The cost of tuition fees at some Canadian institutes may be more affordable than other English-speaking countries' equivalents. But committing to a full-time degree is still a big financial step. Most students hope to qualify for some financial aid to ease the pressure on their pockets. Since you’re here, chances are you’re wondering how to get a Canadian university scholarship too! Canadian universities offer a huge variety of scholarships and awards to international students. Some are Canadian government scholarships to invite promising international talent into the country. Some are specific to universities. Often, many schools consider you for scholarships as soon as you apply! To cut through the clutter and get you started, here’s a guide on how to get a Canadian university scholarship.
How to Get Scholarships in Canada
A few things to remember:
- To study in Canada, you must prove to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) that you can finance your studies and duration of stay.
- Most universities have their own scholarship schemes. Search through these to find the right match for you.
- You might be looking for fully-funded scholarships in Canada 2021/2022. But the bigger the award, the more competitive it is. Remember to also consider smaller awards! Often, you can apply for several smaller awards, which add up to more financial aid.
- Many schools offer generous awards for specific departments and faculties. Be it agriculture, engineering or religion studies, check for scholarships in your field!
- Universities often offer scholarships for specific sociodemographic and geographic categories. You may find awards that apply to you depending on things like your country of citizenship.
- Lots of universities have in-course scholarships. So, you might be able to apply for these after completing a semester or year of study. A lot of the time, qualifying depends on your academic performance. Thus, check your options in advance and work towards those requirements!
How to Get Scholarships in Canada for Undergraduates
Plenty of Canadian universities offer attractive undergraduate scholarships. These go from fully-funded scholarships to a variety of smaller or field-specific awards.
Here are some general options for you to consider. And remember – this list is nowhere near exhaustive. There are many Canadian universities offering hundreds of scholarship options. To find the right option, you need to comb through what colleges are offering.
Entrance-Level Scholarships for Undergraduate Students
Do you need to apply for the scholarship separately?
Lester P. Pearson International Scholarships
Full scholarship including tuition and housing for 4 years
International Major Entrance Scholarship
CAD 40,000 over 4 years (renewable)
Outstanding International Student Award
One-time award (non-renewable) which can range between CAD 2,500 and CAD 10,000
CAD 16,000 over 4 years
CAD 12,000 over 4 years
CAD 8,000 over 4 years
CAD 1,000 over 4 years
You are automatically considered if your admissions average is at or above 80%.
One Collins Prestige Scholarship; One Riordan Scholarship
Full scholarship for 4 years
Automatic Entrance Scholarship – International
Between CAD 1,000 to CAD 4,000 a year (renewable)
Applicable to students in Canadian secondary schools in or outside the country.
Academic Excellence Scholarships for International Students
One-time award amounting to CAD 5,000
International Entrance Award
International Entrance Scholarship
CAD 15,000 (renewable)
How to Get Scholarships in Canada for Masters
Graduate programs often have attractive benefits to bring talented researchers into the country. Again, remember that there are hundreds of options to consider. For graduate-level scholarships, you may find ample funding for your specific research discipline. These can be fully-funded programs, down to smaller-sum awards you can add up.
The more you look, the more you’re likely to find something that works for you! Again, there are often in-course scholarships available. You may qualify for merit awards based on your grades. Keep an eye out for such options so you don’t miss out!
Here’s are some options to give you an idea of how to get scholarships in Canada for a Master's degree.
International Master’s Award of Excellence
CAD 2,500 per semester for 5 semesters
Dean’s International Scholarship
CAD 6,000 (renewable in second year)
- Automatic consideration when you apply
- For full-time, international Schulich MBA/IMBA students
University of Manitoba Graduate Fellowship (UMGF)
Up to a total CAD 28,000, with CAD 14,000 a year
Canada Government Scholarships
The Canadian government prioritises bringing skilled talent into the country. Part of these efforts are scholarships at federal, provincial, and territorial levels!
Many of these programs apply to doctoral students. The key in how to get a Canadian university scholarship at this level? Look into options for your specific discipline. There may also be options specific to your country or region, e.g. programs for ASEAN students!
Here are some Canada government scholarship options to consider:
Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Scholarship
Field: social sciences and humanities
This scholarship program offers up to CAD 40,000 every year for three (3) years to doctoral students. It also offers an extra CAD 20,000 to help students with research, networking, and get around.
The scholarship is part of a leadership program for aspiring leaders of tomorrow. Every year, up to 16 doctoral students receive this opportunity.
Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships
Field: health research, natural sciences, and/or engineering
This scholarship offers postdoctoral students in relevant fields CAD 70,000 a year for two years.
Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships
Field: social sciences and humanities, health, and natural sciences and/or engineering
This scholarship program offers up to CAD 50,000 a year, for three years, to graduate students in relevant disciplines.
This is by no means a complete list. You can check which scholarships you may be eligible for depending on where you’re from. Each award program has specific requirements. And there are firm application deadlines and different types of financial coverage. For instance, the Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship is project-based only. Meanwhile, the IDRC Doctoral Research Awards apply to field-research projects in developing countries. This latter award, for example, does not cover tuition fees.
Remember – scholarships are not your only option for funding!
Canada has very flexible work options for international students. Are you in a co-op program? Your curriculum involves paid work! Alternating between study and work, you can earn up to CAD 40,000 a year. You can also work up to 20 hours during semesters and full-time over breaks. And all this without needing a work permit! Now while we won't recommend banking entirely on your earnings to manage your finances, it always helps to have a little wiggle room with expenses.
Plus, at graduate levels, you have the chance to work as a teacher- or research assistant on-campus! Earning as you learn is not only common in Canada. It’s also encouraged! The work experience makes all the difference for future jobs or permanent residency.
Our Concluding Thoughts
As you can see, there’s plenty to choose from when figuring out how to get a Canadian university scholarship. If you put in the time, you’ll find a program that matches your needs. So, it’s very important to be thorough and check your eligibility for all kinds of awards. You don’t want to end up missing a great scholarship for your degree, field, country of citizenship, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do Canadian universities give full scholarships?
Several Canadian universities do give full scholarships! The University of Toronto and Carleton University are some examples. These are usually highly competitive and merit-based.
But remember, most universities offer dozens of scholarships. You’ll find everything from smaller awards to generous grants for specific fields. Plus, there is a range of scholarships for specific categories, like country of citizenship and ethnicity.
Bottom line: explore your options when searching for the right scholarship! You may be able to apply to many smaller awards, which add up to considerable financial aid.
What is an in-course scholarship?
These scholarships are for students already enrolled in a program. They’re merit-based. So, you didn’t get the entrance scholarship? That’s okay! You can still qualify for financial awards with exceptional performance.
What is a renewable scholarship?
This means your scholarship is valid for one year and can be renewed the following year. Usually, the condition for renewing your scholarship depends on your academic performance. Different faculties have different grade requirements to renew your scholarship. So, be sure to read the fine print for these conditions!