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

May 9, 2019 UPDATE: The University of Waterloo has now received official OGS/QEII-GSST award allocations from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. Award notification emails will be sent to applicants on May 10, 2019. Please review the updated competition timeline.

APRIL 23, 2019 UPDATE: The University of Waterloo has not yet received official communication from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities regarding the number of OGS/QEII-GSST awards available for 2019-2020. As such, OGS and QEII-GSST award notification emails will be delayed and will not be sent to applicants on April 23, 2019 as originally anticipated. Please continue to check this page for updates. 

The information contained on this web page pertains to the fall 2018 competitions for Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) and Queen Elizabeth Scholarship II in Science and Technology (QEII-GSST). Successful recipients will hold their awards during 2019-2020.

What are the OGS and QEII-GSST?

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 only differences between the OGS and QEII-GSST scholarships are that:

  • 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 2019-2020. The allowable start terms are spring 2019, fall 2019 or winter 2020.


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). The awards are non-renewable.

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

How many awards are available?

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 35 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 19 3
ARTS 36 2
ENG 43 12
ENV 17 3
MATH 24 8
SCI 20 7

*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.

What are the 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.

The deadline specified is the:

  • application for admission deadline (if applicable);
  • the transcript request deadline (if applicable by 4:00 p.m.);
  • the application deadline; and
  • the deadline by which your referees must forward their completed Academic Assessment Reports, including reference letters to your proposed department co-ordinator.

International OGS Competition Deadlines

Only for students currently registered in a graduate program at Waterloo.  Note: If you anticipate receiving PR status prior to February 1, 2019, please contact the Co-ordinator, Graduate Financial Aid & Awards.

  • October 10, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. (EST) - Transcript requests
  • October 10, 2018 - Application, Academic Assessment Reports

Domestic OGS/QEII-GSST Competition Deadlines

  • February 1, 2019 at 4:00 p.m. (EST) - Transcript requests
  • February 1, 2019 - Application for admission,  Application and Academic Assessment Reports

Complete Waterloo timelines for these competitions can be found below.

What are the 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. As an example, over the past competition years, successful applicants often:

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


  • 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, 2018).

Time in Program

It is normally students who are within the time limits of their program who are selected to receive an OGS or QEII-GSST.

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 both a 2019-2020 NSERC award and a 2019-2020 OGS award, they must choose one, 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)
  • UW Provost Graduate Scholarship
  • Foreign government sponsorships 

New this year: Recipients of a 2019-2020 OGS/QEII-GSST may now concurrently hold an OGS or QEII-GSST, and a MITACS.

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.

What are the critical steps in the application process?

Important Reminder: The OGS and QEII-GSST scholarships are not portable. This means that you must apply for the award where you want to hold it. If you are successful through Waterloo's competition, then you cannot take that award anywhere else. Thus, you may need to submit several OGS/QEII-GSST applications to the different universities to which you are applying and you will have to follow their specific application processes and timelines.

The critical steps in the application process are:

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. Confirm where to submit the application?

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. Your application 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 Faculty’s and may not be portable across departments within a Faculty.

3. Apply for admission (if applicable)

Domestic students – by February 1, 2019 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 2018 term. Current UW undergraduate international students are not eligible to apply.

3. Select and contact two referees

Students must complete the applicable sections of the Waterloo OGS/QEII-GSST Academic Assessment Report (see Helpful resources & forms section below) and forward it to their referees to finish completing. As part of this form, the referee will then have to write a reference letter which is signed and dated. For simplicity purposes, referees who have already written the applicant a reference letter for a tri-agency application can copy the content of their tri-agency assessment into a the Academic Assessment Report, as long as it is signed and dated. Students may contact their department graduate coordinator to see if they would prefer a hardcopy or electronic submission (scanned via email) for the Academic Assessment Reports, including reference letters. For electronic copies, digital signatures are acceptable.

Refer to the Helpful resources & forms section below for the Academic Assessment Report and instructions for completing the report.

