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Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master's Program

Instructions for Completing an Application

General Information

About the Program

Read the Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master’s Program (CGS M) description before you complete 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.
  • The application requires that attachments be uploaded in a specific format (refer to Presentation Standards). It is your responsibility to allow enough time to resolve these formatting issues in advance of the deadline. It is advisable to plan ahead, as delays may occur a high volume of users on the Research Portal, which may prevent the timely submission of your application.
  • 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 Research Portal will not permit the submission of incomplete or late applications (refer to Completing 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

In each section of the Research Portal application, you will find instructions and tips on how to complete your application. All documents uploaded as attachments must be in Portable Document Format (PDF) and must conform to the following presentation standards. See also Transcripts (attachment) and Presentation Standards for Transcripts for related presentation standards.

  • Text must be single-spaced, with no more than six lines per inch.
  • The acceptable font is Times New Roman (regular, minimum 12-pt.) or a comparable font.
  • Condensed type is not acceptable.
  • Set margins at a minimum of 1.87 cm (3/4 of an inch) all around.
  • Use a left-justified, standard page layout.
  • Include your name in the page header on every page.
  • For multipage attachments, number the pages sequentially.
  • The maximum number of pages permitted is indicated in each section of the application.
  • The main body of the application should be written in either English or French and not in a mix of both official languages.
  • In addition, if you have transcripts or related documentation written in a language other than English or French, you must provide them in their original language with a certified English or French translation.

Applications that do not meet presentation standards may be at a disadvantage. Pages in excess of the number permitted will not be assessed by the selection committee. 

The following are examples of software that can be used to convert the required attachments into PDF files:

  • Adobe Acrobat Pro
  • PDF Creator
  • Word (for example, the Outline of Proposed Research document can be saved as a .pdf extension)

It is important to note that some web browsers may not be compatible with the Research Portal. In the event that you or your references experience technical difficulties while completing any portion of the application, ensure that you are using the most recent version of your web browser or try using a different one. For more information on web browsers supported by the Research Portal, contact the This link will take you to another Web site Helpdesk or complete an On-line Services Support Request.

Collection and Use of Personal Information

All personal information collected as part of this program is used by the agencies and by the relevant officials in the eligible institutions to review applications and to administer and monitor awards. It may also be used to determine the most appropriate funding jurisdiction, or to monitor overlap in federal support. Details on the use and disclosure of this information by the agencies are described by CIHR in This link will take you to another Web site Info Source Sources of Federal Government and Employee Information, by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) in the Use and Disclosure of Personal Information Provided to NSERC, by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) in the This link will take you to another Web site Collection, Use and Disclosure of Personal Information, and in the relevant program literature.

Each agency may publish the names and other limited award information of scholarship award holders on their websites in accordance with the agencies' policies on disclosure under the Access to Information Act and their Privacy Act policies and guidelines related to the collection, use, retention and disposal of personal information. For more information, consult the This link will take you to another Web site Access to Information Act and the This link will take you to another Web site Privacy Act. In addition, for SSHRC funded scholarships, SSHRC will provide to the Fonds de recherche du Québec-Société et culture (FRQSC) the same information as the one above in advance of the public announcement of awards, for its administrative purposes and in accordance with the memorandum of understanding between SSHRC and FRQSC.

Whom Should I Contact for Help?

For matters related to the Research Portal, contact the This link will take you to another Web site Helpdesk, or complete an On-line Services Support Request.

For program-related information, contact 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 federal granting 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.

Tel.: 613-952-0763

Contact List

Tel.: 613-943-7777

Completing the Application

Create an Application

After logging in to the 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 after 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; you must remember to Save and Validate frequently, otherwise the information you have entered will be lost.

A complete application includes the following documents:

  • the application form;
  • the outline of the proposed research (including the bibliography and citations);
  • all required undergraduate and graduate transcripts;
  • the CGS M Canadian Common CV (CCV);
  • two reference assessments.

A green checkmark will appear for each completed section that has been saved and validated. The Submit button will only become available once all sections of the application have been completed.

Application Overview


Your selections and entries in the following sections 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 will be used for publication purposes. It 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) for the proposal. Each Field of Research is associated with a list of fields of study and areas of research, and a list of institutions to which the application may be submitted.

A single selection must be made 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

Each institution has an agency-specific allocation for the CGS M Program. Institutions are responsible for ensuring that successful applicants are funded by the most relevant agency.

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 may modify the applicants’ selections for Field of Research if they are deemed to be incorrect. Applicants should contact the Faculty of Graduate Studies (or its equivalent) at the appropriate institution for guidance.

Start Date or 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, as of December 31 of the year of application, you will have completed in the eligible program of study indicated in the 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.

Proposed Host Institution

You must indicate the institution at which you intend to hold the award. You can select up to five 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.  

An institution may only be selected once. Additionally, only one department per institution may be selected.

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.

Accurate department selection is very important. Your application must be directed to the department/program that you are most interested in pursuing.

An offer of award is considered official only once you have been formally accepted into the program of study to which you have applied.

* 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 1,500 characters) of your Outline of Proposed Research in a language that the public can understand. This plain language summary may be made available to the public if your application is successful.

Activity Details


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). To register for a CIHR PIN, you must first register for a ResearchNet account. If you do not already have an account, access This link will take you to another Web site ResearchNet to create an account and request a PIN.

It takes up to one full working day to process your CIHR PIN request.

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? Indicate whether sex (biological) considerations are taken into account in this proposal.
  • Are gender (socio-cultural) considerations taken into account in this study? Indicate whether gender (socio-cultural) considerations are taken into account in this proposal.

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 corresponds 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.

Outline of Proposed Research (attachment)

The attachment consists of two separate sections:

  • Outline of proposed research (maximum of one page);
  • Bibliography/citations (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 the 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, indicate clearly 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/or 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.

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.

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 institutions 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 equivalent confirming 1) your program of study, 2) your registration status and 3) the fact that the institution does not provide transcripts.

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

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

Presentation Standards for Transcripts

Transcripts must be scanned in accordance with the following presentation standards and uploaded by the applicant in the appropriate section of the application:

  • Scanned together as a single document.
  • Include 1 copy of the legend (reverse of each transcript). Do not scan the legend multiple times.
  • PDF file (.pdf extension); unprotected.
  • Maximum file size of 10 mb (black and white recommended).
  • Page size 8 ½ in. x 11 in. (216 mm x 279 mm) or A4 (210 mm x 297 mm).
  • Transcripts must be uploaded in portrait orientation.

If you have transcripts written in a language other than English or French, you must provide a certified English or French translation.

Canadian Common CV (CCV)

Applicants are required to complete a This link will take you to another Web site Canadian Common CV (selecting 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 Canadian Common CV – How to Complete the Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master's Version.

The CGS-Master's CCV was designed to cover the breadth of candidates applying to the program. Certain fields of entry in the template may not be applicable to your specific circumstances. In those instances, the sections should be left blank.

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.

In the Leaves of Absence and Impact on Research section, the agencies require 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.

Reference Assessments

Each application must be accompanied by two reference assessments.

Note: These must be completed by persons capable of making an informed assessment and cannot be completed by a proposed supervisor unless that person is, or has been, your supervisor.

Assessments should be completed by individuals familiar enough with your research and other abilities that they can provide a meaningful commentary (e.g., current or previous academic research supervisor or industrial supervisor).

You must contact your proposed references to ensure they are willing to complete an assessment for you in time for the submission deadline of the application. In the appropriate section of your application, enter the required information for each of the references. Once the information is saved, an email containing the appropriate links will be forwarded to them so that the assessment may be completed. The status of the request can be verified on this page, where it will appear in the following sequence: Invitation sent but not yet accepted or Invitation declined; Invitation accepted but not yet completed; and Invitation accepted and completed.

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.

Submitting the Application

It is your responsibility to ensure that the application is complete and accurate, and is submitted in advance of the deadline.

  • Incomplete applications cannot be submitted.
  • All mandatory sections of the application, including attachments, must be completed, saved and validated. Only then will the Submit button become available.
  • An application will be considered complete once all of its mandatory sections have been completed, including uploads and the two reference assessments. A green checkmark will appear for each completed section that has been saved and validated. It is important to note that a complete application does not necessarily mean that all the required information has been included. A green checkmark will appear when a section appears to have been completed or a document has been uploaded, regardless of its content. It is important that you review your application before you submit it by clicking on Export application and attachments to PDF. This will allow you to confirm that all sections of the application have been duly completed and that your attachments have been uploaded successfully.
  • You will receive a confirmation email upon 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 are not permitted, other than updates to 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, 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 may 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

Institutions will begin releasing results in the Research Portal on April 1, and offers 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. It is your responsibility to regularly verify the Research Portal between April 1 and January 31 for results of the competition.

In order to view the application status, you must first 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 three statuses: Offered, Alternate or Not Offered. 

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 set to Declined. This change in status is irreversible.

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


There is no need for original signatures on applications or other documents submitted electronically using the Research Portal.

Before you, as an applicant, submit your application, you must read and agree to the Terms and Conditions of Applying that appear in a pop-up window during the submission process. It is your responsibility to retain a copy of the agreed Terms and Conditions for your records.