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Canada Graduate Scholarships Doctoral (CGS D) Program

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).

The CGS D program supports and promotes research excellence in a wide variety of disciplines and broad fields of health, natural sciences and engineering, and social sciences and humanities, including interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research. This support allows scholars to fully concentrate on their doctoral studies, to seek out the best research mentors in their chosen fields and to contribute to the Canadian research ecosystem during and beyond the tenure of their awards.  

Students currently registered at UVic, on an approved leave from UVic or who were registered in a degree program at UVic in this calendar year (Jan – Dec 2023) must be nominated by UVic and therefore are required to participate in the UVic internal adjudication process.


Up to $35,000

Application deadline

Next competition Fall 2024 - date TBD

Applying for the CGS D

Please refer to the CGS D program page for complete eligibility requirements. Eligibility requirements are strictly enforced; verify eligibility before starting your application.

In addition to the CGS D, each agency has its own doctoral awards. Some eligibility requirements for CGS D differ from those of the agency-specific doctoral awards. Refer to the appropriate literature for CIHRNSERC and SSHRC for further details as well as information on doctoral awards tenable at foreign institutions.

1. Confirm your eligibility to participate.

2. Choose the appropriate funding agency to apply to. Select the Federal Granting Agency that best suits the research subject area of your application. General Guidelines for the Eligibility of Subject Matter for each of the SSHRC, NSERC and CIHR can assist in determining where to apply. For applications related to health and applications related to psychology, see specific guidelines.

3. Determine where to submit your application. Consult the CGS D program page to determine whether you should submit your application through a Canadian Institution, such as UVic, or directly to the appropriate agency. UVic receives an annual quota for each of the agencies. The "Where should I submit my application?" flowchart can guide you through this decision. 

 4. Transcripts:  UVic requires official, up-to-date transcripts for all post-secondary studies, including any studies that did not lead to a degree (i.e., transfer course grades, study exchange courses, etc.) Consult the instructions for the appropriate agency.

UVic Transcripts

  • Official UVic transcripts are preferred, however, unofficial UVic transcripts will be accepted, with the exception of CIHR CGSD. CIHR requires official transcripts for all instiutitions, including the student's current (UVic).
  • Unofficial transcript can be downloaded through a student's Online Tools, Student Services.
  • The UVic transcript must be issued in the fall session of the year of application and if the applicant is currently registered it must display current registration for the fall. 
Other institution transcripts:
  • Applicants must submit official transcripts, including a transcript legend; unofficial transcripts will not be accepted
  • If the transcript is not presented in one of Canada's two official languages (English or French), a certified translation must be provided, in addition to the transcripts in their original language.
  • Up-to-date official transcripts are defined as transcripts issued by the Registrar's Office and dated or issued in the fall session of the year of the application (if currently registered) or after the last term completed (if not currently registered). Opening the envelope to scan the transcript to upload will not render it unofficial.
General transcript information:
  • All programs of study listed in the application, even if not completed, must be accompanied by up-to-date transcripts. This includes any program in which your are currently registered, even if you do not have any marks for the course yet (i.e., fall term courses you are currently enrolled in must be included on your transcript), as these are proof of your enrolment.
  • Where transcripts include transfer credits from another institution, the grades for these credits must be shown. If the grades are not shown, the original transcript from the other institution must be included in the application. This includes international exchange programs.
  • All transcripts and proof of registration should be uploaded as a single PDF document. Retain all original transcripts as they may be requested at a later date.
  • Official transcripts are defined as transcripts issued by the institution’s registrar’s office. Transcripts from other sources, such as those printed from the student’s account on the institution’s website, are not official.
  • Opening the transcript envelope and scanning the transcript will not render the transcript unofficial.
  • You must include one copy of the legend (for each transcript). Do not scan the legend multiple times.

5. Academic References: You will need two academic references and one referee must be your current graduate supervisor. 

6. Complete your application by accessing the website for the appropriate agency (CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC).

7. Continue to monitor your email after submitting your application. UVic Faculty of Graduate Studies will contact you to advise of any required changes.

Complete applicaton procedures are available on the CGS D program page

The evaluation of CGS D applications, whether by institutions or the agencies, is based on the following criteria:

Research ability and potential (50%)

Indicators of research ability and potential:

  • quality of research proposal
    • specific, focused and feasible research question(s) and
    • clear description of the proposed methodology
    • significance and expected contributions to research
  • relevant training, such as academic training, lived experience and traditional teachings
  • research experience and achievements relative to the applicant’s stage of study, lived experience and knowledge systems
  • quality of contributions and extent to which they advance the field of research—contributions may include publications, patents, reports, posters, abstracts, monographs, presentations, creative outputs, knowledge translation outputs, community products, etc.
  • demonstration of sound judgment and ability to think critically
  • demonstration of responsible and ethical research conduct, including honest and thoughtful inquiry, rigorous analysis, commitment to safety and to the dissemination of research results and adherence to the use of professional standards
  • enthusiasm for research, originality, initiative, autonomy, relevant community involvement and outreach
  • ability or potential to communicate theoretical, technical and/or scientific concepts clearly and logically in written and oral formats

Relevant experience and achievements obtained within and beyond academia (50%)

Indicators of relevant experience and achievements obtained within and beyond academia:

  • scholarships, awards and distinctions (amount, duration and prestige)
  • academic record
    • transcripts
    • duration of previous studies
    • program requirements and courses pursued
    • course load
    • relative standing in program (if available)
  • professional, academic and extracurricular activities as well as collaborations with supervisors, colleagues, peers, students and members of the community, such as
    • teaching, mentoring, supervising and/or coaching
    • managing projects
    • participating in science and/or research promotion
    • participating in community outreach, volunteer work and/or civic engagement
    • chairing committees and/or organizing conferences and meetings
    • participating in departmental or institutional organizations, associations, societies and/or clubs

CGS D applications will first be reviewed and ranked by your academic department at UVic. The department will then forward its top-ranked applicants to a UVic Faculty review committee, which oversees the campus-wide adjudication.  The committee members will review and rank applications and will select applications to be forwarded to the national committee. All applicants will be advised in late fall whether they have been chosen by UVic to participate in the national competition. Results are announced by CGS D in April.

