The Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) is one of the top graduate school scholarships in Canada and one of many Ontario scholarships available to students to help fund their education. In this blog, we’ll look at the eligibility and requirements for the Ontario Graduate Scholarship Program, the participating schools, application components and deadlines, and tips on how to win this scholarship.


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What is the Ontario Graduate Scholarship? Ontario Graduate Scholarship: Application Requirements Ontario Graduate Scholarship: Application Tips Ontario Graduate Scholarship Application Sample FAQs

What is the Ontario Graduate Scholarship?

The Ontario Graduate Scholarship is one of the top Canadian scholarships for graduate students. The award, offered jointly by the province of Ontario and select universities in Ontario, is a merit-based scholarship available to all Ontario students in any discipline.

If you’re interested in pursuing a PhD program or a master’s degree in Canada at one of Ontario’s top universities, the Ontario Graduate Scholarship is well worth a look.

The Ontario Graduate Scholarship Program will award you the following amounts, depending on the number of terms you’re enrolled in:

  • $10,000 for 2 consecutive study terms
  • $15,000 for 3 consecutive study terms

Each OGS award is issued for:

  • Minimum of 1 academic year (2 or 3 consecutive academic terms)
  • Maximum of 2 years (up to 6 consecutive academic terms).

The OGS also has a lifetime limit of 2 academic years for Master’s students and 4 academic years for doctoral students. Or, a maximum of 6 academic years per graduate student.

Ontario Graduate Scholarship Eligibility

To be eligible for the OGS, you must be either a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or international student with a valid study permit. You may need to provide proof of citizenship or your student visa.

In addition, some schools may stipulate that you must be a full-time student and cannot work more than a certain number of hours per week. Some institutions may also state you cannot hold an OGS award at the same time as another Ontario scholarship.

Lastly, applicants to the OGS must be in good standing with the Ontario Student Assistance Program, if they have applied.

The Ontario Graduate Scholarship is a merit-based scholarship, but your application may be assessed by different criteria, depending on which participating school you attend. You must be enrolled in a full-time program for at least 2 semesters. To be eligible for the scholarship, you must be attending one of the following schools at the graduate level (either Master’s or PhD):

  1. Brock University
  2. Carleton University
  3. University of Guelph
  4. Lakehead University
  5. Laurentian University
  6. McMaster University
  7. Nipissing University
  8. OCAD University
  9. University of Ontario Institute of Technology
  10. University of Ottawa
  11. Queen’s University
  12. Ryerson University
  13. University of Toronto
  14. Trent University
  15. University of Waterloo
  16. Western University
  17. Wilfrid Laurier University
  18. University of Windsor
  19. York University

Each of these universities requires a separate application for the OGS and may have different requirements and criteria for scholarship decisions. However, many of the applications will include these items:

  • Minimum required grade average
  • Transcripts
  • Research proposal
  • Academic assessments or letters of reference
  • Publications, awards and achievements (optional)

How Competitive is the Ontario Graduate Scholarship?

The OGS awards 3,000 scholarships annually, and it does receive a number of applications, so it is not one of the many unclaimed scholarships in Canada. Considering there are over 180,000 graduate students enrolled in programs in Ontario, the competition can be fierce.

However, the OGS is a free scholarship in Canada, and your chances of getting it are around 33%, so it’s worth applying if you are eligible. Also note that many of the participating universities reserve some of their graduate scholarships for Indigenous and international students, specifically.

Every little bit can help offset the costs of graduate school in Canada, so graduate students in Ontario should consider applying for the OGS.

Ontario Graduate Scholarship: How to Apply

1. Brock University

Deadline: January 15 at 4 p.m. EST

Requirements: Online application, academic CV, letters of recommendation, transcripts, proof of citizenship

Website: https://brocku.ca/graduate-studies/ogs-application/

To apply for the OGS at Brock University, you’ll need to submit both an academic CV, or a research resume, and a research proposal for your chosen master’s or PhD program. It’s important to review how to write a master’s thesis proposal as this will heavily influence whether your degree, and therefore your proposed research, is funded through the scholarship program or not.

You’ll also need 2 reference letters. Your references will need to fill out both an online applicant assessment form and submit a letter of recommendation. Be sure to confirm with your referees that they have submitted it before the deadline.

2. Carleton University

Deadline: November 14 at 11:59 p.m. EST (applications open on August 15)

Requirements: Minimum GPA of 10.0 (A-), online application, 2 letters of recommendation, transcripts

Website: https://gradstudents.carleton.ca/ogs/

Carleton University requires you to submit an online application form, an application checklist, two academic assessments with letters of recommendation, your transcripts and a research or program statement. This document is essentially a brief research proposal. Your program statement should be no more than 3,950 characters with spaces.

