10 PhD scholarships in Canada for international students in 2023

phd scholarships in canada
Scholarships provide students with the financial aid to achieve their study abroad dreams. Source: Narinder Nanu/AFP

Canada is well-known for being a safe, stable, open and welcoming country. According to US News, the country is ranked the seventh best study-abroad destination in the world. 

That, however, is not all the Great White North is known for. 

Canada offers many beneficial opportunities for international students — from top universities to scholarships. 

If you’re looking for PhD scholarships in Canada, you’re in luck! There are many scholarships for both domestic and international students to further their education. 

There is no denying that studying abroad can be expensive. Combine your tuition fees with the cost of living, and it can all be too much to handle. 

After all, scholarships are a great way to help you pay for your education and reduce that burden. 

Thankfully, in Canada, there are over 800 scholarships available for international students for the term 2023 to 2024. 

With these many scholarships available, there may even be scholarships that you are eligible for that you didn’t know existed. 

So, don’t worry — we have listed down the top 10 PhD scholarships in Canada for international students for you. 

Here is a list of PhD scholarships in Canada every international student should know about: 



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1. University of Alberta Scholarships

The University of Alberta is a comprehensive academic and research university established in 1908. 

The university consistently ranks as one of Canada’s top destinations for international students due to the many funding opportunities available. 

Among the scholarships offered is the Graduate Entrance Scholarship, available to all students enrolled in a master’s or doctoral programme. 

Recipients of the scholarship pursuing a PhD will receive a stipend of CA$21,000, and an additional CA$10,000 will be given to international students to help cover the cost of their fees. 

What’s more, the university has removed the IELTS requirement for applicants from many countries beginning this year. 

The deadline for the scholarship varies throughout the year, depending on your admission period.



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2. University of Waterloo Scholarships

The University of Waterloo is a public research university in Canada and is ranked eighth as the Best Global Universities in Canada, according to US News

The university offers scholarships for all international students in undergraduate, master’s, and PhD programmes. The University of Waterloo Graduate Scholarship is fully funded and valued at up to $10,000.

The scholarship recipients will enjoy benefits such as the International Master’s Award of Excellence valued at $2,500 per term for a maximum of 6 terms.

The deadline to apply for the scholarship differs based on the programme you are enrolled in. Click here to view the deadline based on your programme. 



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3. University of Saskatchewan 

The University of Saskatchewan is renowned for its highly collaborative research environment and is ranked number one in Canada for water research. 

The University of Saskatchewan Graduate Scholarship is offered to all international students enrolled in a master’s or PhD programme. 

The best part? This fully funded scholarship provides up to CA$20,000 for PhD students over 36 months. 

Once enrolled at the university, you will automatically be considered for the scholarship based on your academic achievement and financial needs. 



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4. McGill University Scholarships in Canada

McGill University is one of the leading universities worldwide, ranking #31 according to the QS World University Rankings 2023

The university aims to make the programmes more accessible to students facing financial difficulties. 

As such, it offers scholarships for international students pursuing an undergraduate, masters and PhD programme

For those pursuing a PhD a modest amount of bursaries is given to help them financially. The deadline for scholarships at McGill is based on your admission.

5. Montreal University Fully Funded Scholarship

When it comes to the number of students, the University of Montreal is the second-largest university in Canada, with 36,000 students enrolled.

UdeM exemption scholarship programme was designed to ensure students from all over the world can attend one of the top research universities in Canada. 

This scholarship programme is available to all international students pursuing their undergraduate, master’s or PhD at the university. 

Montreal Univeristy Scholarships will provide up to CA$21,593.35 per year.

For more information on other scholarships, you may check out the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies page.



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6. University of Toronto Scholarships

The University of Toronto is a public research university in Ontario, Canada.

The university offers a wide range of scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students. These scholarships are available to Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and international students.

It has a large number of scholarships that are awarded based on merit, leadership, financial need and many other factors.

All PhD students will receive a base funding package for up to five years of their study period. If selected, international recipients will receive CA$27,811, including a UHIP of CA$756.00.

