ScholarshipsScholarships in Canada

Canada Graduate Scholarships – Doctoral program

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The Canada Graduate Scholarships – Doctoral (CGS D) program is a federal program of scholarships awarded through national competitions by the granting agencies: 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).

Value$35,000 per year
Duration36 months
TenureCanadian institutions only
Application deadlineThrough a Canadian institution: Contact your institution 
Directly to the agencies: October 17

To determine whether you should apply through a Canadian institution or directly to the agencies and which application deadline applies to you, consult “Where should I submit my application?”

How to applyRefer to the Application procedures below.
Results announcedApril
Application forms and instructionsCIHR: ResearchNET and instructions
NSERC: Online system and instructions
SSHRC: Online system and instructions


The objective of the Canada Graduate Scholarships – Doctoral (CGS D) program is to promote continued excellence in Canadian research by rewarding and retaining high-calibre doctoral students at Canadian institutions. By providing support for a high-quality research training experience to awardees, the CGS D program strives to foster impacts within and beyond the research environment.


The CGS D program supports and promotes research excellence in a wide variety of disciplines and broad fields of health, natural sciences and engineering, and social sciences and humanities, including interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research. This support allows scholars to fully concentrate on their doctoral studies, to seek out the best research mentors in their chosen fields and to contribute to the Canadian research ecosystem during and beyond the tenure of their awards.  

Agency-specific doctoral awards

In addition to the CGS D, each agency has its own doctoral awards.

For all three agencies, one application must be completed and submitted to be considered for both a CGS D award and either an agency-specific doctoral award (for NSERC/SSHRC applications) or any available doctoral Priority Announcements (for CIHR applications). CGS D awards are then offered for the top-ranked eligible applications in each agency’s competition.

Some eligibility requirements for CGS D differ from those of the agency-specific doctoral awards. Refer to the appropriate literature for CIHRNSERC and SSHRC for further details as well as information on doctoral awards tenable at foreign institutions.


To be eligible to apply, you must

  • 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
  • have completed no more than 24 months of full-time study in your 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 your joint program by December 31 of the calendar year of application if enrolled in a joint program; such as, MD/PhD, MA/PhD
    • if you fall into this category, you have access to the 36-month window whether or not you were previously enrolled in a master’s program
  • have completed no more than 36 months of full-time study in your 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

Note: To maximize your potential period of funding, you may be eligible to apply to the CGS M program for your first year of doctoral funding. You are responsible for choosing the type of award for which you apply. See Other restrictions below for more information. 

Number of months

Eligibility for CGS D is based on the number of months of full-time study, including summer months, toward the degree for which you are requesting funding by December 31 of the calendar year of application. Two terms of part-time study count as one term of full-time study.

Note: The agencies count all studies toward the doctoral degree for which funding is requested, whether or not they were completed at the degree-granting institution.

Fast-track and joint programs

If you were registered in a master’s program and subsequently transferred to a doctoral program (fast-track), the months of study completed are calculated starting from the date on which you transferred into the doctoral program.

If you are registered in a joint program, and a master’s degree is obtained as part of the program (for example, MA/PhD), the months of study are calculated starting from the date on which you are officially registered in the joint program (including the master’s portion of the program).

Other restrictions

  • You can submit a maximum of one scholarship or fellowship application per academic year to either CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC. Should more than one application be submitted, the eligible application submitted first chronologically will be retained. 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).
  • You cannot have already received a doctoral-level scholarship from CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC (does not apply to CIHR Fellowships).
  • You cannot hold a tenure or tenure-track appointment concurrently with your CGS D award.

Program of study

An eligible doctoral program must include a significant research component that leads to the completion of a 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.

Joint programs with a professional degree (for example, MD/PhD, DVM/PhD, JD/PhD, MBA/PhD) 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 procedures

Selecting the appropriate agency

You should complete the agency application that is best aligned with your research subject matter to ensure that it is reviewed by experts in disciplines closest to your field(s) of study. For more information refer to Selecting the appropriate federal granting agency.

To complete the application process, refer to the appropriate agency’s application website and instructions.

CIHR: ResearchNET and instructions
NSERC: Online system and instructions
SSHRC: Online system and instructions

Incomplete applications will be rejected from the competition.

Where to submit an application

You must apply either through a Canadian institution or directly to the appropriate agency depending on your registration status at the application deadline date and/or your registration status in the calendar year of application. Failure to submit an application through the correct channel will result in your application being rejected.

To determine the correct channel, you must

If you are unsure of your registration status in the calendar year of application, contact your faculty of graduate studies (or its equivalent).


The term “quota” refers to the maximum number of applications an institution can forward to each agency’s national competition. Institutions receive separate quotas from each agency (CIHRNSERC and SSHRC).

Application deadlines

Institution deadlines

If you are applying through an institution, you must submit your application by the deadline set by the institution, which may be well in advance of the agency deadline.

For more information about institutional deadlines, you should contact your faculty of graduate studies (or its equivalent).

Agency deadlines

If you are eligible to apply directly to one of the agencies (consult “Where should I submit my application?”), you must submit using the appropriate agency application portal before 8:00 p.m. (ET) on October 17. If the deadline falls on a weekend, applications can be submitted the following business day before 8:00 p.m. (ET). Incomplete applications will be rejected.

Selection process

Institutional review

The faculty of graduate studies (or its equivalent) at each Canadian institution is responsible for coordinating the institutional evaluation of CGS D applications. Institutions then submit applications according to their quotas for consideration to each agency.

Agency review

Agency selection committees review applications (whether sent directly to the agencies or via the institutions).

Indigenous applicants

Institutions may recommend applications from self-identified Indigenous applicants to the doctoral awards competition beyond their application quota. Indigenous applicants must agree to their personal information being used for this purpose by making the appropriate selection in the application form.


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