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Graduate Studies

Canada Graduate Scholarships-Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplements (CGS-MSFSS)

School of Graduate Studies Internal Deadline

Departments or students will be required to upload the complete application to MacDrive by Thursday, September 21, 2023.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible to apply for this program, applicants must:

  • Be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident of Canada or Protected Person by the Federal application deadline date (October 10, 2023);
  • have accepted or currently hold a CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC CGS (master’s or doctoral) or Vanier CGS doctoral (the Vanier recipient must meet the citizenship requirement);
  • undertake your proposed trip abroad no earlier than the Federal competition deadline date (October 10, 2023);
  • not hold, or have held, any other CGS-MSFSS during the course of your graduate studies.

To remain eligible during the research study period abroad, you must:

  • hold an active CGS at the time your research study period abroad starts;
  • be registered in a graduate research studies program at a Canadian institution for the duration of your research study period abroad;
  • take up the award within one year of receiving the notice of award for the CGS-MSFSS;
  • return to complete your degree at your Canadian institution.

Award value and eligible expenses

The value of the CGS-MSFSS is up to $6,000, based on the information and budget justification provided in the application. The supplements are non-renewable.  The supplement will be paid to the student by McMaster University.

The supplement covers costs associated with travel, living and other expenses, including accommodation, meals, tuition, insurance and other necessary costs unrelated to research during the research study period abroad. Costs directly related to the research must be covered by other funding sources.


The minimum length of stay abroad the CGS-MSFSS Program will support is two months and the maximum duration of support is six months.

Host institutions and supervisors

Eligible host institutions include foreign universities, inter-university research centres, international or national research institutes or laboratories, or other institutions with a research mandate.

A host supervisor must be a researcher affiliated with and employed full time at an eligible host institution. Research assistants and postdoctoral fellows are not eligible to be host supervisors. If the host supervisor’s primary place of employment is outside academia, they must demonstrate that they have supervised graduate student researchers.

The choice of host institution and host supervisor must be justified in your application. The application must also explain how the research study period abroad will further your research goals.

Note: If you are unsure about the eligibility of a particular host supervisor or host institution, contact the respective agency prior to submitting your application. 

Tri-Agency Allocations

Allocations are not provided to the universities by CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC. McMaster will forward a ranked list of eligible applications to each respective agency.

Selection Criteria

The internal selection process and review procedures adopted by the institution must evaluate applications using the selection criteria listed below:

The linkage between the CGS research goals, the activities outlined for the proposed research study period abroad, and the candidate’s future research/career goals, considering:

  • the significance, feasibility and merit of proposed research study activities at the foreign institution;
  • the justification for the choice of host institution and/or host supervisor (Note: eligibility guidelines require non-academic host supervisors to demonstrate that they have supervised graduate student research); and
  • the relevance and anticipated benefits of the proposed activities to the candidate’s current graduate-degree training.

How to Apply

Candidates applying for the CGS-MSFSS can access the complete competition instructions on the harmonized program description page hosted on NSERC’s website.

A complete application package includes:

  • the CGS-MSFSS application form. Each agency has its own application form. The application form also includes a budget.
  • a description of your intended research activities during your research study period abroad (including objectives, methodology, timelines and expected outcomes) and how they relate to your main graduate research topic, and a description of the potential benefits you will derive from the host institution in relation to your current research objectives (maximum two pages)
  • a letter from your CGS or Vanier CGS research supervisor detailing their support for your research study period abroad and confirming that your proposed research aligns with the research from your CGS award (maximum one page)
  • a letter from your host supervisor detailing their support for your research study period abroad and the resources they have available—financial (if any), supervision time, equipment, library access, etc.—to support your planned research activities (maximum one page)
  • consent form: for CIHR, 1)  Applicant consent form and 2)  Consent to disclosure of personal information form; for NSERC, Terms and conditions of applying form (fillable); for SSHRC,  Consent to disclosure of personal information form.


If you have any questions or require further details, please contact the appropriate agency:

Program Design and Delivery Branch
Scholarships and Fellowships Division
Research Training Portfolio

You can also email if you have any questions.