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Graduate Studies

Vanier Canada Graduate Doctoral Scholarships

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships program aims to attract and retain world-class doctoral students by supporting students who demonstrate both leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement in graduate studies in the social sciences and humanities, natural sciences and/or engineering and health.

These prestigious scholarships awarded by CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC help McMaster attract highly qualified doctoral students.

Canadian citizens, permanent residents of Canada or foreign citizens are eligible to be nominated.

Vanier Scholarship information session

Award Value

$50,000/year for three (3) years

Important Deadlines

A two-stage internal review process is in place at McMaster to help identify the strongest applications and to select the most competitive candidates in each research mandate of CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC.

  • Tuesday, September 6, 2022, 10:00 am. Stage 1 Letter of Intent (LOI) package is due to SGS.
  • Thursday, October 6, 2022, 10:00 am. Stage 2 endorsed candidate applications are due to SGS.
  • Wednesday, October 19, 2022, 11:59 pm McMaster Internal ResearchNet deadline (for students): Stage 2 endorsed candidates will submit a complete application on ResearchNet.
  • Tuesday, November 1, 2022 (8:00 pm Eastern Time) Vanier Deadline McMaster must forward their selected nominations to the Vanier CGS program

You will find complete application instructions in the Fall 2022 Vanier Application Process document.

McMaster Quotas*

Universities have been assigned quotas for the number of applications that can be submitted to each agency.

CIHR – 10 applications

NSERC – 7 applications

SSHRC – 4 applications


French Applications: Personal Leadership Statement and Research Proposal Page Limit

In order to ensure an equitable amount of space for the personal leadership statement and the research proposal written in either official language, the Personal Leadership Statement and the Research Proposal attachments for nominations submitted in French are now permitted to be a maximum of 2.5 pages. This is due to evidence demonstrating that documents written in French require approximately 20% more space than similar documents in English.

NOTE: Any pages over the allotted page limit for the Personal Leadership Statement and the Research Proposal (maximum of 2 pages for English applications and maximum of 2.5 pages for French applications) will be removed with no further notification to the Applicant.

Lay Abstract (included in the ResearchNet application form)

To help the selection committee members identify the supervisor, nominee will be asked to indicate the supervisor’s name and Institution at the beginning of the lay abstract.

International Transcripts

If a nominee has international transcripts:  Institutions must attach a 250-word summary to describe the variations in the grading system from the country of the transcript and the Canadian level equivalents, and/or explain international credentials and equivalencies. The summary should be a PDF document attached at the beginning of their transcripts. This information is being requested by the selection committee.


There are reminders and new procedures for applicants and institutional administrators this year. Please read ALL instructions BEFORE beginning your application.

Selection Criteria

Candidates are evaluated and selected on the basis of the following three criteria, which are weighted equally:  Academic ExcellenceResearch Potential and Leadership (potential and demonstrated ability).

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships Website

For complete instructions on how to apply to the 2022 Vanier competition, please refer to the Vanier website.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

The Vanier CGS program encourages equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), as part of the Tri-Agency’s broader commitment to excellence in research and research training in Canada.  EDI considerations must be taken into account throughout the Vanier CGS competition, including during the selection committee member recruitment process and during the selection, endorsement and review processes of an application.

The EDI page of the Vanier CGS website provides guidelines and resources geared towards applicants, host institutions, referees, and reviewers and readers, and addressing the following topics: research respectfully involving Indigenous communities; reducing unconscious bias, and promoting equity, diversity and inclusion.

NOTE: ALL participants must review their appropriate tab in advance of completing their section of the application.

An important component ensuring EDI is reflected in our selection process is the careful consideration to each applicant’s career interruptions and personal circumstances. The review of an applicant’s track record will take into consideration the availability of research and leadership opportunities.  Applicants are thus encouraged to identify any circumstances that may have delayed or interrupted their academic and/or career advancement (if applicable) in the Personal Leadership Letter attachment of their application.

Tri-Agency Statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council are committed to excellence in research and research training. Read more in the Statement from the Tri-Agency Presidents.

