Skip to McMaster Navigation Skip to Site Navigation Skip to main content
McMaster logo

Graduate Studies

SSHRC Doctoral Scholarships and Fellowships

SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarships-Doctoral and the SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships support high-calibre students engaged in doctoral programs in the social sciences and humanities. This support allows scholars to fully concentrate on their doctoral studies, to seek out the best research mentors in their chosen fields and to contribute to the Canadian research ecosystem during and beyond the tenure of their awards.

Both the SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships and the Canada Graduate Scholarships—Doctoral Program (CGS D) are offered through one annual national competition. Applicants need to submit only one application to be considered for one or both awards. As each award has notable differences, applicants must read the descriptions for each award carefully to determine if they are eligible to apply for and hold each award. Applicants eligible for both the SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships and CGS D Scholarships will automatically be considered for both awards.

Key Dates

  • Monday, October 3, 2022, 11:59 p.m. – SSHRC On-Line System deadline
  • Early October 2022 – Quotas given to departments by Associate Dean
  • Thursday, November 3, 2022 at 12:00 noon – Recommended Candidates due to SGS from departments or Associate Deans.
  • No later than Monday, November 21, 2022 8:00 p.m. – McMaster will submit the selected applications to SSHRC and inform the applicants of the internal results.

 SSHRC’s Assigned Quota to McMaster:  46

SSHRC provides a national quota to McMaster University for the number of recommended applications permitted to submit to the national SSHRC Competition by the School of Graduate Studies.  For this year’s competition, SSHRC’s assigned quota to McMaster University is 46.


Self-Identification Data Collection in Support of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI)

All applicants are asked to voluntarily self-identify their age, gender identity, sexual orientation,

Indigenous identity, population group, language, membership in a visible minority group, and/ or status as a person with a disability. Completing the self-identification form is mandatory, but for each category there is an option for “I prefer not to answer”.

For more information, visit:

 Consent for the Use of Self-identification Information

Occasionally, the three federal granting agencies may receive priority or targeted funding. As such, a checkbox has been added to the application form to allow applicants to consent to have their responses to the self-identification questionnaire used for the purpose of consideration for additional priority or targeted funding, should it become available.

COVID-19 delays and eligibility exceptions

The tri-agencies acknowledge that the pandemic has caused some students to face exceptional delays. Should institutions have special 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 prior to submitting to the national competition.

Allowable Inclusions (if applicable)

SSHRC asks its selection committees to consider special circumstances that could have affected applicants’ research, professional career, record of academic or research achievement, or completion of degrees. Relevant circumstances could include administrative responsibilities, maternity/parental leave, child-rearing, illness, disability, cultural or community responsibilities, socio-economic context, health-related family responsibilities, trauma and loss, or the COVID-19 pandemic. Specify the dates for any delays or interruptions.

As part of the Indigenous Talent Measures, Indigenous applicants are encouraged to use the “Allowable inclusions” section of their application to describe special circumstances that could have had an impact on their academic or career paths.

All information provided to SSHRC is subject to the Privacy Act. Applicants are reminded that the information included in the “Allowable inclusions” section of their application will be shared with selection committee members for consideration as part of their application. SSHRC merit reviewers cannot share this information outside of the merit review process, which is subject to the Tri-Agency Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy. For more information, see the principles for SSHRC merit review.


 Where to submit an application

All applicants registered in a degree program at a Canadian university during the 2022 calendar year (January 1, 2022 to December 31,2022 ) must apply through that University even if they intend to pursue their studies at another institution. Students who were registered at McMaster during the above mentioned dates MUST apply through McMaster’s Internal SSHRC Doctoral competition. For students not enrolled at McMaster in 2022, they can use CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC’s simplified flowchart to clarify where they should submit their application.


SSHRC acknowledges that the widespread disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may hinder the ability of some applicants to access official and up-to-date versions of their transcripts in advance of the deadline date, particularly at institutions which do not currently provide official electronic versions of these documents. As such, for the fall 2022 competition, SSHRC will accept unofficial electronic transcripts if official transcripts are not available.

If the applicant is already registered in their program of study at the time of application, they must submit a transcript for this program regardless of the number of months completed in the program or whether the transcript contains any marks. This requirement also applies to programs of study started in the fall session of the year of application.  This means that current McMaster transcripts from the fall 2022 session are required for every applicant.

Program of study

An eligible doctoral program must include a significant research component 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 (e.g., MD/PhD, DVM/PhD, JD/PhD, MBA/PhD) as well as clinically oriented programs of study, including clinical psychology, are eligible if they have a significant autonomous research component as described above.

SSHRC CGS Doctoral

To be eligible to apply, an applicant must:

  • be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, as of the application deadline date
  • have completed no more than 24 months of full-time study in their doctoral program by December 31 of the calendar year of application if previously enrolled in a master’s program
  • have completed no more than 36 months of full-time study in their doctoral program by December 31 of the calendar year of application if enrolled in a joint program; for example, MD/PhD, MA/PhD
  • applicants who fall into this category have access to the 36-month window whether or not they were previously enrolled in a master’s program
  • have completed no more than 36 months of full-time study in their doctoral program by December 31 of the calendar year of application if enrolled directly from a bachelor’s to a PhD program (with no time spent in a master’s program)
  • direct-entry applicants must be enrolled in their doctoral program at the time of application
  • Eligibility for CGS D is based on the number of months of full-time study in the degree for which you are requesting funding by December 31, 2022. Two terms of part-time study count as one term of full-time study.
  • Applicants can submit a maximum of one scholarship application per academic year to either CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC. Nominations to the Vanier CGS program do not count toward this limit.
  • Applicants cannot have already received a doctoral-level scholarship from CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC (does not apply to CIHR Fellowships).
  • Applicants cannot hold a tenure or tenure-track appointment concurrently with their CGS D award.

