10 Best Scholarships in Canada for International Students

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According to the most recent surveys, there are more than 640,000 international students in Canada. This has made it the third-most-popular educational destination after the US and the UK.

The high demand for Canadian education is not surprising, given the country’s high quality of life. It’s also home to many top-notch institutions – 5 of which are in the top 100 categories of the World University Rankings.

And while it’s not the most expensive country to study in, it is pricey to enroll in a Canadian university. The cost of living can be pretty expensive, especially if you plan to study in Toronto or Vancouver.

Despite these setbacks, you can still make your educational dream come true. All you need to do is apply for any of these Canadian scholarships for international students:

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Best Scholarships in Canada

1. Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Value of CAD 50,000 ($39,930) per year for 3 years
  • Eligible Degree: Doctorate degree

Sponsored by the Canadian government, the Vanier CGS is the best scholarship in Canada for international students. It was created to attract the best Ph.D. students in the world. The slots are distributed accordingly to 3 institutions: the Institute of Health, the Natural Science & Engineering Research Council, and the Social Science & Humanities Research Council.

Annually, it is given to 166 awardees who showcase academic excellence, leadership abilities, and research potential.

Scholars are nominated accordingly by their respective institutions. Quotas depend on the university, with the most coming from the Universities of Toronto, British Columbia, and McGill.

To complete the nomination process, the student must provide the following requirements to the university:

  • Researchnet application form
  • Common CV
  • Leadership statement
  • Research contributions
  • Special circumstances
  • Two letters of reference
  • Research proposal
  • Project references
  • Transcript of records

2. Ontario Trillium Scholarship

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: CAD 40,000 ($31,945) for 4 years
  • Eligible Degree: Full-time doctorate degrees at Ontario-based institutions

The Ontario Trillium Scholarship is offered to top international students who wish to pursue their Ph.D. in select provincial institutions.

Potential scholars, who need to be nominated by the school, must meet the grade of 80% per term for the last two years. They should demonstrate exceptional research potential as well.

Once the nomination is successful, the applicant must submit the application for this scholarship in Canada. This should contain his/her transcript of records, academic intent, letters of reference, and other supplementary documents.

Scholars must progress satisfactorily throughout their studies to continuously receive the Ontario Trillium benefits.

The Trillium scholarship may not be used alongside other awards granted by Canadian agencies and/or foundations.

3. Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: CAD 40,000 ($31,945) a year for 3 years
  • Eligible Degree: Full-time doctorate degree in Human Rights & Dignity, People & the Natural Environment, Responsible Citizenship, or Canada & the World

Dedicated to the former Canadian PM, the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Scholarship aims to fund the Ph.D. education of 16 students specializing in the foundation’s four themes.

Eligibility requirements dictate that the student must already be accepted to a Canadian doctorate program.

Handpicked awardees are selected according to their academic performance, commitment, leadership & engagement, and agility & resilience. Scholars are also expected to participate in any of the foundation’s activities.

Apart from the tuition fee coverage, this Canada scholarship also offers a CAD 20,000 ($15,970) allowance for research, travel, and networking. The awardee may also use this bursary to learn new languages.

4. Lester B. Pearson International Student Scholarships

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Full tuition amount for four years
  • Eligible Degree: Bachelor’s degree at the University of Toronto

The Lester B. Pearson scholarship, one of the best scholarships in Canada, is open to international students with strong academic profiles and exceptional leadership skills.

Every year, the U of T awards 37 students with this merit-based scholarship. This essentially covers the total cost of tuition, apart from books, accommodations, and incidental fees.

The scholarship is exclusive to first-time Bachelor’s students who their respective high school counselors have nominated. The student can only apply once the nomination has pushed through.

The university will inform successful recipients by April in preparation for the fall term.

5. Karen McKellin International Leader of Tomorrow Award Scholarship

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Proportional to financial need (family financial contribution subtracted)
  • Eligible Degree: Bachelor’s degree at the University of British Columbia

The Karen McKellin award is open to all international students who are gifted academically.

It is open to applicants who are yet to pursue their first baccalaureate degree. Likewise, preference is given to those who demonstrate leadership in community service and student affairs.

