This web page relates to the fall 2021 Tri-Agency Canada Graduate Scholarship Master’s (CGS M) competition and the University of Waterloo’s internal administration of the program.
- Important dates
- Critical steps
- Ranking and results
- Helpful resources
The objective of the Canada Graduate Scholarships Master’s (CGS M) Program is to help develop research skills and assist in the training of highly qualified personnel by supporting students who demonstrate a high standard of achievement in undergraduate and early graduate studies.
The CGS M scholarship provides non-renewable financial support of $17,500 paid across three full-time academic terms to high-caliber scholars who are engaged in eligible master’s or, in some cases, doctoral programs in Canada.
By completing the Tri-Agency CGS M application through the Research Portal, students may identify a maximum of three institutions where they would like their application to be considered. The scholarship is not portable from one institution to another – applicants must submit their application to the institution at which they intend to hold the scholarship.
Applying for a CGS M at Waterloo
Each year, eligible Canadian institutions receive a CGS M allocation corresponding to the number of students to whom they can offer scholarships; these allocations are divided by broad fields of study: health, natural sciences/engineering, and social sciences/humanities. For the Fall 2021 competition, Waterloo’s allocations are as follows:
CIHR = 7 NSERC = 50 SSHRC = 36
Recipients of the CGS M who choose to hold their award at Waterloo are also eligible to receive the President’s Graduate Scholarship.
1. Transcript request deadline- Friday, November 19, 2021
- Refer to Step 3: Transcripts in the Critical Steps section.
2. Application deadline – Tuesday, December 1, 2021 at 8:00 p.m. (ET)
- Applicants may only submit one application in each year to either CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC.
- As the deadline date approaches, processing delays may stem from a high volume of users on the Research Portal, which may prevent the timely submission of the application. Requests to submit late applications will not be accepted under any circumstances.
It is the applicant’s responsibility to confirm that the minimum eligibility criteria of this award is satisfied before they begin the application process by reviewing the complete eligibility and selection criteria on the official CGS M website.
Note: If you entered your doctoral program directly from your bachelor’s degree (that is, you were never registered in a graduate level program) and have completed between zero and 12 months of studies in the doctoral program, you may be eligible to apply for a Canada Graduate Scholarship-Master’s (CGS M) or for a Tri-Agency Doctoral Award (if already enrolled in your doctoral program at the time of application). Applying for a CGS M, if you are eligible, will maximize your potential period of funding. You are responsible for choosing the type of award for which you apply.
Prospective students who are interested in holding their CGS M scholarship at Waterloo must apply for admission into a graduate program by February 1, 2022. Applicants are not eligible to receive or accept a CGS M offer from a university where they are not enrolled in or have not applied for admission to an eligible program of study.
Up-to-date official transcripts from all current and previous post-secondary institutions (including transcripts from institutions where you completed an exchange term) are required as part of the application in order to determine whether you’ve achieved a first- class average in each of the last two completed years of full-time study. Applicants who do not include a complete set of required transcripts will be deemed ineligible.
The process to obtain these transcripts is as follows:
- Applicants must complete and submit a CGS M applicant transcript request web form (Graduate Studies forms website). This request is free of charge and is due by Friday, November 19, 2021.
- GSPA will fulfil transcript requests by generating official Waterloo transcripts ONLY. Waterloo transcripts will be emailed to the student by GSPA. Students are responsible for obtaining all other official transcripts from previous institutions including transcripts from institutions where they completed an exchange term.
- Students are responsible for compiling all their transcripts and uploading them to their CGS M application in the Research Portal prior to submitting their application. Students are unable to submit their application until all transcripts are uploaded to their application.
- Students who are having issues obtaining required international transcripts must contact email@example.com, by Friday, November 19, 2021 for further direction.
Detailed application instructions regarding the application process, including instructions on how to create a Common CV (CCV website) can be found on the tri-agency website. Details include how to complete the application in the portal, how to ensure the application falls within the mandate of the correct agency, the number of referees required, presentation standards for free form documents including maximum allowable pages*, transcripts, etc.
*Note: The Outline of Proposed Research and Bibliography cannot share the two-page maximum; each of these sections must be only one page. Failure to follow this will result in excess content not being reviewed and consequently may put your application at a disadvantage.
- Applicants must have a research portal account and a Canadian Common CV (CCV) account in order to submit their application:
- First time users must create an account within the research portal.
