NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarships — Master’s program for Scholars


Value: $17,500 for 12 months, non-renewable

Application Deadline: December 1

How to apply: The application platform (Research Portal) will open in late August or early September, within five business days of the launch of the funding opportunity.

To view instructions and other resources, consult the Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s program resources web page.

To create or access an application, log in to the Research Portal.

To create a Canadian Common CV, log in to the Canadian Common CV website.


The objective of the Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s (CGS M) program is 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 M program provides financial support to high-caliber scholars who are engaged in an eligible master’s or, in some cases, doctoral program in Canada. This support allows these scholars to fully concentrate on their studies in their chosen fields.

The CGS M program supports up to 3,000 students annually in all disciplines and is administered jointly by Canada’s three granting agencies: the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). The selection process and post-award administration are carried out at the institutional level, under the guidance of the three agencies. Students submit their application to the institution at which they intend to hold their award using the Research Portal.


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 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 faculty of graduate studies (or its equivalent) at the selected Canadian institution(s) for more detailed information
  • have completed, as of December 31 of the year of application
    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:
  1. a master’s program
  2. a doctoral program that you are entering directly from a bachelor’s program without having ever been enrolled in any graduate programs (direct entry)
  3. a combined master’s-doctoral program
  4. 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)
  5. 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
  • 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 at that same institution, 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 NSERC, CIHR or SSHRC
  • not have held or be currently holding an Indigenous Scholars Award and Supplement
    have achieved a first-class average**, as determined by the host institution, in each of the last two completed years of study (full-time equivalent)
    Note: Institutions may, at their discretion, accept CGS M applications from individuals who have not obtained a first-class average; contact your proposed host institutions to determine their use of this eligibility criterion
    submit a maximum of one scholarship (master’s or doctoral) or fellowship application per academic year to either NSERC, CIHR or SSHRC
    Note: Should more than one application be submitted, the eligible application submitted first chronologically will be retained
    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 programs)

*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. Two terms of part-time study count as one term of full-time study.

Program of study eligibility

An eligible graduate 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/Ph.D., DVM/Ph.D., JD/MA, JD/Ph.D., MBA/Ph.D., 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.

Master’s programs that are based only on course work are typically not eligible since they do not include a significant research component, as described above.

Given the specific requirements of certain disciplines, institutions are invited to contact the appropriate agency for guidance on the eligibility of programs of study.

Eligible locations of tenure

Without exception, CGS M awards are tenable only at eligible Canadian institutions.

Field of research and subject matter eligibility

NSERC, CIHR, and SSHRC support and promote high-quality research in a wide variety of disciplines and areas, which are divided into broad fields of research (health, natural sciences, engineering, and social sciences and humanities). This includes research that bridges two or more disciplines or that requires the skills of several disciplines.

You must ensure that you are submitting your application to an institution that has an allocation for the field of research you intend to pursue. Applications deemed by a host institution to have been labeled incorrectly will be re-labeled according to the agency’s research subject matter guidelines (refer to Selecting the appropriate federal granting agency). You should contact the faculty of graduate studies (or its equivalent) at the institution where you intend to hold the award for further guidance on subject matter eligibility.

Equity, diversity and inclusion

The Tri-agency is acting on the evidence that achieving a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive Canadian research enterprise is essential to creating the excellent, innovative, and impactful research necessary to advance knowledge and understanding and to respond to local, national, and global challenges. This principle informs the commitments described in the Tri-agency statement on equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI).

Black student researchers

The Government of Canada has deployed additional funds to increase direct support for Black student researchers. CGS M applicants who self-identify as Black and provide consent in their application to be considered for funds designated for specific groups may be able to receive this funding through a scholarship as part of this initiative. Each agency has a limited number of additional CGS M awards reserved for this initiative.

Application procedures

To apply to the CGS M program, you must complete and submit an application to up to three institutions using the Research Portal. Consult the Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s program: Instructions for completing an application for more information on how to apply.


Eligible Canadian institutions are assigned a separate allocation of awards to offer from each agency. Institutions must respect the agency-specific allocation. Refer to the Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s award allocations page for a list of allocations by institution and by agency.


The deadline for CGS M applications is December 1, before 8:00 p.m. (ET). Complete applications must be submitted by the deadline using the Research Portal. If the deadline falls on a weekend, applications must be submitted by the following business day before 8:00 p.m. (ET).

Note: As the application deadline approaches, delays may occur due to a high volume of users on the Research Portal, which may prevent the timely submission of your application. It is your responsibility to strictly follow the instructions for completing an application. Requests to submit late applications will not be accepted.

Selection process

The faculty of graduate studies (or its equivalent) at each institution is responsible for coordinating the selection process for the CGS M applications. Refer to Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s program information and instructions for scholarships liaison officers for more information on the selection process.

Selection criteria

The merit review of CGS M applications will be carried out by institutions with an allocation and will be based on the following evaluation criteria:

Criteria: Academic excellence
Description: As demonstrated by past academic results, transcripts, awards and distinctions

Indicators of academic excellence:

  • academic record
  • scholarships and awards held
  • duration of previous studies
  • type of program and courses pursued
  • course load
  • relative standing (if available)

Weight: 50%

Criteria: Research potential
Description: As demonstrated by your research history, your interest in discovery, the proposed research, its potential contribution to the advancement of knowledge in the field and any anticipated outcomes

Indicators of research potential:

  • quality and originality of contributions to research and development
  • relevance of work experience and academic training to the field of the proposed research
  • significance, feasibility, and merit of the proposed research
  • judgment and ability to think critically
  • ability to apply skills and knowledge
  • initiative and autonomy
  • research experience and achievements relative to expectations of someone with your academic experience

Weight: 30%

Criteria: Personal characteristics and interpersonal skills
Description: As demonstrated by your past professional and relevant extracurricular interactions and collaborations

Indicators of personal characteristics and interpersonal skills:

  • work experience
  • leadership experience
  • project management including organizing conferences and meetings
  • ability or potential to communicate theoretical, technical or scientific concepts clearly and logically in written and oral formats
  • involvement in academic life
  • volunteerism/community outreach

Weight: 20%


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