Top PhD Scholarships in Canada for International Students

So you’ve decided to pursue a doctorate degree in Canada, and so far, it seems like a great choice. Well, it is, the reputation of Canada amongst the top destinations for postgraduate studies has been re-echoed by the US News as the seventh best country for abroad studies. Owing to this, there are uncountable PhD scholarships in Canada for international students.

Do not be surprised though, that is not all, as you know, living in Canada as a PhD student has numerous benefits as Canada is renowned for being a secure, stable, inclusive, and hospitable nation. There are a ton of options for funding your PhD, so how on earth do you go about finding these scholarships?

The first thing to do is check in the university where you have applied to study. Some universities will automatically consider you for scholarships when you apply, while others you might have to do a separate application.

With the numerous PhD scholarships in Canada for international students which we are going to list in this post, you may be lucky to find some that you are not aware of before now. Follow us let me tell you about some of these scholarships for international students in Canada

Why Pursue a PhD in Canada?

When you pursue a PhD in Canada, you will study at a highly respected university. Several Canadian researchers and research institutes rank among the top in the world in their field. Canada also offers a lot of innovative and state-of-the-art facilities for the researchers. You will take advantage of the latest technology and research methodologies while pushing the boundary of human knowledge.

As a researcher in Canada, you will have the opportunity to work alongside some of the most brilliant and extraordinary minds in the world. What is more exciting is that Canada is one of the most diverse countries in the world. Its natural beauty, multinational culture, and welcoming spirit are well known. All these make living in Canada as an international student seamless.

Best PhD Scholarships in Canada For International Students

There are so many choices of scholarship opportunities for international students in Canada. Both the ones you know about already and the ones you are not aware of. It is important to take time to research each scholarship you are applying for and make sure that they are a good match for your skills and your future career in Canada.

With that being said, below are some of the top PhD scholarships in Canada that would be beneficial for you as an international student. The doctoral Scholarships in Canada for international students are generally categorized into three:

  1. Government-funded Scholarships and
  2. University-specific scholarships
  3. Field-specific Scholarships

Government-funded Scholarships

Many of the scholarships available to PhD students in Canada are government-funded. This means that to apply for these scholarships, students will need to submit their application to one of the government funding bodies in Canada, such as the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) or the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

Thousands of international students apply for these scholarships every year, so competition is fierce. These Government-funded scholarships for doctoral candidates in Canada include:

  • Canada Graduate Scholarships – Doctoral Program (CGS-D)
  • Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships
  • Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships

Related: 10 Menial Jobs for International PhD Students in Canada

#1. Canada Graduate Scholarships – Doctoral Program (CGS-D)

Canada Graduate Scholarships – Doctoral Program (CGS-D) is available to Canadian citizens, permanent residents of Canada, and international students, the CGS-D program is dedicated to supporting students in all disciplines. The scholarship is highly sought after due to its high value of $35,000 per year and its reputation.

The application process for international students is almost identical to that of domestic students. International students must be enrolled full-time at an eligible Canadian university and must verify the validity of their study permit to ensure they can receive the award in the upcoming academic year.

Application Deadline: October 17th


#2. Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships

No doubt, the Vanier Scholarship is the most exciting opportunity for international and domestic students studying in Canada. The fact that the scholarship spans three years offers students the opportunity to really indulge in their studies, without worrying about financial stress.

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship provides domestic and international students in Canada with substantial funding to earn their doctoral degrees. Remarkably, the scholarship offers students $50,000 per year, for three years – a total of $150,000 maximum. The funds provided are not only tax-free but also significant. As far as scholarship awards go, the Vanier scholarship is most certainly one of the most generous.

Application Deadline: May 1st


#3. Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships

The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships program provides funding to the very best postdoctoral applicants, both nationally and internationally, who will positively contribute to the country’s economic, social and research-based growth. Each award is worth $70,000 per year (taxable) for two years.

The program also has host institution quotas; hence Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships program is tenable only at the eligible Canadian institution that has received the most applications. Both the host institution and the proposed supervisor of the Banting Postdoctoral Fellow must complete institutional and supervisor forms which have to be uploaded by the applicant.

