How To Win Doctoral Scholarship in Canada

At the beginning of any doctoral scholarship in Canada, students are introduced to the conventions and best practices that they will engage in throughout their academic and professional careers. Unlike most research students, seeking a PhD scholarship in Canada is an offer that only a few students can land. It is neither tedious as most people claim it to be nor easy as most people think it to be.

Canada is regarded as one of the best places to study for a postgraduate degree as most of the universities have specialized in different academic fields making the incoming international student to always feel at home. In this article, we have gathered every reason as to why you should consider studying at a Canadian university.

Each year, numerous students choose Canada as their destination for higher education, particularly those aiming for a PhD. Canadian institutions are renowned worldwide for their quality education, and degrees, including PhDs, from these institutions, hold international recognition.

With numerous scholarship opportunities, many aspiring students have been drawn to pursue their education in Canada and benefit from the outstanding academic programs available. Thanks to the scholarships offered at all levels of study, students have been able to realize their full potential, pursue their dreams, and build successful careers.

How are Canadian PhD Scholarships Funded?

Similar to many other countries, Canadian PhD scholarships are funded by a range of organizations. For example, they can be provided by the three main government funding bodies, which are:

These scholarships are usually in the form of a direct award, and the eligibility criteria for each type of award may vary. The Canada Student Loans Program is a major provider of medical doctoral and doctoral scholarships, with awards typically being in the form of a stipend plus fee coverage. Universities also play a significant role in funding PhD scholarships.

Many universities, such as McGill University and the University of Toronto, each have many graduate funding opportunities to support their students. These can include merit-based awards, which are awarded based on a student’s academic performance, and discipline-specific awards. When considering applying for Canadian PhD scholarships, it is essential to carefully look at each available option and follow guidance from potential supervisors and the university.

Why Do Doctoral Students Need Scholarships?

As PhD research and thesis work can be very time-consuming and demanding students may not have much time to work and earn money. A PhD program is a stepping stone for scholars to thrive in their careers through attaining relevant knowledge in their areas of study.

The knowledge and skills acquired from the PhD study will be very instrumental in solving real-world problems not only in the various areas of the discipline but can also contribute to society’s well-being.

Scholarships help students to focus more on their careers by removing the financial barriers. This can be through part-time work or on-the-job training and the experiences gained will also go miles in furthering future careers.

The recognition of being awarded the scholarships itself also goes a long way in boosting the careers of the students. The students can be motivated to conduct meaningful research not only for the supervising lecturers and professors but also for the entire world of academics.

One of the major reasons why scholarships are important in the career lives of doctoral students is that the students are allowed to make their academic road much easier and success-oriented. When the financial burden is taken away from the learning process, the students can solely focus on how to accomplish their dreams and aspirations. This is through conducting quality and meaningful research which will be an important part towards their professional development.

How To Win A Doctoral Scholarship in Canada

How To Win PhD Scholarship in CanadaThe Canadian high educational education system is known to offer quality education that can help enhance one’s professional career. Over the years, it has continued to gain attention among many foreign students and scholars who intend to pursue their PhD programs. However, the process to secure the scholarship is getting more and more competitive.

The Canadian government and universities are investing a record amount of funding in PhD placements and programs. This is due to the drive to ensure that Canada provides a world-leading education for all its students. It is also expected that a significant amount of government funding will be invested into creating international scholarships for study in Canada, including PhD.

Knowing how to secure a PhD scholarship in Canada has become a major obstacle for many international students. By understanding the processes and having in place the correct preparations, the prospect of securing a PhD scholarship in Canada will no longer be a challenge.

This section introduces and explains the steps and stages of applying for a PhD in Canada. By following the methods discussed below, you will be able to significantly enhance your chances of securing a PhD scholarship in Canada.

  1. Research Canadian Universities

After you have refined your search by deciding the area and kind of college, you can begin to search for explicit colleges. Canadian colleges have sites that you can easily navigate and are very easy to understand. You can without much of a stretch discover access to their program offerings and faculty, just as significant details on admission requirements and deadlines.

Many Canadian colleges offer ‘virtual visits’ which helps you get a clear view of what campus life is like at each specific college. This is especially useful if you can’t afford to travel to Canada to visit colleges in person. By visiting college sites and asking necessary questions, you will be able to gain a good understanding of what’s on offer and which colleges may be suitable for your PhD.

