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Graduate Studies

NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships – Doctoral

The Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarships – Doctoral Program (CGS D) and the NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships – Doctoral (PGS D) program provide financial support to high-calibre scholars who are engaged in an eligible doctoral program. This support allows these scholars to fully concentrate on their studies and seek out the best research mentors in their chosen fields. Both programs are administered through a single application.

McMaster internal application deadline: Tuesday, October 1, 2019, 11:59 p.m.

Value and duration

  • Alexander Graham Bell CGS Doctoral Scholarship: $35,000 per year for 3 years
  • NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships-Doctoral Program: $21,000 per year for 3 years

NSERC’s assigned quota to McMaster: 63

NSERC provides national quotas to universities for the number of recommended applicants that can be submitted to the national NSERC competition.

Indigenous applicants

Institutions may recommend applications from self-identified Indigenous applicants to the doctoral awards competition beyond their application quota. Students can self-identify as Indigenous when completing the doctoral application on the NSERC On-line System.


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 year of application (no more than 36 months if transferred directly from Bachelors to a PhD or enrolled in a joint program, e.g., MD/PhD, MA/PhD);
  • submit only one doctoral award application in a given academic year. Nominations to the Vanier CGS program do not count towards this limit;
  • not have already received a doctoral-level scholarship or fellowship from CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC.

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.

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

Selection criteria

When your department is reviewing the applications, please consider the new selection criteria provided below. The evaluation of CGS D and PGS D applications, whether by institutions or the agencies, are based on these criteria.

  • Research ability and potential: 50%
  • Relevant experience and achievements obtained within and beyond academia: 50%