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CIHR, NSERC & SSHRC

Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master's Program

Instructions for completing an application

General information

About the program

Read the Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master’s (CGS M) program description before completing the application.

Application deadlines

The program description has information concerning application deadlines. However, in preparing to meet these deadlines, the following points may affect timing of applications and should be taken into account:

  • If you select Health as your field of research, you must provide a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Personal Identification Number (PIN). It takes up to one full working day to process your CIHR PIN request.
  • If you are contacting former institutions to obtain official transcripts and supporting documents, remember that it may take time for them to provide you with the information requested.
  • Attachments to the application must be uploaded in a specific format (refer to Research Portal Presentation and Attachment Standards). It is your responsibility to allow enough time to resolve any formatting issues in advance of the deadline.
  • As the deadline approaches, delays may occur due to high traffic on the Research Portal; this may prevent the timely submission of your application, and you should plan accordingly. Requests to submit late applications will not be accepted.
  • Allow enough time for your reference assessments and your application to be completed in advance of the application deadline. It is your responsibility to follow up with your references. We recommend that you contact references at least four weeks before the deadline.
  • The This link will take you to another Web site Research Portal will not permit the submission of incomplete or late applications (refer to Steps for completing and submitting the application).
  • No changes or updates can be made to an application once it has been submitted. Only personal contact information may be updated through your Research Portal account.
  • The status of your application can be verified by logging in to the Research Portal and selecting Open under the Action column to see your application status at each proposed institution.
  • If the deadline falls on a weekend, applications must be submitted by the following business day before 8:00 p.m. (ET).

Presentation standards

For presentation standards, consult the Research Portal Presentation and Attachment Standards.

Collection and use of personal information

For information on the collection and use of personal information, refer to the Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master’s (CGS M) program description.

Eligibility review decisions

Institutions make eligibility decisions, based on guidelines for the CGS M program. You must ensure that your application is complete and meets the standards of the institution(s) to which you are submitting. If your application is deemed ineligible and you wish to appeal, such appeals are reviewed and decided by the institution rather than the three agencies.

Steps for completing and submitting the application

There are 12 steps for completing and submitting a CGS M application. All steps must be completed successfully in order for your application to be forwarded to the institutions for consideration.

1. Create an application

After logging in to the This link will take you to another Web site Research Portal , click on Create Applications to gain access to the funding opportunities (programs) available. Select the CGS M program from the list and click on Create.

Note: The Research Portal has a time-out period of 20 minutes of inactivity within each section. After 60 minutes of inactivity, you will be logged out of the Research Portal. Typing does not count as an activity. Remember to Save and Validate frequently; otherwise, the information entered will be lost.

Applicants requiring technical assistance in preparing their application should communicate with the This link will take you to another Web site Helpdesk well in advance of the application deadline.

2. Application overview

Identification

Selections and entries may be used for identification purposes, to determine eligibility, to assign your application to reviewers and/or to evaluate your application.

Application title

The title should describe the research to be carried out during your graduate program. It should not contain a company or trade name. Spell out scientific symbols and acronyms.

Field of Research

You must select the field of research (Health, Natural Sciences and/or Engineering or Social Sciences and/or Humanities). Each field of research is associated with a list of fields of study, a list of areas of research, and a list of institutions to which the application may be submitted.

You must make only one field of research selection even if your proposed research is inter- or multidisciplinary in nature and/or appears to span the mandates of two or more of the federal granting agencies. Additional information on mandate and subject matter eligibility is available on This link will take you to another Web site Science.gc.ca.

Once you select a field of research in the application form, the proposed institution(s) available to you will be those with a CGS M allocation in your chosen field of research.

Institutions are responsible for ensuring that the field of research selected corresponds to the mandate of the agency. Institutions may modify the applicants’ field of research selections if they are deemed to be incorrect.

Proposed start date of program of study

Indicate the date you enrolled or expect to enroll in the program for which you are seeking support.

Number of months of graduate studies completed as of December 31 of year of application

Enter the number of months you will have completed in the eligible program of study as of December 31 of the year of application. If you are not currently enrolled in a program of study, indicate this by entering 0 months.

Canada Graduate Scholarships – Michael Smith Foreign Study supplements

These supplements are available to active CGS (master’s or doctoral) or eligible Vanier CGS holders to help offset the costs of undertaking research studies outside Canada for a defined period. In your CGS M application, indicate whether you are interested in applying for this supplement should you be successful in obtaining the award by clicking the radio button. For more information, refer to the Canada Graduate Scholarships – Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplements Program.

Supplements/Joint Initiatives

Department of National Defence Mobilizing Insights in Defence and Security (MINDS) Scholarship Initiative

This joint initiative between the Department of National Defence and SSHRC offers two streams of funding for CGS M applicants who select the “social sciences and/or humanities” field of research in their application form:

  • MINDS Master’s Scholarships for Indigenous Students are one-year, non-renewable awards valued at $17,500. Applicants who self-identify as Indigenous and whose research is related to the This link will take you to another Web site MINDS Policy Challenges and/or Canada’s defence policy, This link will take you to another Web site Strong, Secure, Engaged, are eligible to apply for these scholarships. To be considered for this funding opportunity, you must:
    • select the “MINDS Master’s Scholarships for Indigenous Students” option from the drop-down menu,
    • indicate your agreement with the self-identification and consent statement by selecting the appropriate checkbox,
    • complete the “Personal Statement” (maximum 3000 characters), and
    • complete the “Statement of Thematic Relevance” (maximum 1500 characters).
  • MINDS Scholarship Initiative Supplements are one-time supplements valued at $10,000. All candidates whose research is related to the This link will take you to another Web site MINDS Policy Challenges and/or Canada’s defence policy, This link will take you to another Web site Strong, Secure, Engaged, are eligible to apply for these supplements. To be considered for supplemental funding, you must:
    • select the “MINDS Scholarship Initiative Supplements” option from the drop-down menu and
    • complete the “Statement of Thematic Relevance” (maximum 3000 characters).

Eligible candidates may apply to both streams of funding.

For additional information, consult the description of the This link will take you to another Web site MINDS Scholarship Initiative on the SSHRC website.

Note: to be offered a MINDS Master’s Scholarship for Indigenous Students or a MINDS Scholarship Initiative Supplement, candidates must first be successful in the CGS M Program competition.

Proposed host institution

You must indicate the institution(s) at which you intend to hold the CGS M award. You can select up to three institutions; however, you may select only institutions where:

  • you are currently enrolled full-time* in an eligible program of study and intend to pursue your studies; or
  • you will apply for full-time* admission to an eligible program of study by the internal deadline set by the institution(s) indicated in your application.

Applicants are not eligible to hold a CGS M award from an institution where they are not enrolled or where they have not applied for admission to an eligible program of study. If you select an institution but have not met the above criteria, your application will be deemed ineligible for that institution.

You may select an institution only once, and you may select only one department per institution.

At some institutions, the department selects the awards. The department you select in your application must be the same department for the program to which you will apply for admission. Otherwise, your application might not be considered. Contact the faculty of graduate studies (or its equivalent) at the selected Canadian institution(s) for more information.

*Refer to the Tri-agency Research Training Award Holder’s Guide for details regarding part-time status.

Summary of proposal

Provide a brief summary (maximum of 1,800 characters including spaces) of your Outline of proposed research in language that the public can understand. This plain-language summary may be made available to the public if your application is successful.

3. Activity details

Themes

If you select Health as your field of research, you must make a selection from the following list:

  • Biomedical
  • Clinical
  • Health systems services
  • Social, cultural, environmental and population health

CIHR Personal Identification Number

If you select Health as your Field of Research, you must provide a CIHR Personal Identification Number (PIN). For instructions on how to obtain a CIHR PIN, you must first This link will take you to another Web site Register with CIHR.

It is your responsibility to allow enough time to process your CIHR PIN in advance of the CGS M deadline.

Certification requirements

The following questions relate to certification requirements that may apply:

  • Does the proposed research involve humans as research participants?
  • Does the proposed research involve animals?
  • Does the proposed research involve human pluripotent stem cells?
  • Does the proposed research involve controlled drugs and/or substances?
  • Does the proposed research involve Aboriginal peoples? (for statistical purposes only)

Consult This link will take you to another Web site section 2.4 of the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research for additional details.

Sex- and gender-based analysis

The following questions relate to sex- and gender-based analysis that may apply:

  • Are sex (biological) considerations taken into account in this proposal?
  • Are gender (socio-cultural) considerations taken into account in this study?
  • Describe how sex and/or gender considerations will be considered in your research study. (Note: This question will appear only if you have selected yes to either of the above two questions).

For a guide to sex- and gender-based analysis, consult the This link will take you to another Web site CIHR website .

Keywords and fields of study

Select the field(s) of study that most closely correspond(s) to your proposed research. The list of available fields of study will change, depending on your selected field of research.

Use keywords to further describe your proposed field of study.

4. Outline of proposed research (attachment)

The attachment consists of two separate sections: an Outline of proposed research and a Bibliography and citations. Each of these sections must be only one page. Pages in excess of the number permitted may be removed before the selection process, and your application may be at a disadvantage as a result.

