Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master’s (CGS-M) Program

The Canada Graduate Scholarships-Doctoral (CGS D) Program stands as a beacon of support for doctoral students in Canada, offering them the opportunity to pursue their academic passions, push the boundaries of knowledge, and contribute to the nation’s research landscape. This prestigious program, administered by 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), plays a pivotal role in nurturing research excellence across diverse disciplines.

Origins and Objectives

Launched in 2009, the CGS D Program is part of the broader suite of Canada Graduate Scholarships aimed at supporting the country’s emerging generation of researchers. Its primary goal is to attract and retain top-tier doctoral students from Canada and around the world, empowering them to embark on a journey of advanced research and innovation. By providing financial support to exceptional scholars, the program encourages them to engage in transformative research that addresses critical societal challenges, fosters innovation, and contributes to Canada’s knowledge-based economy.

Funding and Impact

One of the defining features of the CGS D Program is its commitment to offering substantial financial support to its recipients. The scholarships provide both direct financial assistance and opportunities for recipients to collaborate with leading researchers and institutions, facilitating a conducive environment for intellectual growth and research progress.

Recipients of the CGS D scholarships benefit from funding that covers a wide range of expenses, including tuition fees, research-related costs, and living expenses. This financial support ensures that doctoral students can focus their energy and attention on their research endeavors, rather than being burdened by financial constraints. Consequently, they can produce high-quality research outputs that contribute to their fields and have the potential to drive positive change within Canadian society and beyond.

Fostering Collaboration and Diversity

Beyond the financial support, the CGS D Program fosters a sense of community and collaboration among scholars. By bringing together researchers from various disciplines and backgrounds, the program encourages interdisciplinary dialogue and the exchange of ideas. This diverse and inclusive environment nurtures a culture of innovation, where scholars can draw inspiration from each other and contribute to a well-rounded perspective on complex challenges.

MINDS Master’s Scholarships for Indigenous Students

The Department of National Defence (DND) has partnered with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to deliver the Mobilizing Insights in Defence and Security (MINDS) scholarship initiative. The MINDS program, which comprises five pillars, is committed to fostering the next generation of security and defence scholars in the Canadian academic community and to encouraging a strong Canadian knowledge base in contemporary defence and security issues.

The MINDS Master’s Scholarships for Indigenous Students, valued at $17,500, are award supplements offered to successful Canada Graduate Scholarship—Masters (CGS M) applicants who self-identify as Indigenous and whose studies relate to defence and security.

Interested students must apply via the CGS M application form, and must complete the MINDS supplement module, which includes a personal statement and a statement of thematic relevance. For detailed instructions on how to apply, see the MINDS program description. The deadline to apply is December 1.

Indigenous Scholars Awards and Supplements

The Indigenous Scholars Awards and Supplements Pilot Initiative will provide financial support to meritorious Indigenous students who have applied to the NSERC and SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholars — Master’s program. To be considered, applicants must be eligible to apply to the CGS M program, self-identify as Indigenous for the purposes of this initiative, provide a one-page (3,000 characters maximum) personal statement, and have had their application deemed meritorious in the CGS M review process.

For detailed instructions on how to apply, see the pilot initiative description. The deadline to apply is December 1.

Eligibility and Selection

The CGS D Program’s rigorous selection process seeks to identify the most promising and innovative researchers. Eligible candidates must have a demonstrated commitment to research excellence, possess strong academic credentials, and present research proposals that exhibit intellectual curiosity and a potential for significant impact. The selection committees assess applicants based on their academic achievements, research contributions, leadership abilities, and alignment with the program’s objectives.


