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Application Instructions—SSHRC Doctoral Awards

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Documents to read before applying

Application process and deadlines

Accommodations and accessibility

If you need help completing online application forms due to circumstances arising from a disability, contact your institution (scholarship liaison officer, research grant office or other applicant support office) as early in the application process as possible to investigate available supports. If your institution cannot provide help, or needs SSHRC to collaborate on a solution, contact SSHRC at You can also contact SSHRC if you have questions or are seeking specific adaptation arrangements. You do not need to share your medical or sensitive personal information, and, to protect your privacy, should avoid doing so.

Frequently requested accommodations include, but are not limited to:

Applicant responsibilities

You must complete and verify the online SSHRC doctoral awards application form and your SSHRC web-based curriculum vitae (SSHRC web CV).

You must click “Preview” and “Verify” for each page of your application as you complete it, well in advance of the deadline. SSHRC’s online system will not accept applications that are incomplete (i.e., that contain unverified sections). If you make changes to a page, you must click “Verify” again for that page to confirm that SSHRC’s online system will accept the new information when you submit your application. The criteria for final verification of the application as a whole can be stricter than for individual modules. You might, therefore, need to adjust previously validated sections of the application. Validation only confirms that mandatory sections (including uploads and letters) have been completed; it does not validate application content.

It is your responsibility to:

For complete details on where to apply, refer to Where should I submit my application? (PDF document, 146 KB).

Ensure that you have followed the instructions and accurately provided all required information. SSHRC cannot accept additional information after the application deadline, nor can it confirm the completeness of applications. Applicants requiring assistance while preparing their application are encouraged to communicate with SSHRC’s Research Training Portfolio at well in advance of the application deadline.

For applicants submitting directly to SSHRC

The complete application, including the PDF attachments (uploads) and the SSHRC web CV, can be viewed and printed, but must be submitted electronically to SSHRC via SSHRC’s online system before the application deadline, 8 p.m. (eastern) on October 17. If a deadline falls on a weekend or a public holiday observed in Ontario, where SSHRC's offices are located, the online application system will remain open until 8 p.m. (eastern) on the next business day. No changes or updates can be made to an application once it has been submitted, either before or after the deadline.

Note: SSHRC strongly encourages applicants to submit applications ahead of the deadline date. Typically, the online system handles a very high volume of users on the last day, which could create delays and put timely submission at risk.

For applicants submitting through a Canadian institution with a doctoral awards quota

Most Canadian degree-granting institutions receive a quota for the number of SSHRC doctoral award applications they can forward to SSHRC’s national competition. If you are submitting through one of the Canadian institutions with a doctoral awards quota, you must submit your application by the date set by your institution, which may be well in advance of SSHRC’s deadline. The institution will coordinate a review of the application and, if recommended, the scholarship liaison officer (SLO) will forward it to SSHRC’s national competition. If changes are required, the SLO will return the application to you.

SLOs will be able to forward applications to SSHRC until 8 p.m. (eastern), November 21. If a deadline falls on a weekend or public holiday observed in Ontario, where SSHRC’s offices are located, the online application system will remain open until 8 p.m. (eastern) on the next business day.

Note: Once the 8:00 p.m. (eastern) application deadline has passed for direct applicants on October 17, the application form will be offline and applications will not be accepted. The application form will come back online after 48 hours, and only applications from Canadian institutions with a quota will be accepted for the November 21 deadline.

Attaching a document

Many application modules will require you to attach, or upload, a PDF document. You must follow the specified requirements for margins and font size (12-point Times New Roman) or your application may be rendered ineligible.

Save the document as a PDF file (.pdf extension) or, if necessary, scan the document and save it as a PDF file. Locate it on your computer by clicking “Browse,” and attach it to the application by clicking “Attach.” An error message will appear if the file you are trying to attach does not meet the required specifications for page length and size. Once you have successfully attached the PDF file, we recommend you click “View attached file” to ensure you have attached the proper file.

