International student funding

At University of Waterloo we have a variety of great funding opportunites available to our international students.  These include:

International Master's (IMSA) and International Doctoral Student Awards (IDSA)

*The IMSA program is under review; availability of the program may impact students offered admission for spring 2019 and beyond. Further details will be posted once available.*

Basic eligibility requirements

Eligible students must be enrolled full-time in research-based graduate degree programs at the University of Waterloo and hold a valid Canadian study permit. Students must meet the academic progress requirements of their program, and not have outstanding probationary admission requirements, or be concurrently receiving external awards or sponsorships, or be self-funded.

Master’s students

International graduate students registered full-time in a MA, MASC, MES, MFA, MMATH (except coursework programs) or MSC (except course work programs) degree program will receive an IMSA valued at $2,130* per term (the value is approximate to one-half of the differential fee per term) for 2 years (up to term 6.0).

Doctoral students

International graduate students registered full-time in a PhD program will receive an IDSA valued at $4,260* per term (the value is approximate to the full differential fee per term) for 3 years (up to term 9.0).

Doctoral year 4 (admitted from a master's degree)

International graduate students registered full-time in a PhD program and who were admitted from a master's degree will receive an International Doctoral Student Award Year 4 (IDSA4) valued at $4,260* per term (the value is approximate to the full differential fee per term) for year 4 (terms 10 to 12) and will be funded as follows:

  • 2/3 from University/Faculty (1/3 from each) totaling $2,840* per term as an award (IDSA4)
  • 1/3 from the supervisor/department in the amount of $1,420* per term as an award (example, as GRS, UW scholarship, etc.)

For information on payment of the IMSA/IDSA, please visit our funding payment information web page.

Note: For international graduate students registered in a full-time doctoral program and who are eligible for the International Doctoral Student Award (IDSA), the minimum level of financial support is exclusive of IDSA.

 * Rates effective May 1, 2018

Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS)

The OGS program is funded by the provincial government to encourage excellence in graduate studies at the master’s and doctoral levels. It is a merit-based scholarship and awards are available to students in all disciplines of academic study. A small number of these awards are available to international students. Interested students can refer to our OGS web page for eligibility criteria and Waterloo’s internal application process.

Ontario Trillium Scholarship (OTS)

Funding for this program is contingent upon annual confirmation of support from the provincial government.

In 2010, the Ontario government announced the introduction of the OTS program as a significant initiative to attract more of the best qualified international students to Ontario for their PhD studies.

OTS are awarded to new international PhD recipients for a maximum of four years. Each OTS is valued at $40,000 annually and is automatically renewable for an additional three years provided the recipient maintains good academic standing and continues to meet OTS eligibility requirements.

Six new awardees are selected every year at Waterloo. Each Faculty will nominate two to three students in the winter term for fall admission (based on their application for admission), therefore no separate application is required. A University-wide committee will then meet to select the awardees.

Interested students can refer to our Ontario Trillium Scholarship database description for eligibility criteria and Waterloo’s internal application process.

Trudeau Foundation Scholarships

The Trudeau Scholars Program grants up to fifteen new scholarships every year to outstanding doctoral candidates in the social sciences and humanities. The Foundation supports doctoral candidates pursuing research of compelling present-day concern, touching upon one or more of the four themes of the Foundation: human rights and dignity, responsible citizenship, Canada in the world, and people and their natural environment. Trudeau Scholars are actively engaged in their fields, in which they are expected to become leading national and international figures.

Trudeau Scholars are selected through a process that involves nomination by a university, an application supported by references and transcripts, internal and external review and selection panels, an interview, and the formal approval of the Board of Directors.

Interested students can refer to our Pierre Elliott Trudeau Scholarship database description for eligibility criteria and Waterloo’s internal application process.

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS)

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (VCGS) program was created to attract and retain world-class doctoral students and to establish Canada as a global center of excellence in research and higher learning. Vanier Scholars demonstrate leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement in the social sciences and humanities, natural sciences and engineering, and health-related fields. Canadian and international students are eligible to be nominated for a Vanier Scholarship, which is valued at $50,000 per year for up to three years

The scholarships are administered by Canada's three federal granting agencies: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

Students wishing to apply for a VCGS must do so through the Canadian university to which they are applying for doctoral studies. In an effort to support students in broadening their research horizons and seeking new challenges, the VCGS program strongly encourages candidates to pursue their studies beyond the university that granted their undergraduate and graduate degrees. Based on university-assigned allocations, universities forward a limited number of nominations to the appropriate federal research granting agency (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC) annually.

If a student is successful in the VCGS competition, they must hold their award at the university that nominated them. The VCGS cannot be taken to another university as it is not transferrable. To determine eligibility as well as how nominees are evaluated, please review the official eligibility criteria and evaluation criteria on the VCGS website.

Please visit our Vanier web page for further details.

Note: Successful recipients of the VCGS who hold their award at Waterloo are not eligible to receive the President's Graduate Scholarship.


For additional scholarship resources please visit our Graduate funding and awards database.