Top 10 PhD Scholarships in Canada for Indian Students in 2023

PhD scholarships in Canada are one of the primary motivating factors for international students to apply for PhD programmes across Canadian universities.

But, here’s what’s important to know. Most students believe that part-time jobs are the only way of supporting oneself in the country as a student and that financial aid is provided to only those who are financially strapped.

Thousands of international applicants do know enough about the various government and university scholarships that are available to all applicants across Canada, without barriers. For this reason, we’ve brought you this article that gives a comprehensive list of the top PhD scholarships for international students to make the application process easier.

Read on to know more.

What are the benefits of doing a PhD in Canada?

Canada is well-known for institutions of higher education that boast of academic excellence and world-class research. Moreover, many provinces in Canada have been actively seeking to retain sources of skilled labour. With an average base salary that hovers around CAD 90,000 a year, a PhD degree from Canada can be a great career choice.

Studying in Canada can be quite an expensive affair. From living expenses incurred on travelling for work-related purposes, the cost keeps adding up.

However, universities in Canada offer several types of financial aid to students in the form of the following funding opportunities:

  • Grants
  • Academic Scholarships
  • Merit-based scholarships
  • Need-based scholarships
  • Fully-funded scholarships
  • Partially-funded scholarships
  • Graduate assistantships
  • Research funding

Apart from these funding opportunities offered by the universities, students may also avail of Canadian government scholarships to support their education in the country. Moreover, universities allow students to work part-time for up to 20 hours a week. This can help the scholars to earn enough for their personal expenses and other uses.

What are the best PhD scholarships in Canada?

The top PhD scholarships in Canada are,

Type Scholarships Scholarship Amount
Government Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships CAD 50,000 per year
Non-government The University of British Columbia Four Year Doctoral Fellowship CAD 18,2o0 as a stipend apart from covering the full tuition fees
Government The Ontario Graduate Scholarship CAD 10,000 to CAD 15,000 per year
Government Ontario Trillium Scholarship CAD 40,000 per year
Non-government The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation doctoral scholarships CAD 40,000 per year
(tuition fees and other expenses)
CAD 20,000 per year
(for travel and other expenses)
Government Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships CAD 70,000 a year (taxable)
Non-government University of Alberta Graduate Entrance Scholarship CAD 21,000 per year
Non-government University of Manitoba Graduate Fellowship (UMGF) CAD 18,000 per year
Non-government University of Waterloo Graduate Scholarship CAD 1,000 per term for three terms
Non-government Dr. Robert G.H. Lee Fellowship CAD 10,000

1. Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Vanier CGS) is a merit-based scholarship established to attract the most talented PhD students from around the world. The popular Canada scholarship offers CAD 50,000 per year for three years during one’s PhD study.
In order to be eligible,

  • Canadian and International citizens can apply
  • Must be enrolled in a PhD programme and should have completed at least 20 months of study (not more than 32 months of study)
  • Must be enrolled in a PhD programme at the nominating university and must remain enrolled for the duration of the award
  • Must have an average of first class
  • Should not hold a scholarship from CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC
  • Must be nominated by an institution that has Vanier CGS quota

The universities can nominate a scholar depending on their qualifications. Students can also enrol for Vanier CGC by initiating an application through ResearchNet. The nominating institution may have an internal selection process before forwarding the applicant details.

The nominated applicants are then reviewed by the selection committee and the recommendations are presented to the Tri-Agency Programs committee. The final decision is then presented.

2. The University of British Columbia Four Year Doctoral Fellowship

UBC’s four-year doctoral fellowship is a fully-funded scholarship that is offered to both permanent residents of Canada as well as international applicants. The scholarship offers CAD 18,2o0 as a stipend apart from covering the full tuition fees. The award may be offered for up to four years (however, in some cases, it may be reduced).

The eligibility criteria for applying to this scholarship include:

  • Applicants must be enrolled on a PhD programme
  • Students holding the Tri-Agency awards including, Vanier Scholarships, Doctoral Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGSD), CIHR Doctoral Research Awards, NSERC Doctoral Postgraduate Scholarships (PGSD), and SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships are eligible for the four-year doctoral fellowship
  • Academic excellence ( a minimum of the first class in previous academic endeavours)

To apply for the scholarship, candidates must submit their application to an appropriate graduate program. All PhD applicants are automatically considered for the award.

3. The Ontario Graduate Scholarship

The Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) is offered to all students who are in graduate studies at the master’s and PhD levels. OGS is a merit-based scholarship that is offered to students of all disciplines.
Each OGS is awarded for a minimum of 1 academic year. The amount that can be availed is between CAD 10,000 to CAD 15,000. The OGS lifetime maximum for PhD studies is 4 years while for all students it is 6 years. OGS is available to those applicants who apply at any of the participating institutions.

The eligibility criteria for applying to this scholarship include:

  • Students must apply for master’s degree or PhD programmes
  • Students must be part of a full-time programme while applying
  • Must be part of an institution that is a member of the OGS programme
  • English language proficiency is a minimum requirement at most universities in Canada
  • Must not be enrolled in a bachelor’s or undergraduate programme in any of Ontario’s institutions.

The scholarship application process for OGS includes

  • Students can use the applications that are provided by their universities.
  • Students who are applying to more than one graduate programme across different schools must submit an OGS application for each school
  • The applicants must ensure that the deadlines are met.

4. Ontario Trillium Scholarship

The Ontario Trillium Scholarship is a Canadian government scholarship offered to PhD students from across the world in order to promote quality research. The Ontario Trillium Scholarship offers up to CAD 40,000 per year for four years to PhD scholars. The award begins concurrently with the start of the applicant’s PhD program.

In order to be eligible for the Ontario Trillium Scholarship, you need to…

  • Be an international student
  • Pursue a full-time PhD degree programme
  • Have an average of a first class (80%) at the time of admission
  • Remain registered as a full-time PhD student for the duration of the award
  • Not hold any other tri-council award

The students will be automatically nominated by their school or faculty during admission for the award in case they are considered to satisfy all of the eligibility requirements.

5. The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation doctoral scholarships

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation PhD scholarship is a leadership programme that is designed to train emerging leaders and to allow PhD students to enhance their skills so that they can be employed for the benefit of society.
Applicants may avail up to CAD 40,000 per year for three years towards tuition fees and other expenses and around CAD 20,000 per year for three years to learn new languages, for accommodation and for travelling purposes.
Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation scholars must commit to being a part of the foundation’s in-person and digital events. The scholars must also organise a conference event in the second year of their enrollment. Scholars must also put in the effort to learn both French and English languages.

The eligibility criteria for applying to this scholarship include

  • Must already be accepted into the first or second year of a doctoral program
  • The fields of study must be related broadly to humanities or human sciences (social sciences).
  • The PhD work of the applicant must be related to any of the following four themes: Human Rights and Dignity, Responsible Citizenship, Canada and the World, People and their Natural Environment
  • The applicant can be a Canadian citizen or a non-Canadian who is enrolled in a Canadian institution currently.

The scholarship application process includes

  • Applying directly through the scholarship’s web portal
  • Register yourself
  • Fill out the application
  • Share information about referees
  • Selection process commences
  • The applicants must ensure that the deadlines are met.

6. Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships

Banting postdoctoral fellowships are available to the “very best postdoctoral” scholars who can either be Canadian or international citizens. Annually, around 70 academic scholarships are awarded to applicants with around 140 active awards at any given time.
The scholarship offers CAD 70,000 a year (taxable as per law) for up to 2 years. The scholarship cannot be renewed under any circumstance.

The eligibility criteria for the fellowship include

  • Canadian applicants with a PhD, PhD-equivalent or health professional degree from any international or Canadian university.
  • Applicants can be citizens as well as non-citizens of Canada.
  • Canadian applicants who obtained a PhD, PhD-equivalent or health professional degree from a Canadian university may hold the fellowship outside of Canada.
  • The institution where the applicant is currently enrolled to must be eligible to host the Banting scholarship
  • Should not have a tenured track or a tenured-faculty position
  • Should be held concurrently with another tri-agency award or grant
  • English language proficiency is a minimum requirement at most Canadian universities

The application process includes

  • Confirmation of eligibility
  • Confirm that the institution can host the Banting scholarship
  • Register for Canadian Common CV (CCV) account, ResearchNet account, and CIHR pin.
  • Complete the required questionnaire 
  • Create a CCV and link it with your ResearchNet application
  • Start a ResearchNet application by filling out all of the information required. Alternatively, one could also check out this page here for more information on how to apply.

7. University of Alberta Graduate Entrance Scholarship

The University of Alberta Graduate Entrance Scholarship is awarded to graduate applicants who enrol into master’s or PhD programmes at the university.

The scholarship offers a stipend of up to CAD 21,000 for PhD students and an additional CAD 10,000 for international students to help them in covering the cost of tuition.

The eligibility criteria include

  • Must be a newly admitted student into a PhD programme
  • Applicants can be domestic or international citizens.
  • Applicants may apply to either course-based or thesis-based programmes
  • Must have a GPA of at least 3.7 or higher during admission
  • Must be enrolled into a full-time programme

Applicants cannot directly apply for this award. Eligible students are selected based on the department’s recommendation.

8. University of Manitoba Graduate Fellowship (UMGF)

The UMGF is offered to full-time students of master’s and PhD programmes at the University of Manitoba. The scholarship is awarded to those students who showcase exceptional academic capabilities.
The scholarship’s value is CAD 18,000 per year for up to 4 years. The departments decide the value and the duration of the award depending on eligibility.

The eligibility criteria include

  • Minimum admission GPA score of 3.0
  • Must be enrolled into the University of Manitoba as a PhD scholar
  • Must be a full-time scholar

The department decides the selection of the candidates for the award. The department must be contacted in order to know about the deadlines and the admission process.

9. University of Waterloo Graduate Scholarship

The University of Waterloo Graduate Scholarship is awarded to all graduate students who have registered for full-time Master’s or PhD programmes. It is open to all programmes and disciplines and the eligible students are selected automatically by the respective departments.

The scholarship is valued at CAD 1,000 per term for three terms.

In order to be eligible to apply for the scholarship students must

  • Have a minimum of a first class (80%) cumulative in their current programme or in their last two academic years.
  • Apply within the time limits of the programme
  • Have an English language proficiency – it’s a minimum requirement at most Canadian universities

The students do not have to apply for the scholarship – the departments automatically nominate eligible candidates depending on the availability of funds.

10. McGill University’s Dr. Robert G.H. Lee Fellowship

The Dr. Robert G.H. Lee Fellowship is offered at McGill University for those graduate students who apply to a master’s or a PhD programme.
It is provided to those graduates who are applying to the Faculty of Engineering at McGill University. The scholarship offers up to CAD 10,000 to those who qualify and can be renewed up to 2 times at the PhD level.

The eligibility criteria for applying to this scholarship include:

  • The applicants must be entering a Postdoctoral, Master’s or PhD programme at the faculty of engineering (to those entering Chemical Engineering or Mining and Materials Engineering).
  • Must possess relevant academic merit
  • English language proficiency is a minimum requirement at most Canadian universities

The application for the scholarship program is considered automatically by the faculty depending on one’s eligibility.

How to improve the odds of getting a PhD Scholarship from Canada?

The very thought of applying to a university for a degree can be quite intimidating, let alone applying for a scholarship. However, we have some tips that we think could help you choose the best Canadian PhD scholarship that can support your stay in the country. Dive right in.

Tip 1: Try to pursue a master’s from the same university you choose for a PhD

Most universities tend to grant funding for PhD to students who have pursued a master’s from their university. This is an important thing to keep in mind. So, if you are planning your study-abroad journey, keep this in mind, if you are looking to go for a PhD later.

Tip 2: Visit the college’s website for more information

Go to the website of the college you want to apply to. With a little bit of digging, you’ll easily be able to identify the scholarship or grant that suits you best. You could even get in touch with officials from the university personally. Most would be happy to help you out. Don’t underestimate how much information is available on the university platforms.

The one big tip we can give you here is that look for the subjects and areas that usually get the scholarship and funding. Then see if that can align with your goals and try and choose from those, as they have a high chance of being accepted.

Tip 3: Get in touch with an alumni

Try to get in touch with some of the alumni from the university of your choice. They could be friends, acquaintances or even people you meet on professional websites such as LinkedIn (however, exercise caution when you text a relatively unknown person).

Also, you can always reach out to the experts at TC Global

By signing up at, you could reach out to our subject matter experts for more information on how to apply for a PhD degree in Canada. Moreover, our experts can help you make the right decisions to choose the best PhD scholarship that suits you best, depending on your fields of study, eligibility criteria set that are unique to a particular programme, and the institution you pick.

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