- A Canadian Common CV (CCV) account must also be created in order to upload a CV into the application during the e-submission process. If the applicant has already previously registered for a CCV account, they do not need to re-register. The CCV will have a CGS M template that will focus only on fields that are pertinent for graduate student level experience. Additional information can be found in the Instructions for Completing a Canadian Common CV (CGS M website).
Two completed reference assessments are required in order to apply through the online portal.
- Applicants must contact two potential referees as soon as possible, but no later than three weeks prior to the application deadline.
- Applicants must provide potential referees with the Instructions for Completing the Reference Assessment Form that includes the Selection Criteria for the CGS M competition.
- Referees will upload their letters electronically through the application portal; applicants will not be able to see the letters but will be able to see that the status is complete.
Final submission of the application is not possible until the letters have been uploaded. Further information regarding reference assessments can be found in the Application Instructions (CGS M website).
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 the potential referees if they have the time and are able to provide a supporting assessment 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
- a list of research contributions; applicants are encouraged to request referees to address the importance of their publications and contributions in their assessment (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
The proposed research project must be eligible within the mandate of the agency selected in the application. To confirm the proposal falls under the correct agency, applicants should refer to Selecting the Appropriate Federal Granting Agency (Government of Canada website).
NEW – the Department of National Defence (DND) has partnered with SSHRC to deliver the Mobilizing Insights in Defence and Security (MINDS) scholarship initiative. The MINDS program, which comprises five pillars, is committed to fostering the next generation of security and defence scholars in the Canadian academic community and to encouraging a strong Canadian knowledge base in contemporary defence and security issues.
The MINDS Master’s Scholarships for Indigenous Students, valued at $17,500, are award supplements offered to successful Canada Graduate Scholarship—Masters (CGS M) applicants who self-identify as Indigenous and whose studies relate to defence and security. Interested students must apply via the CGS M application form, and must complete the MINDS supplement module, which includes a personal statement and a statement of thematic relevance.
- Once all steps have been completed, applicants must submit their CGS M application via the research portal.
- It is recommended that applicants do not wait until the last minute to submit their application as delays may occur as a result of a high volume of users in the portal.
- If Waterloo has been identified as one of the three institutions where the applicant wants their application considered, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs will be able to access the application from the online application system.
For applications where the University of Waterloo was selected as one of three institutions, the following process will take place:
- After the deadline, applications will be reviewed by the proposed department as indicated in the application. Departmental award committees will use the selection criteria to review and rank applications.
- Based on the institutional quota, the institutional selection committee* will adjudicate the applications and determine which applicants are to be offered a CGS M at Waterloo. Given the limited quota of awards available, Waterloo is required to be strategic in determining the number of applicants selected for institutional endorsement. The selection process within institutions tends to be quite rigorous.
- On April 1, all universities will release results to all applicants via the Research Portal.
*At Waterloo, the institutional selection committee is comprised of the Associate-Vice, President, GSPA (chair), both of the Assistant Vice-Presidents, GSPA, and the six Faculty Associate Deans, Graduate Studies (ARTS, ENG, ENV, HEALTH, MATH, SCI), or designates as appropriate.
Visit the Waterloo timeline for details on the CGS M.
- CGS M Program Guide (NSERC website)
- Waterloo's CGS M Applicant Transcript Request Form (Graduate Studies website)
- Research Portal (Government of Canada website)
- CGS M Instructions for Completing an Application (NSERC website)
- Canadian Common CV (Canadian Common CV website)
- Canadian Common CV Instructions (NSERC website)
- Selecting the Appropriate Federal Granting Agency (Government of Canada website)
- CGS M Instructions for Completing the Reference Assessment Form and tutorial video (NSERC website)
- Tri-Agency Research Training Award Holder's Guide (NSERC website)
- Canada Graduate Scholarships - Master's Award Allocations (NSERC website)
- Tri-agency Facebook pages: CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC
- Writing and Communication Centre Resources – please review the list of resources, including information regarding their Tri-Agency Scholarship (NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR) Workshop which includes tips on writing your research proposal
- Sample successful research proposals (updated July 2021) – 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)
- To find out how your scholarship will be paid, visit Award eligibility, conditions and payments web page.
Questions about Tri-Agency scholarship competition process at Waterloo may be directed to the following staff in Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs: