Sep 28, 2023  
School of Graduate Studies Calendar, 2022-2023 
School of Graduate Studies Calendar, 2022-2023 [-ARCHIVED CALENDAR-]

Graduate Scholarships, Bursaries and Other Awards



6.1 Overview

The University and the School of Graduate Studies supports the financial wellbeing of students in the delivery of aid and award programs, ensuring equity, consistency and transparency in administration. 

The following information is intended to provide details about the various forms of scholarship support available at McMaster. Students with questions regarding financial support should contact their department or graduate program (hereafter referred to as the department) directly for assistance.

All efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of information of awards on the School of Graduate Studies website. However, it is ultimately the responsibility of fellowship and award applicants themselves to verify program deadlines and/or requirements with external agencies. The School of Graduate Studies cannot be held responsible for any error or omissions, but would appreciate being informed of these, for correction or addition in the next edition.

6.1.1 General Regulations

Graduate students at McMaster University are expected to apply annually for external funding opportunities that may be available to them and as directed by the department. 

Scholarships (including fellowships, prizes, medals and awards), academic grants and bursaries may be cancelled without notice if the conditions under which they are granted are not upheld. To hold an award at McMaster University, students must:

  • Have been unconditionally admitted into the eligible graduate degree program for which funding was granted; 
  • Be registered full-time and progressing satisfactorily in the eligible graduate degree program; part-time students are normally not eligible to receive scholarship support;
    •  A student who withdraws, is on approved leave, changes academic load from full to part-time, reduces course load or units, has approved to graduate status or otherwise alters their program of study may be required to forfeit all or part of their funding.
  • Accept the terms and conditions of the award;
  • Comply with all academic regulations of McMaster University and the requirements of the scholarship and/or award;
  • Not hold or accept full-time employment while holding the award; and
  • Agree to have McMaster University administer the award in accordance with its policies and procedures.

In accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and McMaster University’s Statement on the collection of Personal Information and the Protection of Privacy, where notice is given, the University is permitted to publish an individual’s name, Faculty, program and award information. McMaster University reserves the right to publish the names of recipients of most scholarships and awards. Note: If a student chooses to revise their consent, they must contact the School of Graduate Studies at It is the School of Graduate Studies responsibility to update Mosaic and AwardSpring.

For the purpose of Aid and Award criteria and eligibility, references to “Woman” or “Female” include all students who identify as Woman/Female and references to “Man” or “Male” include all students who identify as a Man or Male.

6.1.2 Value and Duration of Award

The value and duration of scholarships and awards are detailed in the terms of letter of offer or award letter. Should a successful applicant receive an internal scholarship or external award subsequent to the letter of offer, McMaster’s normal practice is to adjust the contributions to the applicant’s offer in such a way that the applicant benefits from the additional award, but not to the extent that it simply adds the value of the award to the original offer. The fractional financial benefit of an internal scholarship or external award varies by program but is consistent within a given program. 

Any approved change in degree, program, registration, supervisor or research area must be reported to the School of Graduate Studies and may result in a change to the value and/or duration of the award. The value of some external awards must be refunded if conditions of the awards are not met.

6.2 Graduate Scholarships

Upon admission to McMaster, graduate students are automatically considered for funding by the various departments. Offers that include funding will state the amount and duration of funding, conditions for renewal (if any), terms of continued funding, and other relevant details. All funding for graduate students from the University or from individual programs will be based on satisfactory progress of the student in their program as determined by academic criteria or as specified in an offer of funding. If the student has been awarded a Graduate or Departmental Scholarship, they should be aware that the funds for this scholarship might come from funds awarded by the School of Graduate Studies and/or from the department. The student may also receive a Research Scholarship provided by funds from the supervisor. If the student has been awarded an Entrance Scholarship, they should realize that it is for the first term of study only and is not renewable. All funding is contingent on enrolment of the student.

6.2.1 Internal Awards

The University Senate, acting on behalf of generous benefactors and donors to the University, bestows academic awards, bursaries, academic grants, and travel awards on graduate students. In recognizing financial need and/or academic and/or research merit, the University requires all recipients of awards to fulfill a set of general conditions, in addition to meeting the particular terms attached to individual academic awards. The general conditions and terms have been established to ensure equity in competition and a high academic standing. Any interpretation of the conditions attaching to academic awards is solely the prerogative of the Graduate Council. The University reserves the right not to grant an award in the absence of a suitable candidate, or to limit the number of awards where too few suitable candidates exist. The University also reserves the right to withdraw, or amend the terms of, any award, and/or to suspend granting of an award or to adjust the stated value of an award in years in which insufficient investment income is available due to fluctuations in investment markets. Where the terms of such award become impossible to fulfill through obsolescence, then the University may amend the terms of same to carry out the nearest possible intent of the donor while still ensuring that the benefit of such award continues.


Bursaries are granted on the basis of demonstrated financial need according to the principles of the Province of Ontario’s Student Access Guarantee. They are intended to supplement a student’s own financial contribution, parental assistance, government aid and personal loans/lines of credit to help the student to complete the academic year.

In order for students to be considered for any donor bursary, they must apply to the Graduate General Bursary through AwardSpring.

Academic Grants

Academic Grants are granted on the basis of academic excellence and demonstrated financial need as stated above.

In order for students to be considered for an academic grant, they must have applied for OSAP and have received an entitlement of at least $1.

Internal Scholarships (including travel awards)

Internal scholarships support students registered in a specific program or Faculty through the generous contributions of our benefactors and donors, and initiatives from the School of Graduate Studies. Selection is based on academic merit and research excellence. Students can apply to most of the internal scholarships through aid by application in AwardSpring. A small number of scholarships don’t have applications as they are awarded by departmental nomination as per the terms of the award. It is critical that students consult with their departments regarding eligibility, application procedures and deadlines as each department will have its own process for internal review. Departments forward their recommendation to the School of Graduate Studies for final approval.

6.2.2 External Awards Tenable at the University

External awards tenable at the University are given by federal and provincial government agencies and other private organizations that rely on McMaster University to recommend candidates, facilitate payments, and ensure compliance of terms and conditions of the award. Examples of these agencies include the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), and the Ontario Graduate Scholarships (OGS).

The application process for the majority of these awards is usually held one year in advance of receipt of the award (for example, competitions are held in October for awards starting in May, September or January of the subsequent academic year). Applications and eligibility requirements are usually indicated on respective government agency web sites by late August. Deadlines vary by agency but normally occur in the Fall of each academic year. 

As the recipient of a CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC, OGS or similar award, the student may be required to complete additional acceptance/refusal forms, and provide copies to their department and the School of Graduate Studies. If the student changes their status, or is granted a leave of absence, the student may be required to notify the external agency as outlined in the guidelines (or terms and conditions) of the award. It may also be the case that the external award is subject to restrictions that require altered terms of the original letter of offer, or forfeit the award.

6.3 Funding Application Deadlines

Students interested in applying for scholarships and awards should contact their home departments for specific details on the application process and department internal deadlines. Dates and information from external agencies may be updated periodically and without notice. Changes to internal due dates within departments or programs, and the School of Graduate Studies, will be updated accordingly. 

6.4 Financial Planning

A financial plan is an essential part of a university career. It can be helpful to consult with family members, a banking representative or financial aid counsellor to research financial options. Graduate students who are eligible are encouraged to apply for OSAP. For more information about OSAP, please visit the following sites:Office of the Registrar, Aid & Award and Government of Ontario - OSAP.