Ontario Graduate Scholarship

Award Overview

Value & Duration

The value of the OGS is $5,000 per session. Thus, awardees may receive $10,000 for two consecutive sessions or $15,000 for three consecutive sessions. In all instances, the awarding graduate unit will contribute to one-third the cost of the total award received by the students.

Each scholarship is tenable for one year (i.e., two consecutive or three academic sessions). The value and duration of each OGS award will be determined by the awarding graduate unit and detailed in the offer letter.

Purpose

The Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) program encourages excellence in graduate studies at publicly-assisted universities in Ontario. Since 1975, the OGS program has been providing merit-based scholarships to Ontario’s best graduate students in all disciplines of academic study. The scholarship program at U of T is jointly funded by the Province of Ontario and the University of Toronto. The Province allocates OGS awards to universities specifying the number of awards that each may offer to their students annually.

Eligibility

Applicants must:

    • Be a Canadian citizen, Permanent Resident, or Protected Person under subsection 95(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada) by the student deadline as determined by each graduate unit;  International students who are studying or plan to study at the University of Toronto under a temporary resident visa (student study permit) are eligible for a set number of OGS awards (valid study permits must be effective as of the graduate units’ OGS international application deadline);
      • COVID-19 exception: Currently registered international graduate students who have not yet been able to obtain a study permit due to COVID-19 circumstances are eligible to apply; (updated)

    • Be registered or intend to register in an eligible program on a full-time basis in 2021-22;
      • An eligible program is defined as a full-time program of study of two or three sessions at the University of Toronto leading to a graduate degree. A full-time student is one who is in at least 60% of a full course load (40% for students with a permanent disability) or as defined by their institution.
    • Have not exceeded the lifetime maximum of government-funded support or maximum OGS/QEII support available ​for their current level of study (see Maximum Support below); and
    • ​Have achieved at least A- (or equivalent) in each of the last two completed years of study (full-time equivalent); or if the student has completed two years or more of graduate studies at the time of application, the student must only demonstrate an overall average of at least A- (or equivalent) on all graduate courses completed.

Note: If marks used for calculating an applicant’s grade point average (GPA) are not available (e.g., courses were graded on a pass-fail basis), then the next most recent available undergraduate or graduate marks should be used to determine eligibility.

Eligibility to Hold an OGS Award

To hold an OGS award, recipients:

  • Must register and remain enrolled as a full-time student at U of T in an eligible program at the graduate unit from which the OGS was awarded;
  • Who withdraw, transfer to part-time status, complete degree requirements prior to the end of their award, or fail to complete the full session will be required to repay the funds received for the incomplete session;
  • ​​Must be in good standing with the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP). Applicants who have defaulted on a Canada or Ontario Student Loan, or have failed to make satisfactory repayment on a loan overpayment, are ineligible to receive the award. Those with an OSAP restriction may still apply for the OGS. However, if awarded, they must have the restriction cleared within 30 days of notification in order to accept and hold the award;
  • ​ ​May accept research assistantships, part-time teaching positions, or other paid employment that does not affect their status as a full-time graduate student and is commensurate with the graduate unit policies. Typically, students holding full-time paid employment are not eligible to receive an OGS from the University of Toronto; and
  • Cannot hold an OGS award in the same session (overlapping) or in the same award year as a scholarship from SSHRC, NSERC, CIHR, QEII-GSST, or another OGS.

The eligibility criteria provided here are the minimum requirements only. Graduate units may impose additional criteria to apply, receive, or hold an OGS. Please inquire with your graduate unit regarding any additional requirements or conditions to those listed here.

Maximum Support

Students are limited in the number of years that they may hold an OGS.

Master’s students may receive a maximum of two years of OGS/QEII-GSST awards. Doctoral students may receive a maximum of four years of OGS/QEII awards. Both are subject to a lifetime maximum of six years per student.

In addition, OGS guidelines restrict students to a lifetime maximum of six years of government-funded awards and prohibit students from holding an OGS and another government-funded award concurrently.

Awards under the following programs are included in these restrictions:

  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship Program (OGS)
  • Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology (QEII-GSST) (formerly OGSST)
  • Ontario Trillium Scholarships (OTS)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)
  • Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR)
  • Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Vanier CGS)

Application Process

Applicants must submit an OGS application to their proposed graduate unit using the U of T School of Graduate Studies centralized online OGS application. Each graduate unit will have their own internal submission deadline to which applicants must adhere. Prior to applying, applicants should review the OGS Application Instructions.

Once completed and submitted online, the entire application will be available to the proposed graduate unit for review and consideration.