To be eligible to apply, you must meet all of the following requirements:

  • 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 date.
  • Be enrolled in, have applied for, or will apply for full-time admission* to an eligible graduate program at the master’s or doctoral level at a Canadian institution with a CGS M allocation.
  • Respect the internal deadline to apply for admission for your intended program of study-contact the graduate department/unit for admissions application deadlines. Note: Applicants who are not currently enrolled in their intended graduate program at the University of Toronto must submit an application for admission by the deadline for their intended graduate program or by March 15, whichever comes first.
  • Have completed
    1. either between 0 and 12 months of full-time studies (or full-time equivalent) in the program for which you are requesting funding*, which may be one of the following:
      • a master’s program
      • a doctoral program that you are entering directly from a bachelor’s program without having ever been enrolled in a any graduate programs (direct-entry)
      • a combined master’s-doctoral program
      • a master’s program that will transition to an eligible doctoral program, either before or after award activation, with no master’s degree conferred (fast-track)
      • a master’s program for which the degree requirements will be completed before the end of the award, allowing the award to continue into an eligible doctoral program
    2. or between 4 and 12 months of full-time study (or full-time equivalent) in an eligible master’s program for which the degree requirements will be completed before activation of the award, allowing it to be activated during the first 12 months of the subsequent doctoral program for which you are requesting funding.
  • Not have held or be currently holding a CGS M scholarship from CIHR, NSERC, or SSHRC.
  • Have achieved a first-class average** (3.5 GPA or A- average at U of T), in each of the last two completed years of study (full-time equivalent). Note: At the University of Toronto, exceptions may be made for highly meritorious applicants who are just below the required minimum.
  • Submit a maximum of one scholarship application per academic year to either CIHR, NSERC, or SSHRC (Research Portal will allow the application to be submitted to up to three institutions). Students are not permitted to apply for a CGS M and a Tri-Agency doctoral award in the same academic year. Note: 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.

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

**All studies credited toward the eligible program will be counted, whether or not they were completed at the degree-granting institution.

For full eligibility criteria, visit the Tri-agency Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master’s Program website.

Program of Study Eligibility​

An eligible graduate program must have a significant research component.  A significant research component is considered to be original, autonomous research that leads to the completion of one of the following:  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. Master’s programs that are based only on course work are typically not eligible since they do not include a significant research component.

Joint programs with a professional degree (for example, MD/PhD, DVM/PhD, JD/MA, JD/PhD, MBA/PhD, MA/MBA) as well as clinically oriented programs of study, including clinical psychology, are eligible if they have a significant autonomous research component, as described above.

Application Process

Applicants must complete and submit the online application using the Research Portal. Students should refer to the CGS M application instructions currently housed on NSERC’s website for details on how to complete their application. Additionally, the Canadian Common CV (CCV) must be completed and the confirmation number uploaded to the CGS M application on the Research Portal.

When completing a CGS M application, students may select up to 3 separate universities (one graduate department per university) where they intend to pursue graduate studies and hold the award. Once completed and submitted online, the application will be accessible by all proposed universities the student has identified. Students applying for an award at U of T are not required to submit a paper application. ​

A completed CGS M application will include the following:

  1. Completed three-part online application
    • Identification
    • Summary of proposal (written in lay language)
    • Activity details
  2. Attachments
    • Outline of proposed research (as PDF attachment)
    • All up-to-date official academic transcripts from undergraduate, graduate, and exchange/transfer host institutions where the grade does not appear on the home institution transcript (scanned together as a single PDF document)
  3. Canadian Common CV (uploaded as a confirmation number)
  4. Completed reference assessments (x2)—invitation initiated and form completed electronically.

Transcripts (attachment)

A complete application includes a copy of all up-to-date official transcripts (or other proof of registration in certain circumstances), as described below. Transcripts are a mandatory requirement to demonstrate applicant eligibility and are an integral part of the evaluation material reviewed by selection committees. The University of Toronto will not accept transcripts submitted under separate cover. Applications that are missing official transcripts needed to determine eligibility will be deemed ineligible.

Important guidelines for all applicants

  • Up-to-date transcripts are defined as official 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 as transcripts issued by the institution’s registrar’s office. Transcripts from other sources, such as those printed from the student’s account on the institution’s website, are not official. Opening the transcript envelope and scanning the transcript will not render the transcript unofficial for the purpose of Tri-Agency competitions.
  • If you are registered in a degree program starting in the fall session of the year of application, you must provide an up-to-date transcript to demonstrate registration in your program, even if there are no grades or course registration.
  • If a transcript includes transfer credits from another institution, the grades for these credits must be shown. If a submitted transcript includes transfer credits without grades shown, the original transcript from the other institution must be included in the application. (Exception: Canadian college, CEGEP, IB, and high school (Advanced Placement) transcripts are not required, even if they contain transfer credits.)
  • Transcripts must be scanned and uploaded as a single PDF file. Official e-transcripts are acceptable but any encryption may need to be removed before uploading or combining with other transcript files. Students may use freely available PDF software such as Adobe Acrobat Reader or their internet browser (e.g., Firefox, Chrome) to “print to PDF” in order to create an unencrypted “copy” of the file, which remain acceptable.
  • Transcript text orientation should be upright (if possible) and must be readable on a computer monitor without any adjustment by the viewer.
  • One copy of the legend (reverse of each transcript) must be included. Do not scan the legend multiple times.
  • Transcripts written in a language other than English or French must be accompanied by a certified English or French translation.

Note: Retain the paper copy or original protected digital copy of every uploaded transcript, as you may be asked to provide these for verification purposes at any point in the process.

It is your responsibility to ensure that your transcripts are complete and legible once uploaded. This is particularly relevant for transcripts with security features in place to prevent duplication. In all cases, you are responsible for ensuring that the application is complete by reviewing the final version of the online application before it is submitted.

Selection Process

At the University of Toronto, CGS M applications are first received by the graduate unit (department) where the student is registered or as indicated on the application. The graduate unit staff review the applications for eligibility and all eligible applications are then adjudicated by the graduate unit’s awards committee comprised of graduate faculty members from the graduate unit. Each application is reviewed and scored as per the selection criteria set out by the Tri-Agency. Graduate units are given quotas by their Faculty Graduate Dean’s office or the School of Graduate Studies (SGS), within which they nominate their top ranked candidates to SGS for central adjudication.

SGS receives applications from all eligible graduate units for each of its three centrally adjudicated competitions (one per research area): health sciences (CIHR), natural science & engineering (NSERC), and social sciences & humanities (SSHRC). Each application is reviewed and scored by three faculty members on the SGS Awards Committee. This Committee is comprised of graduate faculty administrators (Graduate Coordinators) and graduate appointed faculty from departments in all disciplines.​ No member shall review or score an application submitted by their own home department or where there is a conflict of interest. Members use the selection criteria set out by the Tri-Agency to determine and submit scores for all applications assigned. SGS collects and tallies the scores. Members then participate in an in-person review meeting where scores are discussed and final rankings are determined and confirmed. SGS and graduate units perform final eligibility checks and results are released on Research Portal on April 1st of each year.​

Given the large number of applications under review, committee members do not provide written appraisals of individual applications, nor is a record kept of committee deliberations. As such, SGS regrettably cannot provide information specific to the relative ranking of an application.
Committee decisions may be appealed only by the applicant named in the application, and only where there is evidence that an administrative error has occurred during the selection process managed by SGS. SGS does not accept as grounds for appeal, reasons such as: a difference in scholarly opinion versus that of selection committee members; disagreement over the interpretation or analysis of facts by committee members; or composition of the committee.

Award Holder Information

Step 1. Read the Tri-Agency Award Holder’s Guide

Verify that you meet the terms and conditions to hold your federal award and understand the responsibilities of award holders as described in the Tri-Agency Award Holder’s Guide. 

If you do not meet all the terms and conditions to hold the award, you will need to decline the award (see Step 4-B for instructions). 

Step 2. Review the SGS Payment Policy

Review the SGS Payment Policy posted on the SGS website for detailed information on how award payments are made, when the payments are made, and the method of the payments. 

Federal awards are paid in equal instalments. September instalments are released directly to recipients, while January and May instalments are initially put towards any outstanding charges on your fees account and only the remaining amount is released to recipients. It is recommended that students set up direct deposit and a current mailing address on ACORN so that payments arrive as timely as possible.  

Step 3. Activate UTORID & set up UTORmail account online with the T-Card Office. 

(Incoming students only, returning students can skip to Step 4)

Beginning May 1, the TCard Services Offices will be issuing UTORid activation codes to new students who have accepted their invitation for the Fall 2022 session.  Please visit the TCard Services Offices website for more instructions on how to obtain and activate your UTORID once they are posted in May.  

Both your UTORID and UTORmail must be activated before you can complete the SGS Award Payment Activation From. Instructions are provided on the UTORID webpage:  

Step 4.

A. Activating Your Award

If you meet all the terms and conditions to hold the award, activate your award by completing the online SGS Award Payment Activation Form. The link to the 2022-23 SGS Award Payment Activation Form will be available in late April. In consultation with the graduate unit (department), award holders may choose a start date of May, September, or January of the award year on the Payment Activation Form. Award holders must continue to meet all terms and conditions of the award for the entire award period in order to receive the full award value.

Once you submit the form, a copy will be electronically forwarded to your graduate unit where you are currently registered.  The graduate unit will be required to approve and provide additional information to the form, after which the form will be sent to the Graduate Awards Office. Only once the student and graduate unit steps have been completed will your award be considered ready for processing. 

Payment activation forms can take up to 2 weeks to process from the date of receipt. It is recommended that you submit the online SGS Award Payment Activation Form as soon as possible, as it can take some time for the form to be approved by your graduate unit and for SGS to set up your initial instalment. Recipients selecting a May 1st start date will likely receive funds in late June at the earliest; however, the start date is dated retroactively to May 1st.

Awar​d Start Date​ Recommended Payment Activation Form Submission Deadline to Department 1st P​ayment 2​nd Payment 3rd Payment Award Period
Summer (May) May 1 Late June at the earliest September January May 1 to April 30
F​all (September) August 1 September January May Sept 1 to Aug 31
Winter (January) December 1 January May September Jan 1 to Dec 31

For the contact information for your 
graduate unit’s graduate administrator, please consult the Graduate Unit Directory 

B. Declining Your Award

If you do not meet the terms and conditions, please decline as soon as possible by emailing the appropriate Graduate Awards Officer listed below. Please indicate the reason you are declining the award in your email. 

Requests For Interruptions

Students who are planning to take a leave of absence from their studies are required to request an interruption of their federal award. Submit a completed SGS Leave of Absence form, signed by you and your supervisor, to your graduate dept/unit administrator for approval. The completed SGS Leave of Absence form must then be submitted to SGS Graduate Awards Officer [email protected] for processing and notifying the granting agencies.

Paid Parental Leaves

Federal award holders may interrupt their award for a period of up to 12 months for paid parental leave. The period of paid leave is in addition to the duration of the award and must coincide with the student’s registration on ACORN. For additional information, review the Tri-agency Research Training Award Holder’s Guide.

Early completions

Award holders who complete their degree requirements before the end date of their award (e.g., submit their final thesis to SGS before the end of the last session of their award, or complete requirements in April or early May when their award ends in August) may risk having their last instalment(s) cancelled. Students must remain registered in their eligible program in order to receive and keep each instalment of their award funds. Students who complete their degree within one or two sessions of their award will be ineligible for the instalments in which they are no longer registered. Note that students are not registered in the session in which they convocate. As award holders are given funds at the beginning of each session, those who complete early or withdraw part away through a session may be required to repay funds already received depending on the sessional registration.


Contacts & Resources

Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master’s Program Instructions for Completing an Application

Canadian Common CV—How to Complete the Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master’s Version

For more information, visit the CGS M website (housed within the NSERC’s website), and/or contact the appropriate Graduate Awards Officer at SGS, or the granting council agency whose mandate corresponds to the field of research: ​

Janine Harper
Graduate Awards Officer
P: 416-978-3555
[email protected]
Stacey Kwan
Graduate Awards Officer
P: 416-978-2205
[email protected]
Carla Serpe
Acting Graduate Awards Officer
P: 416-978-2386
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]

Looking Ahead

As the CGS D Program continues to evolve, its impact on Canada’s research landscape remains profound. The scholars it supports represent a collective force for innovation, progress, and societal transformation. By providing doctoral students with the resources and opportunities they need to thrive, the program helps lay the foundation for a future enriched by research breakthroughs, scientific advancements, and a deeper understanding of the world around us.

In an era defined by rapid technological changes and complex global challenges, initiatives like the Canada Graduate Scholarships-Doctoral Program play an indispensable role in nurturing the next generation of scholars who will shape the future. As the program’s legacy unfolds, its contributions to research excellence and societal advancement will undoubtedly continue to resonate for generations to come.


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