Applying for external funding

All prospective students, both Canadian and International are encouraged to apply for external funding. This includes fellowships and awards allocated by:

  • Federal departments and agencies (i.e. CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC for Canadian applicants)
  • Canadian awards for international students (Vanier CGS, Trudeau Scholarship)
  • Foreign government awards for study in Canada (check with your country’s educational authority)
  • Provincial departments and agencies (i.e. FQRNT, FQRSC, FRSQ)
  • Foundations
  • Private companies

External funding is handled by the student, sometimes with the support of the academic unit. In some cases, the prospective student should investigate this avenue before even applying to the university, because the timelines can be quite long. In other cases, students can apply for external funding after they have already begun their studies. Please contact your prospective academic unit to confirm how they handle external funding.

When do I apply for external funding?

You should apply for external funding as soon as you have made your decision to pursue graduate studies. In some cases, academic units (departments, schools or institutes) require that you apply for this funding before applying to McGill. In other cases, students can apply for external funding after they have already begun their studies. For many external fellowships, you need to apply one year before your program begins. These awards are often renewable.

You should visit your department’s website to find out more. Refer to the sample funding questions you may want to ask your department.

Which award is right for me?

Visit the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies’ student funding opportunities page for a selection of external awards.



* The Government of Canada provides a description of the types of research these fields include
** by nomination only

Need more help?

McGill offers students a series of workshops on applications to external agencies that will cover everything you need to know about the application process – from the basics to best practices – to help you maximize your chances of securing funds.

After you review the information available on this site, if you still have questions on external funding, please contact your departmental representative. graduatefunding.gps [at] (Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies,) along with your department, are here to support you in applying to external agency

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