Value & Duration

CGS Doctoral Scholarships: $35,000 per year; for 36 months

SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships

To be eligible to apply, an applicant must:

  • be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, as of the application deadline date;
  • not have already received a doctoral-level scholarship or fellowship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) or SSHRC;
  • submit only one doctoral award application in a given academic year to either SSHRC, CIHR or NSERC. Nominations to the Vanier CGS program do not count towards this limit;
  • have completed no more than 48 months of full-time study in their doctoral program by December 31 of the year of application.

Value and Duration

SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships: $20,000 per year; varied for 12, 24, 36 or 48 months

SSHRC Fellowship eligibility table


Number of months completed by December 31 of the year of application

Duration of SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship
Between 0 and 12 months 48 months
Between 13 and 24 months 36 months
Between 25 and 36 months 24 months
Between 37 and 48 months 12 months
49 months or more Not eligible

Indigenous Talent Measures

SSHRC is committed to supporting research by and with Indigenous peoples – in Canada and abroad – as well as Indigenous students and postdoctoral researchers seeking to advance careers in the social sciences and humanities. To learn more, please consult our Indigenous Talent Measures.

 Indigenous applicants

Institutions may submit applications from Indigenous doctoral applicants beyond their quota of

applications for the national competition. Indigenous applicants who wish to have their application considered for submission beyond their institution’s quota are asked to select the “Option for Self-identified Indigenous Applicants” in the “Application Profile” section of the online application form. This information will be visible only to the applicant and institutional officials with appropriate access to the SSHRC online system. It will not be visible in the PDF-generated application. This information is otherwise considered confidential and must not be shared with selection committees.

 Special circumstances

Indigenous applicants may complete an allowable inclusion to explain any special circumstances that may have had an impact on their academic or career paths (e.g., cultural or community responsibilities, and/or challenging socio-economic contexts). This information should be taken into account by selection committee members.

 Indigenous research

Applicants and selection committee members may identify a proposed program of study as Indigenous research, such that SSHRC’s Guidelines for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research will apply. The instructions have been updated to clarify that the identification of Indigenous research can happen in two ways: 1) the applicant identifies it as such, and 2) the selection committee judges that the Guidelines for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research apply.

 McMaster internal deadline:  Monday, October 3, 2022 at 11:59 p.m.

Applications are prepared and submitted by students in the SSHRC On-line System by the internal deadline set by McMaster. Students will not be able to submit their applications to the SSHRC On-line System until all their required tasks are completed, including referee letters of appraisal.

A complete application package includes the following:

  • SSHRC Doctoral Award application
  • Application Profile
  • Program Information (where the institution with a quota is identified)
  • Areas of Study
  • Diversity Considerations in Research Design Module
  • Research Proposal – upload (max. two pages)
  • Bibliography / Citations – upload (max. five pages)
  • Transcripts & official letters confirming part-time status or interruptions – upload (max. 10 MB)
  • Allowable Inclusion – upload (max. one page if applicable)
  • Research Contributions, Relevant Experience and Activities – upload (max. two pages)
  • Justification pages for supplements and joint initiatives (only if applicable)
  • Referees – 2 letters of appraisal

Selection criteria

Expandable List

Indicators of research ability and potential:

  • Quality of research proposal
    • specific, focused and feasible research question(s) and objective(s)
    • clear description of the proposed methodology
    • significance and expected contributions to research
  • Relevant training, such as academic training, lived experience and traditional teachings
  • Research experience and achievements relative to the applicant’s stage of study, lived experience and knowledge systems
  • Quality of contributions and extent to which they advance the field of research. Contributions may include: publications, patents, reports, posters, abstracts, monographs, presentations, creative outputs, knowledge translation outputs, community products, etc.
  • Demonstration of sound judgment and ability to think critically
  • Demonstration of responsible and ethical research conduct, including honest and thoughtful inquiry, rigorous analysis, commitment to safety and to the dissemination of research results and adherence to the use of professional standards
  • Enthusiasm for research, originality, initiative, autonomy, relevant community involvement and outreach
  • The ability or potential to communicate theoretical, technical and/or scientific concepts clearly and logically in written and oral formats

Indicators of relevant experience and achievements obtained within and beyond academia:

  • Scholarships, awards and distinctions (amount, duration and prestige)
    • Academic record:
    • Transcripts
    • Duration of previous studies
    • Program requirements and courses pursued
    • Course load
    • Relative standing in program (if available)
  • Professional, academic and extracurricular activities as well as collaborations with supervisors, colleagues, peers, students and members of the community, such as:
    • teaching, mentoring, supervising and/or coaching
    • managing projects
    • participating in science and/or research promotion
    • participating in community outreach, volunteer work and/or civic engagement
    • chairing committees and/or organizing conferences and meetings
    • participating in departmental or institutional
    • organizations, associations, societies and/or clubs