Important note for prospective students: OGS awards are not transferrable between universities or between graduate units at U of T. Accordingly, students must submit an OGS application to each graduate unit for which they are seeking admission at U of T and to each Ontario institution if applying to multiple universities (each institution will have its own unique OGS application and process).

Important note for visa students: Applicants holding a valid study permit by the graduate unit’s OGS international application deadline are eligible to apply following the same application process and internal deadlines set by their current or proposed graduate unit. Graduate units will select and forward a limited number of applications to the School of Graduate Studies to compete in a centralized adjudication.

OGS application form

Transcripts from all post-secondary institutions (unofficial and student-issued transcripts are permitted; e.g., ACORN screenshots).

Previous awards/publications/conference/research experience.

Plan of study (Maximum 2 pages (1 page for Plan of Study, 1 page for references/citations).

Two academic references (referees will be required to submit online).

Additional Info

Fall 2020 SGS Information Sessions Recordings for Students: Access the video with your UTORid

Fall 2020 School of Graduate Studies Information Session Slides for Students: Ontario Graduate Scholarship

Indigenous Scholars Award

The Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU) has permitted universities to offer a minimum of two (2) OGS awards exclusively to Indigenous graduate students with the aim to recognize excellence and promote equitable access and participation in the Ontario Graduate Scholarship program by Indigenous applicants.

Graduate students who are Indigenous to Canada (recognized in the Constitution Act, 1982 as a person who identifies with First nations (Status/Non-Status), Métis, or Inuit) and have indicated this status on their OGS application will be eligible to be considered for one of at least three (3) Ontario Graduate Scholarship Indigenous Scholar Awards and potentially other Indigenous awards offered by the School of Graduate Studies at the University of Toronto.

2019-2020 Indigenous Scholar Award Recipient

Jessica Besaw is a Ph.D. student in chemistry at the University of Toronto who has a passion for learning, teaching, and volunteering. Jessica was born and raised in Newfoundland, where she is a descendant of both Benoit and Lejeune aboriginal lineage, and a member of the Qalipu First Nation band. She was first inspired to become a scientist during undergraduate studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland when she was awarded the opportunity to attend the 50th annual London International Youth Science Forum. Here, young scientists from fifty different countries overcame language and cultural barriers in order to discuss science and propose innovative solutions to global issues. In the ten years since, Jessica completed a B.Sc. in chemistry and math, finished an M.Sc in chemistry, and is currently undertaking a Ph.D. in chemistry. In her spare time, Jessica loves to volunteer in the community, and is currently the Vice President of the Rotaract Club of Toronto. Through this organization, she has lead numerous initiatives including ‘Trick or Eat’ Food Drives for the Fort York Food Bank; donated her hair multiple times for Shave for the Brave; lead bottle drive fundraisers for OK Clean Water; and ran 200 km for Cameron Helps Team Unbreakable in support of mental health awareness.

In Jessica’s current research at the University of Toronto, she aims to experimentally capture “molecular movies” of chemical reactions occurring in biological systems. This challenging project involves zapping protein crystals with ultrafast lasers and powerful X-rays in order to visualize the resultant structural changes. The nature of this work has enabled her to travel to Japan, Germany, and the United States to complete research at national laboratories and form international collaborations. Jessica feels that her greatest opportunity in grad school is the ability to share her love of science with the next generation of students. Jessica has mentored five students in research, worked as a laboratory assistant, and taught tutorial courses in chemistry. Jessica hopes that these graduate school experiences will equip her with the leadership, communication, and teaching skills in order to achieve a successful career as a university professor.

Contacts & Resources

Please direct questions regarding the OGS competition or nomination process to your graduate unit. Questions regarding the administration of the award at SGS and technical support for the application may be directed to:

Stacey Kwan
Graduate Awards Officer (Provincial)
SGS Graduate Awards Office
416-978-2205
ogs@​u​toronto.ca

OGS/QEII-GSST Award Holder’s Guide​

Definitions

Award holder​ in this guide is defined as an individual who has been awarded an Ontario Graduate Scholarship or a Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science & Technology at the University of Toronto.