Sex- and Gender-based Analysis Plus (SGBA+)

In order to ensure the research we fund is impactful and relevant to the diversity of the population, we now require applicants to systematically examine how differences in identity factors (such as sex, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age and mental or physical disability) affect the outcomes of research and the impacts of research findings.  Applicants are now encouraged to take SGBA+ principles into account in their proposed research (see Application/nomination instruction – Task 10).

Research respectfully involving and engaging Indigenous communities

The proposed research must be in accordance with the policies and principles outlined in the following three main documents:

Nominating institutions must describe how collaborations with Indigenous communities have been or will be developed and provide details corroborating information included in the research proposal.

In order to be funded, research involving and engaging with Indigenous communities must fulfill the pillars for respectful research engaging with Indigenous peoples.


(Complete Vanier eligibility information can be found on their website)

To be considered for a Vanier CGS, you must:

  • Be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada or a foreign citizen;
  • be nominated by only one Canadian institution, which must have received a Vanier CGS quota;
  • be pursuing your first doctoral degree (including joint graduate research program such as: MD/PhD, DVM/PhD, JD/PhD – if it has a demonstrated and significant research component). Note that only the PhD portion of a combined degree is eligible for funding;
  • intend to pursue, in the summer semester or the academic year following the announcement of results, full-time doctoral (or a joint graduate program such as: MD/PhD, DVM/PhD, JD/PhD) studies and research at the nominating institution; Note that only the PhD portion of a combined degree is eligible for funding;
  • Have achieved a first-class average which is an A- (10/12, 80% or above) at McMaster, in each of the last two years of full-time study or equivalent; and
  • Must not hold, or have a held a doctoral-level scholarship or fellowship from CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC to undertake or complete a doctoral degree.

REMINDER – Eligibility: Calculating months of doctoral studies

Regardless of disciplines, all prior doctoral-level studies that started in Canada or abroad, are considered in the evaluation of eligibility, and are considered to be continuous, full-time, and uninterrupted unless otherwise confirmed by the institution (including the summer months, unless on official leave). The Vanier-Banting Secretariat (the Secretariat) will count two months of part-time study as one month of full-time study.

Students who studied on a part-time basis must outline their part-time study in the Special Circumstances attachment. The information must be reflected in the transcripts.

Number of months of doctoral studies:

  • have completed no more than 20 months of full-time study in their doctoral program as of May 1st, 2023;
    • The doctoral program would begin after the completion of a Master’s degree. The months of study completed are calculated from the doctoral enrolment date.
  • have completed no more than 32 months of full-time study in their doctoral program (i.e. joint graduate research program, accelerated, previously enrolled without obtaining a Master’s degree), by May 1st, 2023 if:
    • enrolled in a joint graduate research program, e.g., MD/PhD, MA/PhD, DVM/PhD. Applicants in this category have access to the 32-month window whether or not they were previously enrolled in a Master’s program;
      • The months of study are calculated starting from the date on which an applicant is officially registered in the joint program (including the Master’s portion of the program).
    • enrolled directly from a Bachelor’s to a PhD (not previously enrolled in a Master’s program);
      • The months of study completed are calculated from the doctoral enrolment date.
    • Previously enrolled in a Master’s program without obtaining the degree.
      • The months of study completed are calculated from the original Master’s enrolment date.

Instructions/information for department administrators

  • Department Graduate Administrators (or equivalent) must create an account in ResearchNet to receive access as a “Secondary User”
    • Upon account confirmation from ResearchNet, please notify The School of Graduate Studies at and include the name and email address that was used to create the ResearchNet account;
    • Graduate Administrators (or equivalent) who already have an existing account with ResearchNet for Vanier are not required to create a new account for this year’s Vanier Competition.
  • The Secondary User access will allow the administrators to review/monitor the candidates’ applications, return the candidate’s application for revisions and to upload all transcripts (in order of least recent to most recent) for their departments’ candidates. Note: Transcripts cannot be uploaded until after Wednesday, October 19, 2022 (the McMaster Internal ResearchNet deadline for students).
    • Graduate Administrators must upload their students’ transcripts no later than Wednesday, October 26, 2022.

Contact information

For ResearchNet technical support email

For program related help, please contact

For Vanier Competition information and application process, please refer to the Vanier website.

School of Graduate Studies email address is: