Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research

Graduate Students: Applying for Scholarships or Fellowships

Applying for scholarships or fellowships is a vital endeavour for all graduate students to fund research or career goals.

To aid in this process, the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research divides such opportunities into these general categories:


  • funding opportunities provided by Saint Mary's University, available only to current SMU graduate students


  • funding opportunities from other institutions or agencies, which can be separated into two broad categories:
    • funding from Canadian institutions
    • funding from global institutions




Conference Travel Fund~ up to $500 awarded by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research for graduate students with confirmed conference presentations. Application Deadline - April 1 and October 1.

International Travel Funds for Graduate Student Thesis Field Research~ up to $2,000 awarded by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research to help support graduate students travelling for field research. Application Deadline - March 15.

Application for International Graduate Student Bursary
~ an opportunity from the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research to help international graduate students offset higher levels of program fees compared to domestic graduate students. Application Deadline - October 17, 2019 at 11:00am.
How to: Personal Statement of Financial Need

Vice-President Academic and Research (VPAR) International Mobility Award~ up to $1800 awarded by SMU’s Vice-President Academic and Research to help support graduate student travel.  Application Deadline - March 15 or November 1.


Annual Competitions for All Students

The Laura Bassi Scholarship
This scholarship awards a total of $8,000 thrice per annum, and was established by Editing Press in 2018 with the aim of providing editorial assistance to postgraduates and junior academics whose research focuses on neglected topics of study, broadly construed. The scholarships are open to every discipline and the next round of funding will be awarded in December 2019:

      Winter 2019
      Application deadline: 25 November 2019
      Results: 15 December 2019

 All currently enrolled master’s and doctoral candidates are eligible to apply, as are academics in the first five years of their employment.  

Mitacs - JSPS Summer Program
The Mitacs-JSPS Summer Program, offered in partnership with the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) provides opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in Canada to pursue collaborative research in Japan, allowing them to advance their own research while promoting scientific progress in both Japan and Canada. Deadline to apply: November 27, 2019 (5:00pm PT)

Canadian Water Resources Association
The Canadian Water Resources Association annually offers five scholarships awarded to graduate students whose program of study focuses on applied, natural, or social science aspects of water resources.  The scholarship recipients receive a one-year membership for the Canadian Water Resources Association. Internal Deadline to apply: January 7, 2020 to the FGSR Office (Atrium 210)

The Westin Family Awards in Northern Research
Since 2007, The Weston Family Awards in Northern Research (previously The W. Garfield Weston Awards in Northern Research) have provided unparalleled support to young scientists in Canada pursuing research in Canada’s North. Funded by The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, these annual awards are some of the most prestigious in the country for students pursuing a master’s degree, PhD or postdoctoral fellowship. Over 270 early-career researchers have been selected to receive an award since the program’s inception, forming a community of Weston Family Northern Scientists who are at the forefront of northern scholarship and who are helping shape a better future for Canada and the world.

Weston Family Award winners undertake research projects across a broad spectrum of fields and disciplines in the natural sciences, including studies of northern ecosystems, biodiversity, flora and fauna, meteorology, oceanography, glaciology, geography and environmental studies. Application deadline is 5:00 p.m. EST on Monday, January 20, 2020. Winners will be announced in May 2020.

Mackenzie King Memorial Scholarship Competition for 2020-21

Two classes of Mackenzie King Scholarship are available to graduates of Canadian universities: the Open Scholarship and the Travelling Scholarship. Both are to support graduate study.

The Open Scholarship is available to graduates of Canadian universities who pursue graduate study in any discipline, in Canada or elsewhere.  One Open Scholarship is awarded each year. The value has recently been about $8500 but it is subject to change.

The Travelling Scholarship is available to graduates of Canadian universities who pursue graduate study in the United States or the United Kingdom in the areas of international relations or industrial relations.  Recently four scholarships of $10,500 each have been awarded annually, but the number and the amount are subject to change.

Internal Deadline to apply: February 3, 2020

Nova Scotian Institute of Science writing competition
The Nova Scotian Institute of Science (NSIS) sponsors an annual Student Science Writing Competition. The importance of effective writing in the communication of science has long been recognized as an important aspect of the scientific profession and the NSIS considers this Competition as a means to promote the writing skills of young scientists. Notification of intent to enter the competition: January 31, 2020.  Submission Deadline for the article: February 14, 2020



Annual Competitions for Master's Students 

Canada Graduate Scholarships (Master's) Program:

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC); and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)

Deadline: National deadline December 1, 2019 (8:00pm ET) - Online application 

~ annual scholarships of $17,500 from CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC support and promote high-quality research in a wide variety of disciplines and areas. Applicants must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, and be enrolled in, have applied for, or will apply for full-time admission in a master's program.

MINDS Master’s Scholarships for Indigenous Students
Deadline: December 1, 2019

~ The purpose of the second call for applications is to ensure that CGS M award holders who accepted their award after May 31 are aware of this new funding opportunity and, if eligible, are able to apply. Please note that we will also accept applications from CGS M award holders who took up their award before May 31 but may have missed the first call for applications. 

Annual Competitions for Master's and PhD Students

Scotia Scholars Award
Deadlines - The deadline for receipt of applications is April 15, 2020.  The deadline for receipt of reference letters is April 30, 2020 at 2:00pm AST.

Research Nova Scotia is proud to announce its 2020/21 Scotia Scholars Award competition is now open for Master's and PhD students.

The Scotia Scholars Award provides financial support to research trainees with exceptional potential who are engaged in health research at participating Nova Scotia institutions.  The award is designed to support the growth, acquisition, and retention of highly skilled individuals who are advancing and translating knowledge in the areas of health innovation, mental health, continuing care, accessible health services, or the well-being of Nova Scotians.  For the 2020-21 academic year, funding for this award is provided by the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness.

Funding Amount and Duration
PhD: Up to $15,000/year, renewable for 3 years.
Master’s: Up to $10,000/year, renewable for 1 year.

To learn more, visit: https://researchns.ca/ssa/

Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada - Post-Graduate Research Scholars Program
Deadline - February 23, 2020
~The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APF Canada) is committed to fostering the next generation of Asia Pacific researchers and analysts. To this end, it offers up to four one-year Post-Graduate Research Scholarships (PGRS). Successful applicants will have a background in Asia-related research in Asian studies, political science, economics, history, business, international relations, or related humanities or social science program. The selection of candidates will be based on abilities, academic excellence, and fit with the Foundation's research priorities.

The London Goodenough Association of Canada (LGAC)

Deadline for the 2020-21 academic year will be posted on the website in the Fall of 2019.

~a scholarship provided to Canadian graduate students, who are studying full-time in London and living at Goodenough College, the pre-eminent residential college for international graduate students in London.


Interested applicants can apply any time.
~ this fellowship provides a long-term funding and internship option for master’s and PhD students. Recipients can also access professional development training that helps them ensure project success and gain in-demand career skills.

Nova Scotia Graduate Scholarship (NSGS)
Deadlines: April 10 to graduate program coordinator; May 1 to FGSR office.

~ graduate scholarship program created by the Province of Nova Scotia to help advance the economic and social wellbeing of Nova Scotians by investing in graduate thesis research in defined priority sectors. Scholarships are valued at up to $10,000 per year for up to two years at the Master’s level, and up to $15,000 per year for up to four years at the PhD level.

CANADA GRADUATE SCHOLARSHIPS: Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplements Program
Internal Deadlines: June 1, 2020 and October 1, 2020
~ up to $6,000 available to Canadian citizens or permanent residents who hold a Joseph-Armand Bombardier, an Alexander Graham Bell, or a Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) at the master’s or doctoral level, or a Vanier CGS at the doctoral level.

FULBRIGHT CANADA - Traditional Fulbright Student Awards 
Competition open from May 15 - November 15

Annual Competitions for PhD Students

Canada Graduate Scholarships (Doctoral) Program
SMU Internal Deadline: October 17, 2019 (8:00pm ET) - Online application
SMU Internal Deadline (SSHRC only): October 25, 2019 (8:00pm ET) - Online application
~ The Canada Graduate Scholarships - Doctoral (CGS D) program is a federal program of scholarships awarded through national competitions by the granting agencies: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).
~ Please note - Heather Taylor (Heather.Taylor@smu.ca) is the “University Designate” for uploading official transcripts to NSERC applications.

CIHR - Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarships Doctoral Awards
NSERC - Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarships
SSHRC - Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships

Agency-specific doctoral awards

In addition to the CGS D, each agency has its own doctoral awards.  Refer to the appropriate literature for CIHRNSERC and SSHRC for further details.

Meritorious CGS D applicants may also be eligible for agency-specific doctoral awards.  Applicants complete and submit one application to be considered for both a CGS D scholarship and an agency doctoral award. CGS D scholarships are offered to top-ranked eligible applicants.


Intent to apply deadline: October 1; Application deadline: November 1
~ three scholarships of $15,000 will be awarded for research projects in Canada or within the Commonwealth for academic year 2020-21. Applicants must be a Canadian citizen with a first degree from a Canadian university, who are in at least the second year of a doctoral program. 

The SMU internal deadline for receipt of on-line applications is January 7, 2020

NSERC: Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Postdoctoral Fellowships
The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) has established the JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowships for Foreign Researchers. A limited number of promising early-career researchers are given the opportunity to conduct research in Japanese universities and in designated research institutions and laboratories. NSERC is responsible for recommending Canadian nominees for JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowships.
Application deadline is February 1, 2020