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Graduate Studies

Emerging Leaders of the Americas Program (ELAP)

The Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP) scholarships provide students from post-secondary institutions located in Latin America and the Caribbean with short-term exchange opportunities for study or research in Canadian post-secondary institutions, at the graduate level.

Key Dates

McMaster Internal Deadline

McMaster’s internal deadline for departments to submit required documents is Thursday, March 3, 2022. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered. An application is deemed complete if all application materials have been submitted by the applicant and the department to the School of Graduate Studies by the internal deadline.

All eligible applications submitted by the internal deadline will be reviewed based on McMaster’s strategic priorities at the institutional level and only those deemed exceptional by McMaster University will be forwarded to the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) for the federal competition.

Agency Deadline

The deadline for McMaster University to submit online applications on behalf of candidates is 11:59 p.m. EDT, March 22, 2022.

Announcement of Results

Canadian institutions will be informed of the final selection and results by the end of May 2022.

Arrival in Canada

Scholarship recipients may commence their studies or research as early as August 1, 2022, but no later than February 1, 2023. 

Value and Duration

Funding for ELAP scholarships is made available by Global Affairs Canada through its legal title: the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD).

The Canadian institution will receive funding from DFATD for all successful candidates in the form of a contribution agreement and will be responsible for providing the funds to scholarship recipients.

The scholarship value varies depending on the duration of studies:

  • CAD 8,200 for college, undergraduate or graduate students (Master’s and PhD) for a minimum of four months or one academic term of study or research; or
  • CAD 11,100 for graduate students (Master’s and PhD) for a period of five to six months of study or research.

In addition to the funds allocated to the recipients by DFATD, the Canadian host institution may also claim CAD 500 per scholarship recipient to assist with administrative costs once the scholarship recipient arrives in Canada.

Eligible expenses

Canadian institutions will disburse scholarship funds to the scholarship recipient to contribute to the following costs:

  • visa or study/work permit fees;
  • airfare, for the scholarship recipient only, to travel to Canada by the most direct and economical route and return airfare upon completion of the scholarship;
  • health insurance;
  • living expenses, such as accommodation, utilities and food;
  • ground public transportation, including a public transportation pass; and
  • books and supplies required for the recipient’s study or research, excluding computers and other equipment.


Candidates must be citizens of one of the following eligible countries/territories:

  • Caribbean: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos;
  • Central America: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama;
  • North America: Mexico; or
  • South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela.


  • must be enrolled as full-time students at post-secondary institutions in the eligible countries/territories and paying any tuition fees required by these institutions at the time of application and for the full duration of the exchange;
  • who hold Canadian citizenship or permanent residency, or who have a pending application for permanent residency in Canada are not eligible;
  • already participating in an exchange scholarship program funded by the Government of Canada are not eligible; and
  • already enrolled in a program at a Canadian post-secondary institution are not eligible.

Selection process

The following guidelines are followed for the review, assessment and selection of applications:

  • All online applications received by the deadline will be pre-screened to ensure they meet eligibility requirements established for the program.
  • Eligible and complete applications, including the supporting documents, will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
    • merit of the research or study to be undertaken in Canada;
    • benefit to the home institution and peers;
    • benefit to the Canadian institution and peers; and
    • strength of linkages to be created through the proposed exchange.
  • The Canadian institution will be required to rank its eligible applications based on its institutional strategic priorities.

Application process

  • Interested candidates in this scholarship program should first contact their home institution;
  • must provide a letter of intent explaining the nature of studies or research to be undertaken, the rationale for study in Canada and for the choice of institution, program and supervisor, and how the proposed plan relates to their future career; and
  • do not apply on their own behalf, as all applications are submitted by the Canadian institutions on behalf of the candidates.

