What’s in an application?—Doctoral Awards

A Doctoral Awards application consists of the following documents:

  1. Completed Web-Based Doctoral Award Application Form
  2. Program of Study (maximum two pages)
  3. Bibliography and Citations (maximum five pages)
  4. Research Contributions (if applicable, maximum one page)
  5. Supplement and/or Joint or Special Initiative Justifications (if applicable, maximum one page per justification)
  6. Allowable Inclusions (if applicable, maximum one page)
  7. Official Letter to Confirm Part-Time Study and/or Leave of Absence (if applicable, maximum one page)
  8. All Official and/or Certified Copies of Undergraduate and Graduate-Level Transcripts
  9. Letters of Appraisal (two letters, in sealed envelopes, maximum one page each)
  10. Departmental Appraisal (only for candidates who must apply through a Canadian university)
  11. Completed Consent to Disclosure of Personal Information Form
  12. Application Checklist

All attachments, including letters of appraisal and transcripts, must be provided in English or French only. All required material should be attached to your printed application as additional pages, and be formatted according to the specifications set out in the application instructions available in the web-based application form.

Applicants requiring assistance while preparing their Doctoral Award application are encouraged to communicate with SSHRC’s Research Training Portfolio well in advance of the application deadline.




1. Completed Web-Based Doctoral Award Application Form

Ensure that the form is completed, printed and signed. A good application demonstrates:

  • a strong academic record;
  • excellent potential to conduct advanced scholarly research;
  • strong communication skills; and
  • the ability to successfully complete the graduate program in a timely manner.

The Doctoral Award application form consists of the following sections:

  • Identification
  • Addresses
  • Current Position
  • Academic Background
  • Work Experience
  • Credentials
  • Application Profile
  • Program Information
  • Areas of Study
  • Referees (see section 9, Letters of Appraisal)



2. Program of Study (maximum two pages)

Describe your proposed program of study in non-technical terms. Avoid jargon and acronyms and ensure that your proposal is written in clear, plain language easily understandable to a multidisciplinary selection committee.

Ensure that your text includes the requirements listed under the appropriate category below, especially with respect to your thesis proposal.

If you are currently completing a bachelor’s degree, have not undertaken any graduate studies, or are completing or have completed a master’s degree, provide the following:

  • Clearly state your current level of study (e.g., completing a master’s degree, etc.).
  • Provide the title and a brief description of your master’s thesis, if applicable.
  • Identify the degree program that you will pursue, including any relevant courses, and provide an explanation for your choice.
  • Provide an outline of your doctoral thesis proposal, including the research question, context, objectives, methodology and contribution to the advancement of knowledge, and your special interests in the proposed area of research.

If you are currently in a doctoral program, provide the following:

  • Clearly state your current level of study (e.g., in the second year of doctoral studies, etc.).
  • Indicate what stage you are at in your thesis.
  • Provide the name of your doctoral studies supervisor, if known.
  • Provide an outline of your thesis proposal, including, for example, the research question, context, objectives, methodology and contribution to the advancement of knowledge.
  • Describe what you hope to accomplish during the award tenure, and what will remain to be done before you obtain your degree.

If your proposed research is related to health or psychology, justify your submission of this proposal to SSHRC (rather than to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research or the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council), based on the guidelines for the eligibility of subject matter at SSHRC.

SSHRC welcomes applications involving research-creation. If the output of your degree program is an artistic creation rather than a thesis, indicate clearly the research component of your proposed work. Outline the objectives of your research and its context, methodology and contribution to the advancement of knowledge. Make sure your proposal follows the Guidelines for Research-Creation Support Materials.




3. Bibliography and Citations (maximum five pages)

Provide:

  • a bibliography for your proposed research proposal (please do not send publications or include endnotes); and
  • bibliographic details for all citations included in your program of study.

Ensure that all bibliographic details are clear and complete, so reviewers may easily locate the sources.




