Walter C. Sumner Memorial Fellowships

Award Overview


Up to 40 Walter C. Sumner Memorial Fellowships will be awarded nationally to doctoral students who are registered or about to commence studies in Chemistry, Physics, Electrical Engineering, or Computer Science.

*At the discretion of the Foundation, the amount and value of the fellowships awarded could vary each year depending on applicant pool.


Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a Canadian citizen (Permanent Residents of Canada are ineligible);
  • Be a resident of Canada (although at the time of application, a candidate may be studying outside the country); preference will be given to those born in Nova Scotia, followed by those born in any of the other Atlantic provinces;
  • Be registered or about to commence (May or September 2024) doctoral studies in either Chemistry, Physics, or Electronics (including Electrical Engineering, or Computer Science) at a participating university (see application form for full list);
  • Hold a degree from a Canadian university other than the one at which the doctoral studies will be conducted during the tenure of the fellowship;
  • If only a degree at the bachelor’s level is held (i.e. those who have not conferred a master’s degree at the time of application), the applicant must have at least two years’ experience in either teaching or industry in the chosen field of study;
    • NEW In which case, an additional one-page attachment that describes the applicant’s two most recent years of either teaching or industry work experience, must be submitted with the application package

Successful applicants who are later awarded a Canada Graduate Scholarship (NSERC, CIHR, or SSHRC) must inform the Walter C. Sumner Foundation immediately.

Application Process

Applicants must ensure that Part I of the application form, proof of citizenship, their unofficial transcripts, and referees’ forms (Part II) are submitted to their graduate unit by the unit’s internal deadline. Applications that are incomplete, ineligible, or are submitted after the deadline will not be considered.​

A completed application will consist of the following documents (no other supporting documentation will be accepted):

  • Application Form;
  • Proof of Canadian citizenship (i.e., copy of valid Canadian passport, birth certificate, or citzenship card); and
  • Unofficial up to date transcripts from all universities attended, including a current University of Toronto transcript. Up-to-date transcripts are defined as transcripts dated or issued in the fall session of the year of application (if registered) or after the last term completed (if not currently registered).
Notes Regarding Application Form:
  • Part I: To be completed by the applicant and must include:
    1. Personal information
    2. Contact information (If there is a possibility that you will move at the end of the winter session, provide contact information for use by the Sumner foundation after April 1st.)
    3. Academic background, including degrees, awards, theses, publications and research​
  • Part II-A: form must be completed by the supervisor of most recently completed thesis. Referee may also attach additional sheet for comments.
  • Part II-B: form must be completed by prospective supervisor or current supervisor. Referee may also attach additional sheet for comments.
  • Part III-A: form must be completed by the graduate chair of the applicant’s U of T graduate unit.
  • Part III-B: will be completed by SGS after graduate units have submitted their nominations.​
  • Applicants who only hold a Bachelor’s degree (i.e. those who have not conferred a master’s degree at the time of application) must submit a one page attachment that describes their two most recent years of either teaching or industry work experience.

Additional Info


Current recipients of the Sumner award may submit a request to renew the award for an additional year.  A new application form is not required.  Awardees should submit the following documentation via their graduate unit:

1. A one page report which includes information on:

  • (a) the research completed;
  • (b) any papers in press or published;
  • (c) an untranscript showing results of any course work;
  • (d) papers or posters presented; and
  • (e) any other relevant information.

2. A letter from the recipient’s research supervisor co-signed by the Dean of Graduate Studies (SGS will obtain this signature for applicants), indicating that, in their view, satisfactory progress has been made by the student.  The letter must also disclose whether the applicant has been awarded a Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS D) for his/her second year of study.

Contacts & Resources

Graduate Awards Office
School of Graduate Studies