Please note, due to the large number of applications under review, the faculty committee members do not provide written appraisals or records of their deliberations. As such, FGS cannot provide any specific information regarding the application review. 

The links and information in this section are specific to CIHR applications. Please ensure you have confirmed your eligibility and selected CIHR as the appropriate agency for your application before utilizing them.

CIHR Application Instructions

Transcripts: CIHR requires official transcripts, including UVic; unofficial transcripts will not be accepted.

CIHR Online Application System (ResearchNet)

Other resources:


The links and information in this section are specific to NSERC applications. Please ensure you have confirmed your eligibility and selected NSERC as the appropriate agency for your application before utilizing them. If you are interested in a Canada Graduate Scholarship – Doctoral (CGS D) through NSERC, apply for a PGS D. There is no separate application form or process for the CGS D program.

NSERC Resources and Contacts:

NSERC Instructions

NSERC Online Application System


NSERC Tutorials

UVic Resources and Contacts:

CGSD application workshop (natural sciences and engineering programs):

  • Date: Thursday, September 7, 2023
  • Time:  2:30-3:30pm
  • Location: MacLaurin D114
  • Workshop slides
  • Workshop audio recording (available soon)

We strive to host inclusive and accessible events. Alternate formats available upon request.  Please contact for accommodations or inquiries about accessibility.

UVic NSERC contact: Lisa Pender, Scholarship Officer,

UVic NSERC Coach:  Dr. George Tzanetakis, Computer Science,

NSERC Contact:

IMPORTANT message for SSHRC applicants ONLY

*UPDATE: UVic internal deadline for SSHRC CGSD Applications: Thursday, October 12, 2023, at 12:00pm (PT).

(from SSHRC October 3, 2023) As you may know, the SSHRC application system was taken offline on September 26 to address technical issues. We now have a status update on the system and what this means for the SSHRC Doctoral Awards competition:  

  • SSHRC anticipates that the Doctoral Awards competition will once again be live as of end of day on Thursday, October 5. Applications that had already been uploaded to the online system will be reactivated. No further action needs to be taken by applicants who have already submitted their applications.
  • Referees have been informed of the situation. Although we will be reaching out to them to provide an update once the system is back online, applicants have been encouraged to contact them to ensure they submit their reference letters before the revised deadlines.

NOTE: it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that they submit a completed application by the new UVic deadline and that their referees are made aware of the situation and notified as soon as the system is back up with the new UVic deadline of Thursday, October 12 at 12:00pm (PT). Late submissions will not be accepted.


The links and information in this section are specific to SSHRC applications. Please ensure you have confirmed your eligibility and selected SSHRC as the appropriate agency for your application before utilizing them.

SSHRC Instructions

SSHRC Online Application System

SSHRC (CGS D) September 6, 2023 workshop presentation slides with audio

UVic SSHRC contact: Kathy McCarthy, Scholarship Officer,

UVic SSHRC faculty coaches: Dr. James Rowe ( and Dr. Mary-Elizabeth Leighton (

SSHRC contact:

The CGS D program page contains detailed information relevant to applications to all Agencies.

The FGS scholarship application help page has tips on writing a strong research proposal, as well as providing helpful advice on reference letters for students and their referees.

Information for Indigenous applicants: As part of the tri-agency commitment to strengthening Indigenous research capacity, there is no limit on the number of CGSD applications from Indigenous students that may be recommended for the CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC national competitions. In order to be included in this process, Indigenous students are invited to self-identify in their application according to the different instructions provided by each research council. CIHR applicants must complete the Voluntary Self-Identification Form for Indigenous Applications and upload to their application. NSERC applicants should refer to the Collection of Self-Identification Data section of the Form 201 instructions. SSHRC applicants must self-identify as Indigenous in the Application Profile Section under the heading 'Option for Self-Identified Indigenous Applicants'. 

Black Scholars Initiative:  The Tri-agency Black Scholars initiative aims to strengthen equity, diversity, and inclusion in Canada's research culture by increasing support for Black Scholars. CGSD applicants who would like to be considered for funding under this initiative are invited to self-identify in their application. 

Contact information: Students should contact the Faculty of Graduate Studies for assistantance or guidance well in advance of the application deadline. Students can also contact any of the three federal council agencies for information about the program. Students should contact the council whose mandate corresponds with the applicant's field of research.


UVic Faculty of Graduate Studies:

Tri-Agency Doctoral Awards (CGSD, PGSD or SSHRC doctoral fellowships) may be taken up in May, September or January in the year following the competition, provided the student meets all eligibility criteria for the award.

  • All students must provide FGS a copy of their Offer Letter/Notice of Award from the tri-agency
  • CIHR awardees must also provide their Response to Offer form (FGS will send to CIHR) and a copy of their Confirmation of Commencement Form (available 60 days prior to the start date of their award through their ResearchNet account)
  • NSERC and SSHRC awardees must also provide a Request for First Installment Form (FGS will send to NSERC)

Doctoral students who wish to activate their tri-agency funding in May must submit their documents as soon as possible to avoid delays in their payment. Students who are activating their tri-agency funding in September or January must provide documentation by July 15/November 15 to avoid delays in payment in the fall/winter terms.

Please note, students cannot hold a UVic Fellowship or British Columbia Graduate Scholarship concurrently with tri-agency funding.