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

The information contained on this web page pertains to the fall 2017 competitions for Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) and Queen Elizabeth Scholarship II in Science and Technology (QEII-GSST). Successful recipients will hold their awards during 2018-2019.

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 are the OGS and QEII-GSST?

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. 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.

  • 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.

As of the 2016-2017 competition, and going forward, 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 an OGS/QEII-GSST application form.

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.

Successful OGS and QEII-GSST recipients will begin their scholarship during 2018-2019. The allowable start terms are spring 2018, fall 2018 or winter 2019. 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.

How many awards are available?

The allocation breakdown of domestic OGS and QEII-GSST awards for 2018-2019 will be made available when institutional allocations are received in the fall.

There will be 5 international OGS awards available for 2018-2019. 

What are the important application dates at Waterloo?

At Waterloo, the OGS/QEII-GSST competition is divided into two categories based on citizenship (international and domestic). There are separate deadlines for each of the two competitions.

Transcript Request Deadlines

In certain cases, students must request transcripts by the deadlines below. Students should review the section regarding the critical steps in the application process to determine whether they are required to submit a transcript request by:

  • October 4, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. (EST) for international students
  • January 15, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. (EST) for domestic students

Application Deadlines

Students must submit their completed OGS/QEII-GSST application to their proposed department graduate coordinator no later than:

  • October 13, 2017 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, 2018, please contact the Co-ordinator, Graduate Financial Aid & Awards.
  • February 1, 2018 for Canadian citizens/Permanent Residents (for current and prospective students).

(Complete timelines for these competitions can be found 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:

Citizenship

  • 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, 2017).

*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 or 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)

*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

OGS or 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)
  • UW Provost Graduate Scholarship
  • MITACS
  • Foreign government sponsorships 

Students are also required to check the eligibility of other awards they may be offered to see if 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, than you cannot take that award anywhere else. Thus, 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. 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) for 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 the graduate program (at Waterloo) for which you are applying for OGS/QEII-GSST funding, indicate the graduate program to which you have/will be applying. This is the department to which you will submit your application. *If you are applying to more than one department, you must pick one and submit your application there.

3. Apply for admission (if applicable)

Domestic students – by February 1, 2018, 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 2017 term. Current UW undergraduate international students are not eligible to apply.

3. Select and contact 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, referees must complete and submit an OGS/QEII-GSST assessment report form as well as a signed and dated reference letter on letterhead.

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

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 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 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 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). If submitting electronically, digital signatures are permitted.

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 2017 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 should complete and submit the OGS/QEII-GSST transcript request form (Graduate studies forms website). In order for GSPA to fulfill transcript requests for OGS/QEII-GSST application purposes, students must have provided their official transcripts from previous institutions as part of their application for admission. 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. GSPA will provide a copy of these transcripts to the proposed department graduate coordinator who will attach them to the rest of the application.

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.

NO – International and domestic students 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.

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

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

Parts of an application include:

Waterloo's administrative review process

  • Applicants complete the application and submit the 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
    • 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, 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. 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.

Revised September 20, 2017