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Fellowships, Funding & Financial Aid

On this page: Departmental Submission Deadlines | Tips for Preparing Fellowship Applications | Financial Aid | Tuition & Fee Payment Deferrals | 

Obtaining and maintaining funding throughout your studies is an important component of life as a graduate student. Please find both internal and external funding opportunities available to you from the Department, University, and outside agencies.

Tips for Preparing Fellowship Applications

Funding agency committees and internal selection committees are looking for excellence in three areas:

  1. Strong letters of recommendation
  2. Academic excellence
  3. Excellence of research proposal/evidence of research potential

It is vital, therefore, to ensure all of the above components are well-represented or highlighted in your application.

Recommendations for preparing fellowship applications:

  • Letters of recommendation should be from people who know your academic work and research potential well. Don't ask for letters of recommendation at the last minute. Provide referees with a copy of your research proposal, transcripts, and a current CV to help them write the letter of support. Referees preferably should be professors from McGill and/or your most recent university.
  • Academic excellence should be demonstrated explicitly in the application. Be sure to list any prizes, scholarships, fellowships, etc., that you have received, as well as any other evidence of academic excellence (e.g., Dean's Honours List).
  • Write your research proposal so that it can be understood by someone outside your field, since your application will be assessed by committees consisting of people who are not necessarily experts in your field. At the same time do not be too simplistic. Avoid technical jargon. Indicate the background context, your hypothesis or research question, methodology, potential contribution, importance, and originality of the research, etc. Ask your supervisor, another professor, or a fellow graduate student to read the application and provide you with feedback.
  • List any publications and conference presentations as evidence of research potential. Peer reviewed journals and international conferences are particularly important. Presentation proposals should not be listed. Be neat in the presentation of your application. Try to use all of the available space provided for the proposal. If you aren't successful this year, keep trying. Several granting agencies, however, now have a limit on the number of times one can apply. Thus, apply when you think your chances are greatest.
  • Deadlines must be strictly adhered to.

Further information about Graduate Fellowships and Awards is available from the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, James Administration Building, telephone 514-398-3995. You can also visit the McGill Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies' Funding web pages.

Notifications of awards and deadlines are provided on the websites of granting bodies and via program directors/coordinators.

Financial Aid

Depending on need, students can apply for loans and bursaries and find out more about other sources of income through the McGill Scholarships & Student Aid Office (SSAO). While a number of the opportunities available to students are outlined below, further information on these and other sources can be found at their office, including defering tuition payments, obtaining a line of credit, and various government aid opportunities.

Are you facing an emergency/financial crisis? The Department has set aside a limited contingency fund for students who find themselves in a position of immediate/short-term financial need. If you find yourself in an emergency situation (for example, short on rent for a month, unable to afford groceries, have recently been robbed or lost important items, etc.) we encourage you to contact us directly via [at] (email), phone (514-398-4242) or in person to discuss how the Department might be able to help. If emailing, please enter as a subject "REQUEST FOR EMERGENCY FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE."

As well, the SSAO will always accept emergency drop-ins weekdays between 10am and 4pm.

Are you an international student? International student aid is now also administered by the SSAO office, which can provide assistance with budgeting and navigating the expenses of living and studying in Canada. They can also assist with filling and submitting income tax forms.

Tuition & Fee Payment Deferrals

Students in a degree program with no prior outstanding tuition/fees may request that payment(s) of tuition and fees be deferred based on self-reported demonstrated sources of funding from the university, government or other external agencies.

All requests are student-initiated using the "Defer Payment of Tuition and Fees" option through the Financial Aid & Awards Menu on Minerva.

For more information, please visit the Student Accounts website.

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