Skip to main content

Canada Graduate Scholarships - Doctoral

A view of the Henry Hicks Building from green space with autumn leaves on trees in red yellow and orange hues.

Scholarship at a glance

SSHRC Deadline: October 12, 2023 at 9 p.m. AST
: NSERC and CIHR applications are now closed
Value: Up to $35,000 per year for up to three years
Scholarship type: Entrance or in-program
Degree level: Doctoral
Available to: Canadian students

CGS D website

Virtual information session

Recorded on September 8, 2021, this session provides an overview of the application process for Tri-Agency (SSHRC, NSERC and CIHR) scholarships at Dalhousie University. The session includes a panel discussion from experienced reviewers exploring lessons learned and best practices to consider when preparing your application to maximize your chances for success. Even though this recording is from last year, all of the reviewers’ recommendations are still relevant.


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).

SSHRC, CIHR and NSERC doctoral competitions each have their own eligibility and application requirements. This may include specific priority research areas for each funding body which may change year-over-year. Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to review funding opportunity announcements, award criteria and application preparation documentation available on each site.

The award duration and value vary by agency and award level.  Please review the website for each funding agency to learn more.

Applicants are expected to review each Agency’s application instructions in detail.  For those submitting applications through Dalhousie, applications must be submitted to the relevant agency portal by Monday, October 2, 2023, at 9 p.m. AST.

Note: Some applicants may be required to apply directly through the funding agencies. To determine whether you should apply through a Canadian institution or directly to the agencies, please consult “Where should I submit my application?”

CIHR application instructions

NSERC application instructions

SSHRC application instructions

Important items to note:

  • Dalhousie is considered an institution with a CGS-D quota for all three agencies.
  • Dalhousie will accept electronic copies of unofficial transcripts from outside institutions for the internal review process, provided you have made every effort to obtain your official transcripts without success. Official electronic transcripts from Dalhousie are preferred, but unofficial transcripts will be accepted.
  • If your previous institution does not permit former students to receive transcripts directly, please have them sent to the Scholarships Liaison Officer (SLO) at and please notify the SLO that transcripts are being sent.
  • You must include your most recent transcript, even if it does not include grades. This is required by the funding agency to confirm your current status and time in the program. Applications without current transcripts will be rejected by the agency.

Internal application submission/review process

Dalhousie receives more applications each year than we are allowed to forward to the national competition, requiring an internal review to select those applications which will receive institutional support to move on to the national-level Tri-agency reviews. To assist in conducting the internal review process, you must create a Tri-Agency Doctoral Internal Review application in FGS’s online Scholarship Management Platform. Your submission through this portal must also be completed by Monday, October 2, 2023, at 9 p.m. AST.


  • You must submit your application through the respective tri-agency portals to be considered for institutional support.
  • NSERC and CIHR applications for this year's CGS-D competition are now closed.
  • The deadline for the SSHRC application is now Thursday, October 12 at 9 p.m. AST.

Submitted applications will be downloaded by FGS, evaluated for completeness, and linked with the Tri-Agency Doctoral application in FGS’s Scholarship Management Platform.

Complete applications will be sent to departments for review. Departments typically have up to one week to complete the review process and may request for students to provide PDF copies of their applications in advance of the student submission deadline for additional review/feedback.

Applications supported at the department level are returned to FGS and forwarded to university-level review committees, which evaluate submitted applications based on Tri-Agency criteria and recommend which applications move forward to the national competition. University-level rankings may also be used to identify prospective candidates for additional internal awards.

Applicants intending to pursue studies at Dalhousie are also strongly encouraged to participate in the Harmonized Scholarship Process.

A special message from the Tri-Agencies regarding COVID-19 delays and eligibility exceptions

The tri-agencies acknowledge that the pandemic has caused some students to face exceptional delays. Should institutions have unique or exceptional cases that could warrant an exception to the CGS D program’s eligibility window or cases where eligibility is uncertain, they are encouraged to contact the appropriate agency to confirm the eligibility before submitting to the national competition.

The tri-agencies recommend that all institutions circulate a reminder to their students encouraging them to use the special circumstances section of their applications to explain COVID-related delays, especially if their progress was disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

Acceptance of awards

Tri-Agency Doctoral awards (CGS-D, PGS-D, 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. 

  • For CIHR awards, offers must be accepted or declined by completing the Response to Offer task in ResearchNet and other required steps, if applicable.

  • For NSERC and SSHRC awards, award recipients must accept or decline by sending an email to the appropriate program contact, stating whether you accept or decline, and confirming the start date.

Doctoral students wishing to activate a Tri-Agency award in May must submit a copy of the Notice of Award and a completed and signed Request for First Installment form to as soon as possible to avoid delays in payment, and should consult with their department on the impact this might have on other department-level funding over the summer. 

Doctoral students wishing to activate the Tri-Agency award in September/January must provide this documentation to by July 1st to avoid delays in payment in the fall or winter.

Eligibility criteria

  • You must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada. 

  • As of December 31 of the year you are applying for the scholarship, you must have completed no more than 24 months of full-time study in your doctoral program if previously enrolled in a master’s program. 

  • Requirements vary if you are enrolled in a joint master’s/PhD program (such as MD/PhD) or if you enrolled in a PhD program directly from a bachelor’s program (with no time spent in a master’s program). Visit the Canada Graduate Scholarships – Doctoral Program website for complete eligibility requirements. 

Application overview

  • SSHRC, CIHR and NSERC doctoral competitions each have their own eligibility and application requirements. This may include specific priority research areas for each funding body which may change year-over-year.

  • Applications must be submitted through the respective Tri-Agency portal. To facilitate the internal review process, you are also required to create a Tri-Agency Doctoral application in FGS’s online Scholarship Management Platform. This application is for internal purposes only and does not replace your Tri-Agency application.

  • Please see above for detailed guidelines on the application process for each of the three competitions.