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.


To be eligible, applicants must:​

  • be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada;
  • 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 university with a CGS M allocation; please refer to the list U of T graduate departments that are eligible​​ for CGS M at the University of Toronto; *Note: Applicants who are not currently enrolled in their intended graduate program 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, 2019:
    1. between zero and 12 months of full-time studies (or full-time equivalent) in the program for which you are requesting funding, which may be:
      • a master’s program; or
      • a doctoral program that you are entering without having ever been enrolled in a master’s program (that is, direct-entry); or
      • a combined master’s-doctoral program; or
      • a master’s program that will transition to an eligible doctoral program, either before or after award activation, with no master’s degree conferred (that is, fast-track); or
      • 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 at the same institution; or
    2. between four and 12 months of full-time study (or full-time equivalent) in a eligible master’s program for which the degree requirements will be completed before activation of the award, allowing it to be activated during the subsequent doctoral program for which you are requesting funding;
  • not have previously held a CGS M award;
  • 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); and
  • submit a maximum of one CGS M application per year to either CIHR, NSERC, or SSHRC (Research Portal will allow the application to be submitted to a maximum of three ​institutions). Students are not permitted to apply for a CGS M and a Tri-Agency doctoral award in the same academic year.

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.​​

Clarification for SSHRC CGS M eligible programs: Programs formerly deemed eligible for SSHRC funding will continue to be considered eligible in the harmonized program, more specifically, if the Master’s program is an acceptable basis for admission to the related PhD program (that is eligible for funding by SSHRC), SSHRC would consider the Master’s program to be an eligible program of study…”.

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
    • Activity details
  2. Outline of proposed research (as PDF attachment);
  3. Canadian Common CV (uploaded as a confirmation number);
  4. All official 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)**;
  5. Completed reference assessments (x2)—invitation initiated and form completed electronically.

** registered students must provide official transcripts showing Fall 2019 registration

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.​

Additional Info

Fall 2019 School of Graduate Studies Information Session Slides for Students

Canada Graduate Scholarship-Master’s (CGS M)

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 recommended that students set up direct deposit and a current mailing address on ACORN so that payments arrive as timely 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 June 1, 2020, the TCard Services Offices will be issuing UTORid activation codes to new students who have accepted their invitation for the Fall 2020 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 From. Instructions are provided on the UTORID webpage:  

Step 4.

A. Activating Your Award

If you meet all the terms and conditions to hold the award, activate your award by completing the online SGS Award Payment Activation Form through the SGS Portal. Note: Incoming students will not be able to complete the form until they are invited to register for Fall 2020, this usually occurs on July 15th each year. Current students can complete the form at their earliest convenience.

Once you submit the form, a copy will be electronically forwarded to your graduate unit (department) 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. 

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. 

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: ​

Stacey Kwan,
Graduate Awards Officer (Provincial)​
Pascal Papathanasakis,
Graduate Awards Officer (Federal)
Olivera Joksimovic
Graduate Awards Office​r