The information contained on this web page pertains to the 2023-2024 competition for Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) and Queen Elizabeth Scholarship II in Science and Technology (QEII-GSST). Successful recipients will hold their awards during 2023-2024.
- Important dates
- Eligibility criteria
- Evaluation criteria
- Critical steps
- Ranking and results
- Helpful resources and forms
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. 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 students in a research-based graduate program in one of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) disciplines; only available to Canadian Citizens/Permanent residents.
Each OGS and QEII-GSST is valued at a maximum of $15,000 per year. The award is paid as $5,000 per term for either two or three terms.
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.
Successful OGS and QEII-GSST recipients will begin their scholarship during 2023-2024. The allowable start terms are spring 2023, fall 2023 or winter 2024.
Awards are granted for up to one year in duration and are non-renewable. Applicants must apply annually in order to be considered.
Recipients can hold the scholarship for a minimum of two terms (receiving $10,000 total) or three terms (receiving $15,000 total). One term awards are not permitted.
For full details regarding holding an OGS or QEII-GSST, please refer to our Awards Holder’s Guide.
|2023-2024 Awards||# of Awards||Notes|
|Indigenous*||2||OGS domestic competition only|
OGS and QEII-GSST combined
Available awards for the domestic competition are allocated to each Faculty and included below. The International competition does not have Faculty allocations.
*Waterloo reserves two OGS awards for Indigenous applicants each year. Applicants who identify as Indigenous on the application form must include documentation confirming their Indigenous identity when submitting their application to their department graduate co-ordinator. For the purpose of awards, an Indigenous person is one who is a citizen or member of a First Nations community (Status/Non-Status), Métis, or Inuit as defined in the Canadian Constitution Act 1982.
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.
Applicants are only permitted to apply through either the international or domestic competition within the same scholarship year. If you are waiting to receive PR status, review the OGS/QEII-GSST Award Holder’s Guide for further information.
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 2022 term.
- September 30, 2022 at 4:00 p.m. (ET) - Deadline to submit transcript request
- September 30, 2022 – Deadline to submit application and reference letters
Domestic OGS/QEII-GSST Competition Deadlines
- February 1, 2023 – Deadline to apply for admission to Waterloo (if applicable)
- February 1, 2023 at 4:00 p.m. (ET) – Deadline to submit transcript request
- February 1, 2023 - Deadline to submit application and reference letters
- International competition – applicants must 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.
- 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.
- Domestic competition – applicants must 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;
Minimum Academic Requirements
- Applicants must have achieved a first-class average (minimum of A-/80%), in EACH of the last two completed years of study (full-time equivalent).
- Eligibility averages are calculated using grades from your most-recent academic history up to August 31, 2022, regardless of program or relevance to your proposed program. Waterloo is required to adhere to these parameters as dictated by Ontario’s Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU).
Program of Study
- OGS awards are open to applicants in all disciplines of academic study (research-based AND course-based programs).
- QEII-GSST awards restricted to applicants in research-based graduate programs in a STEM discipline only (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
- International competition – due to the limited quota of awards available for international students, applications will only be accepted from students who are currently registered on a full-time basis in a graduate program (or on an approved inactive term from their graduate program) by at least the fall 2022 term. Current UW undergraduate international students are not eligible to apply.
- Domestic competition – applicants must be currently enrolled on a full-time basis in a graduate program, or must apply for full-time graduate admission by the February 1, 2023 deadline for entry into the spring 2023, fall 2023 or winter 2024 term.
Time in Program
Selected recipients are normally within their program time limits but students over their term limits are still eligible to apply.
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.
Eligible students are encouraged to apply for both a tri-agency graduate scholarship and OGS/QEII-GSST within the same competition year. If a student is successful in both competitions, they must be aware that these scholarships cannot be held concurrently. In these situations, successful students will normally accept the tri-agency scholarship due to 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.
Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) Restrictions
Students who have previously applied for OSAP and 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 GSPA finds a restriction on the student’s file, the student will be advised of a deadline by which they must clear the restriction or forfeit their award.
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:
- Academic Excellence (30-50%*); As demonstrated by:
- academic transcripts
- list of competitive scholarships, awards and honours
- Research Ability and Potential in Program of Study (30-50%*); As demonstrated by:
- originality, artistic performance and creations broadly defined (where relevant to field of study)
- Communication and Leadership Abilities (10-20%*); As demonstrated by:
- list of relevant volunteer, leadership and academic work experience.
*Individual faculty weights:
- Arts, Engineering: (1) 50%, (2) 30%, (3) 20%
- Health: (1) 50%, (2) 40%, (3) 10%
- Environment, Mathematics, Science: (1) 40%, (2) 40%, (3) 20%
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).
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.
- 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.
- 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 emailed 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.
- Your application and reference letters must be emailed to the department graduate co-ordinator of your "proposed department".
- 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 2022 term. Current UW undergraduate international students are not eligible to apply.
- Domestic students – by February 1, 2023 domestic students (if not already enrolled in a UW graduate program) must apply for graduate program admission through the department/school that will be responsible for reviewing the OGS/QEII-GSST application.
- Waterloo and non-Waterloo post-secondary transcripts are required as part of a complete OGS/QEII-GSST application.
- Applicants must complete the OGS/QEII-GSST applicant transcript request form (webform) by the appropriate submission deadline.
- By completing the OGS/QEII-GSST applicant transcript request form, GSPA will do the following for applicants free of charge:
- Generate a copy of their official Waterloo transcript (if applicable).
- Retrieve copies of official non-Waterloo transcripts which were declared and submitted as part of their Waterloo admission application.
Note: Transcript packages will not be sent to applicants directly. Instead, GSPA will send transcript packages directly to the graduate co-ordinator of the proposed department/school indicated by the student in the transcript request. The applicant is expected to submit their OGS/QEII-GSST application and have their reference letters submitted to this department/school.
- OGS/QEII-GSST applicant transcript request details:
- OGS/QEII-GSST applicants who do not request their transcripts via the above webform will be deemed ineligible. Personal copies of transcripts cannot be submitted in lieu of this transcript form. No exceptions will be made.
- Domestic competition only:
- If applicable, applicants should first apply for admission and claim their WatIAM so that they can enter their Waterloo ID into the webform.
- Prospective students who are applying for admission must ensure that their official transcripts from previous institutions are submitted as part of their admission application by February 1. If a student has not yet uploaded their transcripts as part of their application for admission, GSPA will “hold” the transcript request until February 1. GSPA will process the transcript request once all transcripts are uploaded, provided this is done so by February 1.
- In some cases, a specific transcript may not have been submitted as part of the applicant’s original admission application. If it is deemed to be required, GSPA will request the missing transcript by emailing the student.
- If changes need to be made to a submitted transcript request (e.g. change proposed department/school) applicants should email email@example.com with their name, student ID and requested changes.
Two academic references are required as part of a complete OGS/QEII-GSST application package.
Applicants must provide their referees with the following details:
- Submission email and deadline (Referees must email their letter directly to the applicant's proposed department graduate co-ordinator [see Step 2] by the appropriate submission deadline.)
- Reference letters should be signed and on letterhead (if the referee has one)
- Referees should incorporate the following into their letter:
- Applicant’s full name
- Referee’s full name, affiliated institution, department and title (if applicable)
- Description of what capacity they have known the applicant
- Applicant’s strengths with regards to the OGS/QEII-GSST evaluation criteria (or tri-agency equivalent): academic excellence, research ability and potential, communication and leadership abilities
Tips for selecting referees:
- Applicants should select academic 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
- 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
- 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 emailed to the proposed department graduate co-ordinator (see Step 2) by the appropriate submission deadline.
- Note: One (1) additional page may be included for formulas, schemes or drawings if needed. This page should be labelled as “Appendix A”. A one-sentence caption can be included to label the object(s), if needed. No additional text can be included on this extra page. Appendix A can either be merged with the application as the last page in the PDF, or attached as a separate PDF when emailed to the department graduate co-ordinator.
- Refer to the Helpful resources & forms section below for the application and application instructions, as well as other resources.
- Applicants who identify as Indigenous on the application form must include documentation confirming their Indigenous identity when submitting their application to their department graduate co-ordinator.
A complete OGS/QEII-GSST application is comprised of the following:
- Admission application to the University of Waterloo (if applicable)
- Transcript request webform
- OGS/QEII-GSST Application + Appendix A (if applicable)
- Submit via email to proposed department graduate co-ordinator
- Two academic reference letters
- Referees must submit via email directly to proposed department graduate co-ordinator
Applicants who identify as Indigenous on the application form must include documentation confirming their Indigenous identity when submitting their application to their department graduate co-ordinator.
- Applicants complete and email their application to the proposed graduate department by the appropriate deadline.
- The department will review and rank applications.
- The Faculty will review ranked 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.
- Applicants complete and email their application to the proposed graduate department by the appropriate deadline.
- In addition to being considered as part of the regular domestic competition, applications from those who identify as Indigenous on the application form will also be reviewed separately by an Institutional selection committee. The committee will make final award selection.
- All remaining OGS/QEII-GSST selections made according to each Faculty specific adjudication processes below:
- Arts, Science:
- Departments submit ranked applicants to their Faculty for Faculty-wide assessment.
- Faculty-level committee reviews and makes award recommendations based on Faculty-set quota; GSPA verifies eligibility and makes award offers.
- Engineering, Environment and Mathematics:
- Faculty distributes quotas to departments but reserves some for Faculty decision-making.
- Departments make award recommendations based on departmental-set quota; GSPA verifies eligibility and makes award offers.
- The remaining Faculty allocation is adjudicated separately by Faculty-level committee; GSPA verifies eligibility and makes award offers.
- Faculty distributes quotas to departments.
- Departments submit ranked applicants to their Faculty for review.
- Faculty-level committee reviews and makes award recommendations based on Department rankings; GSPA verifies eligibility and makes award offers.
Visit the OGS/QEII-GSST timeline page for further details on the steps of the OGS/QEII-GSST competitions at Waterloo.
- 2023-2024 OGS/QEII-GSST application (Graduate studies forms website)
- *2023-2024 OGS/QEII-GSST application instructions (PDF)
- OGS/QEII-GSST applicant transcript request form (webform) (Graduate studies forms website)
- OGS/QEII-GSST Award Holder’s Guide
- Sample successful research proposals – Note: Proposal requirements may have changed since these samples were posted; Always consult the current application instructions for writing a proposal (SharePoint - login in with WatIAM credentials is required)
- Writing and Communication Centre Resources – please review the list of resources, which includes tips on writing your research proposal
- To find out how your scholarship will be paid, visit Waterloo’s funding payment information web page
* if you require an alternative format of this document please contact Tasha Glover
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 November 11, 2022