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Your graduate student guide to research funding

Concordia offers $24M in awards for the year 2020-21
September 25, 2020

Did you know that Concordia graduate programs with a significant research component — such as a thesis and research-creation — are eligible for a wide variety of scholarships from both internal and external sources?

Internal scholarships are provided mainly through funds from the university itself. Some are offered by generous donors, but those are typically reserved to support grad students within certain departments, programs or research areas.

In contrast, external scholarships are provided by a wide variety of not-for-profit, governmental and industrial sources. Some of the largest funding agencies are provincial or federal bodies. In each of these cases, there are agencies that pertain to specific research sectors: natural sciences and engineering, social sciences and humanities, and health.

A list of the provincial and federal agencies is provided in the Related Links section below.

How it works

Nearly all scholarships are competitively awarded.

For some external awards, eligible applicants must submit to the awarding agency directly. In others, students submit their application to the Graduate Awards Office, which then forwards the top applications to the agency, as per available quotas. For most internal awards, students are nominated by their departments, requiring no action by the student.

In all cases, only the top applicants will receive offers. So, in addition to any financial implications they may carry, it is a prestigious and impressive achievement to receive one.

Selection process

Because most agencies and institutions require a significant research component, part of the selection criteria is also based on the importance and excellence of the research proposal. Even though applicants are selected based partly on past achievement, the agencies that offer scholarships and fellowships are often investing in both the important research that will be carried out and the critical training the recipient will receive at Concordia.

This synergy between scholars, fellows, faculty members, institutions and funding agencies helps to ensure that our faculty can carry out world-class research programs with top-notch facilities, while our students have access to outstanding expertise, training and mentorship.

5 steps towards your own applications for graduate funding:

  1. Attend one of the workshops offered throughout the term in partnership between the Graduate Awards Office and GradProSkills. These free workshops include overviews of funding opportunities, tips toward crafting competitive applications and support in facilitating application statements, peer reviews and coaching. To see a list of upcoming workshops, visit GradProSkills and look under the Funding section.
  2. Browse the Awards and Funding pages, a central resource to help navigate both internal and external opportunities. While students should refer to funding agency’s website for details, the Awards and Funding pages will provide complementary aspects of the application process that are unique for Concordia students.
  3. Follow CU Grad Awards and Funding on Twitter to stay up to date on upcoming workshops, deadlines, award announcements and information curated specifically for Concordia students.
  4. Talk to your research supervisor about the opportunities that interest you. Your supervisor may also help orient you to the funding landscape and help you determine which awards to apply for. Tip: The agencies that invest in the work of your supervisor may be the most likely to invest in yours. If you have not yet secured a supervisor, proceed to Step 5.
  5. Book an appointment with the appropriate team member within the Graduate Awards Office. They can help you identify opportunities and develop and polish your application, and provide insights to the requirements and expectations around holding scholarships and awards at Concordia.

Your Graduate Awards Office

In 2020-21, Concordia is offering 1,246 awards with a total value of more than $24 million, all managed by the Graduate Awards Office.

The office resides in the School of Graduate Studies and is there to facilitate and oversee the pursuit and tenure of graduate-level scholarships, fellowships and awards. The team is managed by Cynthia Raso (BA 00, MA 04) and includes Jordan Carey (BA 08) for internal awards, Marwa Gouda (BComm 13) for external awards and Michael Verwey (MA 06, PhD 11) for fellowships.

Collectively, they strive to help students, departments and faculty to navigate the complex world of student funding. This team also manages Concordia’s institutional responsibility for reporting back to the agencies and holding its scholars accountable to the terms of the awards.

Check out the upcoming free Grad Funding workshops offered by Concordia’s GradProSkills.


Related links:

Provincial agencies

Federal agencies


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