To be eligible for this scholarship, the applicant must be a graduate from a UBC-recognized secondary school. Likewise, this scholarship is also open to those who have spent a year at a secondary college or university.

Other requirements include A-level grades and demonstrated financial need.

As with other UBC students, scholarship applicants must meet all the degree-specific and language requirements set forth by the university.

The Karen McKellin award may be renewed yearly, depending on the student’s academic performance.

6. University of Calgary International Entrance Scholarship

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: CAD 15,000 ($11,980) a year
  • Eligible Degree: Bachelor’s degree at the University of Calgary

The University of Calgary International Entrance Scholarship is awarded to students with strong academic standing. Every year, two deserving students are given this scholarship.

To qualify for this Canada scholarship, the applicant must satisfy the university’s requirement for English proficiency. Academic merit is highly considered as well.

The award is renewable until the fourth year, subject to the student’s GPA. The awardee must have a GPA of 2.60 or more to receive the funding for the next term.

7. University of Manitoba Graduate Fellowship (UMGF)

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: CAD 14,000 ($11,180) a year for 1-2 years for Masters students, CAD 18,000 ($14,375) a year for 1-4 years for Ph.D. Students
  • Eligible Degree: Full-time Masters and Doctorate degrees at the University of Manitoba

At the University of Manitoba, academically gifted Masters or Ph.D. students may apply for the UMGF award.

To qualify, an applicant must have a minimum GPA of 3.0. This requirement may vary as other faculties may mandate a higher score.

Their respective departments must recommend scholars. Once selected, they will be notified by the Faculty of Graduate Studies through email.

The monetary value varies according to the degree, with the maximum assistance duration being five years. As such, any student who has received funding for a 2-year Master’s degree is still eligible for a 3-year Ph.D. funding.

8. International Undergraduate Leadership Scholarships

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: CAD 10,000 ($7,985) a year for 4 years
  • Eligible Degree: Bachelor’s Degree at York University – Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies

The International Undergraduate Leadership Scholarship is offered to 50 international students every year. Awardees are chosen according to their contribution to community service, sports, and the arts.

This Canada scholarship is exclusive for high school-level applicants who have applied to the faculty mentioned above.

To apply, applicants must be nominated by their respective high schools. As such, the applicant must provide the contact details of the counselor who nominated him/her.

Apart from this, proof of excellent academic standing (A levels) is required. A letter of recommendation is also necessary to push through with the nomination.

The scholarship can be renewed every year, subject to the student’s academic performance.

9. University of British Columbia (UBC) Public Scholars Award

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: CAD 10,000 ($7,985) a year for 2 years
  • Eligible Degree: Doctorate degree at UBC

The scholarship, which is offered through the UBC Public Scholars Initiative, is given to 30-40 Ph.D. students a year. Awardees are chosen according to their research specialties, especially those whose thesis can benefit the public.

Selection is usually determined by the quality of the research proposal, as dictated by its methodology, goals, significance, and planned dissemination.

Students must submit a Fellowship application form, an outline of the proposed scholarly work, a Canadian Common CV, and a letter of support.

Once awarded, scholars are required to provide a study report at the end of the funding year. Additionally, they need to exhibit their research at the networking event “Ph.Ds. Go Public.”

Apart from a CAD 10,000 tuition subsidy, the UBC Public Scholarship also provides research allowances and a stipend for alternative projects.

10. Ontario Graduate Scholarships

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: CAD 10,000 ($7,985) for 2 terms to CAD 15,000 ($11,980) for 3 terms
  • Eligible Degree: Masters and Doctorate degrees at Ontario-based Institutions

Together with participating schools, the Government of Ontario offers a merit-based scholarship for graduate students who wish to study in select Ontario institutions.

The financial award is given for a minimum of 1 year to a maximum of 2 years. Despite this cap, students may qualify for the lifetime limit of 6 years.

The selection of awardees depends on the institution. Results are based on the criteria and ranking metrics that the university follows for its scholars.

To be eligible for this Canada scholarship, applicants must pursue a full-time graduate course for more than two terms. Students who wish to apply at different schools must submit a separate application form per university.


I hope that this article on the best Canada scholarships for international students was helpful. Visit the Canada Scholarships Page for more information about studying in Canada!