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Land Of Opportunity: Scholarships For International Students In Canada

By IntFormalities
Updated on January 30, 2024
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Scholarships are a great way to fund studies. Through scholarships, external bodies and organizations sponsor the cost of the course along with potential bursaries for living expenses. The schemes are available for Canadian citizens and those from overseas who wish to pursue an academic path in Canada. This article is aimed at international students seeking a scholarship to study in Canada. 

Students from anywhere in the world can apply for international scholarships to study in Canada.
Students from anywhere in the world can apply for an international scholarship to study in Canada.

What Are Scholarships And Why You Might Be Interested

A scholarship is a financial fund that will pay for a university course’s full or partial cost. Applying to undergraduate, doctorate, and postgraduate programs, the fund size and eligibility vary from one scholarship to another. 

In some instances, it can cover additional expenditures such as the cost of living such that the student does not need to seek out loans, help from family or work away from their studies. This is known as a fully funded scholarship

Scholarship opportunities are highly competitive and keenly fought over. Given the high cost of student fees and living expenses in Canada, anyone who has a chance of obtaining a scholarship should seek to take advantage. A downside is the low number of scholarships available (compared to the number of students) and the strict eligibility criteria. Nevertheless, all students should seek to apply if they meet the qualifying criteria. 

You can find scholarship opportunities on the official Government of Canada website for international students.

International Students: What Types Of Scholarships Are Available In Canada

There are 2 main types of scholarships available for international students. They are Government of Canada Scholarships, and Scholarships from a University. There are also scholarships available from non-governmental organizations. The number of non-governmental scholarships is considerably smaller than the other 2 types. 

Government of Canada Scholarships 

The government of Canada has many scholarship programs to encourage international students to study in Canada. These include:

Government Scholarship ProgramStudy LevelAmount AwardedQualifying SubjectsEligibility 
Banting Postdoctoral FellowshipPhDCA$70k per annum for 2 yearsHealth, Science, Engineering, Social Science or HumanitiesInternational citizen with PhD or a health professional degree
Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship PhDCA$50k per annum for 3 yearsResearch in Engineering, Humanities or Social SciencesInternational citizen and nominated by a Canadian institution that receives a Vanier CGS quota 
IDRC Research AwardsMasters or DoctorateBetween CA$42,033 and CA$48,659 for 12 monthsGlobal health, Inclusive and Democratic governance, Science and Education, Evaluation and Policy, Food Systems (Climate Resilient), Development Research Ethics, and Sustainable Inclusive Sustainable EconomiesAny international student from a developing nation
Ontario Graduate ScholarshipsMasters or DoctorateCA$ 10k for 2 successive study termsAny subjectOpen to both Canadian and International students who have achieved more than 79% score in the previous two full time academic years
Ontario Trillium ScholarshipPhDCA$40k per annum for up to 4 yearsIn any subjectInternational citizens with a pass mark over 79% at Masters level willing to do a doctoral program in Ontario

Government scholarships are available at all Canadian universities that cater for the qualifying subjects and the degree level.  

Scholarships Offered By Universities In Canada

Scholarships are offered directly by educational establishments (i.e.Universities) in Canada. Some of the best ones are listed below:

Name Of Scholarship ProgramUniversity NameStudy LevelAmount AwardedQualifying SubjectsEligibility 
University of Alberta Entrance ScholarshipsUniversity of AlbertaUndergraduate, Masters and PhDWorth up to CA$10kAny subject offered at the UniversityInternational citizens with high academic achievements
University of Calgary International Entrance ScholarshipUniversity of CalgaryUndergraduateCA$15k per annumAny subject offered at the UniversityInternational citizens with high academic merit.
The University of Waterloo International FundingUniversity of WaterlooUndergraduate, Masters and PhDWorth up to CA$10kAny subject offered at the University Of WaterlooInternational citizens with scores in excess of 69% for undergraduate programs or over 74% for masters, and PhD
UBC International Leader of Tomorrow AwardUniversity of British ColumbiaUndergraduate, graduate, and doctorateVaries up to a maximum of CA$80k over 4 yearsA variety of subjectsInternal citizens with excellent academic record
Lester B Pearson ScholarshipUniversity of TorontoUndergraduateScholarship will cover tuition fees, incidental fees, books, and residential costsCovers 700 programsInternational citizens with outstanding academic credentials
Western University’s International President’s Entrance ScholarshipWestern UniversityUndergraduateCA$50k over 4 yearsUndergraduate courses International citizens with an excellent academic record and extracurricular pursuits such as athletics and the arts
University of Manitoba Scholarship for GraduatesUniversity of Manitoba Masters and PhDCA$14k per year for Masters & CA$18kFor PhD studentsAny masters or PHd courseInternational citizens with grade point average of 3.0
York University Automatic Entrance ScholarshipYork UniversityUndergraduate and postgraduate Varies, the maximum is CA$180k over 4 years. Any undergraduate or postgraduate courseInternational citizens with an average “A” grade minimum 

Non-Government Scholarship Programs

Non Government ScholarshipStudy LevelAmount AwardedQualifying SubjectsEligibility 
Trudeau Scholarships and FellowshipsDoctorateFixed CA$40k plus CA$20k per year for 3 years for travel or research allowanceCitizenship, Dignity, and Human rights Open To International students
Anne Vallee Ecological FundMasters or doctorateCA$1500kAnimal researchFor international citizens enrolled at a British Columbia University or Québec university

There are only 2 notable non-Government Scholarship Programs, with the Trudeau Scholarships and Fellowships paying a sizable amount.

The Application Process 

Before applying for a scholarship, the candidate must get accepted for their chosen course by the University. It is prudent for those seeking a scholarship to check they meet the specific scholarship requirements before applying for the course. For example, a program may accept a candidate with less than 70% pass mark, but the scholarship could require the person to possess a higher score.

Applying For A Scholarship

Once the candidate is accepted onto the course, they can begin the scholarship application process. Most applications can be completed online. It is important to remember the closing dates for the scholarship programs. 

With the scholarship application, some of the documents that will need to be attached will include:

  • Course application documents,
  • Letter of acceptance to the course,
  • All academic certificates and transcripts,
  • Statement of intention to explain why you want the scholarship,
  • Aptitude test scores (GRE, GMAT, SAT, and so on),
  • English Proficiency results (TOEFL, IELTS, and so on),
  • Results from medical tests (optional).

In some instances, Universities may choose candidates for a scholarship through the initial application for the course. It will be based on factors such as high academic achievement and extracurricular activities (such as arts or sports). The educational establishment will inform the student of the outcomes of the application well before the course commences.

Processing Times And Costs

There are no costs associated with applying for a scholarship in Canada. Following the application, the University or the non-governmental body providing the scholarship will review the forms submitted. 

You can expect to hear the outcome of the application within a couple of months. It is advised the application is made 6 to 12 months before the start of the course or the research program.

Taking Full Advantage Of Scholarships

Students from anywhere in the world can apply for an international scholarship to study in Canada. That will include parts of the world, such as Africa, Asia, Europe, and students from Latin America. Though opportunities are available for undergraduates, and graduates, they are extremely competitive, and those with outstanding academic records have the best chance to enjoy funded studies and research.

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