Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarships

Award Overview

Value & Duration

Scholars will receive:

  • Membership in a vibrant community of Scholars, Mentors, and Fellows;
  • Leadership training from Mentors and Fellows;
  • Opportunities to acquire greater proficiency in Canada’s official languages as well as Indigenous languages;
  • Up to $40,000 per year for three years to cover tuition and reasonable living expenses;
  • Up to $20,000 per year for three years, as a research, networking, and travel allowance; and
  • Lifelong membership in the Foundation’s alumni network.

Scholars must:

  • Engage in Foundation events;
  • Collaboratively organize and present a conference event;
  • Perform volunteer service or community initiatives each year and report on these activities to the Foundation; and
  • If not fluently bilingual in both of Canada’s Official Languages, take steps to improve their proficiency in the Official Language with which they are less familiar. Scholars also commit to becoming more familiar with Canada’s Indigenous Languages through the leadership program.


This three-year leadership program is designed to train Engaged Leaders, equipping outstanding doctoral candidates with the skills to translate their ideas into action, for the betterment of their communities, Canada, and the world. Up to twenty (20) doctoral Scholars are selected each year and receive generous funding for their studies in addition to leadership training.


Please review the complete details on eligibility & selection criteria on the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation website.

At the time of application:

  • Applicants must have been accepted into or be currently registered in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd year of a full-time doctoral program in the humanities or social sciences*;
  • Applicants’ doctoral work must relate to at least one of the Foundation’s four themes;
  • Applicants who are Canadian citizens are eligible whether they are at a Canadian institution or an international institution;
  • Applicants who are permanent residents or foreign nationals must be enrolled in a doctoral program at a Canadian institution.

* The Foundation recognizes that many doctoral students are working on research projects that are interdisciplinary and qualify as advanced research in the social sciences and humanities, regardless of their faculty or department affiliation. Most importantly, all applicants must relate their research to one or more of the Foundation’s four themes. Due to the large volume of requests, the Foundation is not able to assess the eligibility of individuals’ research topics by email or over the phone.

* To date, the Foundation has offered scholarships to students in many fields, including public health, anthropology, communications, criminology, law, economics, history, literature, philosophy, religion, environmental sciences and political science.

Application Process

NEW: Beginning in Fall 2020, the Foundation is asking all applicants to apply directly to its Scholarship competition via a new application platform. In contrast with previous years, universities are no longer required to nominate a limited number of their preferred candidates.

Please review the complete details on the application process  on the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation website.

In order to apply, applicants must: ​

  1. Register for an account on the Foundation’s new application portal (click “Register Here” button)*;
  2. Once registration is complete, create an application for the 2021 Competition; and
  3. Complete and submit the application before the deadline.

* Candidates who already have an account from a previous scholarship competition will need to register for a new account this year, as the Foundation has implemented a new application portal.

This year, referees will only need to complete and submit a predetermined referral form directly on the Foundation’s application portal. Reference letters in PDF format are no longer required. All candidates are strongly advised to follow up with their referees to ensure they complete and submit the form before January 5, 2021 at 11:59 p.m EST.

The Foundation will review and assess all applications that are complete and submitted (including 2 predetermined referral forms) before the deadline.


NEW: This year, the Foundation will notify all applicants of the results.

The virtual interviews will be held in English or French, or in both of the official languages of Canada, depending on the language skills and preference of the finalist.

Additional Info

Safety Abroad Requirements for Travelling Scholars

The Government of Canada advises against all non-essential travel outside of Canada. Accordingly, the University is also advising all members of its community to avoid all non-essential international travel at this time. Please consult the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 travel advisory website for more information on international travel. As of September 28, 2020, the University of Toronto has extended the cancellation of future University activity to international locations for all students until April 30, 2021.

PhD students planning to travel abroad for dissertation research during this time should contact the Safety Abroad Office at safety.abroad@utoronto.ca​​. For current information on this and other travel related information, please refer to the COVID-19 Information for U of T Students webpage.

Contacts & Resources

For program information and access to the new application portal, visit the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation website.

Technical issues with registration, the online application or the predetermined referral forms must be directed to scholarships@trudeaufoundation.ca​​ or bourses@fondationtrudeau.ca​​.

Additional questions may be directed to:

Tara Lock
Graduate Awards Officer, Internal
School of Graduate Studies