The deadline for referees to submit assessments and letters to the coordinator of the department/school that is reviewing the application is the same deadline by which the completed application must be submitted.

Tips for selecting referees and reference letters

  • Applicants should select referees who know them well and are capable of making an informed assessment from an academic perspective (i.e. past or current supervisor).
  • Applicants should be up front and 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.
  • 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

4. Ordering transcripts

Transcripts are required from all post-secondary institutions attended, whether a degree was received or not; graduate transcripts are required even if fall 2018 is the first term in the program.

Do you need to order transcripts?

YES - International students and domestic students who are NOT applying for a Tri-Agency scholarship or Vanier must complete and submit the OGS/QEII-GSST transcript request form (Graduate studies forms website). 

  • GSPA will fulfill transcript requests by retrieving official transcripts which were submitted as part of an admission application.
  • In order for GSPA to fulfill these requests for OGS/QEII-GSST application purposes, students must have provided their official transcripts from previous institutions as part of their application for admission by February 1, 2019 (for domestic competition).
  • Provided students have done so, GSPA will retrieve transcripts from the previous institutions identified on this form from Waterloo’s data management system at no charge to the applicant. (NOTE: If a transcript request is submitted, but a student has not yet uploaded their transcripts as part of their application for admission, GSPA will “hold” the request until February 1 (for domestic competition) to see if the applicant has uploaded transcripts and will process the request at that time.)
  • If a required official transcript is not available, GSPA will advise the student and a hard copy will need to be delivered in a sealed envelope marked for “OGS/QEII-GSST” to the attention to the Co-ordinator, Financial Aid and Awards, in GSPA, Needles Hall floor 2 by the applicable deadline – October 10, 2018 (International Competition) or February 1, 2019 (Domestic competition).
  • GSPA will provide a copy of these transcripts to the proposed department graduate coordinator who will attach them to the rest of the application.
  • A student who has ordered transcripts for a tri-agency application through Waterloo, but who never fully submitted their application, must complete a new OGS/QEII-GSST transcript request form.

A student who does not complete a transcript request form, but who should have, will not be permitted to apply and cannot submit their own copies of transcripts. No exceptions will be made.

NO – International and domestic students who have applied or who are applying for a Tri-Agency scholarship through the University of Waterloo DO NOT need to order transcripts.

  • GSPA will automatically provide a copy of the post-secondary transcripts to the proposed department graduate co-ordinator.

5. Completing the application

Important reminder: Every student wishing to apply for the OGS/QEII-GSST program must apply by submitting an application. Students only need to submit one application in order to be considered for both OGS and QEII-GSST. 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 application (see Helpful resources & forms section below) is 9 pages and must be submitted to the proposed department graduate co-ordinator 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.

Parts of a complete application include:

  • Application for admission to the University of Waterloo (if applicable), as you cannot be considered in the competition unless you have applied by February 1, 2019 (domestic competition)
  • Transcripts (requested through the transcript request web form, if required, and sent by GSPA to the student’s proposed department graduate co-ordinator)
  • Application (submitted to proposed department graduate co-ordinator)
  • Two Academic Assessment Reports, including reference letters (submitted by your referees directly to the your proposed department graduate co-ordinator)

Waterloo's administrative review process

  • Applicants complete the application and submit the application materials to the department graduate coordinator of the proposed graduate department by the appropriate deadline. (See above for deadlines.)
  • The graduate department will review the applications to confirm eligibility and completeness; a departmental committee will conduct a departmental ranking of the applications submitted.

Faculty specific adjudication processes:

  • Applied Health Sciences, Arts, Environment, Science
    • Graduate departments submit ranked applications to their Faculty for Faculty-wide assessment.
    • Faculty-level committee reviews and makes award recommendations based on Faculty-set quota.
  • Engineering, Mathematics
    • Faculty distributes quotas to departments but reserves some for Faculty decision-making.
    • Graduate 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.

September 5, 2018