Acknowledgement of receipt of applications

After SSHRC receives your verified and completed application form, the data provided in your application and SSHRC web CV are transferred to SSHRC’s corporate database. SSHRC will acknowledge receipt of your electronic application form once it has been processed and will assign you an application number. Cite this number in all correspondence with us. This acknowledgement refers only to the receipt of your application, not to its completeness, or its eligibility in the competition.

The email acknowledging receipt will be sent to your primary email address as entered in the SSHRC web CV, four to six weeks after the deadline date. If you do not receive an email from the Research Training Portfolio six weeks after the deadline date, contact us at

Application profile

Application title

Provide a short, descriptive title for your research proposal in non-technical terms. Restrict use of acronyms (e.g., UN, NATO). Use upper case only for the first word of the title, proper nouns and acronyms. Your application title will automatically be included in the “Activity details” screen.

Preferred selection committee

Based on the subject and discipline(s) of your proposed research, choose the most appropriate committee for your research discipline using the “List…” button.

The disciplines represented by each committee are as follows:

Committee 1 (7521)

Fine arts, literature (all types)

Committee 2 (7522)

Classical archaeology, classical and dead languages, classics, history, mediaeval studies, philosophy, religious studies

Committee 3 (7523)

Anthropology, archaeology (except classical archaeology), archival science, communications and media studies, criminology, demography, environmental studies, folklore, geography, library and information science, sociology, urban and regional studies

Committee 4 (7524)

Education, linguistics, psychology, social work

Committee 5 (7525)

Business, administrative studies, economics, industrial relations, law, management, political science

If your main discipline is women’s studies, choose the committee based on the aspect of women’s studies you are working on. For example, if your research involves women’s literature, you should choose Committee 1.

If your main discipline is interdisciplinary studies, choose the committee based on the most prevalent discipline among those related to your research. Committees are composed of experts in the disciplines listed. As SSHRC cannot guarantee expertise in each discipline, select the committee most relevant to your research proposal and career trajectory. All decisions regarding committee selection rest with the applicant.

Note: For tips on selecting the most appropriate committee, you can consult with SSHRC staff by emailing before submitting your application; however, the decision rests with you.


If you wish to be considered for a supplemental award, and meet the eligibility criteria, select the supplement from the drop-down menu. For each supplement selected, provide a maximum one-page justification. Successful applicants will be notified.

Joint or special initiative

If you wish to be considered for a joint or special initiative, and meet the eligibility criteria, select the initiative from the drop-down menu. For each initiative, provide a maximum one-page justification or other required information or form, as applicable. Successful applicants will be notified.

Note: By indicating you wish to be considered for a supplement, and/or a joint or special initiative, you are agreeing to have SSHRC share information with the partner organization.

Does your proposal involve Indigenous research, as defined by SSHRC?

The community of merit reviewers with experience and expertise in Indigenous research will judge the extent to which the guidelines can be applied to a particular research proposal or program of study or program of work. For more information, consult the Indigenous Talent Measures page.

Select “Yes” if you wish to signal to the selection committee that your application should be reviewed in the context of SSHRC’s definition of Indigenous research and its Guidelines for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research. Selection committee members will be instructed to consult and follow these guidelines during the evaluation of your application.

Option for self-identified Indigenous applicants

If you select this option, you choose to have your doctoral application considered for submission beyond your institution’s doctoral awards quota. Applications from self-identified Indigenous applicants who are required to submit directly to SSHRC are automatically evaluated in the national competition.

For more information, consult SSHRC’s Indigenous Talent Measures.

Program information

Select the appropriate option below:

  1. You are currently registered in a degree program at a Canadian institution with a quota.
  2. You are not currently registered in a degree program but were registered at any other time during the calendar year of application in a degree program at a Canadian institution with a quota.
  3. You are currently registered at an institution without a quota (Canadian or foreign).
  4. You were not registered at any time during the year of application in a degree program at a Canadian institution with a quota.

Organization at time of application

If you selected option A or B, indicate the name of the institution and department. Your application will be sent to this institution for an internal merit review process and, if recommended, will be forwarded to SSHRC’s national competition.

Degree sought through this application

Type in the degree name (e.g., PhD, DPhil, SJD) and select the organization (i.e., the institution) and the department/division that will award the degree. If the organization or department/division is not listed, select “Other” from the list and type the information in the box provided.

Note: Applicants applying to multiple doctoral-level degree programs must list their preferred program and institution in the application form.

Indicate the date you started or expect to start the program for which you seek support.

Support requested

Expected start date of the award

Indicate when you propose to take up your award should you be successful in the current competition. The award can begin only on the first of May, September or January and should align with the start date of your program. You must not select a start date for the award that precedes the beginning of your program.

Number of months of doctoral studies

In the evaluation of your eligibility and the eligible periods of support, SSHRC will consider all studies counted toward the graduate degree for which funding is requested, whether completed at the degree-granting institution or from previous studies.

Since SSHRC assumes that all studies were full time and uninterrupted (e.g., the beginning of September 2020 to the end of December 2021 means 16 months of study), you must take into account any approved leaves of absence and periods of part-time study and apply any deductions when calculating your number of months of studies completed.

Specify the number of months of full-time and/or part-time doctoral studies, including summer months, that you will have completed by December 31 of the calendar year of application. You must include in your calculation all previous doctoral-level studies (full-time and part-time) that were credited to the degree for which funding is requested, including studies completed before you were officially registered in your doctoral program.

If you studied on a part-time basis or interrupted your studies with your institution’s official approval, you must append to your application an official letter from the institution’s registrar (or assigned designate), specifying the dates of the change of registration status in your doctoral program.

To determine the period of support applicable to you, you must total the full-time months of study and one half of the part-time months of study: for example, eight months of full-time study plus 12 months of part-time study is 14 months of study (8 + 6 = 14).

Use the following table to calculate how much support you are eligible for depending on how many months you will have already completed of your doctoral (or equivalent) studies.

Number of months completed by December 31 of the year of application CGS Doctoral Scholarship (CGS D) SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship

Applicants who will have completed between 0 Footnote * and 12 months

36 months

48 months

Applicants who will have completed between 13 and 24 months

36 months

36 months

Applicants who will have completed between 25 and 36 months

Not eligible Footnote **

24 months

Applicants who will have completed between 37 and 48 months

Not eligible

12 months

Applicants who will have completed 49 months or more

Not eligible

Not eligible


Specify the language(s) required to carry out your proposed research. Indicate your current proficiency in each.

Areas of study

The information provided in this section refers to your research/study.


State whether or not your proposed research/study will involve human beings as research subjects. If it does, select “Yes,” and consult the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans and submit your proposal to the research ethics board of the institution where you will undertake your research. If applicable, you must also ensure that an ethics review is conducted in the host country (as per article 8.3 of the policy). You do not need to submit your proposal to the research ethics board before submitting your doctoral award application.


List keywords, separated by semicolons, that best describe your research/study.

Select appropriate entries under each of the sections below using the “List…” button. Duplicate entries are not permitted.


Indicate and rank up to three disciplines relevant to your proposed research/study, with Entry 1 the most relevant and Entry 3 the least relevant. Entry 1 must be a main discipline (main discipline codes end in 00). Entry 1 cannot be “Health.” “Health” is available as an option only for Entry 2 and Entry 3. For entries 2 and 3, if the applicable discipline is not listed, you can select an entry such as “Other (relevant discipline)” (e.g., other psychology, other anthropology, other sociology) from the list, and provide the information in the box provided.

You can choose “Other (relevant discipline)” only once. For instance, you cannot choose “Other psychology” in Entry 2 and choose it again in Entry 3. Also, you can choose “Other” (with an explanation) only once.


Entry 1 Sociology
Entry 2 Other psychology
Entry 3 Other

Areas of research

Indicate and rank up to two areas of research related to your proposed research/study, with Entry 1 the most important and Entry 2 the least important.

Temporal period

If applicable, indicate the historical period covered by your proposed research/study.

Geographical regions

If applicable, indicate and rank up to two geographical regions covered by or related to your proposed research/study, with Entry 1 the most important and Entry 2 the next most important.


If applicable, indicate and rank up to five countries covered by or related to your proposed research/study, with Entry 1 the most important and Entry 5 the least important.

Research proposal

Maximum two pages

Attach a PDF copy of your research proposal. Write your proposal in clear, plain language. Avoid discipline-specific jargon, acronyms and highly technical terms when writing your research proposal. Your application will be reviewed by members of a multidisciplinary selection committee, not all of whom will be familiar with your area of research.

Ensure that your text includes the following required elements, especially with respect to your research proposal.

If you are not currently enrolled in a doctoral degree program:

If you are currently enrolled in a doctoral degree program:


  • If your proposed research overlaps with areas that the other federal research funding agencies support, justify your submission of this proposal to SSHRC (rather than to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council or the Canadian Institutes of Health Research), based on the General Guidelines for the Eligibility of Subject Matter at SSHRC. If in doubt about the eligibility of your proposed research, consult SSHRC staff by emailing prior to submitting your application.
  • If your project involves Indigenous research, refer to the section Does your proposal involve Indigenous research, as defined by SSHRC? before preparing your proposal.
  • If your project uses a research-creation approach, clearly indicate its research component. Outline the objectives of your research and the context, methodology and expected contribution to the advancement of knowledge.

Bibliography and citations

Maximum five pages

Attach a PDF file of:

SSHRC recognizes and allows the use of different referencing styles.

Diversity considerations in research design module

Once you’ve answered yes or no to the question “Do diversity considerations apply to your proposed research design?”, use the text box provided (maximum 1,700 characters) to indicate how diversity considerations are applicable or not to your research proposal.

Before completing this module, read the Guide to Including Diversity Considerations in Research Design for Doctoral and Postdoctoral Award Applicants.

Note: Although mandatory, this module is not subject to merit review and is not shared with committee members.


Include up-to-date official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate studies in the application. Retain the paper copy of any uploaded transcripts, as you could be asked to provide it for verification purposes.

Up-to-date official transcripts are defined as transcripts issued by the registrar’s office and dated or issued in the fall session of the year of application (if currently registered) or after the last term completed (if not currently registered).

If you do not provide transcripts for all programs of study listed in the SSHRC web CV, the selection committee(s) will have less information on which to base the assessment, which may put your application at a disadvantage.

SSHRC acknowledges that the widespread disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may hinder the ability of some applicants to access official and up-to-date versions of their transcripts in advance of the deadline date, particularly at institutions that do not currently provide official electronic versions of these documents. As such, for the fall 2022 competition, SSHRC will accept unofficial electronic transcripts if official transcripts are not available.

  • If you submit transcripts written in a language other than English or French, you must provide a certified English or French translation.
  • If you are or were registered at an institution that does not provide transcripts, you must instead submit a letter bearing the official institution seal/stamp or a letter signed by the Dean of Graduate Studies, confirming:
    • your program of study;
    • your registration status;
    • the date of initial registration;
    • the degree obtained or sought; and
    • that the institution does not provide transcripts.

Note: Applications without transcripts are considered incomplete.

Official letter to confirm part-time study and/or leave of absence (if applicable)

Maximum one page

If applicable, combine this official letter with the PDF of your transcripts.

In calculating the value and duration of awards, SSHRC assumes that all doctoral studies were full-time and uninterrupted. If, as part of your doctoral studies, you studied part-time, or interrupted your studies with your institution’s official approval, you must upload an official letter from the institution’s registrar (or assigned designate) confirming the change of registration status in your doctoral program (including dates and duration). No deduction of months of study will be made unless you include an official letter with your application.

Allowable inclusions (if applicable)

Maximum one page

If applicable, attach a PDF document indicating your allowable inclusions.

SSHRC asks its selection committees to consider special circumstances that could have affected applicants’ research, professional career, record of academic or research achievement, or completion of degrees. Relevant circumstances could include administrative responsibilities, maternity/parental leave, child-rearing, illness, disability, cultural or community responsibilities, socio-economic context, health-related family responsibilities, trauma and loss, or the COVID-19 pandemic. Specify the dates for any delays or interruptions.

As part of the Indigenous Talent Measures, Indigenous applicants are encouraged to use the “Allowable inclusions” section of their application to describe special circumstances that could have had an impact on their academic or career paths.

All information provided to SSHRC is subject to the Privacy Act. Applicants are reminded that the information included in the “Allowable inclusions” section of their application will be shared with selection committee members for consideration as part of their application. SSHRC merit reviewers cannot share this information outside of the merit review process, which is subject to the Tri-Agency Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality Policy. For more information, see the principles for SSHRC merit review.

Research contributions, relevant experience and activities

Maximum two pages

Attach a PDF copy of your research contributions, including any knowledge translation outputs as well as a description of your relevant experience and activities.

Given the page limits, be selective and summarize information where appropriate. Provide information in the two sections listed below. You are permitted to use a maximum number of two pages for both sections combined.

Part I—Research contributions

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

Note: A thesis is not considered a refereed publication.

Group your contributions by category in the following order, listing your most recent contributions first:

Refereed contributions

Examples include books (where applicable, subdivide according to those that are single-authored, co-authored and edited works), monographs, book chapters, articles in scholarly refereed journals, conference proceedings, etc.

Other refereed contributions

Examples include papers presented at scholarly meetings or conferences, articles in professional or trade journals, etc.

Non-refereed contributions

Examples include book reviews, published reviews of your work, research reports, policy papers, public lectures, posters, community products, etc.

Forthcoming contributions

Indicate one of the following statuses—“submitted,” “revised and submitted,” “accepted” or “in press.” Provide the name of the journal or book publisher and the number of pages. Contributions not yet submitted should not be listed.

Creative outputs

Applicants whose research outputs include an artistic creation can list their most significant achievements, starting with the most recent, in a separate category: “Creative outputs.” This category can be followed by the categories shown above, as appropriate. Examples of creative outputs can include exhibitions, performances, publications, presentations, and film, video and audio recordings.

Although it is possible to list research contributions, SSHRC recognizes that some applicants might not yet have publications or other research contributions to list.

Note: Contributions in the context of Indigenous research can be listed within existing or additional categories, in line with the Guidelines for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research.

Part II—Applicant’s statement

In this section, group your comments under the following headings:

Relevant experience

Describe the research abilities that you have gained through your past research experience, including special projects, honours/master’s thesis, co-op reports, etc. If you have relevant work experience, discuss the relevance of that experience to your proposed field of study/research and any benefits you gained from it.

This section can also be used to describe your training relative to your proposed research, such as knowledge gained through lived experience and traditional teachings.

Relevant activities

Describe your participation in relevant professional, academic and extracurricular activities as well as collaborations with supervisors, colleagues, peers, students and members of the community, such as:

Supplement justification (if applicable)

Provide a maximum one-page justification per supplement selected in the “Application profile” section indicating how your research proposal responds to the objectives.

Aileen D. Ross Fellowship

Queen’s Fellowship

Successful candidates will be notified.

Joint or special initiatives justification (if applicable)

Provide a maximum one-page justification per initiative selected in the “Application profile” section, indicating how your proposed research responds to the initiative’s objectives.

