Visit Back to Mac for the most up-to-date information about returning to campus.
Skip to McMaster Navigation Skip to Site Navigation Skip to main content
McMaster logo

Graduate Studies

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship Program

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship Program will help shape researchers into engaged leaders who are conscious of the impact of their research, connected to the realities of the communities in which they work, and open to non-conventional forms of knowledge.

The Foundation is seeking candidates who are audacious, original, and forward-thinking. The program will last for three years and will also provide generous support for Scholars’ doctoral work in the form of a stipend and a research and travel allowance.

Value of Award

The annual value is up to $60,000 per scholar:

  • $40,000 per year for three years;
  • $20,000 per year for three years, as research and travel allowance.

Application Quota

Universities in Canada hold annual internal competitions in which up to four candidates per institution are selected as nominees.


  • Doctoral students already accepted into or are in year one, two, or three of a full-time program in the humanities or social sciences whose work relates to one of the Foundations’ four themes:
    • human rights and dignity
    • responsible citizenship;
    • Canada and the world; and
    • people and their natural environment.
  • Canadian citizens, whether at a Canadian or an international institution.
  • Up to 25% of Scholars in a given year may be non-Canadians (permanent residents or foreign nationals) enrolled in a doctoral program at a Canadian institution.
  • Be nominated by a university.

Selection criteria:

  • academic excellence;
  • leadership experience and abilities;
  • thematic relevance of research to the Foundation’s themes;
  • public engagement;
  • desire to contribute to public dialogue and share knowledge;
  • communication skills;
  • desire to belong to a vibrant community made up of leaders from across sectors; and
  • all forms of diversity, including but not limited to gender, ethnicity, language, region, and discipline. We welcome First Nations, Métis, and Inuit candidates.

Departments should consider nominating their Fall 2018 Vanier CGS Doctoral Award candidates for this award as well. Not only must they be outstanding scholars (as evidenced by superior grades, awards, and publications), but they must also be engaged, contributing members of society as demonstrated by involvement in social, environmental, cultural, or political endeavours.

Instructions for students on how to apply

  • All scholarship applications will be submitted online through the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation portal.
  • Please visit Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation  and use the “Create an Account” button to register.
  • Once registered, the applicant completes the on-line application form and uploads his/her transcripts and enters the email addresses of their referees in the box provided. An email will automatically be sent to them, asking them to attach their reference letter in PDF format directly into the portal. We advise that students follow up with your references.

Required documents

Three letters of reference:

  • at least one (1) letter must be from an academic referee concerning academic achievements;
  • at least (1) letter must be from a non-academic referee concerning your leadership abilities;
  • the third reference letter may come from an academic or non-academic referee.

Official transcripts of all post-secondary studies, including CEGEP transcript for candidates who attended CEGEP in Quebec.

Department process

Department chairs or designates are required to provide a letter of support (in word format) for each recommended nominee’s application. The supporting letter will focus on the selection criteria listed on page 1 of this announcement. The letter will assist the AVP/Dean of Graduate Studies with the institutional nomination letter required for the final submission of the application to the Trudeau Foundation.

McMaster Internal Deadline: 12 p.m. Friday, December 20, 2019

The online application must be completed through the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation portal by 12 p.m., Friday, December 20, 2019. That includes the uploading of the reference letters and transcripts.

The department must email the letter of support to by12:00 p.m. Friday, December 20, 2019

Final submission to the Trudeau Foundation

If your application is selected to be submitted to the Trudeau Foundation, the School of Graduate Studies will then upload the completed institutional nomination letter to your application in the portal by the Trudeau Foundation’s deadline of January 22, 2020.

Useful links and email addresses