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Completion Awards

CAGS/ProQuest- Distinguished Dissertation Awards & John Leyerle-CIFAR Prize for Interdisciplinary Research

The CAGS/ProQuest and Leyerle-CIFAR awards both recognize Canadian doctoral dissertations that make significant, original contributions to both the academic community and to Canadian society.

The CAGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards annually present two awards:
1) arts, humanities and social sciences; and
2) engineering, medical sciences and natural sciences.
The Awards are granted by the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies (CAGS) and are sponsored by ProQuest.

The John Leyerle-CIFAR Prize for Interdisciplinary Research was established to honour John Leyerle, the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) in the late 1970’s, who played an instrumental role in founding the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) in 1978. This prize recognizes an excellent student who is clearly performing outstanding interdisciplinary research.

CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards

The CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards recognize Canadian doctoral dissertations that represent original work, making an unusually significant contribution to their disciplines. Two awards are given annually in rotating fields of study. Both methodological and substantive quality of the dissertation will be judged.

Two awards are given annually in two different broad areas (mathematics, physical sciences and engineering; and social sciences; and the biological sciences; and humanities and fine arts).

The 2023 fields of competition are:

  • Biology and Life Sciences
  • Humanities and Fine Arts

Doctoral Completion Award (DCA)

The School of Graduate Studies created the Doctoral Completion Award (DCA) in 2010 to provide financial assistance for full-time PhD and SJD students in the final stage of their program. DCA funds are made available to graduate faculties to support eligible students who are beyond the funded cohort but still within the time limit for the degree. The DCA is managed locally by the graduate faculty/unit.

Graduate students experiencing a disruption in their program and/or otherwise impacted trajectory should inquire about supports and services through the Registrar’s Office or Graduate Unit. More information is available on the SGS Research and Academic Resiliency and Adaptation Tool Kit webpage.

Governor General’s Gold Medals

The Office of the Governor General annually awards Gold Academic Medals to students who achieve the highest academic standing at the graduate level. The assessment of highest academic standing includes an examination of the following:

  • Academic performance in degree courses (first class average);
  • Evaluation of the thesis and the thesis defense; and
  • Originality and significance of the research.

Three (3) gold medals are available at the University of Toronto.

One medal will be awarded to a candidate from Division I or II; one medal will be awarded to a candidate from Division III or IV; the third medal will be awarded to an outstanding candidate from any division.  The recipients will receive a Gold Academic Medal and personalized certificate signed by the Governor General of Canada

REVISED: All nominees for the GG Gold Medals will automatically be assessed for eligibility by the Graduate Awards Office, with recipients/nominees also being selected by the SGS Awards Committee for the following awards:

  • Updated: Chorafas Prize – two awards of $10,000 to graduating doctoral students, age 32 or under, whose research benefits humanity in the following areas: Life Sciences & Medicine, Physics, Chemistry (incl. nanotechnology), Mathematics, Informatics/Computer Science, and Engineering of Finance & Risk Management.
  • CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards – two nominees to Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) for two $2,000 prizes for doctoral dissertations that represent original work and make an unusually significant contribution to the fields of Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Engineering, and Social Sciences. Fields of study awarded rotate every other year.
  • NAGS Master’s Thesis and Doctoral Dissertation Awards – two nominees to Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools (NAGS) for $1,000 prize for outstanding master’s thesis (Agricultural, Biological & Health Sciences field for Jan. 2025 submission) or doctoral dissertations (Arts & Humanities field for Jan. 2025 submission). Fields of study awarded rotate every five years.
  • CANCELLED: Donna Hayden Memorial Fellowship – the award has been discontinued.

NAGS Master’s Thesis and Doctoral Dissertation Awards

The Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools (NAGS) annually recognizes one outstanding master’s thesis and one outstanding doctoral dissertation at one of its member institutions. Each institution may nominate one candidate per category.

Rhodes Scholarship

The Rhodes Scholarships are postgraduate awards supporting exceptional students from around the world to study at the University of Oxford. The oldest and perhaps the most prestigious international scholarship program in the world, the Rhodes aims to nurture public-spirited leaders for the world’s future. The scholarships cover all University of Oxford fees along with a stipend for living expenses and airfare

Full application procedures and guidelines can be found through the University Registrar’s Office.

​SGS Master’s Completion Bursary (MCB)

The Master’s Completion Bursary (MCB) is a financial aid program that serves to assist master’s students who have experienced a delay in their program due to unanticipated factors beyond their control, and must therefore register as a full-time student beyond the program length to complete a small or minimal amount of work in order to graduate. 

COVID-19 related delays: Students who were registered during or before the Winter 2020 session and whose academic progress has been significantly impeded due to COVID-19 related disruptions may be eligible for an SGS Tuition Fee Exemption. More information is available here: