Graduate Fellowships and Awards 2005/06

2 Financing Graduate Education

There are different ways to finance graduate studies at McGill University. A graduate student can:

1) win a fellowship from an external granting agency;
2) win an internal McGill Graduate Fellowship;
3) win a McGill departmental or faculty award;
4) obtain a stipend from their supervisor's research grant or contract;
5) receive funding in the form of loans and bursaries from the federal or provincial government;
6) receive a differential fee waiver for the international fee supplement.
In 2003-04, graduate students received over $6 million in McGill fellowships and $5 million in salaries. They also attracted approximately $14 million in fellowship funding from Canadian and Quebec Government sources, as well as $1.4 million in differential fee waivers for international students from the Quebec government. Over $23 million from research grants and contracts was devoted to graduate student support. Preliminary estimates indicate that over $4 million in fellowships was obtained through other external sources.
1) External Granting Agency Fellowships
are listed in "External Fellowships". Currently, the value of awards offered by these agencies (including those supported by the Canadian and Quebec governments) varies from approximately $15,000 to $35,000 per year, and up to $50,000 for health professionals. Many may be renewed. Application deadlines for the majority of external granting agency fellowships fall during October and November, for fellowships tenable in September of the following year. Fellowships offered by external granting agencies for postdoctoral level study and research are described in "Postdoctoral Fellowships". Opportunities for funding to pursue graduate study and research outside of Canada are listed in "Exchange and Travelling Fellowships".
2) McGill Graduate Fellowships
are described in detail in "McGill Graduate Fellowships". McGill Major Fellowships (valued at $10,000 - $15,000 per year, for one or more years) are offered only to students already enrolled in a Master's or Doctoral program at McGill, who meet the specific eligibility requirements of the year's competition. Details regarding eligibility and specific deadlines for McGill Major Fellowships are available in early September from departments and the GPSO Fellowships and Awards Section Website. For McGill students in the social science and humanities disciplines, the McGill Major Fellowship application deadline coincides with that of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) doctoral fellowships competition (generally during the month of October). For McGill students in the natural science and engineering, and medical science disciplines the deadline coincides with that of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Postgraduate Scholarships competition (generally during the month of October). All students are advised to check deadlines with their departments during the summer.

Students need not be eligible for funding through external agencies in order to apply for a McGill Major Fellowship. However, all applicants for McGill Major funding must, if eligible, have applied to CIHR, SSHRC or NSERC and, if eligible, to the Quebec funding agencies: Fonds Québécois de la Recherche sur la Nature et les Technologies (FQRNT), Fonds Québécois de la Recherche sur la Société et la Culture (FQRSC) or Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ).

Application forms for the McGill Major Fellowships are available to students currently enrolled at McGill from the GPSO Fellowships and Awards Website at: under the Fall section of the Graduate Competitions page. Completed application forms and all supporting documents should be returned directly to the academic department. No documentation should be sent to the GPSO Fellowships and Awards Section. Applications for McGill Graduate Fellowships tenable beginning in September 2006 must be received by McGill departments during the Fall semester of 2005 (check with departments for specific deadlines).

In addition to the McGill Major Fellowships for continuing graduate students, McGill University provides a number of Recruitment Fellowships. There are two types of Recruitment Fellowships. Some are awarded through a specific competition, such as the "Richard H. Tomlinson Fellowships" , and the Max Stern McCord Museum Fellowships (see "Discipline-specific Recruitment Fellowships"). Others, such as the "Max Stern Recruitment Fellowships" , and the MGsf Fellowships, see "Multidisciplinary" are allocated to selected academic departments for outstanding applicants seeking first admission to graduate studies at McGill during the following academic year. All applicants for first-time graduate admission are automatically considered by departments for a recruitment fellowship, if the unit has one to offer. In most cases, there are no application forms as awards are based exclusively on departmental nomination. However, students are strongly advised to consult the Recruitment Fellowships section below, as nomination for some fellowships (such as the Tomlinson) can involve an earlier application deadline. For additional information, students should also consult the academic unit from which they request admission.

3) McGill Departmental and Faculty Awards
are listed in "Fellowships awarded by Departments and Faculties". It is the responsibility of the department, academic unit or faculty administering these awards to determine deadlines and values. Consequently, they vary greatly. For more information regarding departmental and faculty awards, the student should contact the Graduate Studies Coordinator or Director of the academic unit in which he/she intends to study.
4) Stipends from Research Grants or Contracts
provide an important source of support for graduate students in research programs. A faculty member can, when they apply for research grants, budget for support of graduate students to work on their thesis or project research. Several granting agencies allow the support to be treated as scholarship income for the student. Granting agencies usually specify either a minimum or maximum value for a stipend. Students should, at the time of admission, enquire with their proposed supervisor or department on the availability of stipends.
5) Loans and Bursaries
are administered by the province in which the student is deemed to be a resident. Basic qualifications are that the applicant is a full-time student and a Canadian citizen; certain categories of Permanent Residents may also be eligible. The Quebec Student Loan and Canada Student Loan programs operate exclusively on the basis of financial need. Several provinces augment their loan programs with a loan forgiveness programs to help students reduce their debt loads. The McGill Student Aid Office provides information regarding application procedures of these government loan programs. The Student Aid Office also administers institutional need-based funding including short-term loans to cover emergency situations, limited bursary assistance, and a Work/Study program. Further information is provided in "Student Financial Assistance".
6) Differential Fee Waivers for International Students
are available through three mechanisms: (a) McGill University is allocated a number of Differential Fee Waivers (DFWs) that it allocates through the departments. International students should enquire with their department for information regarding how to aply for these. (b) International students who register in Master's and Doctoral studies in French Language and Literature or Master's studies in Second Language Education (French as a Second Language) are exempt from the international supplement. (c) All students from France and a limited number of students from countries that entered bilateral agreements with Quebec have access to DFWs. Except for French citizens, students from such countries (see "Differential Fee Waivers") should apply to their home country for a DFW during the application process for admission.
2.1 General Fellowships Information

When an external fellowship announcement received by the GPSO Fellowships and Awards Section is of particular interest to a specific department or academic unit, the information is forwarded to that unit for posting and/or circulation. In addition, announcements of general interest are posted on the bulletin board outside the GPSO Fellowships and Awards Section, James Administration Building, Room 400. The GPSO Fellowships and Awards Section maintains a small collection of reference books on funding for graduate study. These may be consulted at the reception desk.

2.2 Reference Books

In addition to the resources offered by the GPSO Fellowships and Awards Section, those seeking support for graduate study are encouraged to consult one or more of the many reference books and directories on the subject. Many major libraries, including McGill's McLennan Library, have publications listing fellowships and awards for graduate study, including the following:

The Awards Almanac;
Annual Register of Grant Support;
Awards for Postgraduate Study at Commonwealth Universities;
Directory of Financial Aids for Women;
Directory of Research Grants;
The Foundation Grants Index;
The Grants Register;
Study Abroad;
Scholarships, Fellowships, and Loans.
2.3 Funding Information on the Web

The Fellowships and Awards calendar is accessible on the Web at under Publications. The GPSO site also contains specific information on competitions and links to the sites of various funding agencies as well as forms for several McGill fellowships and awards that may be downloaded.

The Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office also publishes a general guide on funding strategies entitled Making Ends Meet, which can also be found at under Publications.

McGill University subscribes to the SPIN database for sources of research funding. The database is accessible free of charge to the end user from any computer on the McGill domain (or in any other participating university/institution). The database now carries a number of graduate and postdoctoral fellowships, scholarships, awards, prizes, etc. Access to the SPIN database as well as search tips can be found at on the Publications page. While a large database of research funding opportunities, SPIN is not complete or exhaustive. Prospective applicants or students looking to secure funding should use other means as well (this calendar and the McGill Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office Website are two other places to start).

Information for international students and fellows wishing to study in Canada is available from the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) Website at

2.4 Information for International Students and Fellows

Funding opportunities for international students are not as plentiful as they are for Canadians. This is because many forms of assistance provided by the federal and provincial governments are offered to Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents of Canada only. Opportunities for supplementing fellowship income by employment are also scarcer since international students and their dependents are not normally permitted by Canadian immigration authorities to work outside the university. Immigration officials also require all international students entering Canada to provide proof that they possess sufficient funds to cover at least one academic year's stay in Canada as well as return fare home. McGill's International Student Advisor suggests that single students have a minimum of $18,000 for living expenses, in addition to tuition and ancillary fees, for every twelve months of study in Canada.

Non-Canadian students can, nonetheless, draw on a considerable variety of fellowships and other forms of assistance. There are several large, multi-disciplinary programs specifically aimed at funding students from abroad who are studying in Canada. These include: the Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Program, the Government of Canada Awards to Foreign Nationals, the Technical Assistance Scholarships and Fellowships and the Canadian Fellowship Program for French- Speaking Countries, funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Applications for all these programs must be made through the government of the applicant's home country, usually via the Ministry of Education. Applications sent by individuals directly to Canada cannot be considered.

In addition, many of McGill's Graduate Fellowships, as well as many of the fellowships and prizes offered by various McGill departments and faculties, are offered without any restrictions concerning nationality. Unless otherwise specified in the description, fellowships listed in this brochure are open to students from all countries. International students should also note that the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office grants some differential fee waivers making it possible for some non-Canadian students to pay reduced foreign fees. Some students may also qualify for differential fee waivers accorded as a result of bilateral agreements between Canada and their home country. See "Differential Fee Waivers", as well as "Exchange and Travelling Fellowships".

Additional information on opportunities for financial assistance available to international graduate students and fellows can be found in the UNESCO publication Study Abroad, available for consultation at the GPSO Fellowships and Awards Section, McLennan Library, as well as many national libraries around the world. Study Abroad can also be purchased directly from UNESCO distributors in member countries. The Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) produces a free brochure entitled Study in Canada, available on the Web at or upon request to: CBIE, 220 Laurier Avenue West, Suite 1550, Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5Z9 (613) 237-4820 (phone). International students may also find some general information regarding university study in Canada at various Canadian consulates and embassy offices abroad.

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