Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship

Award Overview


The Vanier CGS program aims to attract and retain world-class doctoral students by supporting students who demonstrate both leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement in graduate studies in social sciences and humanities, natural sciences and engineering, and health. The Vanier CGS program strongly encourages candidates to pursue their studies beyond the university that granted their previous degree(s).


Please refer to the Vanier website for complete eligibility requirements.

To be considered for a Vanier CGS, applicants must:

  • Be nominated by only one Canadian university, which has received a Vanier CGS quota;
  • Be pursuing their first doctoral degree (including joint program such as MD/PhD, DVM/PhD, MBA/PhD – if it has a demonstrated and significant research component);
  • Intend to pursue, in the summer semester or the academic year following the announcement of results, full-time doctoral (or a joint graduate research program such as MD/PhD, DVM/PhD, JD/PhD, MBA/PhD) studies and research at the nominating institution;
    • For joint graduate programs, only the PhD portion of the program is eligible for funding
  • Have completed no more than:
    • 20 months of full-time study in their doctoral program as of May 1, 2025
      • The doctoral program would begin after the completion of a master’s degree. The months of study completed are calculated from the doctoral enrolment date.
      • All prior doctoral-level studies that started in Canada or abroad are considered in the evaluation of eligibility. Note: students registered in a “Direct Entry PhD” program at U of T who previously completed a master’s degree in any program would fall under the 20-month category.
    • 32 months of full-time study in their doctoral program, by May 1, 2025 if:
      • enrolled in a joint graduate research program, e.g., MD/PhD, MA/PhD, MS/PhD, DVM/PhD. Applicants in this category have access to the 32-month window whether or not they were previously enrolled in a master’s program:
        • For joint graduate research programs in which a master’s degree is obtained as part of the program (e.g., MA/PhD, MS/PhD), the months of study are calculated starting on the date on which the applicant is officially registered in the joint program (including the master’s portion of the program).
        • For joint professional undergraduate/PhD programs (e.g., MD/PhD, JD/PhD, DVM/PhD), only the months of study in the PhD portion of the program will be counted.
        • All joint degree students must complete a timeline of their registration broken down by session in the “Attach other Application Materials” task to confirm eligibility.
      • enrolled directly from a Bachelor’s to a PhD (without having been previously enrolled in another graduate program).
        • The months of study completed are calculated from the doctoral enrolment date.
      • previously enrolled in a master’s program without obtaining the degree, transferring (fast-track), or withdrawing from the program and subsequently starting a doctoral program.
        • The months of study completed are calculated from the original master’s enrolment date, regardless of when the master’s degree registration began or the type of master’s degree.
  • Have achieved a first-class average (A-), in each of the last two years of full-time study or equivalent;
  • Not have already received a doctoral-level scholarship or fellowship from CIHR, SSHRC or NSERC to undertake or complete a doctoral program.

Note: Eligible candidates may apply to both the Vanier CGS program and other Tri-agency-specific scholarship/fellowship programs (whether at the same or a different federal granting agency in the same academic year, provided that the research proposed in each application falls within the mandate of the federal granting agency to which the application is submitted, and the candidate meets all eligibility criteria. Candidates who are successful in more than one competition will have to choose one award to accept.

Application Process

Applicants should refer to the Vanier website for step by step application/nomination instructions. The ResearchNet application will only be accessible to applicants until the published Institution Internal Deadline of Sept 16th at 8pm, at which time it will go offline for U of T applicants.

Applicants must complete the entire application process by their unit’s student submission deadline (which is usually earlier than the institution deadline) to be eligible for consideration. This includes:

  • Contacting their proposed graduate unit regarding their specific student submission deadline and requirements;
  • Submitting a completed Vanier CGS application via ResearchNet;

Application updates & reminders:

