fellows ) in one of the areas of the natural sciences and engineering supported by NSERC;
- have obtained a first-class average (a grade of "A-") in each of the last two completed years of study (full-time equivalent).
For degree programs you have completed, provide the date on which all the requirements of your degree were met, including the successful defence and submission of the corrected copy of your thesis (in accordance with your university's regulations). It is not the conferred or convocation date indicated on your transcript. The Scholarship Liaison Officer (SLO) may be asked to confirm the date the degree requirements were met.
Note: You may submit only one application per year to one granting agency (NSERC, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research [CIHR] or the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council [SSHRC]).
What categories of scholarships are available?
There are two types of scholarships: CGS D and PGS D.
Note: If you entered your doctoral program directly from your bachelor’s degree (i.e., you were never registered in a master’s level program) and have completed between four and 12 months of studies in the doctoral program, you may be eligible to apply for a Canada Graduate Scholarship-Master’s (CGS M) or for a PGS D. 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.
To be eligible to apply:
- you must have completed, as of December 31 of the year of application, between zero and 24 months (between four and 36 months if admitted to the doctoral program directly from your bachelor’s program) of studies (full-time equivalent) in the doctoral program for which you are requesting funding;
- you must not hold, or have held, a scholarship or fellowship from SSHRC, NSERC or CIHR to undertake or complete a doctoral program.
In the evaluation of your eligibility, NSERC will consider all studies counted toward the graduate degree for which funding is requested, whether completed at the degree-granting institution or not. NSERC will count two sessions of part-time study as one session of full-time study.
If you registered in a master’s degree and subsequently transferred to a doctoral degree, the months in the doctoral degree will be calculated starting from the date on which you were officially registered in your PhD program.
If you are registered in a doctoral program, the months in the doctoral program will be calculated starting from the date on which you were officially registered even if a master’s degree is completed as part of your program.
You will be eligible for only a two-year CGS D/PGS D, if:
- you previously held a two-year M level award; or
- you have completed more than the full-time equivalent of 12 months of your doctoral program (24 months if you were admitted to the doctoral program directly from your bachelor’s program) as of December 31 of the year that you apply for the CGS D/PGS D.
To hold these awards, you must be unconditionally registered full-time in a doctoral program at an eligible university. You are not eligible to receive scholarship support while you are in a qualifying year of study.
Maximum total duration of scholarship support
Scholarship support for graduate studies through NSERC is limited to a lifetime maximum of four years (48 months) of full-time equivalency. NSERC will include any graduate-level scholarship funding provided by SSHRC and CIHR in the calculation of previous funding support.
If you have had up to 12 months of support at the M level, you are eligible for a maximum of 36 months of support at the D level providing you meet the program’s other eligibility criteria.
If you have had between 12 and 24 months of support at the M level, you are eligible for a maximum of 24 months of support at the D level providing you meet the program’s other eligibility criteria.
Note the following exceptions to this rule:
* IPS includes all NSERC industrial postgraduate scholarship programs.
Can you hold your CGS D/PGS D award part-time?
CGS D and PGS D awards are available to those who enroll in part-time for parental or medical reasons and/or because of family-related responsibilities.
For eligible part-time students, the stipend will be the equivalent of a full-time award spread over a longer period of time. All other CGS D/PGS D regulations will apply.
Where can you hold your scholarship?
Without exception, these awards are tenable only at eligible Canadian universities.
You may take up your PGS D at any eligible Canadian university. You may also take it up at any eligible foreign university, provided you have received a previous degree from a Canadian university.
How do you apply for a scholarship?
To apply for these scholarships, you must complete and submit Form 201 online. Read the instructions on how to complete Form 201.
There is a single application and selection process for the CGS D and the PGS D. The top-ranked applicants will be offered a CGS D, and the next tier of meritorious applicants will be offered a PGS D.
If you are offered a CGS D, but decide to take your award to an eligible foreign university and are eligible to do so, you must decline the CGS D and accept a PGS D award in its place.
How you apply depends on your status at the application deadline date and/or your registration status in the year of application. You must apply either through a Canadian university or directly to NSERC.
The table below presents various possibilities and explains where to submit your application. The table does not display all the possibilities. If you are unsure about how you should apply, send an email to email@example.com .
Note: If you applied directly to NSERC when you were required to apply through a Canadian university, your application will be deemed ineligible and rejected.
You are currently registered at (or were registered at during the year of application), or are on an approved leave of absence from, a Canadian university in a degree program.
Note: Applicants who are registered in a cotutelle at a Canadian university must apply at the Canadian university where they are registered.The Canadian university at which you are currently or were registered in a degree program, or from which you have taken an approved leave of absence
You are currently registered at a foreign university. Directly to NSERC
You are not currently registered at a university; or are registered, but not in a degree program; and have completed all of the requirements for a degree program from a Canadian university since January 1 of this year. The Canadian university where you were registered in a degree program for which you completed all of the requirements since January 1 of this year
(If none of the preceding options apply to you, only then may you consider the following.)
You are not currently registered at a university; or are registered, but not in a degree program; and have completed all of the requirements for a degree program prior to January 1 of this year. Directly to NSERC
There are different application deadlines to keep in mind.
If you are applying through your university, there is an internal deadline that your department sets for receiving applications. It would be the earliest of the deadlines, since the department will review applications before passing them along.
If you are applying through your university, the next deadline is the date when the university Faculty of Graduate Studies (or its equivalent) must receive your application through the NSERC On-line System. The university will review all applications received from the departments, rank them and then send recommended applications to NSERC. The university is responsible for notifying you if your application is not forwarded to NSERC. For more information about departmental and university application deadlines, contact your current or former department, or the Faculty of Graduate Studies (or its equivalent).
- NSERC must receive all applications from Canadian universities by November 25 of each year.
- If you are applying directly to NSERC, your application must be submitted electronically to NSERC before 8:00 p.m. (ET) on October 15.
Incomplete applications will be rejected.
With the exception of personal contact information, NSERC will not accept any changes or updates to your application after it has been submitted. Personal contact information may be updated by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
The SLO at each Canadian university is responsible for coordinating the university review of CGS D and PGS D applications. The university review committee evaluates each application within one of the following broad discipline categories that correspond to the Scholarships and Fellowships selection committees:
- Civil, industrial and systems engineering
- Chemical, biomedical and materials science engineering
- Mechanical engineering
- Electrical engineering
- Computing sciences
- Mathematical sciences
- Physics and astronomy
- Earth sciences
- Evolution and ecology
- Cellular and molecular biology
- Plant and animal biology
The research subject code (see List of Research Subject Codes for Scholarships and Fellowships ) entered in the application will determine the selection committee in which the application will be evaluated. NSERC may assign the application to a different committee if it determines that the subject matter is more appropriate for another committee.
The university then submits to NSERC lists of applicants it recommends for a scholarship. Each university is assigned an overall quota of scholarship applications that it may forward to NSERC. It is up to each university to decide how it will distribute the quota among the categories listed above. Applications from qualified Indigenous applicants may be submitted above and beyond the quota.
NSERC scholarships and fellowships selection committees review all applications they receive (whether sent directly to NSERC or through the university review process). The selection committees recommend scholarships for the applicants they consider to have the best qualifications, according to the selection criteria described in the following section and within the limit of available awards.
NSERC asks members to consistently guard against the possibility of unconscious bias influencing the decision-making process, whether these biases are based on a school of thought, fundamental versus applied research, certain sub-disciplines, areas of research or approaches (including emerging ones), size or reputation of an institution, age, gender and/or other personal factors of the applicant.
In preparing their application, candidates should consult the Selection criteria and indicators section and Appendix A of the Selection Committee Guide for Postgraduate Scholarships – Doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowships Programs , which provides useful information on what committee members should look for in assessing applications.
Applicants are evaluated and selected according to the following selection criteria:
- Academic excellence (30%)
- Research ability or potential(50%)
- Communication, interpersonal, and leadership abilities(20%)
Notification of Decision
NSERC notifies applicants whose applications were submitted to NSERC of the results by the end of March. NSERC will not provide results by telephone. If you move after submitting your application, inform NSERC by sending an email to email@example.com . You can also get the results from the Faculty of Graduate Studies (or its equivalent) at your university.
NSERC will publish the names (and other basic award information) of scholarship recipients on its website. For more information, refer to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act .
Conditions of the Award
Refer to the Tri-Agency Research Training Award Holder's Guide for policies and requirements about holding the award, such as the acceptance, start date, deferment, paid parental leave, holding the award on a part-time basis, etc.
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