vanier cgs

Vanier CGS: Scholarship Overview


In 2008, the Government of Canada launched the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships program also known as Vanier CGS. These scholarships work to attract and retain world-class doctoral students in Canada to establish our country as the heart of higher learning and extensive research. The winners of Vanier CGS demonstrate high scholarly achievement and leadership skills in graduate studies pertaining to health, engineering and/or natural sciences, and social sciences and humanities.


The Vanier CGS program is valued at $50,000 per year for a three-year duration. No renewals. A total of up to 500 scholarships is active at any time. Three federal granting agencies make up the scholarship’s distribution:

  • CIHR – Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • NSERC – Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council
  • SSHRC – Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

Eligibility Requirements

Before applying, confirm that you and your nominating institution meet ALL the criteria on the government website. Otherwise, your application will be unqualified. 


Does your doctoral program have a significant research component that is required for the completion of your program? This is merit or expert-reviewed at the institutional level. Such as a thesis, dissertation, scholarly publication, major research projects, performance, recital, and/or exhibit. If the answer is yes, then you are on your way to being eligible for the Vanier CGS!

If you are in a clinically-oriented program of study OR a joint graduate research program with a professional degree such as JD/Ph.D., MD/Ph.D., or DVM/Ph.D. that requires a significant autonomous research component, then you are also eligible!

How many months of doctoral studies are necessary?

Firstly, all prior doctoral-level studies are considered during the evaluation of eligibility and are considered continuous, uninterrupted, and full-time unless otherwise confirmed by the nominating institution. 

Secondly, if you studied on a part-time basis, or had your studies interrupted or delayed with your university’s official approval, then you are required to outline the dates of interruption or part-time study in the special circumstances attachment. Also, two months of part-time study will count as one month of full-time study. 

Thirdly, an applicant’s official registration in the doctoral program marks the beginning of the number of months completed. However, this excludes students who registered in a Master’s program that subsequently transferred to a doctoral program (fast-track). 


The Vanier CGS program allows for Canadian citizens, permanent residents of Canada, and foreign citizens to be nominated. However, a candidate must be nominated by one Canadian institution that holds a Vanier CGS quota. 

Additional Requirements

To hold the Vanier CGS, candidates have to fulfill the following criteria:

  • Must register at the nominating Canadian institution.
  • Demonstrate satisfactory progress in their program.
  • Pursuing a doctoral program or joint graduate research program.
  • Intend to pursue, in the academic year or summer semester following the results, full-time doctoral or a joint graduate research program at the nominating institution.
  • Achieved a first-class average, determined by the nominating institution, in each of the last two years of full-time study. (Contact your institution to clarify their definition of a first-class average.)
  • Do not hold a faculty appointment concurrently with a Vanier Scholarship unless they arrange for a leave of absence from the appointment.
  • Do not hold, or have held, a doctoral-level scholarship from SSHRC, NSERC, or CIHR to complete or undertake a doctoral program.
  • And do not concurrently hold any other SSHRC, NSERC, or CIHR training award. However, an exception is the Michael Smith Foreign Studies Supplement.

As of May 1st, 2021, the candidate must have completed no more than:

  • 20 months of full-time study in their doctoral program.
  • 32 months of full-time study in their doctoral program, if enrolled in a joint graduate program. 
  • 32 months of full-time study in their doctoral program, if accelerated directly from a Bachelor’s to a Ph.D. with no time spent in a Master’s program.
  • Or 32 months of full-time study in their doctoral program, if accelerated from a Master’s Degree into a Doctoral program without obtaining the Master’s Degree. 

Nomination Process

A Canadian institution must nominate the candidate. This institution requires a quota to host Vanier Scholars. The institution has a pre-determined number of applicants that they can nominate. Therefore, you need to confirm that your school is eligible. For more information regarding the application process, read Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships: How to Apply and WinGood luck!