Department of National Defence MINDS Scholarship Initiative

SSHRC and the Department of National Defence (DND) partner to offer doctoral awards to individuals conducting social sciences and humanities research in areas related to the Mobilizing Insights in Defence and Security (MINDS) Policy Challenges and/or Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged. The MINDS Initiative Doctoral Awards are valued at $35,000 per year and are tenable for up to 36 months. Learn more about the MINDS Scholarship Initiative.

To be considered for this initiative, you must:

Initiative for Digital Citizen Research

Through the Initiative for Digital Citizen Research, Canadian Heritage and SSHRC partner to offer doctoral award supplements, valued at $10,000, to individuals who are conducting research related to online disinformation as well as their impact in the Canadian context. Comparative approaches to these themes that are inclusive of, but extend beyond, the Canadian context are also eligible for supplementary funding.

To be considered for funding under this initiative, you must:

To be offered a doctoral award supplement under this initiative, you must first be successful in the SSHRC doctoral awards competition, and you must be affiliated with a SSHRC eligible Canadian postsecondary institution during your award tenure.

Sport Participation Research Initiative

SSHRC partners with Canadian Heritage through the Sport Participation Research Initiative to provide doctoral award supplements.

To be considered for funding under this initiative, you must:

Successful applicants will be notified.


Instructions for requesting letters of appraisal

Enter the family name, given name and email address of each referee. These fields will be used to autopopulate the referee form.

After the data are saved, the system will automatically generate an email to each person, inviting them to complete a Letter of Appraisal form.

Inform your referees that they will receive an email with the subject line “Invitation to provide a letter of appraisal—Invitation à fournir une lettre d’appréciation.”

It is your responsibility as the applicant to ensure that each invited person completes and verifies the form in advance of the application deadline. Note that the application deadline for candidates applying directly to SSHRC is October 17. Applicants applying through a Canadian institution with a quota should consult with their graduate studies office to confirm their internal application deadline.

If the referee declines the invitation, you will be notified by email. The status will also change to “Referee unable to complete the form.” You remove that person from the application by clicking “Clear entry.” You can then add a new referee.

If the referee deletes the system-generated email by error, then you can click “Resend email” to send the invitation again.

If the referee accepts the invitation to provide a letter of appraisal, the status will change to “Email sent—Letter of Appraisal form not yet created.” Referees who have accepted will be able to view an electronic version of your application to inform their reference. Once the referee has submitted the form, the status will change to “Referee form completed,” and the letter will be attached electronically to your application. Your application cannot be successfully verified and submitted until each referee form has been completed by the referee.

Note: You will not be able to view the appraisals at the time you complete and submit your application.


It is your responsibility to ensure that all required application components have been submitted (including all attachments and letters). The system does not accept incomplete applications.

Notify your referees in advance that they will be receiving an invitation, as firewalls and/or spam filters could limit their ability to receive the official system email inviting them to complete a Letter of Appraisal form.

Make sure you give your referees enough time to complete and submit their support letter so that your application can be submitted in advance of the deadline date. Typically, the online system handles a very high volume of users on the last day, which could create delays and put timely submission at risk.

Letter of appraisal requirements
  • Provide information about the two referees who will each complete a Letter of Appraisal form as instructed above.
  • Complete applications must include two letters of appraisal of one page each. Additional letters or pages will not be accepted.
  • Referees should have had sufficient opportunity to assess your research ability and potential and the relevance of your experience and achievements obtained within and beyond academia, as described in the selection criteria.
  • One referee should be very familiar with your research and abilities (i.e., current or previous research supervisor) and the other should be sufficiently familiar with your research and abilities to provide a meaningful commentary.
  • Letters of appraisal provided in formats other than the form provided will not be accepted.

Contact information

It is the intent of SSHRC staff to respond to inquiries as quickly as possible during normal business hours. In the weeks preceding application submission deadlines (peak periods), response times could be delayed.

For help with technical difficulties, contact the Helpdesk:

Phone: 613-995-4273

If you have additional questions, contact:

SSHRC Doctoral Awards

Toll-free: 1-855-275-2861

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