Governor General’s Gold Medals

Award Overview


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 medals will be presented at the Governor General’s Gold Medal reception ceremony in the spring, to which all nominees will be invited. Recipients will receive a Gold Academic Medal and personalized certificate signed by the Governor General of Canada


2021-22 candidates must have graduated or will graduate at one of the following convocations:

  1. November 2021
  2. March 2022 (in absentia)
  3. June 2022

Students must submit their final thesis by April 14, 2022 to be eligible to graduate at the June convocation.

Nomination Process

Students wishing to submit a nomination package for consideration should contact their home graduate unit to inquire about the local deadline.

Each graduate unit is invited to nominate their very best graduate, either at the master’s or doctoral level, for this prestigious award. Interested candidates should contact their graduate unit early in the Winter session regarding the unit’s nomination process and deadline.

Nominees will be asked to submit one PDF file of their entire application (items 2-6 in the order below) to their graduate unit by the unit’s established deadline.

The nomination package will include the following documents:

  1. A nomination letter (on letterhead, signed and dated), preferably from the Department Chair or Graduate Coordinator, describing the reasons for the nomination and why the candidate should be recognized for their outstanding scholastic achievements—to be provided and attached by the nominating graduate unit. Using strong and positive language, this letter should focus on:
    • The nominee’s outstanding level of achievement compared to other students in the same program, including information relevant to the field of study, degree or culture of the department (e.g. publishing norms, degree requirements, grading practices at specific international universities, unusual accomplishments) that would otherwise not be known outside the field of study;
    • Factors used to determine why the student is deserving of this award, clearly articulating the excellence of the work and how it makes an unusually significant contribution to the discipline.
  2. Current graduate transcript(s) (ACORN/ROSI printouts are acceptable);
  3. Short biography written by the candidate (max 200 words – suitable for public release);
  4. Up to date Curriculum vitae (no page restrictions), including a list of publications, presentations, and awards;
  5. For master’s research stream students (not required for course-based master’s):
    • An abstract of the thesis in non-technical language not exceeding 350 words, written and signed by the candidate. Appendices containing non-textual material, such as charts or tables, are not required (committee members will not be reviewing the appended items); and
    • A statement written by the candidate summarizing the thesis in non-technical language that can be understood by individuals outside the field, and clearly addressing how the research represents original work that makes a significant contribution to the discipline (max. 1 page single spaced);
  6. For doctoral nominations only: A copy of the external examiner’s pre-defence report signed and dated by the examiner (or authenticated upon submission to SGS).

Contacts & Resources

Carla Serpe
Graduate Awards Office
School of Graduate Studies


2020-2021 Recipients

2019-2020 Recipients