Supporting documents

Departments/supervisors must email all the required documents as one PDF no later than Thursday, March 3, 2022. Please include: ELAP in the email subject line. Graduate applications to be emailed to and undergraduate applications to be emailed to

Applicants to provide the following documents to their department:

(Please contact your department to confirm when they require your documents in order for them to meet the Thursday, March 3rd deadline)

  • Proof of citizenship/identity: a copy of the candidate’s passport or national identity card with valid dates and photo. Note: a driver’s license, permanent residence card, work permit, student card, health card, birth certificate or baptism certificate are not accepted as proofs of citizenship. Candidates from countries/territories that do not issue national identity cards must provide copies of their valid passports. The country/territory of citizenship selected in the online application form must be the same as the country/territory of the proof of citizenship.
  • Proof of full-time enrolment: a letter in English or French from the home institution, on official letterhead and dated within the last six months confirming that the candidate is currently enrolled in a full-time program (maximum one page). Note: copies of transcripts, a student card, or a letter of admission are not acceptable.
  • Letter of intent from the candidate: a letter in English or French from the candidate explaining the nature of studies or research to be undertaken; the rationale for study in Canada and for the choice of institution, program and supervisor; and how the proposed plan relates to their future career (maximum one page).
  • Letter of support from the home institution: a letter in English or French from the candidate’s instructor, professor or international director on the home institution’s official letterhead explaining the nature of study or research to be undertaken and how the candidate and the home institution will benefit from this scholarship (maximum one page).
  • Privacy Notice Statement: a copy of the Privacy Notice Statement for non-Canadian participants dated and signed by the candidate.
  • Additional information: a document completed by the applicant that includes the following information
    • Candidate’s research project title
    • A summary of the research project or courses to be undertaken at McMaster (maximum 1000 characters).
    • HISTORY OF INTER-INSTITUTIONAL COLLABORATION: Describe the nature of the agreement i.e., formal Memorandum of Understanding, informal agreement between post-secondary institutions or departments, research collaboration between professors, etc. (maximum 1000 characters).
    • How long is the candidate planning on staying? You need to choose A or B. A) Four months (one academic term) or B) Between 5 and 6 months.
    • Candidate’s expected arrival date to McMaster and departure date from McMaster. These dates are required for the application, but they can be changed at a later date.
    • Candidate’s McMaster Supervisor details: name, title, department, phone number and email address.
    • Name, job title, email address, name of institution and mailing address for the contact person responsible for the exchange program at the candidate’s home institution.
    • Candidate’s email address
    • Candidate’s current level of study. Undergraduate, Master’s or PhD? Current year? (1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th)
    • Candidate’s field of study and program at home institution
    • Candidate’s expected degree completion at their home institution
    • Candidate’s Gender
    • Candidate’s country of citizenship

Only for Graduate Student applications-Departments to include the following document in the PDF:

  1. Letter of invitation from the Canadian supervisor: applications for graduate students must include a letter from the Canadian supervisor indicating their willingness to support and mentor the candidate. This letter must be on institutional letterhead, be in English or in French, and be signed.  It must indicate the support that the candidate will receive during the exchange period and how the Canadian institution, supervisor and peers will benefit from the exchange (maximum one page).

Terms and Conditions for scholarship recipients

  • must engage in full-time studies or research as defined by the Canadian institution;
  • must be proficient in the language of instruction at the Canadian institution (English or French) before their arrival in Canada, as the scholarship does not cover language training. Language requirements are set by each Canadian institution;
  • may not hold any other scholarship granted by the Government of Canada;
  • carrying out a semester-based study exchange must arrive in Canada by September for the fall semester or by January for the winter semester;
  • conducting research must arrive in Canada for the uptake of their award between August 1, 2022 but no later than February 1, 2023. Failure to arrive during this time may result in the cancellation of the scholarship.
  • enrolled in pharmacy, medicine, dentistry or other health fields are excluded from clinical training or clinically-oriented research involving direct patient-care;
  • must ensure that they have appropriate health insurance for the full duration of the scholarship, as per the policies of the Canadian institution;
  • must focus primarily on full-time studies or research during their stay in Canada; and
  • are expected to return to their home institutions after the scholarship period in order to complete their studies.

Important information

  • For graduate applications, an inter-institutional agreement is desirable but not mandatory. If there is no existing exchange agreement, graduate applications which involve a new or established collaboration between professors from a Canadian institution and the candidate’s home institution will be accepted.
  • Applications submitted directly by a candidate or their home institution will not be accepted.
  • Scholarships cannot be deferred and are not renewable.
  • Priority will be given to candidates who have not previously received a scholarship under the Canada-CARICOM Leadership Scholarships Program, the Canada-CARICOM Faculty Leadership Program, the Canada-Chile Leadership Exchange Scholarship or the Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program.
  • Scholarships are not taxable for either the Canadian institution or the scholarship recipient.

Any questions?

Please direct all inquiries regarding the eligibility requirements to: or 613-237-4820.