Mackenzie King Open & Travelling Scholarship

Award Overview


Two types of Mackenzie King Scholarships were established to support graduates of Canadian universities who are pursuing graduate studies. U of T is permitted to nominate two (2) candidates from each category to the national competition.

The Travelling Scholarship is awarded to applicants who have a degree from a Canadian university and are pursuing graduate studies in the areas of international or industrial relations within the United States or the United Kingdom. The Mackenzie King Board receives about 25-30 nominations annually for four scholarships, each of approximately $10,500 (number of recipients and value are subject to change).

The Open Scholarship is awarded to an applicant who has a degree from a Canadian university and is pursuing graduate studies in any discipline, within Canada or elsewhere. The Mackenzie King Board receives approximately 80-90 nominations annually from all universities to award one scholarship of approximately $8,500 (value is subject to change).


Due to the highly competitive nature of these awards and the number of potentially eligible University of Toronto students/alumni, individuals who apply through U of T must meet all of the following criteria at the time of application:

  • Have applied for admission to a graduate program and will be commencing (or continuing in the 2nd or 3rd year of) full-time graduate studies in the upcoming 2023-2024 academic-year;
  • Will have obtained a degree from a Canadian university (e.g., bachelor’s degree, master’s degree) when tenure of the scholarship begins (i.e. September 2023);
  • Demonstrate a minimum grade of “A” (85%, 3.85/4.00) in every undergraduate and graduate course completed to date. Applicants with an A- or lower in any individual course are typically not successful (Travelling Scholarship applicants excepted as it is less competitive); and
  • Are at an early stage of their graduate program (Years 1-3).
  • Will not be holding other scholarships that if including the Mackenzie King would total more than their tuition plus $18,000 (known as the “cap”). The CAD 18,000 figure is subject to change. For example, if an applicant will be holding a major award of $15,000 at U of T during the 2023-24 academic year, they would be required to decline the Mackenzie King fellowship, if offered. Note that the cap differs depending on the university’s tuition, at which the student plans to pursue their studies. If a student knows at the time of application that they already have scholarship funding for the next academic year that exceeds the “cap”, there is no point in applying. “Scholarship support” does not include salary for services such as research or teaching assistance. A student can accept a Mackenzie King scholarship for a reduced amount if they have other scholarship support that leaves them room under the “cap” for only a partial award.

Application Process

Each applicant must ensure that a complete application package is provided to the Graduate Awards Office by email by 4:30pm on Friday, January 20, 2023. U of T alumni who are not registered in any degree program at the time of application may submit their applications by February 1, 2023 (4:30pm).

Applications that are incomplete, ineligible or are submitted after the deadline will not be considered. Applications or documentation sent directly to the Board administering the national competition will not be considered.

Application Package

A complete application will include all of the following items (no other supporting documentation will be accepted):

  1. Completed and signed application form;
  2. Supplementary Information on Academic Achievements and Experience (“Sheet A”);
    • May be more than one page
    • List all undergraduate and graduate awards received (including name, year(s) of tenure and annual value)
    • List all work experience related to your field of study (professional or business)
    • List all publications to date relevant to your field of study
  1. Personal Statement (“Sheet B”);
    • 600 words maximum (no exceptions)
    • Must be readily understandable to individuals outside your discipline
    • Describe:
      • Academic interests
      • Extracurricular activities
      • Program of study you intend to pursue
      • Your plans for your career
  1. Original or certified copies of official transcripts (scanned from paper or e-transcript) from all universities attended (ACORN print-outs not accepted); and
  • Any encryption on e-transcripts will need to be removed before combining with the rest of the application. Students may use freely available PDF software such as Adobe Acrobat Reader  or their web browser to “print to PDF” in order to create an unencrypted “copy” of the file, which remain acceptable.
  • Grading legends must be provided with every transcript. Unofficial transcripts will only be accepted if the official transcripts cannot be obtained. If an official transcript cannot be obtained, the applicant must provide a letter from the institution’s transcript office which states that the institution is not able to provide an official transcript at this time along with an unofficial version of the transcript. Transcripts should not be separately mailed or emailed to the Graduate Awards Office.
  1. Three (3) confidential letters of reference by email directly from the from the referee.
  • Each letter must clearly state the referee’s name and contact information, and display the referee’s signature
  • Two of the letters must be from individuals who ascribe to either or both of the following descriptions:
    • A person under whom the applicant has performed major work within a university and is able to provide a critical evaluation of the applicant’s plans for graduate study
    • A senior colleague with whom the applicant has been associated in academic teaching / research and is able to provide a critical evaluation of the applicant’s plans for graduate study
  • The third letter must be from an individual who:
    • Also ascribes to one of the descriptions above, or;
    • At least has intimate knowledge of the applicant’s record and ability, and is able to provide a critical evaluation of the applicant’s plans for graduate study
  • Method of Delivery:
    • Each email must come directly from the referee to by the deadline, with the subject title “MK 2023 Ref –NAME OF APPLICANT”). For the PDF file, please use file naming convention “Applicant last name, first initial – MK 2023 Referee last name”.


SGS Graduate Awards Office will notify all U of T applicants regarding the status of their application and whether they are being nominated to the national competition in March.

Decisions regarding the national competition will be announced directly to successful nominees by the Mackenzie King Scholarship Selection Committee in July. Awardees will be asked to disclose any new award information upon accepting the offer. Candidates are generally not able to accept the scholarship if they have secured other funding that exceeds the “cap” of expected tuition plus $18,000 (CAD). In some instances, a reduced amount may be offered.

Additional Info

Safety Abroad

Please follow the instructions and steps as indicated on the U of T Safety Abroad Student’s page and review the COVID-19 Planning page well in advance of your travel. For additional updates from the university related to COVID-19, please visit  the VP Students COVID-19 FAQ page.

Important: Safety Abroad procedures are mandatory for all U of T students travelling outside of Canada, including to the U.S.A., and must be completed before the travel occurs (regardless of any financial support received).

The following steps must be completed prior to departure for international travel and to remain eligible for university-funded travel support:

1.   Review the Safety Abroad website for details on what action is necessary prior to travel;
2. Review your destination’s Global Affairs Canada Travel Advisory;
3. Complete a Safety Abroad pre-departure workshop;
4. Secure appropriate and sufficient travel health insurance; and
5. Register your trip to the Safety Abroad Registry.


Contacts & Resources

Please direct questions regarding this competition to:​

Carla Serpe
Acting Graduate Awards Officer