The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Vanier CGS) Program 2016

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Vanier CGS) Program 2016

The Government of Canada launched the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Vanier CGS) program in 2008 to strengthen Canada’s ability to attract and retain world-class doctoral students and establish Canada as a global centre of excellence in research and higher learning. Vanier Scholars demonstrate leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement in graduate studies in the social sciences and/or humanities, natural sciences and/or engineering and health.

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Vanier CGS) program helps Canadian institutions attract highly qualified doctoral students.

Valued at $50,000 per year for three years during doctoral studies
Considers three equally weighted evaluation criteria: academic excellence, research potential, and leadership

Up to 167 scholarships are awarded annuallyFootnote 1;
A total of up to 500 scholarships are active at any time.

$50,000 per year

3 years (non-renewable)

Scholarships are distributed equally between the three federal granting agencies:

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)


July – November Applicants seek a nominating institution, prepare and submit application package.
Internal Deadline Deadline to submit application to the nominating institution. Contact nominating institution for specific date.
November 2, 2016 (20:00 ET) Deadline for institutions to submit nominations to the Vanier CGS program.
November 2016 – March 2017 Review and evaluation of nominations.
March 30, 2017 Results released.
May 1, 2017, September 1, 2017 or January 1, 2018 Payments beg


Confirm that you and your nominating institution meet all the criteria below before you apply for a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Vanier CGS).

Nominations that do not meet all of the eligibility criteria will not be accepted.

Candidate eligibility


Canadian citizens, permanent residents of Canada and foreign citizens are eligible to be nominated for a Vanier CGS.

To be considered for a Vanier CGS, you must:

  • be nominated by only one Canadian institution, which must have received a Vanier CGS quota;
  • be pursuing your first doctoral degree (including joint undergraduate/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;
  • not have completed more than 20 months of doctoral studies as of May 1, 2017 (see calculating months of doctoral studies below);
  • have achieved a first-class average, as determined by your institution, in each of the last two years of full-time study or equivalent. Candidates are encouraged to contact the institution for its definition of a first-class average; and
  • must not hold, or have held, a doctoral-level scholarship or fellowship from CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC to undertake or complete a doctoral degree.

Calculating months of doctoral studies

All prior doctoral-level studies, regardless of discipline, are considered in the evaluation of eligibility. The Vanier-Banting Secretariat (the Secretariat) will count two months of part-time study as one month of full-time study.

The Secretariat will not include the first 12 months of graduate level study for the following students:

  • Those registered in a combined MA/PhD or MSc/PhD program,
  • Those registered in a direct-entry doctoral program,
  • Those who are accelerated from a master’s program into a doctoral program without obtaining the master’s degree

Note: For students in combined or accelerated programs: in calculating the number of months completed, the Secretariat will begin it’s calculation at the beginning of graduate study (i.e., from the start of the master’s program, not from the effective date of transfer to the doctoral program) and subtract 12 months from the total, regardless of the amount of time spent undertaking Master’s level study.

In the case of students who are registered in a joint undergraduate/graduate research degree program, the undergraduate (MD, DVM, JD) portion will not count towards the number of months at the doctoral level. Because the Secretariat only includes the PhD portion of joint undergraduate/graduate degrees when calculating the number of months of study, these programs are not considered to be direct-entry programs, and as such all PhD level studies will be included in the number of months completed as of May 1, 2017.

All interruptions, delays, part-time studies and undergraduate studies undertaken as part of a joint undergraduate/graduate degree program must be indicated in the special circumstances attachment.

Example: If you were completing full-time doctoral studies as of January 1, 2016, with no interruptions during this period, the Secretariat will consider you as having completed 16 months of doctoral studies as of May 1, 2017. If, during this period, you were on leave from your program for four months, the Secretariat will consider you as having completed 12 months of doctoral studies. If, in addition to having taken one semester off, you had been registered part-time for one semester (i.e., four months), the Secretariat will consider you as having completed 10 months of doctoral studies.

Nominating institution

The nominating institution must have received a Vanier CGS quota.

Eligibility to hold a Vanier CGS

Without exception, the Vanier CGS is tenable only at the eligible Canadian institution that submitted the nomination.

To hold the Vanier CGS, the candidate must:

  • be registered as a full-time student at the nominating Canadian institution and be pursuing a doctoral degree (or combined MA/PhD, MSc/PhD, or MD/PhD); and
  • remain enrolled and demonstrate continued satisfactory progress in their doctoral program.
  • not hold, or have held, a doctoral-level scholarship or fellowship from CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC to undertake or complete a doctoral degree.

Part-time studies

A Vanier CGS may be held by students who are registered part-time because of a disability or family responsibilities. For this purpose, disability is defined as “a functional limitation resulting from a physical, sensory or mental impairment, which, for an indefinite period, affects the ability of the student to perform the activities necessary to participate fully in his or her learning” and family responsibilities is defined as “the primary responsibility for providing personal care to a dependent family member (e.g., pre-school children, infirm spouse or parent) which affects the ability of the student to perform the activities necessary to participate fully in his or her learning”. For eligible part-time students, the Vanier CGS will be equivalent to full-time funding spread over a longer period of time.

Canadian federal government employees

Canadian federal government employees are eligible to hold a scholarship only if an unpaid leave of absence is taken (no salary or special allowances permitted).

Multiple applications

Eligible candidates may apply to both the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship program and agency-specific (CIHR, NSERC, or SSHRC) doctoral-level scholarship/fellowships programs in the same academic year. Eligible candidates must submit Vanier and agency-specific applications to the same federal granting agency, and must meet all eligibility criteria in order to be considered. For more information, please refer to Identify area of research.

Note: since eligibility, evaluation criteria and competition deadlines are different; applications submitted to Vanier CGS are not considered in agency-specific doctoral award competitions. You must apply to each program individually.

Candidates who are successful in both competitions will have to choose which award to accept.


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