Changes are coming to this website. Learn more ➜

OGS/QEII-GSST Award Holder's Guide

This Award Holder’s Guide is based on the current Ontario Graduate Scholarship Program and Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology Program Guidelines provided by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU). It will be updated as required based on any updates received from the Ministry. 


  • Eligible program: An eligible program is defined as a full-time program of study of two or three terms leading to a graduate degree. Note: For the QEII-GSST award, a student must also be registered full time in a research-based master’s or doctoral program in a science, technology, engineering or math discipline.
  • Full-time: Waterloo’s description of a full-time student can be found in the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar). 

General regulations

To hold an award, award holders must:

  • Be registered full-time or full-time off-campus in a graduate degree program at the University of Waterloo while holding the award; students who can only register part time because of permanent disabilities may be eligible. To help determine eligibility, recipients should review the table in the Enrolment Status section. 
  • Not be enrolled in a qualifying or make-up year, or be on a paid education leave or sabbatical;
  • Remain eligible as per the eligibility criteria on the OGS/QEII-GSST webpage and immediately inform the Co-ordinator, Graduate Financial Aid and Awards of any changes which could affect their eligibility;
  • Be in good standing with the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP):
    • If a recipient has an OSAP restriction, they cannot receive the funding until the restriction has been cleared with the MCU (students who have never applied for OSAP are in good standing). 
    • At the time of award offer, if GSPA finds a restriction on the student’s file, the student will be contacted and advised to clear the restriction. The deadline to do so will be the next disbursement date, which is normally a 4-month time period. Should the restriction not be cleared by this time, the award must be forfeited. 

Enrolment status

OGS/QEII-GSST recipients must be registered as either full-time or full-time off-campus in order to remain eligible to continue holding their award. Recipients should refer to the table below before changing their enrolment status as their award eligibility may be impacted. 

Enrolment Status Eligibility
Full-time Applicant remains eligible
Full-time off-campus Applicant remains eligible
Part-time Ineligible; award will be cancelled (unless due to permanent disabilities)
Co-op Deferral/Interruption request required
Inactive: Parental leave Deferral/Interruption request required
Inactive: Personal/family obligations Deferral/Interruption request required
Inactive: Medical/Illness Deferral/Interruption request required
Inactive: External research or work opportunity (unrelated to thesis) Not eligible for deferral/interruption; award will be cancelled
Inactive: Temporary financial difficulties Not eligible for deferral/interruption; award will be cancelled
Inactive: No suitable courses available Not eligible for deferral/interruption; award will be cancelled

Value, start term and duration

  • Each OGS and QEII-GSST is valued at a maximum of $15,000 per year, or $5,000 per term. Recipients can hold the scholarship for a minimum of two terms (receiving $10,000 total) or a maximum of three terms (receiving $15,000 total). Accepting a scholarship for only one term is not permitted.
  • Awards are granted for up to one year in duration and are non-renewable. Applicants must apply annually in order to be considered.
  • Recipients who hold their award at Waterloo will also receive the President’s Graduate Scholarship.
  • An OGS or QEII-GSST can start May 1, September 1 or January 1 immediately following the announcement of results.
  • The value and duration of the award will be detailed in the OGS/QEII-GSST award notification sent by GSPA.

Accepting your award

  • Students who have been offered an OGS or QEII-GSST will be required to complete and submit an OGS/QEII-GSST acceptance webform (link emailed to them along with award offer).
  • Submission of the acceptance form is due 3 weeks from the date of offer.
  • An OGS or QEII-GSST can be activated for May 1, September 1 or January 1 immediately following the announcement of results. The start term cannot be changed once the award has already commenced. 
  • Successful OGS International recipients who are residing outside of Canada due to COVID-19 will be required to show either proof of existing study permit or in-progress study permit application before funds will be released to them.
  • Students who accept an OGS or QEII-GSST may have their original funding package adjusted by their department. Students are encouraged to speak with their department graduate co-ordinator before accepting their OGS/QEII-GSST. 

Payment information

Details regarding how an OGS/QEII-GSST are disbursed to students can be found on the Award eligibility, conditions and payments web page.

Other sources of income (employment and other)

There are no restrictions on outside sources of employment that recipients may have while holding the award, provided the following regulations are adhered to:

  • Recipients must adhere to Waterloo’s Full-time student definition
  • Recipients must devote full time hours to the research or studies for which they were funded

Students, who applied for both a tri-agency graduate scholarship and OGS/QEII-GSST in the same competition year and were successful in both competitions, are not permitted to hold both awards concurrently. In these situations, successful students will normally accept the tri-agency scholarship because of the higher value and national-level prestige associated with it. Students who were successful in both competitions may be initially offered an OGS/QEII-GSST in “name” only* by Waterloo which they are welcome to list on their CV or resumé as a declined award.  

*Students who would prefer to accept an OGS/QEII-GSST instead of an NSERC PGS or SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship with the goal of reapplying and being considered for a CGS D level tri-agency scholarship in the future should consult with the Co-ordinator, Graduate Financial Aid and Awards in Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs before declining the tri-agency scholarship. Students retain the ability to accept their OGS/QEII-GSST should they wish. 

  • It is the student’s responsibility, in consultation with their department and graduate supervisor, to determine which scholarship is most advantageous for them to accept, given their circumstances and eligibility.
  • Students are not permitted to partially hold one scholarship and then another in the same competition year.
  • Students are not permitted to hold/overlap an OGS and QEII-GSST from two separate competition years.

Students are also required to check the eligibility of other awards they may be offered to see if an OGS/QEII-GSST can be held concurrently.

Change of Start Date

Before commencing the award, the award recipient may change the start date of their award to any of the originally available start dates in the initial award offer letter. To change the start date, recipients should email the Co-ordinator, Graduate Financial Aid and Awards

The start term cannot be changed once the award has already commenced. 

Deferrals and Interruptions

OGS/QEII-GSST awards can be deferred (activated beyond the available start dates outlined in award offer) or interrupted (interrupt an already active award). An OGS/QEII-GSST cannot be deferred/interrupted beyond a total of four terms. Students must also adhere to Waterloo’s Leaves of Absence regulations regarding the allowable maximum duration of their leave depending on the reason. Recipients should review the table in the Enrolment Status section before changing their enrolment status. 

The following are allowable reasons to defer/interrupt an OGS/QEII-GSST award:

  • Co-op work term(s)
  • Parental leave
  • Family obligations
  • Medical/illness
  • Admission deferral: must already be pre-approved and processed by department; reason must be provided on webform.

Recipients wishing to request a deferral/interruption must submit the following forms at least one month prior to the requested leave (where possible):

General information about deferrals/interruptions:

  • Students must consult Waterloo’s Leaves of Absence regulations regarding the allowable maximum duration of their leave depending on the reason. 
  • Student's must ensure that the appropriate steps have been taken to change their registration status, which includes submitting a Change of Enrolment Status form (if required) for approval to their Department Graduate Co-ordinator.
  • Awards may not be deferred or interrupted in order to take up another award, to accept or hold an external research or work opportunity unrelated to the student's thesis (requiring an inactive term) or pursue studies other than those for which the funding was granted.
  • During the deferral/interruption period, students must be devoted full time to the activity for which the deferment was requested.
  • Decisions made regarding possible repayment of award are made based on appropriate refund period deadlines.
  • Students only able to register part time due to medical reasons will have their award pro-rated.
  • The total award value will not be affected by the deferment or interruption (the award end date will be extended by the duration of the deferment or interruption, if approved). 
  • For approved interruptions, future remaining instalments of the award will be suspended and will only be recoded to the student's Quest account after the start of the term in which the student returns to full time study. Therefore, students will not be able to use their OGS/QEII-GSST award to arrange their fees after an interruption. Students are encouraged to request a promissory note from their Department Graduate Co-ordinator in order to arrange their fees.

Changes to the award

Changes to department or Faculty

  • Students should contact the Co-ordinator, Graduate Financial Aid and Awards if they are planning to transfer to a department or Faculty that was different than the one they were awarded the OGS or QEII-GSST through.
  • A request to transfer will be approved in consultation with the department and Faculty involved; transfers are not guaranteed.
  • For QEII-GSST recipients, students must remain in a research-based program in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) disciplines to remain eligible.

Change of supervisor(s)

  • Students may change their supervisor without consulting the Co-ordinator, Graduate Financial Aid and Awards, as long as this change does not involve a change to the student’s department or Faculty.

Changes to the program level, research project or degree

  • Students may change their level (from master’s to doctoral), change their research project or degree without consulting the Co-ordinator, Graduate Financial Aid and Awards, as long as this change does not involve a change to a student’s department or Faculty.
  • For QEII-GSST recipients, students must remain in a research-based program in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) disciplines to remain eligible.

Termination of the award

  • If a recipient withdraws, transfers to part-time status or fails to complete the term in which they are receiving the scholarship, repayment of all or some of the award for that term may be required. A change in enrolment status will not require repayment of the award for any previously completed terms.
  • If a recipient completes their degree in a term in which the award is held, the award may be kept for that term providing he/she was registered full time and completed their degree after the 100% refund period. Please refer to the Student Financial Services website for these exact dates. The President’s Graduate Scholarship (PGS) central portion (paid through GSPA) will also follow these guidelines, however any department match of the PGS will be adjusted at the department’s discretion.


An award must be taken up at the institution where it has been offered. In exceptional circumstances, requests to transfer an award from one institution to another is at the discretion of each institution involved. However, if a student’s request for transfer under special circumstances is denied, the student may request a review of the transfer by writing to the Director of the Student Financial Assistance Branch, Ministry of Colleges and Universities, PO Box 4500, 189 Red River Road, 4th Floor, Thunder Bay, ON  P7B 6G9. 

Last updated: August 25, 2023

Back to top