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).


To be considered for a Vanier CGS, applicants must:

  • be nominated by only one Canadian university, which has received a Vanier CGS allocation.
  • be pursuing their first doctoral degree (including the PhD portion of a joint program including MD/PhD, JD/PhD) full-time at the nominating university in the academic year immediately following the of release of results in April;
  • have completed no more than:
    • 20 months of full-time study in their doctoral program as of May 1, 2023; where 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, 2023 if:
      • enrolled in a joint graduate research program, e.g., MD/PhD, MA/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:
        • The months of study are calculated starting from the date on which an applicant is officially registered in the joint program (including the Master’s portion of the program) if they had previously been registered in a graduate program. For joint degree students who only completed a Bachelor’s degree with no prior registration in a graduate degree program, months of study are calculated starting at the PhD portion of the joint degree. All joint degree students must complete a timeline of their registration broken down by session in the special circumstances attachment to confirm eligibility.
      • enrolled directly from a Bachelor’s to a PhD (not previously enrolled in a Master’s program);
        • The months of study completed are calculated from the doctoral enrolment date.
      • Previously enrolled in a Master’s program without obtaining the degree.
        • The months of study completed are calculated from the original Master’s enrolment date, regardless of when the master’s degree registration began.
  • have achieved a first-class average (A-), in each of the last two years of full-time study or equivalent;
  • not hold or have held a doctoral-level scholarship or fellowship from CIHRSSHRC or NSERC to undertake or complete a doctoral program (or combined MA/PhD or MD/PhD)

Note: Applicants may apply to both the Vanier CGS program and another doctoral-level scholarship/fellowship program (e.g. PGS D) or a CGS Master’s award, under the same or 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. 

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 19 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 may be 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; and all original official transcripts to the graduate unit. Unofficial transcripts will be accepted from nominating institutions only for programs completed or in progress at the institution nominating the student, and only where the institution will be able to provide an official copy of the transcript upon request. Note that all transcripts must be easily legible for the selection committee, and must include the institution’s name and/or logo. Reminder (mandatory): 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. In order to assist with this task, foreign transcripts submitted by the applicant should be accompanied by a grade legend.
  • Lay Abstract: To help the selection committee members identify the supervisor, nominee will be asked to indicate the supervisor’s name and Institution at the beginning of the lay abstract.
  • Applicants who would like to self-identify as Indigenous to be considered beyond their institutions quota must complete the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Vanier CGS): Voluntary Self-Identification Form for Indigenous Applicants [ PDF (144 KB) ]. Once completed, the form must then be uploaded as a single PDF document (unprotected) not to exceed 300 MB under “Other” in the “Attach Application Materials” Task 11

Please note the following reminders:

  • Students are strongly encouraged to complete the “Identify Referee” 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. New this year, applicants will be able to determine individual deadlines for their referees on ResearchNet. As a result, there will no longer be a single deadline for all referees.
  • Applicants are required to upload two leadership reference letters as separate PDF attachments under the same task (the ability to upload the second letter will appear after the first one has been uploaded). In addition, two confidential academic assessments will be requested and submitted through ResearchNet. Note: Vanier recommends that each of these come from four individuals but letters from the same sources will not be declared ineligible.
  • All information about interruptions to a student’s academic career, choice of nominating institution, and mobility must be included the Personal Leadership Statement or Research Proposal instead of part of the “special circumstances” document, which now should be used only to describe part-time PhD or joint degree studies.
  • 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 in any capacity), students are urged to email the granting agency directly 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 at

Nomination Process

Applicants must be nominated by the institution at which they wish to study and hold the award. Applicants seeking 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 preparing this letter and candidate selection to be distributed in late July).

Additional Info

Fall SGS Vanier Information Sessions for Students

2022 SGS Vanier CGS Doctoral Info Session Slides

2022 Video recording of live Vanier Info session (with CIHR Vanier recipients in Q&A) (enter your utoronto email address when prompted to sign-in, then login using UTORid credentials)

Previous year videos

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, it 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 SGS by emailing

Vanier program information

ResearchNet technical support