​Award​​ may refer to either the Ontario Graduate Scholarship or the Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science & Technology

Graduate Unit refers to the graduate department in which the award holder is registered for the duration of the award

OGS: Ontario Graduate Scholarship

QEII-GSST: Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science & Technology

SGS: School of Graduate Studies

GAO: Graduate Awards Office

General regulations

Award holders at the University of Toronto must:

  • abide by the terms and conditions of the award as set out in this guide and any additional criteria that may be imposed by the awarding graduate unit (Award holders should inquire with their graduate unit regarding any additional requirements or conditions to those listed here)
  • have met all the eligibility requirements as outlined in the funding opportunity at the time of application
  • take up the award for the number of sessions stated on the official award offer which must be a minimum of 2 sessions
  • be registered for all sessions for the entirety of the award period, as a full-time student in an eligible program at the U of T graduate unit from which the award was offered
  • be progressing satisfactorily in the research or studies for which they were funded
  • immediately inform both their graduate unit and the GAO of any change to their registration status, temporary or permanent, during the tenure of the award
  • remain in good standing with OSAP for the entirety of the award period; e.g., not be restricted from receiving OSAP assistance, have defaulted on student loans, or have an overpayment
  • maintain accurate and current mailing and direct deposit information on ACORN

Award holders must not have exceeded the provincial funding (OGS & QEII-GSST) maximum, any two years in a master’s program or any four years of the doctoral program, and a combined lifetime maximum of six years of government-funded student awards. Awards received under the following programs are counted toward these lifetime maximums:

  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship Program (OGS)
  • Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology (QEII-GSST) (formerly OGSST)
  • Ontario Trillium Scholarships (OTS)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)
  • Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR)
  • Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Vanier CGS)

Students who fail to meet or maintain any condition of the award will forfeit the remainder of its funds and be required to repay any payments that may have been received while they were ineligible.

Note: The criteria provided above are the minimum requirements only, graduate units may impose additional criteria to apply, receive, or hold an OGS or QEII-GSST

The value and duration of the award is set out and detailed in the award offer sent by the Graduate Awards Office. The value and duration of the award will be adjusted to take into account a change in status (for example, termination of graduate studies or discontinuation of full-time studies or research).

In order to receive award payments, award holders must be registered in the program under which the graduate unit offered the award. For information on how to register, please consult the Graduate Fees section of the SGS website.

Registering without payment
For award holders who choose to “Register Without Payment” (i.e. fee deferral) in September, please be informed that winter and spring instalments will first go down to pay off any outstanding fees balance on ACORN/ROSI. Be sure to review and understand the “Register Without Payment” terms and conditions posted on the How to Activate & Maintain Your Award section of the SGS website before choosing this option.

Award holders currently within the funded cohort may register without payment through ACORN. For step-by-step instructions, please consult the ACORN How-to Video – Finances – Fee Deferral – Grad Student

Award holders who are currently outside of the funded cohort may register without payment due to receiving a major award by completing the Register without Payment on Basis of major Award, Research Stipend, or Teaching Assistantship form. This form can be found on the SGS website Student Forms & Letters​ page in the “Registration, Enrolment, Program Status” section.

Award holders receiving an award instalment in the summer session which clears all outstanding tuition fee amounts before May 15th will not accrue any interest on that academic year’s fees.

Award offers must be accepted by completing an SGS Award Payment Activation form (PAF) through the SGS Forms Tool. For detailed instructions, please review the SGS Award Payment Activation Instructions.

To decline an award, respond to the award offer email stating your intent to decline and the reason for the decline.

In consultation with the graduate unit, award holders can choose a start date of May or September of the calendar year in which the award was offered or January of the following calendar year so long as the award holder meets all the terms and conditions of the award for the chosen start date. 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.

If award recipients cannot fulfill the conditions for holding an award before the latest available start date and are not eligible for a deferment, they must decline the award.

If at the time of the award offer, the award holder will be beginning a new program (or will be transferring from Master’s to PhD) after one session of accepting the award, the award holder must to start the award to align with the start date of the new program/first transfer session.

Awar​d Start Date Recommended Payment Activation Form Submission Deadline to Department 1st P​ayment 2​nd Payment 3rd Payment 3-session Award Period 2-session award Period
Summer (May) Two weeks after SGS offer letter Late July at the earliest September January May 1 to April 30 May 1 to Dec 31
F​all (September) August 1 September January May Sept 1 to Aug 31 Sept 1 to April 30
Winter (January) December 1 January May September Jan 1 to Dec 31 Jan 1 to Aug 31


Award Period:
The award period is dependent upon the number of sessions awarded and the start date selected. Each session is four (4) months in duration. Accordingly, a 2-session award has an award period of eight months, and a 3-session award has an award period of 12 months. As an example, if an award holder received a 3-session award with a start date of September 1, the award would end August 31 of the following year.

For award holders in their final year of studies and who may be completing their degree requirements prior to the end of the award period (e.g. submitting a thesis between April and July when the award period ends in August), please refer to the “Change to registration” section of the OGS/QEII-GSST Award Holder’s Guide.

Deferment of start date

Before activating the payment of award, the start date may be deferred beyond the available start dates due to an eligible reason for deferment and with graduate unit approval. The award value and duration will not be affected by the deferment. An award can be deferred for a period of up to 4 sessions (16 months) starting from September of the awarding year.

For example, an OGS received for the program year 2021​-22 with a September 2021, the starting date could be deferred to September 2022.

Eligible reasons and requirements for deferment can be found below in the Eligible reasons for deferment or interruption section.

Students should consult the GAO for further information if this pertains to them and they are unclear what is required.

Payments are administered by SGS and issued to students through ACORN in equal instalments at the start of each academic session.

January and May instalments are posted to the award holder’s student fees account and automatically put towards tuition and/or any outstanding charges. Any remaining funds will be refunded to the award holder. September instalments are released in full, unless the award holder has arrears.

Refunded award monies are made in the form of either mailed cheque or direct deposit. The GAO strongly recommends setting up direct deposit by logging into ACORN and adding the required banking information. Direct deposit will ensure that payment(s) are received in a timely manner.

For step-by-step instructions on how to set up direct deposit on ACORN, please consult the “Finances” section of the ACORN How-to guide​.

Please review the SGS Award Payment Policy for further information regarding instalment payments.

An award may be interrupted after it has been activated and held for a minimum one session, if the award holder is taking a leave of absence and the following conditions are met:

  • Leave of absences must be approved by the graduate unit before notifying the GAO
  • a copy of the completed SGS Leave of Absence form must be provided to the GAO including any supporting documentation
  • the end date of the award will be extended by the duration of the leave

Interruption requests will be considered only for the reasons outlined below for a period of up to 4 sessions (16 months).

Eligible reasons for deferment or interruption

Relevant Work Experience: An interruption can be requested to gain relevant work experience through employment or an internship. Documentation required, e.g. letter from employer

Parental or family-related responsibilities: An interruption can be requested should the award holder be required to take a leave of absence due to parental leave or family care responsibilities including child care and primary-care giver responsibilities. Documentation required

Medical: An interruption can be requested if an award holder is experiencing medical issues and must take a leave of absence. Documentation required, e.g. note from a doctor or health care professional

Reinstatement of award

One month prior to returning from a leave of absence, it is the award holder’s responsibility to inform the GAO in order to re-instate any remaining terms. If award holders do not inform the GAO of their return, they may experience a delay in receiving the instalment for their first session upon their return.

Contact for OGS: ogs@​​utoronto.ca​

Contact for QEII-GSST: staceym.kwan@utoronto.ca

Award holders must remain registered full-time in their program in order to be eligible to hold the award.

Award holders who complete early, withdraw or change their full-time status (e.g., to part-time, special student, qualifying, or make-up) will be ineligible to retain the instalment for that session and will be required to repay the funds received for the incomplete session.

For awards terminated early due to degree completion, the last date of eligible degree registration will become the new end date of the award. The value of the award will be prorated to the new end date of the award. If the degree requirements are completed in the same academic term as the end date of the award, then the original end date of the award will not change provided the the student remains registered” at the end of that last sentence?

It is recommended that award holders keep the minimum registration duration requirement in mind when planning the dates of Final Oral Examinations and the subsequent final thesis submission. Questions regarding registration status based on the approved thesis submission date can be directed to the Doctoral Office at SGS​.

Award holders must inform both their graduate unit and the GAO of any change to their status that will affect the eligibility to hold/continue to hold their award.

Contact for OGS: ogs@​​utoronto.ca​

Contact for QEII-GSST: staceym.kwan@utoronto.ca

Funding from Other Programs: Award holders may not hold the award at the same time (or during any session) as an award from SSHRC, NSERC, CIHR, Vanier, QEII-GSST, OGS, or a scholarship that is continuing from a previous year.

Employment: Award holders may accept research assistantships, part-time teaching positions, or other paid employment that does not affect their status as a full-time graduate student and is commensurate with the graduate unit policies. Typically, students holding full-time paid employment are not eligible to receive an OGS from U of T.

Departmental Funding: In some graduate units, eligible students must apply for an OGS, SSHRC, or NSERC in order to qualify for internal funding from their department; award holders should consult with their graduate unit for its particular funding policies.

The GAO does not provide advice on taxation or immigration. Award holders may contact the relevant government agencies for information on these topics and can seek the advice of professionals where appropriate.

Students may be exempted from federal and provincial income tax attributed to their award; see Line 13010 – Scholarships, fellowships, bursaries, and artists’ project grants on the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website for the applicable conditions.

Award holders receiving payments through the University of Toronto will be issued tax forms through ACORN.

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