Applicants would need to maintain their academic performance in their programme to remain eligible for the funding throughout the five years.


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7. University of Ottawa Scholarships

The University of Ottawa offers an International Doctoral Scholarship to all international students who are enrolled in a PhD programme.

This scholarship is offered to full-time international students. The scholarship is valued at CA$45,000 over five years.

The scholarships are available to all undergraduate, master’s and PhD students.

8. The University of Lethbridge

The University of Lethbridge is one of Canada’s top three research universities and is ranked among the 6% of world universities for research performance.

The Graduate Research Award aims to provide financial support to all graduate students at the university.

This financial support is provided to all students except those within the Faculty of Education.

Applicants will be considered upon admission and can receive up to CA$21,000.

9. Concordia University Canada Scholarships

Concordia University is one of the top public universities in Montreal, Canada. 

The university offers awards and scholarships to all students pursuing a PhD programme.

However, students need not apply, as they will be automatically considered for all entrance scholarships once admitted.

For more information on the scholarship, visit the School of Graduate Studies Entrance Awards page.

10. University of British Columbia

The University of British Columbia is one of the top universities in the world, ranked #40 by the Times Higher Education rankings in 2023.

The Four Year Doctoral Fellowship (4YF) is an outstanding choice for students wanting to pursue a PhD at this university. This programme ensures that students who have achieved academic excellence will receive financial support of at least CA$18,200 annually.

This scholarship is available to all international students and is ongoing based on admission.

phd scholarships in canada

Aside from universities, the government offers several PhD scholarships in Canada. Source: Drew Angerer/Getty Images North America/Getty Images/AFP

PhD scholarships in Canada offered by the government

Aside from universities, the Canadian government offers scholarships that are available for international PhD students.

Here is a list of two PhD scholarships in Canada offered by the government:  

1.Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships 

The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship is offered to international students undertaking postgraduate programmes within the field of health research, natural sciences or engineering and social sciences and humanities. 

Apply by the end of April to stand the chance to receive this scholarship of up to CA$70,000 per year.

2. Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships 

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship is one of the most prominent scholarship offered by the Canadian government. This fully funded scholarship is open to all international PhD students.

Applicants will be selected based on academic excellence, research potential and leadership abilities. This scholarship is valued at $50,000 per year for three years.

The application window for the 2023 to 2024 term will close on May 1.

phd scholarships in canada

Many PhD scholarships in Canada aim to provide financial assistance to international students. Source: Drew Angerer/ Getty Images North America/Getty Images/AFP

Frequently asked questions when applying for PhD scholarships in Canada

The scholarship application process in Canada can be a little daunting, especially for first-time applicants. Not to worry. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions to guide you through the process: 

1. How to apply for a scholarship in Canada for international students?

In Canada, the scholarship application process begins with first receiving an acceptance letter into a Canadian university.

Once you have that sorted, shortlist the scholarships that you are eligible for and best fit your needs. Contact your university’s financial aid representative or head over to the website for more details on deadlines and requirements before submitting your application.

2. Is it hard to get a scholarship in Canada for international students?

Your chances of receiving a scholarship depend on the scholarship’s nature and eligibility. Most scholarships are awarded based on academic achievements.

However, you have a higher chance of receiving a scholarship if you have work or volunteer experience.

3. What are the requirements for PhD scholarships in Canada?

The requirement for a PhD scholarship in Canada differs for each. However, the basic requirement is first to be accepted into a PhD programme. To do so, you must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher

4. How can I get a fully funded scholarship in Canada?

Start applying early to stand a chance at scoring a scholarship. By starting early, you will have more time and opportunities available to you.

The second tip would be to apply for as many scholarships as possible. The more you apply, the higher your chances of winning a scholarship.

5. Can a PhD student work full-time in Canada?

As a PhD student in Canada, you will be eligible to work on and off campus as long as you have a valid study permit. However, while the semester is running, you will only be able to work part-time for up to 20 hours per week. During semester breaks, students can work full-time.