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Graduate Studies

CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s

The CGS-M Awards Program supports students in all research disciplines and is administered jointly by Canada’s three federal granting agencies: the Canadian Institutes for 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 selection process and post-award administration are carried out at the university level, under the guidance of the three agencies.

Information Session 2022

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Value and Duration

$17,500 for 12 months, non-renewable

Assigned Allocations to McMaster




Application Deadline: December 1, 2022 – 8:00 p.m. (ET)

There are no extensions granted by the Agency. Applicants to the CGS M program must complete their application using the Research Portal, hosted by NSERC. It is a single application form used by all three Agencies (NSERC, SSHRC, and CIHR) and the applicant can choose up to 3 universities where they would like to hold their award.  Once the student submits the application in the portal, no additional changes can be made.

Other Awards

The CGS M applicants are also eligible for additional McMaster awards such as the Ontario Graduate Scholarship, the Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology and the Ontario Graduate Fellowship. No additional application is necessary.


  • be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada;
  • have completed, as of December 31, 2022:
    • between zero and 12 months of full-time studies (or full-time equivalent) in the program for which you are requesting funding, which may be:
      • a master’s program;
      • a doctoral program that you are entering without having ever been enrolled in a master’s program (that is, direct-entry);
      • a combined master’s-doctoral program;
      • a master’s program that will transition to an eligible doctoral program, either before or after award activation, with no master’s degree conferred (that is, fast-track); or
      • a master’s program for which the degree requirements will be completed before the end of the award, allowing the award to continue into an eligible doctoral program; or
    • between four and 12 months of full-time study (or full-time equivalent) in an eligible master’s program for which the degree requirements will be completed before activation of the award, allowing it to be activated during the subsequent doctoral program for which you are requesting funding;
  • not have previously held a CGS M;
  • have achieved a first-class average, as determined by the host institution, in each of the last two completed years of study (full-time equivalent). At McMaster, a first-class average is a Minimum A- (10/12, 80%). Note: If a transcript has both letter grades and percentages, you must calculate the averages by using the percentage grades.
  • submit a maximum of one scholarship application per academic year to either CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC (the Research Portal will allow the application to be submitted to up to three institutions – refer to Application Procedures).

Applicants can be considered for a CGS M at McMaster University if they select McMaster as one of the institutions on their CGS M application and are enrolled in, have applied for, or will apply for full-time admission to an eligible graduate program at the master’s or doctoral level.

Program of Study Eligibility

An eligible graduate program must have a significant research component. A significant research component is considered to be original, autonomous research that leads to the completion of a thesis, major research project, dissertation, scholarly publication, performance, recital and/or exhibit that is merit/expert-reviewed at the institutional level as a requirement for completion of the program.

Joint programs with a professional degree (for example, MD/PhD, DVM/PhD, JD/MA, JD/PhD, MBA/PhD, MA/MBA) as well as clinically oriented programs of study, including clinical psychology, are eligible if they have a significant autonomous research component, as described above.

Master’s programs that are based only on course work are typically not eligible since they do not include a significant research component. Given the specific requirements of certain disciplines, institutions are invited to contact the appropriate agency for guidance on the eligibility of programs of study.

Equity, diversity and inclusion

The Tri-agency is acting on the evidence that achieving a more equitable, diverse and inclusive Canadian research enterprise is essential to creating the excellent, innovative and impactful research necessary to advance knowledge and understanding, and to respond to local, national and global challenges. This principle informs the commitments described in the Tri-agency statement on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

Self-identification information

You must complete the self-identification form found in the person profile of the Research Portal when applying for funding. This data provides information on the diversity of the population applying for and receiving agency funds. This information increases the agencies’ capacity to monitor their progress on increasing equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in their programs, to recognize and remove barriers, and to design new measures to achieve greater EDI in the research enterprise. If you do not want to self-identify, you have the option to choose I prefer not to answer for each question, but you are required to select a response for the questionnaire to be marked as complete. Self-identification information is not part of your application and will be neither accessible to nor shared with external reviewers and/or selection committee members. For more information, refer to the  frequently asked questions about the self-identification questionnaire.

Special circumstances

The agencies require institutions and reviewers to take into consideration special circumstances that may have affected your research, professional career, record of academic or research achievement or completion of degrees. Relevant circumstances might include administrative responsibilities, maternity/parental leave, child-rearing, illness, disability, cultural or community responsibilities, socio-economic context, trauma and loss, family responsibilities or a pandemic. Specify the dates for any delays or interruptions in the Leaves of absence and impact on research section of the CCV if appropriate. Approximate dates may be used if providing a timeline of a significant life event.

NEW – Indigenous Scholars Awards and Supplements Pilot Initiative (NSERC and SSHRC)

The Indigenous Scholars Awards and Supplements Pilot Initiative provides financial support to Indigenous scholars who are meritorious in the CGS M program.

  • The Indigenous Scholars Awards and Supplements Pilot Initiative consist of a one-year, non-renewable supplement valued at $5,000 for all meritorious Indigenous CGS M applicants and a one-year, non-renewable award valued at $17,500 for all alternate candidates, subject to the limit of available funding. If you self-identify as Indigenous you are eligible to apply for this initiative. To be considered for this funding opportunity, you must
    • select the Indigenous Scholars Awards and Supplements Pilot Initiative option from the drop-down menu
    • indicate your agreement with the self-identification and consent statement by selecting the appropriate checkbox
    • complete the Personal statement(3,000 characters max)

For additional information, consult the description of the  Indigenous Scholars Awards and Supplements Pilot Initiative on the SSHRC website.

A complete application

A complete application includes the following documents:

  • the outline of the proposed research (including the bibliography and citations);
    • Outline of proposed research (maximum of one page); If the document is longer than one page, the excess copy will be deleted from the application when submitted to the ranking committee
    • Bibliography/citations (maximum of one page).
  • all undergraduate and graduate transcripts
  • Up-to-date official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate studies should be included in the applicati Retain the paper copy of any uploaded transcripts, as you may be asked to provide it for verification purposes.
    • Up-to-date transcripts are defined as transcripts dated or issued in the fall 2022 session (if currently registered) or after the last term completed (if not currently registered)
    • Official transcripts are defined according to institutional guideline Ensure that the transcripts uploaded meet the internal requirements at each institution selected in your application. Contact the Faculty of Graduate Studies (or its equivalent) at the institutions selected in your application to determine their requirements.
    • If the institution does not provide transcripts, you can submit, in lieu of a transcript, a letter bearing the official institution seal/stamp or a letter signed by the Dean of Graduate Studies or equivalent confirming 1) your program of study, 2) your registration status and 3) the fact that the institution does not provide transcr
    • If transcripts are not provided for all programs of study listed in the CCV, the selection committee(s) will have less information on which to base their assessment, which may put your application at a disadvantage.
  • Canada’s three granting agencies—the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)—acknowledge that the widespread disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may hinder the ability of some institutions to provide applicants with official and up-to-date transcripts in advance of the deadline date, particularly at institutions which do not currently provide official electronic versions of these documents. Therefore, for this CGS-M competition, the agencies will accept unofficial transcripts if official transcripts cannot be obtained.
  • Applicants should contact their faculty of graduate studies to determine whether an official transcript can be provided. Submission of an application will continue to serve as a formal attestation that the applicant has provided true, complete, and accurate information in the application and its related documents.
    • the CGS M Canadian Common CV (CCV);
    • two reference assessment

Selection Criteria

Selection Criteria is as follows:

Academic Excellence – 50%

Research Potential – 30%

Personal characteristics and interpersonal skills – 20%

Notification of results

Offers of awards will be available in the  research portal as of April 1, 2023. Offers to alternate applicants may be made up until January 31, 2024.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to regularly check the research portal between April 1 and January 31 for results of the competition.

If you are offered an award, you will have 21 days from the date of each offer of award to accept or decline in the research portal. The status of offers not accepted within the 21 days will automatically be changed to Declined and cannot be reversed.

Applicants may accept only one CGS M offer. Once an offer has been accepted, the system will automatically change all other offers and statuses to Declined, and applicants will not be eligible to receive further offers.

Useful Links

Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s program resources

Competition Information

Instructions for completing an application

Research Portal – Frequently Asked Questions

Instructions for Completing the Reference Assessment Form

Create and account on the Research Portal

Login to the Research Portal with an existing account