Outline of proposed research (maximum of one page)

Provide a detailed description of your proposed research project for the period during which you will hold the award. Be as specific as possible. Provide background information to position your proposed research within the context of current knowledge in the field. State the objectives and hypothesis, and outline the experimental or theoretical approach to be taken (citing literature pertinent to the proposal), and the methods and procedures to be used. State the significance of the proposed research to a field or fields in the health sciences, natural sciences and/or engineering, or social sciences and/or humanities, as appropriate.

If the output of your degree program is an artistic creation rather than a thesis, clearly indicate the research component of your proposed work. Outline the objectives of your research, the context, methodology and contribution to the advancement of knowledge.

If your degree program does not involve a thesis, a major research paper/essay, or a major research project, clearly outline the research component of the degree.

If you have not yet decided on a specific project, you must still provide a detailed description of a proposed research project. You may change your research direction or activities during the course of the award. Certain restrictions may apply. Refer to the Tri-agency Research Training Award Holder’s Guide.

In addition:

  • Applicants are expected to write their outline of proposed research independently. Ideas and text belonging to others must be properly referenced.
  • Include all relevant information in the outline. Do not refer reviewers to URLs or other publications for supplemental information.
  • In the Outline of proposed research, provide the requested information according to the guidelines and format standards outlined in the Presentation standards.

Bibliography and citations (maximum of one page)

Provide a bibliography that includes citations for all works referenced in the research proposal. These citations should be in a format used by the primary discipline of the proposed research. You must ensure that all citations are clear and complete, to allow reviewers to easily locate the sources.

5. Transcripts (attachment)

Up-to-date official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate studies should be included in the application. Retain the paper copy of any uploaded transcripts, as you may be asked to provide it for verification purposes.

If transcripts are not provided for all programs of study listed in the CCV, the selection committee(s) will have less information to base their assessment on, which may put your application at a disadvantage.

If you have not provided the up-to-date official transcripts needed to determine whether you have achieved a first-class average in each of the last two completed years of study (full-time equivalent), your application will be deemed ineligible.

Definitions

Up-to-date transcripts are defined as 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 according to institutional guidelines. Ensure that the transcripts uploaded meet the internal requirements at each institution selected in your application. Contact the faculty of graduate studies (or its equivalent) at the institution(s) selected in your application to determine their requirements.

If your institution does not provide transcripts, you can submit, in lieu of a transcript, a letter bearing the official institution seal/stamp or a letter signed by the dean of graduate studies or an equivalent confirming 1) your program of study, 2) your registration status and 3) the fact that the institution does not provide transcripts.

Presentation standards for transcripts

For presentation standards, consult the Research Portal Presentation and Attachment Standards.

6. Canadian Common CV (CCV)

Applicants are required to complete a This link will take you to another Web site Canadian Common CV . Select CGS-Master’s from the Funding Source and CV Type drop-down menus. A complete CCV must be linked to the application by following the instructions provided in the Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master’s Program - Instructions for completing a Canadian Common CV page.

Information concerning language ability is used for statistical purposes, and may be used to identify prospective reviewers for this or other CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC programs. Where appropriate and depending on your discipline, language ability may also be used to assess your capacity to pursue the research proposed, for example, if the subject matter requires the study of foreign texts.

7. Special circumstances

The agencies require institutions and reviewers to take into consideration special circumstances that may have affected candidates’ research, professional career, record of academic or research achievement, or completion of degrees. Relevant circumstances might include administrative responsibilities, maternity/parental leave, child-rearing, illness, disability, cultural or community responsibilities, socio-economic context, or family responsibilities. Specify the dates for any delays or interruptions in the Leaves of absence and impact on research section of the CCV.

8. Reference assessments

Each application must be accompanied by two reference assessments.

Assessments should be completed by individuals that are familiar enough with your research and other abilities so that they can provide a meaningful commentary (for example, current or previous academic research supervisor, industrial supervisor, teacher or thesis advisor). Assessments cannot be completed by a proposed supervisor unless that person is currently, or has already been, your supervisor and can provide an informed assessment.

You must contact your proposed references to ensure they are willing to complete an assessment for you in time for the application deadline. In the Invitations section of your application, enter the required information for each of the references. Once the information is saved, references will receive a system-generated email containing the link to their reference assessment. The status of the request can be verified in this section.

You will not be able to submit your application until these assessments have been completed and linked to your application. It is your responsibility to ensure your references complete and submit their assessments early enough to allow you to submit your complete application in the Research Portal before the December 1 deadline.

For more information on the Reference Assessment Form, refer to the video tutorial Canada Graduate Scholarships–Master's Program – Instructions for Completing the Reference Assessment Form.

9. Verify that the application is complete

You must ensure that the application is complete and accurate and is submitted by the deadline.

All mandatory sections of the application must be completed, including all attachments and the two reference assessments. Incomplete applications cannot be submitted.

A complete application includes the following:

  • Application form
  • Outline of the proposed research, including Bibliography and citations
  • All required undergraduate and graduate transcripts
  • CGS M Canadian Common CV (CCV)
  • Two reference assessments

A green checkmark will appear when each completed section has been saved and validated and when each reference assessment has been received.

10. Extract the application

Click on Export application and attachments to PDF to create and view a PDF copy of your application. Review your application before submitting; your CCV and reference assessments will not appear in the extracted application. The Submit button will not appear until this step has been completed.

11. Submit the application

Once the application has been exported and reviewed, you must click the Submit button.

12. Accept the Terms and Conditions of Applying

The Terms and Conditions of Applying will appear in a pop-up window. You must read and agree to these terms and conditions for your application to be considered for the CGS M competition. Retain a copy of the agreed terms and conditions for your records.

Once you have agreed to the Terms and Conditions of Applying, you will receive an email confirming the successful submission of your application. When your application is successfully received by the institution(s), your status will change to Received by Administrator in the Research Portal.

Modifications or additions after submission or after the deadline are not permitted. However, you can update your personal information under the Profile tab.

Application statuses

Received by Administrator: The completed application has been successfully submitted to the institution by the applicant.

Offered: An offer has been made to the applicant by the institution.

Alternate: The application has been deemed meritorious in the institution’s competition; however, due to its ranking, it falls below the allocation cut-off. The applicant is therefore on the alternate list. Should an award become available due to a decline, an applicant on the alternate list may receive an offer.

Not Offered: The application has been deemed non-meritorious in the institution’s competition. Subsequent offers will not be made to the applicant.

Ineligible: The application has been deemed ineligible based on the eligibility criteria outlined in the funding opportunity description.

Accepted: The offer has been accepted by the applicant.

Declined: (a) the offer from the institution has been declined by the applicant; or (b) an offer from a different institution has been accepted by the applicant; therefore, all other pending offers are automatically set to Declined; or (c) an offer has not been accepted within 21 days from the date of offer.

Deferred: Before commencing an award, the applicant may defer an award for up to three years, for a maximum of one year at a time. Conditions apply; see Tri-agency Research Training Award Holder’s Guide for details.

Acceptance Withdrawn: The acceptance of the offer has been withdrawn at the applicant’s request.

Notification of results

Offers of awards will be made available in the This link will take you to another Web site Research Portal as of April 1. Offers to alternate candidates may be made up until January 31 of the next calendar year. You will receive a system-generated email inviting you to log in to the Research Portal each time the status of your application changes. You must regularly verify the Research Portal between April 1 and January 31 for results of the competition.

To view the application status, log in to your Research Portal account and click Open to access the Application Overview page (which contains your application, the CCV and all attachments). In the Application Status section, you will be able to view the current application status(es). When the results are released, your application will be given one of four statuses: Offered, Alternate, Not Offered, or Ineligible.

Applications may be deemed Ineligible as early as the day following the application deadline. If your application is deemed Ineligible, you will receive an automated email notifying you of this update.

If you are Offered an award, you will have 21 days from the date of each offer of award to accept or decline through the Research Portal. The status of offers not accepted within the 21 days will automatically be changed to Declined.

Applicants may accept only one CGS M offer. Once an offer has been accepted, the system will automatically change all other offers and statuses to Declined, and applicants will not be eligible to receive further offers.

If you accept an offer of award and you are on an alternate list for admission to your program of study, your CGS M award will be conditional upon admission to the program of study. An offer of award is considered official only once you have been formally accepted by the institution in the program of study to which you have applied.

Refer to the Tri-agency Research Training Award Holder’s Guide for policies and requirements concerning post-award administration.

Whom should I contact for help?

For technical issues related to the Research Portal, contact the This link will take you to another Web site Helpdesk.

For program-related information, your first point of contact is the faculty of graduate studies (or its equivalent) at the institution(s) where you intend to hold the award.

You can also contact any of Canada’s three agencies for information about this program. You should communicate with the agency whose mandate corresponds to your field of research (Health, Natural Sciences and/or Engineering or Social Sciences and/or Humanities).

The agencies aim to respond to inquiries within 48 hours. During peak periods (November to January), the response time may be delayed.

CIHR
Email: cgsma-bescbm@cihr-irsc.gc.ca

NSERC
Email: schol@nserc-crsng.gc.ca

SSHRC
Email: fellowships@sshrc-crsh.gc.ca