The Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) offers two types of research training awards through one application. Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships-Doctoral (CGSD) and SSHRC Fellowships provide financial support to high calibre scholars who are engaged in a doctoral program in the social sciences or humanities. The CGSD will be offered to the top-ranked applicants and the next tier of meritorious applicants will be offered a Fellowship.
CGSD: $35,000 a year for 3 years
Fellowship: $20,000 a year for 1 to 4 years
Timeline and Deadlines
September – SSHRC opens web-based Application
October – Graduate Program Deadlines close. Deadlines vary among Graduate Programs.
November 11 – SGPS Deadline for Graduate Programs to submit ranked and recommended applications
Late November/Early December – University Selection Committee Convenes
January 9 – Agency Deadline for universities to submit quotas of A-list applications
April – Results released to students and universities
It is also strongly recommend that applicants consult SSHRC's Resource Centre, for other information and answers to frequently asked questions.
SSHRC requires official or certified copies of transcripts from each university attended or currently attending, regardless of the length of time spent at each institution, including the Western transcript). SGPS will provide the Western transcripts for applications that will be forwarded to the national competition.
With regards to an exchange year abroad - if the grades from the foreign institution are appearing on the home university transcript, the foreign institution's transcript is not required.
Administering the SSHRC Doctoral Awards Competition
Coordinating the Collection of Applications
After consultation with your Graduate Chair, set your graduate program deadline and publicize this to your students. Leave enough time for your graduate committee to do its work i.e. review and rank before final submission to SGPS.
After the application deadline, set up all applications in your cohort in the tracking record in the External Funding Portfolio and complete all required fields in the Maintain Applications page of Program Assessment.
Verify all applications for eligibility and completeness.
Important Note: In the Academic Background section, applicants are asked to provide their degree infromation as follows - "Beginning with your highest degree, list up to 5 degrees. The highest degree will print first and all others in reverse chronological order, based on start date."
To qualify to apply the student must:
be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada;
be applying for support to pursue your first PhD (or equivalent);
be pursuing doctoral studies in the social sciences or humanities;
not have already received a doctoral-level scholarship or fellowship from SSHRC, NSERC or CIHR to undertake or complete a doctoral degree; and
not be applying in the same academic year to NSERC or CIHR.
Combined MA/PhD, Fast-track and Direct-Entry PhD Programs
If the applicant is in, or will be registered in, a combined MA/PhD, fast-track (Master's to PhD transfer without obtaining the Master's degree) or direct-entry PhD program, he/she may be eligible to apply for a CGSM provided they have completed between 0 and 12 months of graduate-level study by December 31st of the year of application.
If the applicant is currrently registered in a combined MA/PhD, fast-track or direct-entry PhD program, and has or will have completed more than 12 months or more of graduate-level study by December 31st of the year of application, he/she can only apply to the Doctoral Awards funding opportunity.
Time in Program Eligibility
The following table shows the periods of support applicable to students at different stages of doctoral (or equivalent) study.
Number of months completed by December 31 of the year of application
Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Doctoral Scholarship
SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship
Applicants who will have completed between 0 and 4 months
36 months of funding
48 months of funding
Applicants who will have completed between 5 and 16 months
36 months of funding
36 months of funding
Applicants who will have completed between 17 and 28 months
24 months of funding
Applicants who will have completed between 29 and 40 months
12 months of funding
Applicants who will have completed 41 months or more
In calculating the value and duration of awards, SSHRC includes all pprior doctoral-level studies in the same discipline whether or not the degree was completed and whether or not the current university recognizes previous credits or years of study.
For applicants registered in a combined MA/PhD degree program, the first 12 months of the combined program will not be included in the evaluation of eligibility.
SSHRC assumes that all studies were full-time and uninterrupted.
To be eligible to apply, an applicant must have achieved a minimum of 80.0%, or equivalent, in each of the last two competed years of full-time study, or equivalent.
The eligibility averages are based on grades on the transcript(s) up to August 31st of the year of application.
Doctoral Awards proposals may involve any disciplines, thematic areas, approaches or subject areas eligible for SSHRC funding but must meet the following two criteria:
The proposed research or related activities must be primarily in the social sciences and humanities, aligned with SSHRC’s mandate.
The intended outcome of the research must primarily be to add to our understanding and knowledge of individuals, groups and societies—what we think, how we live, and how we interact with each other and the world around us.
Applicants working in research areas where boundaries overlap between SSHRC and CIHR or SSHRC and NSERC are advised to state clearly in the application why they believe their proposals are appropriate for support by SSHRC.
Research that is primarily intended to improve and/or increase knowledge of health, health care and health-care systems in Canada or internationally now falls under the CIHR mandate.
Applicants must contact Council staff well in advance of submitting an application, if they have any questions regarding subject matter eligibility to firstname.lastname@example.org. Upon receipt of a draft research proposal, staff will immediately notify applicants that an eligibility review will be conducted.
Complete guidelines on selecting the appropriate federal granting agency are available at www.science.gc.ca
SSHRC does not permit appeals on grounds of subject matter eligibility.
Choice of Multi-disciplinary Committee
Committee 1 (7521)
Fine arts; Literature (all types)
Committee 2 (7522)
Classical Archaeology; Classics; Classical and Dead Languages; History; Mediaeval Studies; Philosophy; Religious Studies
Committee 3 (7523)
Anthropology; Archaeology (except Classical Archaeology); Archival Science; Communications and Media Studies; Criminology; Demography; Folklore; Geography; Library and Information Science; Sociology; Urban and Regional Studies; Environmental Studies
Committee 4 (7524)
Education; Linguistics; Psychology; Social Work
Committee 5 (7525)
Economics; Industrial Relations; Law; Management, Business, Administrative Studies; Political Science
If the main discipline is Women's Studies, the choice of committee is based on the primary aspect of the applicant’s research in the field. For example, if the research involves women's literature, Committee 1 should be chosen.
If the main discipline is Interdisciplinary Studies, the committee choice is based on the most prevalent discipline among those related to the research. For example, if the research involves history and sociology, but it is less focused on history and more focused on sociology, Committee 3 should be chosen.
Scholarship Review Committee
Convene your program’s graduate committee to review and rank each complete and eligible application.
A two-stage ranking process may be necessary in graduate programs and departments involved in interdisciplinary research which will be reflected in the choice of committee codes of the applications to be ranked, which may span more than one SSHRC discipline group as defined in the Doctoral Awards Selection Committees chart. (e.g. Psychology applications may fall into Committee 4 and Committee 5 depending on the research)
Review and Ranking:
Divide the applications into pools defined by the committee discipline code chosen by the students in their applications (e.g. Linguistics and French Literature), regardless of current level of study.
Subdivide applications int two pools:current Master's applicants and current Doctoral applicants
Review and rank applications.
During review, verify the accuracy of the committee codes chosen by the students. Ensure that all applications with research that spans more than one discipline group are given equal consideration
For the Doctoral Awards competition, SSHRC does not provide weighted selection criteria. Departmental committee members should consider and weigh each component of the application as they see fit when evaluating applications. It is appropriate to take into account the stage at which an applicant is in their program.
Identify letters of appraisal that need revising and bring them to the attention of the Graduate Chair for follow-up before the SGPS submission deadline.
Provide the Graduate Program Coordinator with the review results i.e. rankings and recommendations.
Preparing the Applications for Submission to SGPS
Remove any staples and sticky notes.
Do not submit SSHRC applications to SGPS in file folders.
Documents in each application should appear in the following order:
Doctoral Award application, completed, verified, printed and signed (applications with the large watermark "Please Verify" printed across the first page will not be accepted)
Program of study (max. 2 pages)
Bibliography/citations (max. 5 pages)
Research contributions page (if applicable, max. 1 page)
Allowable inclusions (if applicable, max. 1/2 page). All attachmentsmust follow SSHRC's format rules.
Official letter to confirm part-time study and/or leave of absence, if applicable (max. 1 page confirmation on department letterhead, may be signed by Graduate Program Coordinator)
Transcripts from all universities attended. A Western Academic Record may be used if the applicant has not provided an official Western transcript.Certified English translations of foreign language transcripts must be provided in lieu of originals.
Two (2) completed Letters of Appraisal
Consent to Disclosure of Personal Information
Submit the Applications to SGPS
Complete the PS tracking record for each applicant in your cohort. Status all applicants appropriately i.e. Cancelled, Not Eligible, Recommended or Not Recommended. No applicant should remain in NEW status by start of the 100% Accuracy deadline period. Status reminders:
Cancelled means that the entry of the application in Student Center was an error
Not Eligible means you have determined that the applicant is ineligible for competition.It is the responsibility of the Graduate Program to communicate the reason to the applicant prior to entering the status into Student Center
Recommended means that the application is eligible, complete, has been adjudicated in committee and will go forward to SGPS for further competition. This status will generate an auto-notification to the student.
Not Recommended means that the application is eligible, complete, has been adjudicated in committee and will not go forward to SGPS for further competition. This status will generate an auto-notification to the student.
Administering the SSHRC Results
Announcement of Results
Individual notification letters are sent from SSHRC to all applicants. The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS) notifies all Western candidates with applications in the national competition of their individual result.
The results are made available to select Western staff and faculty with secure access on the SGPS GradNet.
Viewing Results in GradNet
Access the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS) GradNet.
Log in using your Western personal computer account information.*
Under the Launch Menu, select External Scholarships, then the criteria you would like to view (e.g. competition, aid year, cohort)
*If you have any difficulty accessing the information, please contact Tom Broniewicz (SGPS).
Each entry on the results listing has been identified by certain descriptors where applicable: the name of the student, the student number, the student’s home faculty and program, the competition result, the type of award offered, the maximum value of the award and the duration of months
Select the criteria you would like to view (e.g. competition, aid year, cohort)
Select "Populate Students"
Activation of the Award
NEW! The Tri-Agencies (CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC) have harmonized their post-award policies (where possible) for research training programs and have incorporated these policies into a harmonized Tri-Agency Research Training Award Holder's Guide. These policies are effective as of September 1, 2016 and the Guide is available on NSERC's website. The Guide applies to Tri-agency directly-funded training award holders. It contains all the forms that training award holders and the University need to facilitate post-award activities allowed by the Tri-Agencies. It is the responsibility of the research training award holder to access and review the Guide and comply with the regulations governing use of the award.
Students can accept or refuse their award with SSHRC and Western, by following these steps:
A student must accept their new award with SSHRC according to the instructions in their new Guide (see link above).
To activate the award for payment at Western, the student must log in to their Student Centre account and select `Self Service' from the main menu, then 'Campus Finances'.
Select 'My External Scholarships' and follow the activate/decline steps for the SSHRC award..
Publicizing the Results
Every year SSHRC asked that universities keep the results of the scholarship and fellowship competitions confidential until the government makes the annual funding announcement.