  1. Understand Scholarship Requirements

An important part of the process of securing funding for your PhD studies in Canada is understanding the requirements that you must meet to be eligible for a scholarship. For example, although some scholarships will specify that they are open to international students, many scholarships for PhD study in Canada are only open to Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

Other common requirements include a minimum grade point average (GPA) from your previous studies, a statement of purpose and proof of proficiency in English or French, depending on which language you will be using for your studies in Canada. You must make sure that you check these requirements carefully well in advance of any scholarship application deadlines; if you find that you are missing key qualifications or certificates that are required to make an application, this will give you plenty of time to put alternative arrangements in place.

  1. Create a Strong Application

Although your statement of purpose will ultimately form the most important part of your application, you must work equally to perfect every section of the document. Tailoring your application to the university to which you are applying will certainly make you stand out.

Avoiding common generic mistakes, such as poor spelling and grammar and a lack of methodical precision, is also essential. Therefore, adopting a dynamic, coherent style which speaks to the individuality of both you and your project will maximise your chances of success.

  1. Finding the Best Scholarships

Every source of scholarships may be a useful resource for locating acceptable awards, with every program merely giving its services or just targeting a specific kind of student. However, because of the bulky character of scholarship info, it will be best to use a scholarship service to form the work you’ve got easier. Scholarship service websites offer search engines that will let you establish the scholarships that square measure directly relevant to you.

How to Stand Out from the Competition

Impressing a potential supervisor is just part of how to win a PhD scholarship in Canada. Another is impressing the PhD funding-awarding entities in Canada, such as the governmental funding bodies, private organizations and charities. Try as best as you can to tailor your application to meet the expectations of a broad range of individuals.

Clearly illustrate how you intend to use your experiences and to show and foster real, tangible progress for the community group you are working with, and do not shy away from spelling out the positive and lasting change that has come about as a result of your academic endeavor. Here are some factors to put into consideration if you want to stand out from the completion for doctoral scholarships in Canada.

  1. Write a Compelling Personal Statement

When writing your Statement of Purpose (SOP), remember to stay on the right track. Be sure to include the following: what interests you about the subject, what experience you have in the subject, what you have learned from your experiences, and what drives you and makes you unique. Plan, plan and plan some more. Use your research and your experiences to back up your arguments and make sure the key observations are highlighted.

Every sentence should be relevant to the course or the subject. Avoid repetitiveness and make sure they are being entertained in one way or another. Start the statement strongly. Give them a first paragraph that will make them interested and will want to keep reading. This is your opportunity to show the admissions board why you would be an asset to their university. If you follow all of this advice, then you will have written a personal statement that puts you head and shoulders above other students, making you more likely to be offered the place. And remember, it’s all about quality, not quantity.

See Also: Writing a Doctoral Statement of Purpose: 10 Tips For Success

  1. Secure Strong Letters of Recommendation

Much like with personal statements, there is a very high degree of variance in the quality of recommendation letters. In some cases, getting a letter of recommendation might be as simple as shooting an email to a professor and receiving a document in response. As a result, many students might not know what constitutes a strong letter of recommendation, and for the most part, might find themselves at the mercy of whether or not a potential referee can provide such a letter.

For recommendation letters, often the best way to ensure that the letter is as complimentary as possible is to ask and guide the individual you have requested to write the letter for you.

  1. Highlight Your Achievements and Experience

It is crucial to make sure that all accomplishments and experiences in your resume or personal statement reflect the goal that you are applying for. Similar to structuring an essay, it will be good to have a punch line that summarizes everything that is written down in this section. If your resume or personal statement is being read in a rush, it should be obvious to the reader what the overall goal is.

Your resume can be tailored to highlight the most important features and omit the less important ones. However, if detail is required, a detailed resume can be submitted as an appendix to the main statement. Be factual. It is never a good strategy to be dishonest on any job application or university application.

Top PhD Scholarships in Canada

  1. Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Vanier CGS)
  2. University of Waterloo International Masters Award Excellence (IMAE)
  3. Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarships
  4. Ontario Trillium Scholarship (OTS)
  5. The Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS)
  6. The University of Manitoba Graduate Fellowships (UMGF)
  7. The University of Calgary Graduate Scholarships Office
  8. Banting Post-doctoral Fellowships
  9. Alberta Innovates Graduate Students Scholarships
  10. Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS)

To qualify for any of the above, Canadian doctoral scholarships, candidates must meet the requirements of a national funding competition for many graduate students who identify as members of the CIHR. International students are increasingly finding that Canadian scholarship programs can offer significant support for their doctoral studies, especially in key priority areas such as the natural sciences including biology and medical science research and engineering and technology. Let us take a detailed look at these Top PhD Scholarships in Canada.

  1. Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Vanier CGS)

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Vanier CGS) was created to attract and retain world-class doctoral students and to establish Canada as a global centre of excellence in research and higher learning. The scholarship is worth $50,000 per year for three years, making it one of the most lucrative graduate scholarships available to international students in Canada.

To be considered for this scholarship, you need to be nominated by the Canadian institution at which you plan to study. If you are awarded a Vanier CGS, it would be paid to you through the Canadian institution at which you have received the scholarship, and only if you remain enrolled and actively pursue your graduate studies at that institution.

  1. University of Waterloo International Masters Award Excellence (IMAE)

This is a research-based scholarship offered by the University of Waterloo to encourage students to pursue their PhD studies after finishing their Master’s program.  The University of Waterloo is a public research university with a main campus in Waterloo, Ontario. It is a member of the U15, a group of research-intensive universities in Canada. The University of Waterloo International Masters Award of Excellence (IMAE) is a merit-based scholarship for international students who will be registered full-time as graduate students at Waterloo.

The scholarship will be valued at $2,500 per term for a maximum of five terms. So, the student will receive a scholarship for a total of $12,500. To be eligible to apply for IMAE, You must be an international student and hold a valid Canadian study permit. There is no application required for this scholarship. Your application for admission submitted by the appropriate deadline is also your application for the IMAE.

  1. Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarships

The Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarships were one of the most selective doctoral scholarships in Canada, with only 15-25 students selected each year. According to the Canadian study website, the scholars were provided with a yearly allowance of $40,000 and given a chance to carry out their research at any recognized university.

Unlike many other scholarships that focus on one or two specific areas, the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarships accept students from all disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. This was a really important advantage because it helped to raise students’ confidence in that they could freely present their excellent ideas and unique research directions.

The scholarship program does not just provide financial support to future students but also highly emphasizes developing students’ knowledge and skills in communication, critical thinking, research as well as leadership.

  1. Ontario Trillium Scholarship (OTS)

The OTS is another scholarship for Doctoral degree (PhD) students to study in Canada. It is provided by the Ontario government to support the best research in Ontario. The scholarship is worth $40,000 per year for a maximum of four years. Students who got the OTS scholarship usually had a master’s degree from Canada, but it is not mandatory. A publication or creative work submitted may be required, paid work done in their field, and references are also needed.

As the OTS scholarship is for the best research, it’s very important to find the best university and best supervisor to host your study. Only the PhD program with more than 50% of students being international students is eligible. Also, the degree could be any one of the listed degrees:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Doctor of Veterinary Science
  • Doctor of Medicinal Chemistry
  • Doctor of Education (EdD)
  • Doctor of Juridical Science

The scholarship doesn’t have an age limit, so anyone can always try to get it no matter how old they are. All information can be found and submitted through the online application. More information about deadlines and requirements is detailed on the official OTS website.

  1. The Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS)

The Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) is a prestigious award for students who have excelled in their studies in Canada. This scholarship program has been created to encourage excellence in graduate studies at the master’s and doctoral levels. OGS awards are merit-based scholarships available to students in all graduate disciplines. This scholarship program provides students with the opportunity to obtain a world-class education and the potential to achieve great academic success.

OGS is jointly funded by the Ontario government and the institution the student is attending – either the university where the student is enrolled or a permanent degree-granting institution in Ontario. The value of the OGS is $10,000 per term. So, if a student has applied for the master’s program and has been awarded this scholarship, then they could receive $15,000 for three consecutive terms. But if the student has applied for the PhD degree and has been awarded this scholarship, then you have the potential to receive $10,000 for six consecutive terms.

  1. The University of Manitoba Graduate Fellowships (UMGF)

This particular scholarship is for those students who are planning to enroll as a new full-time student in a research-based Masters or PhD program. The fellowship amount for PhD candidates is $14,000, and each student is guaranteed at least that much; last year, some students received up to $28,000 although the maximum amount is $18,000 for Masters students.

Also, the scholarship is renewable, students can get it for three years for Masters and four years for PhD and it can be held for a maximum of five years inclusive of all scholarship and fellowships. Students who get this scholarship have to first of all confirm their intention to accept the award and later on, renew their award through the Student Awards and Financial Aid Office.

  1. The University of Calgary Graduate Scholarships Office

The University of Calgary Graduate Scholarships Office works hard to ensure that all eligible students are effectively supported through the admission and scholarship application process. The office provides a large number of merit-based scholarships to both incoming students and those currently enrolled in a graduate program. It also supports students in the application process for external scholarship opportunities.

Every year, the University of Calgary attracts many of the best students locally, nationally, and internationally. This is due, in part, to a comprehensive set of awards, scholarships, fellowships and bursaries available. Also, the University of Calgary is recognized as one of the top research institutions in Canada and we are proud to support our graduate students in their studies.

