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Taking advantage of scholarship opportunities

Andrew Watson

Where did September go? I am sure the first month back flew by for you as well. If you are a new student in one of our graduate programs, I hope you are beginning to feel more at home and settled into your studies. If you are one of our continuing students, I hope you are progressing well with your studies and are also helping the new students in your labs or programs ease into their work.

We are now into the time of year during which many applications for awards and scholarships need to be submitted. I believe nothing could be more important to you or your supervisor than you obtaining an external scholarship to support your studies. Roughly 25 per cent of our graduate students are successful in obtaining external scholarship support. Receiving a scholarship distinguishes them as being high-calibre students and provides them with a larger stipend. It also certainly helps stretch those supervisor-based research operating funds a little further.

Often the difference between receiving a scholarship and not receiving one is simply whether or not you apply. Since all of our graduate students come into our programs with high undergraduate GPAs, I expect everyone to submit a scholarship or award application to support their studies.

This month, I ask you to become familiar with the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (SGPS) funding website. It contains all you need to know to apply for the principal external awards. As October is already here, time is of the essence so you need to prepare to apply soon.

The remaining major scholarships include:

NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships and CGS Doctoral Awards (PGSD/CGSD)

Canada Graduate Scholarships -Masters (CGSM)
Application Deadline: December 1, 2014

OGS and QEII-GSST Scholarships
Western application portal opened October 1, 2014, fully completed applications must be submitted by January 30, 2015

SGPS has set up a number of “consult the experts” sessions to help you. Often the most successful students take full advantage of these opportunities to ensure their applications are as competitive as possible.

I received scholarships during my graduate and postdoctoral learning period and know the value they bring to your training.

Good luck with your applications. Don’t restrict yourself to just the “big” competitions — every discipline or research area also has scholarship or award competitions.

Cheers,

Andrew J. Watson, PhD
Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies