Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master’s (CGS-M) Program

Award Overview


​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 Tri-council allocates CGS M awards to universities specifying the number of awards that each may offer to their students annually. CGS M awards can only be offered to students pursing graduate studies at eligible Canadian universities, and the award must be held at the university that has made the offer.


MINDS Master’s Scholarships for Indigenous Students

The Department of National Defence (DND) has partnered with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to deliver the Mobilizing Insights in Defence and Security (MINDS) scholarship initiative. The MINDS program, which comprises five pillars, is committed to fostering the next generation of security and defence scholars in the Canadian academic community and to encouraging a strong Canadian knowledge base in contemporary defence and security issues.

The MINDS Master’s Scholarships for Indigenous Students, valued at $17,500, are award supplements offered to successful Canada Graduate Scholarship—Masters (CGS M) applicants who self-identify as Indigenous and whose studies relate to defence and security.

Interested students must apply via the CGS M application form, and must complete the MINDS supplement module, which includes a personal statement and a statement of thematic relevance. For detailed instructions on how to apply, see the MINDS program description. The deadline to apply is December 1.


Indigenous Scholars Awards and Supplements

The Indigenous Scholars Awards and Supplements Pilot Initiative will provide financial support to meritorious Indigenous students who have applied to the NSERC and SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholars — Master’s program. To be considered, applicants must be eligible to apply to the CGS M program, self-identify as Indigenous for the purposes of this initiative, provide a one-page (3,000 characters maximum) personal statement, and have had their application deemed meritorious in the CGS M review process.

For detailed instructions on how to apply, see the pilot initiative description. The deadline to apply is December 1.


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. For more information, consult the Frequently asked questions about the new Black scholars funding web page.


To be eligible to apply, you must meet all of the following requirements:

  • 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 graduate department/unit for admissions application deadlines. Note: Applicants who are not currently enrolled in their intended graduate program at the University of Toronto must submit an application for admission by the deadline for their intended graduate program or by March 15, whichever comes first.
  • Have completed, as of December 31, 2023:
    1. 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:
      • a master’s program
      • a doctoral program that you are entering directly from a bachelor’s program without having ever been enrolled in a any graduate programs (direct-entry)
      • a combined master’s-doctoral program
      • 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)
      • 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
    2. 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 CIHR, NSERC, or SSHRC.
  • Not have held or be currently holding an Indigenous Scholars Award and Supplement.
  • Have achieved a first-class average** (3.5 GPA or A- average at U of T), in each of the last two completed years of study (full-time equivalent). Note: At the University of Toronto, exceptions may be made for highly meritorious applicants who are just below the required minimum.
  • Submit a maximum of one scholarship (master’s or doctoral) or fellowship application per academic year to either CIHR, NSERC, or SSHRC. (Research Portal will allow the application to be submitted to up to three institutions.) Students are not permitted to apply for a CGS M and a Tri-Agency doctoral award in the same academic year. 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 internships.

*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.

For full eligibility criteria, visit the Tri-agency Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master’s Program website.

Program of Study Eligibility​

An eligible graduate program must have a significant research component.  A significant research component is considered to be original, autonomous research that leads to the completion of one of the following:  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. Master’s programs that are based only on course work are typically not eligible since they do not include a significant research component.

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

Application Process

Applicants must complete and submit the online application using the Research Portal. Students should refer to the CGS M application instructions currently housed on NSERC’s website for details on how to complete their application. Additionally, the Canadian Common CV (CCV) must be completed and the confirmation number uploaded to the CGS M application on the Research Portal.

When completing a CGS M application, students may select up to 3 separate universities (one graduate department per university) where they intend to pursue graduate studies and hold the award. Once completed and submitted online, the application will be accessible by all proposed universities the student has identified. Students applying for an award at U of T are not required to submit a paper application. ​

A completed CGS M application will include the following:

  1. Completed three-part online application
    • Identification
    • Summary of proposal (written in lay language)
    • Activity details
  2. Attachments
    • Outline of proposed research (as PDF attachment)
    • All up-to-date academic transcripts from undergraduate, graduate, and exchange/transfer host institutions where the grade does not appear on the home institution transcript (scanned together as a single PDF document) – for more information, please see the “Important Information on Transcripts” section below
  3. Canadian Common CV (uploaded as a confirmation number)
  4. Completed reference assessments (x2) – invitation initiated and form completed electronically

Applications are due by December 1, 2023 at 8:00 PM (ET) for all applicants, for all participating universities nationwide. The University of Toronto is unable to provide extensions. Graduate units may not set a separate internal deadline for their applicants. Note that Research Portal does not permit applications to be returned to an applicant for corrections or updates after it has been submitted. All submissions are final. Applicants are strongly encouraged to preview all application components for completeness and submit before December 1.

Important Information on Transcripts

NEW in 2024-25: The University of Toronto will not reject unofficial transcripts for CGS M. SGS continues to recommend that applicants submit official transcripts whenever possible, as they will be easier for reviewers to read, and their authenticity will not be questioned.

Up-to-date transcripts must be provided.

  • Up-to-date transcripts are defined as transcripts dated and issued in the fall session of the year of application (if registered) or after the last term completed (for any previous studies).
  • If the applicant is registered in a degree program in the fall session of the year of application, a transcript must be provided demonstrating Fall 2023 registration in their program, even if there are no grades or course registration.
  • Scanned original transcripts from the student’s admission file are accepted, provided that they are also up-to-date (i.e., no missing grades).

Applicants must also adhere to the following guidelines for transcript submissions:

  • If a transcript includes transfer credits from another institution, the grades for these credits must be shown. If a submitted transcript includes transfer credits without grades shown, the original transcript from the other institution must be included in the application. (Exception: Canadian college, CEGEP, IB, and high school [Advanced Placement] transcripts are not required, even if they contain transfer credits.)
  • Transcripts in languages other than French or English must include an official certified transcript translation.
  • One copy of the legend (reverse of each transcript) must be included.
  • Transcript text orientation should be upright (if possible) and must be readable on a computer monitor without any adjustment by the viewer.
  • Encryption must be removed from official e-transcripts before they can be uploaded or combined with other transcript files. Students may use freely available PDF software such as Adobe Acrobat Reader or their internet browser (e.g., Chrome) to “print to PDF” in order to remove the encryption.
  • Applicants must submit the transcripts as a single flat PDF (no portfolio PDFs).

It is your responsibility to ensure that your transcripts are complete and legible once uploaded. This is particularly relevant for transcripts with security features in place to prevent duplication. In all cases, you are responsible for ensuring that the application is complete by reviewing the final version of the online application before it is submitted.

While applications containing unofficial transcripts will be accepted, applicants should note that submission of an application will continue to serve as a formal attestation that they provided true, complete, accurate information in the application and its related documents. The Tri-Agency may contact administrative staff at applicants’ institutions or applicants directly in order to verify that the contents of the submitted transcripts are true, complete and accurate.

Note: Retain the paper copy or original protected digital copy of every uploaded transcript, as you may be asked to provide these for verification purposes at any point in the process.

Selection Process

At the University of Toronto, CGS M applications are first received by the graduate unit (department) where the student is registered or as indicated on the application. The graduate unit staff review the applications for eligibility and all eligible applications are then adjudicated by the graduate unit’s awards committee comprised of graduate faculty members from the graduate unit. Each application is reviewed and scored as per the selection criteria set out by the Tri-Agency. Graduate units are given quotas by their Faculty Graduate Dean’s office or the School of Graduate Studies (SGS), within which they nominate their top ranked candidates to SGS for central adjudication.

SGS receives applications from all eligible graduate units for each of its three centrally adjudicated competitions (one per research area): health sciences (CIHR), natural science & engineering (NSERC), and social sciences & humanities (SSHRC). Each application is reviewed and scored by three faculty members on the SGS Awards Committee. This Committee is comprised of graduate faculty administrators (Graduate Coordinators) and graduate appointed faculty from departments in all disciplines.​ No member shall review or score an application submitted by their own home department or where there is a conflict of interest. Members use the selection criteria set out by the Tri-Agency to determine and submit scores for all applications assigned. SGS collects and tallies the scores. Members then participate in an in-person review meeting where scores are discussed and final rankings are determined and confirmed. SGS and graduate units perform final eligibility checks and results are released on Research Portal on April 1st of each year.​

Given the large number of applications under review, committee members do not provide written appraisals of individual applications, nor is a record kept of committee deliberations. As such, SGS regrettably cannot provide information specific to the relative ranking of an application.
Committee decisions may be appealed only by the applicant named in the application, and only where there is evidence that an administrative error has occurred during the selection process managed by SGS. SGS does not accept as grounds for appeal, reasons such as: a difference in scholarly opinion versus that of selection committee members; disagreement over the interpretation or analysis of facts by committee members; or composition of the committee.


Results are made available to applicants only through Research Portal as of April 1. Offers to alternate applicants may be made until January 31 of the next calendar year.

Additional Info

Fall 2023 SGS Information Session for Students

To access the video, enter your utoronto email address when prompted to sign-in, then login using UTORid credentials.

CGS M video recording of live session / CGS M Slides


NSERCTube: Scholarships & Fellowships Program Application Tutorials 

Award Holder Information

Step 1. Read the Tri-Agency Award Holder’s Guide

Verify that you meet the terms and conditions to hold your federal award and understand the responsibilities of award holders as described in the Tri-Agency Award Holder’s Guide. 

If you do not meet all the terms and conditions to hold the award, you will need to decline the award (see Step 4-B for instructions). 

Step 2. Review the SGS Payment Policy

Review the SGS Payment Policy posted on the SGS website for detailed information on how award payments are made, when the payments are made, and the method of the payments. 

Federal awards are paid in equal instalments. September instalments are released directly to recipients, while January and May instalments are initially put towards any outstanding charges on your fees account and only the remaining amount is released to recipients. It is strongly recommended that students set up direct deposit and add a current mailing address on ACORN so that payments arrive as soon as possible.  

Step 3. Activate UTORID & set up UTORmail account online with the T-Card Office. 

(Incoming students only; returning students can skip to Step 4)

Beginning May 1, the TCard Services Offices will be issuing UTORid activation codes to new students who have accepted their invitation for the Fall 2024 session.  Please visit the TCard Services Offices website for more instructions on how to obtain and activate your UTORID once they are posted in May.  

Both your UTORID and UTORmail must be activated before you can complete the SGS Award Payment Activation Form. Instructions are provided on the UTORID webpage:

Please note: for security purposes, students are now required to enrol in UTORMFA in order to access U of T applications, including ACORN and the SGS Forms Tool. New students who have not enrolled in UTORMFA within 14 days of setting up their UTORid will be blocked from all U of T applications until they complete their MFA enrolment. For more information, please see U of T’s UTORMFA page.

Step 4.

A. Activating Your Award

If you meet all the terms and conditions to hold the award, activate your award by completing the SGS Award Payment Activation Form through the SGS Forms Tool at your earliest convenience (instructions are available for new Payment Activation Form users). In consultation with the graduate unit (department), award holders may choose a start date of May, September, or January of the award year on the Payment Activation Form. Award holders must continue to meet all terms and conditions of the award for the entire award period in order to receive the full award value.

Once you submit the form, a copy will be electronically forwarded to your graduate unit where you are currently registered.  The graduate unit will be required to approve and provide additional information to the form, after which the form will be sent to the Graduate Awards Office. Only once the student and graduate unit steps have been completed will your award be considered ready for processing. 

Payment activation forms can take up to 2 weeks to process from the date of receipt. It is recommended that you submit the online SGS Award Payment Activation Form as soon as possible, as it can take some time for the form to be approved by your graduate unit and for SGS to set up your initial instalment. Recipients selecting a May 1st start date will likely receive funds in late June at the earliest; however, the start date is retroactive to May 1st.

Awar​d Start Date Recommended Payment Activation Form Submission Deadline to Department 1st P​ayment 2​nd Payment 3rd Payment Award Period
Summer (May) As soon as possible upon accepting award Late June at the earliest September January May 1 to April 30
F​all (September) August 1 September January May Sept 1 to Aug 31
Winter (January) December 1 January May September Jan 1 to Dec 31

For the contact information for your
graduate unit’s graduate administrator, please consult the Graduate Unit Directory 

B. Declining Your Award

If you do not meet the terms and conditions, please decline as soon as possible by emailing the appropriate Graduate Awards Officer listed below. Please indicate the reason you are declining the award in your email. 

Requests for Interruptions

Students who are planning to take a leave of absence from their studies are required to request an interruption of their federal award. Submit a completed SGS Leave of Absence form, signed by you and your supervisor, to your graduate dept/unit administrator for approval. The completed SGS Leave of Absence form must then be submitted to SGS Graduate Awards Officer, who will process the interruption and notify the granting agency.

Paid Parental Leaves

Federal award holders may interrupt their award for a period of up to 12 months for paid parental leave. The period of paid leave is in addition to the duration of the award and must coincide with the student’s registration on ACORN. For additional information, review the Tri-agency Research Training Award Holder’s Guide.

Early completions

Award holders who complete their degree requirements before the end date of their award (e.g., submit their final thesis to SGS before the end of the last session of their award, or complete requirements in April or early May when their award ends in August) may risk having their last instalment(s) cancelled. Students must remain registered in their eligible program in order to receive and keep each instalment of their award funds. Students who complete their degree within one or two sessions of their award will be ineligible for the instalments in which they are no longer registered. Note that students are not registered in the session in which they convocate. As award holders are given funds at the beginning of each session, those who complete early or withdraw part away through a session may be required to repay funds already received depending on the sessional registration.

Contacts & Resources

Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master’s Program Instructions for Completing an Application

Canadian Common CV—How to Complete the Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master’s Version

For more information, visit the CGS M website (housed within the NSERC’s website), and/or contact the appropriate Graduate Awards Officer at SGS, or the granting council agency whose mandate corresponds to the field of research: ​

Janine Harper
Graduate Awards Officer
P: 416-978-3555
Graduate Awards Office
Tara Lock
P: 416-978-2386