Application Deadline: September 20th


University-specific Scholarships

PhD Scholarships in Canada for International StudentsUniversity scholarship funding can be found through many of Canada’s higher educational institutions and is often subject- and institution-specific. The selection of university-specific scholarships is vast, but they need to be investigated; potentially the best resource is in the websites of the universities themselves, either under the international students section or under the scholarships section, or the websites of the relevant departments.

Here are some of the top PhD scholarships in Canada for international students that are university-specific.

  • University of Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship
  • University of British Columbia Graduate Global Leadership Fellowship
  • McGill University Postgraduate Scholarships
  • University of Alberta Scholarships
  • University of Waterloo Scholarships
  • University of Saskatchewan
  • Montreal University Fully Funded Scholarship
  • University of Ottawa International Doctoral Scholarship
  • The University of Lethbridge
  • Concordia University Canada Scholarships

#1. University of Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship

The University of Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship is a highly competitive scholarship. It covers tuition, books, incidental fees, and full residence support for four years. To become Pearson Scholars, students must be nominated by their school and apply to study at the University of Toronto.

Names of students nominated by their school are sent directly to U of T along with a personalized reference number, which will be used to access the online application. Students will be asked to complete an online application which includes the provision of some information and the completion of a few essay questions.

Application Deadline: January 15th


#2. University of British Columbia Graduate Global Leadership Fellowship

The University of British Columbia offers a Four Year Doctoral Fellowship (4YF) in which distinguished and successful candidates can benefit from the scholarship. Graduate Global Leadership Fellowships enable promising leaders from developing countries to pursue doctoral studies at UBC. The fellowships are to support both domestic and international students showing outstanding leadership in humanitarian and development.

The fellowship provides a stipend of a minimum of $18,200 for 4 years plus full tuition for the first 4 years at UBC. All applicants who have already been accepted for the UBC Four Year Doctoral Fellowship are considered for the award of Graduate Global Leadership Fellowship.

Application Deadline: December Annually


#3. McGill University Postgraduate Scholarships

The most significant advantage of McGill University postgraduate scholarships is that they provide a wide array of funding opportunities for international PhD students. One of the main scholarships which incoming and current PhD students can benefit from is the Graduate Excellence Fellowship.

It is aimed towards incoming PhD students from all nationalities and one of the benefits of successful candidates is that they can receive up to $12,000 per year for the first 2 years of their PhD programme. Another significant opportunity provided by McGill University postgraduate scholarships is the prestigious McCall MacBain Scholarships which is a leadership development programme.

Application Deadline: August Annually


#4. University of Alberta Scholarships

The University of Alberta has one of the most comprehensive scholarship programs for international students in Canada. The university currently offers up to 10M (CAD) every year in scholarships and financial support. The most common award for PhD students is the “University of Alberta Graduate Entrance Scholarship”. This scholarship can range from $15,000 to $30,000 for PhD students.

The duration is 1 year (12 months) and it is not renewable. However, a department may decide to renew a student’s scholarship with the same value for a second year if the student’s progress is satisfactory. This scholarship aims to offer funding and assistance to newly admitted graduate students who have been highly ranked by their Department.

Application Deadline: April


#5. University of Waterloo Scholarships

The University of Waterloo maintains a good list of PhD scholarships for international students. The President’s Scholarship and the International Master’s Award of Excellence are among the available scholarships for students. For instance, the President’s Scholarship is available to all students in master’s and PhD level programs.

The scholarship will cover full tuition and living expenses for four years. Also, the full-time PhD students will get a teaching assistantship that provides a minimum of $10,000. For the International Master’s Award of Excellence, the PhD students will get $1,000 in addition to the normal package. On the other hand, the master’s students will receive $7,500. The above-mentioned scholarships for international students are designed for PhD and master’s students.

Application Deadline: Based on the Department


#6. University of Saskatchewan

Potential candidates who need to study in Canada can apply for PhD scholarships given by the University of Saskatchewan. All candidates need to take note that, only those candidates who have been admitted to study a doctoral program in the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at the University of Saskatchewan are qualified to apply for these scholarships.

The scholarships are made accessible through the altruism of alumni and different benefactors and from assets given by the University of Saskatchewan. By and large, candidates who are in their first year of enrolment in a PhD program at the University of Saskatchewan, and who have shown fantastic academic accomplishment in their past college work, are offered $24,000 every year for up to four years.

Application Deadline: Check Program Specifics


#7. Montreal University Fully Funded Scholarship

The fully funded scholarship at the Université de Montréal is offered to international students who wish to pursue their higher education at the university with the scholarship program covering tuition fees and a stipend of $22,241.25 per year.

This scholarship program was initiated to help make the high-quality education at UdeM accessible to worldwide students and the university itself has been recognized as the top comprehensive university in the country. It is important to note that the language of instruction for PhD programs at UdeM is mainly French and international students are normally required to provide proof of French proficiency.

Application Deadline: February 1st


#8. University of Ottawa International Doctoral Scholarship

This scholarship is provided by the University of Ottawa to international students who wish to apply for a PhD in a discipline. The scholarship is valued at $45,000 over five years. Also, when you apply for a University of Ottawa doctoral scholarship, you will be considered for an admission scholarship, which is $6,000 per year for four years.


#9. The University of Lethbridge

The students who complete their PhD studies at the University of Lethbridge are eligible for various scholarships. The President’s Doctoral Student Research Award valued at $21,000 for a one-year tenure. It is necessary to maintain good progress and status in the graduate program to be eligible for renewal opportunities.

Students must be enrolled in a full-time thesis or project-based master’s or doctorate program to be eligible. This excludes master’s programs in the Faculty of Education, the MSc Management Business Analytics (BANA) emphasis, and M. Nursing course-based programs.

Application Deadline: No Deadline


#10. Concordia University Canada Scholarships

Concordia University in Montreal, Canada is committed to providing students with transformative learning opportunities and life-changing research experiences. To support these goals, Concordia’s School of Graduate Studies has developed a wide range of competitive funding opportunities for international and Canadian students.

Foreign doctoral students can apply for several PhD-tailored scholarships at Concordia University, such as the Concordia University Doctoral Graduate Fellowship, and internal and external awards. The actual value of most PhD-tailored scholarships at Concordia University ranges from about $3500 to $25,000 per year for four years.


Field-specific Scholarships

Field-specific scholarships have been designed to provide financial assistance in the form of tuition waivers and stipends to scholars in a particular field of study. The level of support varies according to the student’s level of study and the specific scholarship program used to offer the support. For international students interested in carrying out their PhD in Canada, the scholarships provide a welcome opportunity to advance their academic careers while contributing to a specific field of interest.

Thanks to the thriving research environment in Canadian universities, the scholarships for international students allow students to pursue their dreams and goals in numerous academic programs. Some of the field-specific doctorate scholarships in Canada that international students should consider include:

  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
  • Postgraduate Scholarships, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)
  • Doctoral Fellowships, and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

#1. Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Postgraduate Scholarships

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) offers a variety of postgraduate scholarships. The Postgraduate Scholarships – Doctoral Program is aimed at providing financial support to high-calibre students who are engaged in doctoral programs in the natural sciences or engineering.

Again, the scholarship is available to Canadian citizens, permanent residents of Canada and international students. These range of scholarships provide a very substantial amount of funding for students.

#2. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Doctoral Fellowships

One of the most prominent PhD scholarships in Canada for international students studying social sciences or humanities is the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Doctoral Fellowships. Brilliant international students pursuing a PhD at a Canadian institution may apply for this scholarship.

The fellowship provides financial assistance to outstanding students in the social sciences and humanities. It aims to support students and help them become the next generation of researchers and leaders in academia and other sectors. The stipend for SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships consists of an annual award of $20,000, tenable for 12, 24, 36, or 48 months, depending on the length of the doctoral program and if the student has previously held other awards. Also, there is an annual amount of $3600 for Research Allowance (non-renewable) and a travel grant.

#3. Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Doctoral Research Awards

The CIHR Doctoral Research Awards provides students with both a living allowance and a research allowance in the form of an annual stipend. The stipend for the doctoral award is $23,000 per year for up to 3 years. If the student is registered in a part-time program while studying full-time, then the stipend is pro-rated according to the number of hours the student is required to work. In addition, an annual research allowance of $16,000 is provided. The CIHR grant is awarded directly to the applicant.

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