4. Research Contributions (if applicable, maximum one page)

Provide details, as appropriate, on the contributions you listed, as follows:

  • In the left margin, identify refereed publications with an “R”. A refereed work is assessed:
    • in its entirety—not merely an abstract or extract;
    • before publication; and
    • by appropriately independent, anonymous, qualified experts. (“Independent” in this context means at arm’s length from the author.)
  • Specify your role in co-authored publications.
  • For published contributions, provide complete bibliographic details (including co-authors, title, publisher, journal, volume, date of publication, number of pages, etc.) as they appear in the original publication.
  • For publications in languages other than French or English, provide a translation of the title and the name of the publication.



5. Supplement and/or Joint or Special Initiative Justifications (if applicable, maximum one page per justification)

Information on supplements and/or joint or special initiatives is available on SSHRC’s website.

If you wish to be considered for a supplemental award and/or joint or special initiative, and you meet the eligibility criteria, provide, with your complete application, a maximum one-page justification per supplemental award and/or joint or special initiative.




6. Allowable Inclusions (if applicable, maximum one page)

SSHRC asks its adjudication committees to take into consideration special circumstances that may have affected candidates’ research, professional career, record of academic or research achievement, or completion of degrees. Relevant circumstances might include administrative responsibilities, maternity/parental leave, child-rearing, illness, disability, cultural or community responsibilities, socio-economic context, or health-related family responsibilities. Please specify the dates for any delays or interruptions.




7. Official Letter to Confirm Part-Time Study and/or Leave of Absence (if applicable, maximum one page)

In calculating the value and duration of awards, SSHRC assumes that all master’s and doctoral studies were full-time and uninterrupted. If you have studied on a part-time basis, or have interrupted your studies with your university’s official approval, you must include with your application an official letter from the registrar (or assigned designate) at your university confirming the change of registration status in your program. You must take these periods into account when calculating the number of months of studies completed.




8. All Official and/or Certified Copies of Undergraduate and Graduate-Level Transcripts

You must include all official and/or certified copies of undergraduate and graduate transcripts.

If you studied or are studying at a university that does not provide transcripts, you must include an official certificate of success that outlines:

  1. the program in which you are (or were) registered;
  2. the date of your initial registration; and
  3. the degree obtained or sought.

SSHRC will accept official and certified copies of transcripts only. Web-based, faxed or photocopied transcripts are not accepted and will subsequently be removed from the application. Applications without transcripts are considered incomplete. SSHRC does not return documents included in applications.




9. Letters of Appraisal (two letters, in sealed envelopes, maximum one page each)

A good letter of appraisal:

  • supports the information in the application;
  • focuses on the applicant’s skills and past achievements; and
  • emphasizes strengths and personal attributes.

Send the following to each of your two referees:

  • a copy of the Letter of Appraisal;
  • a copy of your Research Contributions;
  • a copy of your Program of Study; and
  • a letter-sized envelope with your name, address, phone number and the words Urgent—Deadline Material on the front.

Be sure to tell your referees that, after inserting the completed Letter of Appraisal into the envelope, they must seal the envelope, sign over the seal, and return the envelope to you, so you can forward these unopened envelopes with the rest of your application.

Note: Two letters of appraisal must be included with your complete application. Applications missing one or both letters of appraisal will not be accepted.




10. Departmental Appraisal (only for candidates who must apply through a Canadian university)

The Departmental Appraisal form must be completed and signed by the director or head of the department, or their designate. When submitting your application to your department, ensure that you include a blank copy of this form along with the Guidelines for Completing the Departmental Appraisal that are included with the form.

Note: Those applying directly to SSHRC should not include this form.




11. Completed Consent to Disclosure of Personal Information Form

To ensure full accountability and transparency for the proper use of public funds in supporting research, Canada’s federal research granting agencies—SSHRC, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)—now require all researchers applying for funding to consent to the disclosure of personal information in cases of a serious breach of agency policy. Please see the NSERC page of frequently asked questions about the disclosure of personal information for more information.





12. Application Checklist

Once you have completed, verified and printed the web-based portion of the application form, the checklist will print automatically. You can view the checklist prior to printing by selecting “Preview.”