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

Please note: Information and dates may be updated depending on further information received from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD), formerly called Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU), and resources available.

What is it?

The Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) and the Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology (QEII-GSST) (Ministry of Advance Education and Skills Development website) programs encourage excellence in graduate studies at publicly-assisted universities in Ontario. Since 1975, the OGS program has been providing merit-based scholarships to Ontario’s best graduate students in all disciplines of academic study. In 1998, the Ontario government introduced the QEII-GSST, a merit-based scholarship program targeted specifically toward graduate students in science and technology. 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.

As of the 2016-2017 competition, and going forward, OGS and QEII-GSST are awarded through one competition process (one application) with the only difference being that QEII-GSST’s are only available to Canadian Citizens/Permanent residents and are for students registered in a research graduate program in one of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields at Waterloo. Both scholarships are of equal prestige.

How many allocations are available?

Faculty Breakdown of OGS and QEII-GSST Allocations
AHS 20 3
ARTS 32              2
ENG 43 12
ENV 18 3
MATH 26 8
SCI 23 8
TOTAL 162 36


Waterloo has received a total of 169. Out of this total 5 are set aside for international students, and 2 are set aside for students who have self-identified as Aboriginal, however if no eligible applicants are found, the awards will be reallocated.

What is the value, duration and deadline?

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.

Student's have the option to take up the OGS or QEII-GSST award for a minimum of two terms (receiving $10,000 total) or three terms (receiving $15,000 total). The awards are non-renewable.

Students must submit their complete applications to the proposed department graduate coordinator no later than:

  • October 14, 2016 for international students (only for students currently registered in a graduate program at Waterloo).  Note: If you anticipate receiving PR status prior to February 1, 2017, please contact the Coordinator, Graduate Financial Aid & Awards.
  • February 1, 2017 for Canadian citizens/Permanent Residents (for current and prospective students).

(Complete timelines for these competitions can be found below, under Waterloo's timelines below.)

What is the eligibility criteria?

In order to be considered for an OGS or QEII-GSST, students must meet the following criteria:


  • 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, (minimum of A-/80%)*, in EACH of the last two full-time academic years (eligibility averages are based on grades up to August 31, 2016).

*Please note, at Waterloo competitive applicants normally have a minimum academic average of 85%, as well as publications.

Time in Program

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

Maximum 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)

Concurrent Support

OGS/QEII-GSST recipients cannot concurrently receive funding from provincially or federally funded awards such as:

  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) – if student is an 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 sponsorships

Students are also required to check the eligibility of other awards they may be offered (e.g. UW Provost Scholarship) to see if OGS/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 the GSO finds a restriction on the student’s file, the student will be contacted by the GSO and advised of a deadline by which they must clear the restriction or forfeit their award.

How do I apply?

Important Reminder: The OGS/QEII-GSST scholarship is 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, than you cannot take that award anywhere else. This means that you may need to submit several OGS/QEII-GSST application to the different universities which you are applying for and you will have to follow their specific application processes and timelines.

The critical steps in the OGS/QEII-GSST application process are:

1. Applying for admission (if applicable)

Domestic students – by February 1, 2017, 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 not be accepted from students who are not currently registered in a graduate program (or on an approved inactive term from their graduate program) in the Fall 2016 term.

2. Selecting and contacting two referees

Students have two options when requesting academic assessment reports from referees; applicants should choose the option that is applicable to them. In all cases the actual OGS/QEII-GSST assessment report must be completed, signed and dated.

a) Students who are also applying for a Tri-Agency (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC or Vanier) scholarship:

  • Students must complete the applicable sections of the Waterloo OGS/QEII-GSST Academic Assessment Report (see Helpful tips and resources section below) and forward it to their referees to finish completing. For simplicity purposes, applicants can instruct their referee to copy the content of their tri-agency assessment into a separate letter (on letterhead) which is signed and dated.

b) Students who are NOT applying for a Tri-Agency award:

  • Students must complete the applicable sections of the Waterloo OGS/QEII-GSST Academic Assessment Report (see Helpful tips and resources section below) and forward it to their referees to finish completing. The referee will then have to write a reference letter (on letterhead), which is signed and dated.

Refer to the Helpful tips and resources 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.

Students should check with their proposed  coordinator for preferred method of submission (i.e. paper vs electronic).

3. 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 2016 is the first term in the program.

YES - International students and domestic students who are not applying for a Tri-Agency scholarship should complete and submit the OGS/QEII-GSST transcript request form (Graduate studies forms website).  The Graduate Studies Office (GSO) will provide a copy of all post-secondary transcripts identified on the form to the proposed department graduate coordinator who will attach them to the rest of the application.

NO – International and domestic students who are applying for a Tri-Agency scholarship through the University of Waterloo do NOT need to order transcripts – the GSO will automatically provide a copy of the post-secondary transcripts to the proposed department graduate coordinator.

4. Completing the application

Important reminder: Every student wishing to apply for the OGS/QEII-GSST program must apply by submitting an application.

The application (see Helpful tips and resources section below) is 8-9 pages and must be submitted to the proposed department graduate coordinator by the appropriate submission deadline. (Student’s may contact their coordinator to see if they would accept/prefer a scanned copy via email.)

Refer to the Helpful tips and resources section below for the application, application instructions and a completed sample application.

Waterloo's administrative process

  • Applicants complete the application and submit a hardcopy (or scan and email a copy) of their application materials to the 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, Mathematics
    • 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, Science
    • 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. There are no prescribed weightings associated with them; rather, each department and Faculty will determine the weight they place on each of the following criteria:

1. Academic Excellence

As demonstrated by:

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

2. Research Ability/Potential and/or Achievements

As demonstrated by:

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

3. Communication and Leadership Abilities

As demonstrated by:

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

Helpful tips and resources

Waterloo's timelines

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

Questions about the OGS/QEII-GSST program can be sent to Elena Machado, in the Graduate Studies Office.

Funding payment information

Visit our funding payment information web page to find out how you will get paid.