  1. Banting Post-doctoral Fellowships

The Banting Post-doctoral Fellowship is one of Canada’s most prestigious and most sought-after post-doctoral funding programs. The program allows highly motivated and competitive young researchers who have recently completed a PhD degree to do further research in health, natural, engineering, and social sciences at host institutions both in Canada and abroad.

The fellowship provides a stipend of 70,000 Canadian dollars per annum for two years and this will be taxable. It also provides an annual allowance of 7,500 Canadian dollars to the host institution. An international candidate with a work permit to work in Canada can apply and will receive a stipend of 75,000 Canadian dollars per annum for two years. The program has brought active and prestigious scholars to Canada in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

  1. Alberta Innovates Graduate Students Scholarships

The Alberta Innovates Graduate Students Scholarships is given as an annual award to a graduate student in their second year of a Master’s or the first and second years of a Doctoral program (students cannot be in the first year of a Master’s program). Applicants must be supervised by an Alberta-based investigator, and the research must align with Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions’ mandate areas.

Successful students must achieve a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5 (on a 4-point system) on the equivalent of the last 20 half course weight for the graduate program in the first and second year. The Alberta Innovates Graduate Student Scholarship application form, program guide and reference guide are available under Forms & Resources. Successful applicants will receive a stipend of $26,000 per annum (with an annual increase applied depending on the duration of the award), coverage for the University of Calgary Judicial Practice, and coverage of the University of Calgary monthly health and dental plan throughout the award.

  1. Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS)

The CGS program is administered jointly by Canada’s three federal granting agencies and aims to help develop research skills and assist in the training of highly qualified personnel by supporting students who demonstrate a high standard of achievement in undergraduate and early graduate studies. The CGS stipend ranges from $17,500 for 12 months (or $35,000 for 24 months) for master’s students to $21,000 for 12 months up to 36 months for doctoral students and the CGS master’s and doctoral awards include an annual travel allowance for the student.

The award is provided to students who are undertaking a master’s or a doctoral program that has a significant research component and includes at least sixty percent of the time devoted towards the research project. Students must find faculty members who are eligible to sponsor them and apply for the scholarship on the faculty member’s application. Students cannot create an application that is not sponsored by a faculty member who is eligible to apply for the CGS award.


  1. Can I Get a PhD in Canada with a Scholarship?

Yes, you can get a PhD in Canada with a scholarship. The Canadian government, through its research councils and industry partners, provides research students with a good range of scholarships. Individual universities may additionally offer their own scholarships, so the choices are vast. With the best study option, full scholarship, leader faculty members and sponsor institutions, everything may reach the proper track for brilliant academic and future career steps.

  1. Is there PhD in Canada with a stipend?

A majority of the leading PhD scholarships in Canada include monthly stipends for recipients. Lots of study and research funding in the form of different awards and grants are available. Some of these funding options may cover full or partial tuition fees or provide a monthly living allowance.

  1. Do PhD students get paid in Canada?

Well, most PhD students in Canada will receive some type of funding to complete their studies. This can come in several different forms. The most common options are teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and scholarship awards. So, if paid employment is connected to your funding, you would be eligible to work without a separate work permit. However, if your funding does not require you to work for the university (e.g., you are not being paid as a research assistant and your award is not in exchange for work), then you would be required to apply for a work permit as an international student.

  1. Is a PhD Worth it in Canada?

Well, higher education in Canada is known worldwide to be top-notch. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Canada is among the most educated countries in the world. The Canadian system takes after the British system where studies are structured strictly.

  1. How Can I Get a Full Scholarship in Canada?

Some scholarships are available for international students specifically. The timing for these scholarships is often similar each year. Applications for these often have a submission deadline of about 3-4 months before the funding is due to commence. Some university scholarships require you to apply earlier. Also, remember that scholarships are varied and may provide either full funding that will cover tuition fees and provide a sufficient living allowance, however, they can also be small contributions towards tuition fees or providing just a living allowance.

  1. Is a PhD in Canada free?

A lot of people think that because studying for a PhD in Canada is still fairly cheaper compared to other countries that may be the tuition fees may be free. However, this is far from the truth. As of now, free PhD education in Canada is still not yet a reality – especially for those who are not yet Canadian citizens.

  1. How Long is a PhD in Canada?

Talking about PhD duration in Canada, the minimum time to complete a PhD in Canada is three years. Most PhDs in Canada are for three years. In many cases, it’s typical to take about four to five years to finish. But on average, a PhD program in Canada lasts about four to seven years.


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