Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) and the Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology (QEII-GSST)

Due to the current COVID-19 situation, the release of OGS/QEII-GSST offers has been postponed to May 11, 2020 as per the revised competition timeline

The information contained on this web page pertains to the fall 2019 competitions for Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) and Queen Elizabeth Scholarship II in Science and Technology (QEII-GSST). Successful recipients will hold their awards during 2020-2021.

Scholarship overview

The Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) and the Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology (QEII-GSST) programs encourage excellence in graduate studies at publicly-assisted universities in Ontario. Both programs are jointly funded by the Ontario government and participating institutions. The government contributes two-thirds of the value of the awards and the university provides the remaining one-third.

Students are considered for OGS and QEII-GSST at Waterloo by using one application. Both scholarships are of equal prestige. Students who are applying for tri-agency awards will NOT automatically be considered for OGS and QEII-GSST, and must submit a separate OGS/QEII-GSST application form. The differences between the OGS and QEII-GSST scholarships are as follows:

  • OGS – merit-based scholarship program for Ontario’s best graduate students in all disciplines of academic study; available to Canadian Citizens/Permanent Residents and International students.
  • QEII-GSST – merit-based scholarship program targeted specifically towards graduate students registered in a research graduate program in one of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields; only available to Canadian Citizens/Permanent residents.


Each OGS and QEII-GSST is valued at a maximum of $15,000 per year or $5,000 per term. Waterloo celebrates outstanding academic achievement of its graduate students by offering the President's Graduate Scholarship (PGS) to students receiving an OGS or QEII-GSST.

Start date

Successful OGS and QEII-GSST recipients will begin their scholarship during 2020-2021. The allowable start terms are spring 2020, fall 2020 or winter 2021.


Recipients have the option to take up their scholarship for a minimum of two terms (receiving $10,000 total) or three terms (receiving $15,000 total). One term awards are not permitted. The awards are non-renewable.

For full details regarding holding an OGS or QEII-GSST, please refer to our Awards Holder’s Guide.

Award quotas

A total of 166 OGS are available at Waterloo:

  • 5 are reserved for international students as part of the international competition
  • 2 are reserved for indigenous students*
  • 159 are allocated to the 6 faculties

A total of 36 QEII-GSST are available at Waterloo:

  • Available for domestic students in STEM fields of study (science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines)

2019/2020 OGS & QEII-GSST Quotas by Faculty

AHS 18 3
ARTS 36 2
ENG 43 12
ENV 17 3
MATH 23 8
SCI 22 8

*As per the ministry guidelines, an indigenous person is one who self-identifies as a First Nations (Status/Non-Status), Métis, or Inuit as defined in the Canadian Constitution Act 1982 and grounded in the Ministry Aboriginal Post-secondary Education and Training Policy 2011.

Important application dates at Waterloo

At Waterloo, the OGS/QEII-GSST competition is divided into two competitions based on citizenship (international and domestic). There are separate deadlines for each of the two competitions.

International OGS Competition Deadlines

This competition is reserved for international applicants who are currently registered in a graduate program at Waterloo as of the fall 2019 term.  Note: If you anticipate receiving PR status prior to February 3, 2020, please contact the Co-ordinator, Graduate Financial Aid & Awards.

  • October 15, 2019 at 4:00 p.m. (EST) - Transcript requests
  • October 15, 2019 - Application, Academic Assessment Reports

Domestic OGS/QEII-GSST Competition Deadlines

  • February 1, 2020 – Deadline to apply for admission to Waterloo (if applicable)
  • February 3, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. (EST) – Deadline to submit transcript request (if applicable)
  • February 3, 2020 -  Deadline to submit OGS/QEII Application and Academic Assessment Reports

Visit the OGS/QEII-GSST timeline page  for further details on the steps of the OGS/QEII-GSST competitions at Waterloo.

Eligibility criteria

Below is the detailed eligibility criteria required in order to be able to apply for an OGS or QEII-GSST, however given the limited quota of awards available, Waterloo is required to be strategic in selecting recipients. When reviewing those who were selected to receive an OGS or QEII-GSST over the last several competition years:

  • most had averages of 85% or above in each of their last two years of full time academic study;
  • most had published journal articles, as well as refereed conference proceedings and posters or presentations; and
  • most have held previous Provincial (OGS/QEII-GSST) or Federal Tri-Council scholarships (approximately 50% of applicants).


  • Be a Canadian citizen, Permanent Resident, or Protected Person under subsection 95(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada) at the time of the application deadline;
  • Be an international student studying in Ontario with a student study permit under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada). Note: international students are not eligible for QEII-GSST awards.

Minimum Academic Requirements

  • Be registered full-time in a graduate degree program; students who can only register part-time because of permanent disabilities may still be eligible. Note: to be considered for QEII-GSST, applicants must be enrolled in or plan to register in a research-based master’s or doctoral program in a STEM discipline.
  • Have achieved a first-class average equivalent to Waterloo’s (minimum of A-/80%), in EACH of the last two full-time academic years (eligibility averages are based on grades up to and including August 31, 2019).

Registration/Admission Status

  • Domestic competition – applicants must either be currently enrolled in a graduate program, or they must apply for admission to a graduate program by the February 1, 2020 deadline. 
  • International competition – due to the limited quota of awards available for international students, applications will only be accepted from students who are currently registered in a graduate program (or on an approved inactive term from their graduate program) by at least the fall 2019 term. Current UW undergraduate international students are not eligible to apply.

Time in Program

Selected recipients are normally within their program time limits but students over their term limits are still eligible to apply.

Maximum/Concurrent Support

Master’s students can receive an OGS or QEII-GSST award for a maximum of two academic years and doctoral students for a maximum of four academic years.*

In addition, students cannot exceed a lifetime maximum of six (6) years of government-funded graduate awards. Awards under the following programs are counted toward this lifetime maximum:

  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship Program (OGS)*
  • Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology (QEII-GSST)*
  • Ontario Trillium Scholarships (OTS)
  • Tri-Agency Scholarships (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC, Vanier)

*For the purpose of OGS/QEII-GSST, one or two term awards will count as one full year towards the OGS/QEII-GSST program and lifetime maximums. 

Concurrent Support

The following list of programs cannot be held concurrently or for the same competition year as an OGS or QEII-GSST. (For example, if a student is offered an NSERC award and an OGS award from the same competition year, they must choose one entirely; they cannot partially hold one and then another.)

  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) – if student is a QEII-GSST awardee
  • Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology (QEII-GSST) – if student is an OGS awardee
  • Ontario Trillium Scholarships (OTS)
  • Tri-Agency Scholarships (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC, Vanier)
  • Foreign government/agency sponsorships 

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

OSAP Restrictions

Students who have an OSAP restriction on their file are ineligible from receiving their scholarship until the restriction has been cleared. At the time of disbursement, if Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) finds a restriction on the student’s file, the student will be contacted by GSPA and advised of a deadline by which they must clear the restriction or forfeit their award.

Application process

The OGS and QEII-GSST scholarships are not portable (recipients cannot take their OGS/QEII-GSST to another institution). Applicants must submit separate applications at each institution in which they wish to be considered for an OGS/QEII-GSST. Therefore, applicants may then need to submit multiple OGS/QEII-GSST applications to several institutions. Each institution has their own application processes and timelines.

1. Confirm eligibility:

  • It is the applicant’s responsibility to review the eligibility criteria as indicated above before beginning the application process. If you are unsure of your eligibility, contact your proposed department graduate co-ordinator.

2. Determine your “proposed” department:

  • If you are already enrolled in the graduate program (at Waterloo) to which you are applying for OGS/QEII-GSST funding, your current department will be your “proposed” department. The proposed department is where you are planning to hold the scholarship if you are successful.
  • If you are not already registered in a graduate program at Waterloo, your proposed department is the graduate program to which you are applying for admission. Your OGS/QEII-GSST application and supporting documents should be submitted to this department. 
  • If you are applying to multiple graduate departments at Waterloo, you must select one of those departments and submit your OGS/QEII-GSST application there as multiple OGS/QEII-GSST applications are not permitted. Additionally, awards are not portable across faculties and may not be portable across departments within a faculty.

3. Complete an OGS/QEII-GSST transcript request webform (if applicable):

  • Waterloo and non-Waterloo post-secondary transcripts are required as part of a complete OGS/QEII-GSST application.
  • Students are NOT permitted to submit copies of their transcripts themselves along with their OGS/QEII-GSST application form. Instead, applicants are required to submit an OGS/QEII-GSST transcript request webform (with some exceptions). To determine whether you are required to submit an OGS/QEII-GSST transcript request, please visit the OGS/QEII-GSST applicant transcript request webpage.

4. Apply for admission (if applicable):

  • Domestic students – by February 1, 2020 domestic students must apply for graduate program admission through the department/school that will be responsible for reviewing the OGS/QEII-GSST application.
  • International students – due to the limited quota of awards available for international students, OGS applications will only be accepted from students who are currently registered in a graduate program (or on an approved inactive term from their graduate program) in the fall 2019 term. Current UW undergraduate international students are not eligible to apply.

5. Select and contact two referees:

  • A complete OGS/QEII-GSST application includes two academic references. Applicants must complete sections 1-3 of the OGS/QEII-GSST Academic Assessment Report (see Helpful resources & forms section below) and forward it to their referees for completion and submission to the applicant’s “proposed” department graduate co-ordinator.
  • Applicants are encouraged to review the Academic Assessment Report Instructions (see Helpful resources & forms section below) and should also provide a copy to their referees.
  • Referees must use the space provided on the form for their reference letter; Separate letters must not be attached. If applicable, referees may reuse the content of their 2020-2021 Tri-Agency (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC or Vanier) reference letter for the applicant by pasting it in the space provided; It is permissible for letters to refer to another award name in this case.
  • The deadline for referees to submit the Academic Assessment Report to the applicant’s “proposed” department graduate co-ordinator is the same deadline by which the completed application must be submitted.
  • Tips for selecting referees:
    • References must be academic.
    • Applicants should select referees who know them well and are capable of making an informed assessment from an academic perspective. Applicants should ask their potential referees if they have the time and are able to provide a supporting reference letter that will speak to all aspects of the particular strengths of the application.
      • Examples of acceptable referees include:
        • past or current supervisor
        • industrial supervisor
        • previous USRA supervisor
      • Applicants should provide the referees with a package of information that will assist them with writing the appraisal. This package should contain:
        • current curriculum vitae
        • transcripts
        • a list of research contributions; applicants are encouraged to request referees to address the importance of their publications and contributions in the letters of appraisal (e.g., highlighting that a paper is published in a journal with a high impact factor; identifying that a paper has been widely cited; research that has received recognition outside of the academy; research that has applied outcomes that have positively influenced society, governance, industry or other sectors, etc.)
        • a copy of the research proposal/program of study, and
        • a list of community involvement or other extracurricular activities that demonstrate leadership qualities

    6. Complete the application:

    • An OGS/QEII-GSST application is required in order to be considered for the scholarship. Students only need to submit one application in order to be considered for both OGS and QEII-GSST.
    • The application must be submitted to the proposed department graduate co-ordinator (see Step 2 above) by the appropriate submission deadline. Students may contact their department graduate coordinator to see if they would prefer a hardcopy or electronic submission (scanned via email) for the application form. For electronic copies, digital signatures are acceptable.
    • Refer to the Helpful resources & forms section below for the application and application instructions, as well as other resources.

    7. Review application components for completeness:

    • A complete OGS/QEII-GSST application is comprised of the following:
      • OGS/QEII-GSST Application
      • Admission application to the University of Waterloo (if applicable)
      • Transcripts (requested using the transcript request web form, if applicable)
      • Two Academic Assessment Reports

    Waterloo's administrative process

    International competition:

    • Applicants complete and submit their application to the proposed graduate department by the appropriate deadline.
    • The department will review and rank applications and forward to the Faculty.
    • The Faculty will review applications and select the top 3 candidates from their Faculty to be considered at university-level adjudication.
    • Institutional selection committee will review top 3 candidates from each Faculty and select 5 international OGS recipients as well as a ranked reversion list.

    Domestic competition:

    • Applicants complete and submit their application to the proposed graduate department by the appropriate deadline.
    • OGS/QEII-GSST recipients will be selected according to each Faculty specific adjudication processes below:
      • Applied Health Sciences, ArtsScience
        • Departments submit ranked applicants to their Faculty for Faculty-wide assessment.
        • Faculty-level committee reviews and makes award recommendations based on Faculty-set quota.
      • Engineering, Environment, Mathematics
        • Faculty distributes quotas to departments but reserves some for Faculty decision-making.
        • Departments make award recommendations based on departmental-set quota; Faculty-level committee review is not required.
        • After the first round of offers are accepted/declined, the remaining Faculty allocation is adjudicated separately by Faculty-level committee.

    Evaluation criteria

    There are three areas of evaluation under which the application will be considered. Each department and Faculty will determine the weight placed on each of the following criteria within the ranges indicated:

    1. Academic Excellence (30-50%*); As demonstrated by:

    • academic transcripts
    • list of competitive scholarships, awards and honours

    2. Research Ability and Potential in Program of Study (30-50%*); As demonstrated by:

    • publications
    • conferences
    • presentations
    • originality, artistic performance and creations broadly defined (where relevant to field of study)

    3. Communication and Leadership Abilities (0-20%*); As demonstrated by:

    • list of relevant volunteer, leadership and academic work experience.

    *Individual faculty weights:

    • Arts, Engineering: (1) 50%, (2) 30%, (3) 20%
    • Applied Health Sciences: (1) 50%, (2) 40%, (3) 10%
    • Environment, Mathematics, Science: (1) 40%, (2) 40%, (3) 20%

    Waterloo's timelines

    Visit the OGS/QEII-GSST timeline page  for further details on the steps of the OGS/QEII-GSST competitions at Waterloo.

    Helpful resources & forms

    Questions about the OGS/QEII-GSST program can be emailed to the Co-ordinator, Graduate Financial Aid and Awards in Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs.

    Revised March 2020