  • Transcripts:
    • New: While applications containing unofficial transcripts will be accepted by Vanier, applicants should note that submission of an application will continue to serve as a formal attestation that they provided true, complete, accurate information in the application and its related documents. The Tri-Agency may contact administrative staff at applicants’ institutions or applicants directly in order to verify that the contents of the submitted transcripts are true, complete and accurate. SGS recommends that students submit official transcripts whenever possible as reviewers will find them easier to read and authenticity will not be questioned.
    • New: Submit all transcripts to the graduate unit. If unofficial transcripts are being submitted, they must indicate the issuing institution’s and the student’s names.
    • All transcripts should include one copy of the issuing institution’s grading legend.
    • If a nominee has international transcripts, institutions must attach a 250-word summary to describe the variations in the grading system from the country of the transcript and the Canadian level equivalents, and/or explain international credentials and equivalencies. The summary should be a PDF document attached at the beginning of their transcripts.
    • New: College or CEGEP transcripts are no longer required to be submitted with the nomination package.
  • Lay Abstract: To help the selection committee members identify the supervisor, the nominee will be asked to indicate the supervisor’s name and institution at the beginning of the lay abstract.
  • Leadership Statement: The statement should only include elements of what personal experience has shaped applicants’ doctoral research. The statement should go beyond a list of accomplishments. Applicants should outline to the committee the ways in which these accomplishments demonstrate their leadership abilities and skills.
  • Leadership Reference Letters: Applicants are required to upload two leadership reference letters. Leadership reference letters must be attached one at a time. The ability to upload the second letter will appear after the first one has been uploaded. Note: Vanier recommends that each of the four required letters (two academic and two leadership) come from four individuals but letters from the same sources will not be declared ineligible.
  • Special Circumstances (Optional):
    • Applicants are encouraged to explain any personal circumstances (including gender, race, diversity ability, sexuality, health disparities, educational access, etc.) that have impacted their academic trajectory in order to allow for a fair assessment of their research productivity.
    • Applicants can describe circumstances such as administrative responsibilities, health problems, family responsibilities, disabilities, trauma and/or loss, cultural or community responsibilities, socio-economic context, pandemic impact or other circumstances (for example, the time necessary to complete a monograph or research project, file a patent, or academia and/or career advancement, scientific research, other research, dissemination of results, training, etc.). They may explain gaps in the chronology of their experience.
  • Attach other Application Materials:
    • Part-Time Studies: Applicants must upload information about any part-time studies in this section. If they have been enrolled part-time during their PhD studies, they must specify which semesters. The information must be reflected in the transcripts.
    • Joint Program: Applicants registered in a joint program (e.g., MD/PhD), must upload the timeline of their undergraduate/graduate versus doctoral program studies, broken down by semester, in this section. This calculation must be consistent with the transcripts provided. For purposes of this calculation, the undergraduate portion will not count towards the number of months completed.
    • Applicants who choose to self-identify as Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit, and/or Métis) must complete the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Vanier CGS): Voluntary Self-identification Form for Indigenous Applicants in order to be considered beyond their institution’s quota. Once completed, the form must be uploaded as a single PDF document (unprotected) not to exceed 30 MB in this section.
  • Identify Referees: Applicants are strongly encouraged to complete the “Identify Referees” task on ResearchNet well in advance as referee assessments must be completed and submitted by the referee before the student can complete the submission by the graduate unit deadline. Applicants will be able to determine individual deadlines for their referees on ResearchNet. As a result, there will not be a single deadline for all referees.
  • Research Proposal: The students’ proposed research project and doctoral program of study must be eligible within the mandate of the agency to which the nomination will be submitted. If there is any doubt (especially for those applying to SSHRC or NSERC whose subject matter touches upon health), students are urged to email Vanier staff at with a one-page summary of their research to seek written confirmation in advance of submitting their application. Complete guidelines on selecting the appropriate federal granting agency are available on the Government of Canada’s Science and Innovation website.
    • Sex- and Gender-based Analysis Plus (SGBA+): In order to ensure the research funded is impactful and relevant to the diversity of the population, applicants are required to systematically examine how differences in identity factors (such as sex, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age and mental or physical disability) affect the outcomes of research and the impacts of research findings. Applicants are now encouraged to take SGBA+ principles into account in their proposed research.
  • French Applications: In order to ensure an equitable amount of space for the personal leadership statement and the research proposal written in either official language, the Personal Leadership Statement and the Research Proposal attachments for nominations submitted in French are now permitted to be a maximum of 2.5 pages.

Nomination Process

Applicants must be nominated by the institution at which they wish to study and hold the award. Applicants seeking an institutional nomination must first receive the endorsement of their proposed graduate unit through a local selection process. Applicants seeking this endorsement must submit a completed Vanier CGS application using the ResearchNet application system. Graduate units will view the submitted applications from candidates seeking endorsement via ResearchNet.

Nomination Letters must be completed and signed by the Department Head nominating the candidate. (See SGS Instructions to Administrators for guidelines on selecting candidates and preparing this letter. These instructions will be distributed later in July.)

Additional Info

Fall SGS Vanier Information Sessions for Students

2023 SGS Vanier CGS Doctoral Info Session Slides

2023 Video recording of live Vanier Info session (with SSHRC Vanier recipients in Q&A) (enter your utoronto email address when prompted to sign-in, then login using UTORid credentials)

Previous years’ videos

2022 Video recording of live Vanier Info session (with CIHR Vanier recipients in Q&A)

2021 Video recording of live Vanier Info session (with NSERC Vanier recipients in Q&A)

2021 BME Podcast with NSERC Vanier awardee Joseph Sebastian on how to write a successful Vanier CGS application.

Award Holder Information

Please ensure you are familiar with the policies and follow the acceptance and payment activation procedures as outlined in the Tri-Agency Research Training Award Holder’s Guide.

Students who are currently registered in the degree program for which the award has been granted, should start the award at the earliest possible start date, i.e., May 1st or September 1st (please contact your graduate department for advice as a May start date may impact any current departmental funding or current scholarships held for the same period). Students not currently registered, should start the award upon first registration into the program (September 1st or January 1st).

Please contact Vanier directly by email to request and receive approval for any change to your start date.

To arrange for payment of a Vanier CGS please complete the following steps:

  1. Submit a Response of Offer to Vanier directly via email to accept your award.
  2. Once processed, a Confirmation of Commencement Form will appear on your ResearchNet account two months before  your start date for you to complete
  3. Email the completed Confirmation of Commencement form to the Vanier Secretariat at
  4. Complete the online SGS Payment Activation Form and submit it to your graduate unit (Dept) where you intend to take up the award.

Your graduate unit will complete their portion and forward the form to the Graduate Awards Office at the School of Graduate Studies for processing.

Please submit the completed form at least 6-8 weeks before you expect to receive your first installment. For students electing to start the award in May (summer session), please note that funds may not be transferred from the granting agency in time to administer the first payment by May 1st. Rest assured that once funds have been received, they will be paid retroactive to the May 1st start date.

Contacts & Resources

View the complete guidelines on the Vanier CGS website.

If you have questions regarding the Vanier Awards competition, please contact:
Vanier directly at, or the Graduate Awards Office at the School of Graduate Studies:

Vanier CIHR
Janine Harper
Graduate Awards Officer
Vanier NSERC
Margaret Meaney
Graduate Awards Officer
Vanier SSHRC
Graduate Awards Office

Vanier program information

ResearchNet technical support