Your references for your academic assessment and recommendation will be asked to evaluate your academic skills, your research abilities and your communication, interpersonal, leadership and community engagement skills. The strongest referees will usually be faculty members you have worked with or research supervisors if you have undergraduate research experience.

The Carleton OGS application also gives you optional space to include past awards and publications.

3. University of Guelph

Deadline: February 1

Requirements: Online application form, 2 academic assessments (references), research proposal

Website: https://www.uoguelph.ca/computing/applying-ontario-graduate-scholarship-ogs

You must be a registered graduate student at the University of Guelph before you submit your application, in order to be eligible.

The University of Guelph uses the following criteria when evaluating successful applications:

4. Lakehead University

Deadline: December 4

Requirements: 80% average (A-), research proposal, 2 references, official transcripts, list of past publications and awards

Website: https://www.lakeheadu.ca/programs/graduate/graduate-funding/internal-scholarships-bursaries-and-awards

To apply, you must be a current student at Lakehead University or have a completed graduate studies application. You must also have at least an 80% average in your past two years of study, or in all graduate courses you have completed.

Here’s how to write a CV for graduate school!

5. Laurentian University

Deadline: January 31

Requirements: Research proposal, 80% average, 2 academic references

Website: https://laurentian.ca/office/graduate-studies/scholarships-bursaries

Laurentian University’s OGS applications will focus primarily on your academic achievements and excellence. You’ll be able to provide additional information on any publications, presentations, awards or academic achievements in your application.

6. McMaster University

Deadline: February 14

Requirements: 80% average, online application

Website: https://gs.mcmaster.ca/current-students/scholarships/ontario-graduate-scholarship-and-the-queen-elizabeth-ii-graduate-scholarship-in-science-and-technology/

As one of the most prestigious universities in Canada, McMaster also evaluates scholarship recipients based on academic merit and the strength of your research proposal.

7. Nipissing University

Deadline: January 12

Requirements: 80% average, 2 academic assessments, research proposal

Website: https://www.nipissingu.ca/academics/school-graduate-studies/awards-and-funding/types-funding/ogs

8. OCAD University

Deadline: November 6

Requirements: 80% average

Website: https://www.ocadu.ca/academics/graduate-studies/current-students/funding

9. University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Deadline: December 1

Requirements: 80% average

Website: https://gradstudies.ontariotechu.ca/index.php

10. University of Ottawa

Deadline: December 4 at 11:59 EST

Requirements: 80% average

Website: https://www.uottawa.ca/study/graduate-studies/funding-financing/awards/ontario

11. Queen’s University

Deadline: Program dependent

Requirements: 80% average

Website: https://www.queensu.ca/grad-postdoc/grad-studies/funding/ontario-graduate-scholarship

12. Ryerson University

Deadline: Program dependent

Requirements: 80% average

Website: https://www.torontomu.ca/graduate/future-students/financing-your-studies/scholarships-awards/ontario-graduate-scholarship-program/

13. University of Toronto

Deadline: Program dependent

Requirements: 80% average, plan of study

Website: https://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/awards/ontario-graduate-scholarship/

14. Trent University

Deadline: February 15

Requirements: 80% average, resume/CV, research proposal, 2 references

Website: https://www.trentu.ca/graduatestudies/ontario-graduate-scholarships-and-queen-elizabeth-ii-graduate-scholarships-science-and-technology

The OGS application for Trent University includes a graduate school resume or CV, research proposal, 2 reference letters and a list of your research publications. You are also given 1 page to describe any extracurricular activities that enhance your communication, leadership and interpersonal skills.

15. University of Waterloo

Deadline: February 1

Requirements: 80% average

Website: https://uwaterloo.ca/graduate-studies/awards-funding/external-awards/ontario-graduate-scholarship-ogs

16. Western University

Deadline: August 1-October 1 (doctoral programs); September 1-December 1 (master’s programs)

Requirements: Online application

Website: https://grad.uwo.ca/finances/external_funding/ogs.html

17. Wilfrid Laurier University

Deadline: January 31

Requirements: 80% average, research proposal or statement of interest in program of study, 2 academic references, list of publications and presentations

Website: https://students.wlu.ca/registration-and-finances/graduate-funding-and-awards/external-funding.html

18. University of Windsor

Deadline: January 10

Requirements: 80% average, 16 years of age or older

Website: https://www.uwindsor.ca/education/scholarships-awards/ogs

19. York University

Deadline: October 4 (doctoral programs); December 1 (master’s programs)

Requirements: Research proposal, resume or CV, 2 references

Website: https://www.yorku.ca/gradstudies/awards/ontario-graduate-scholarships-ogs-and-qeii-graduate-scholarships-in-science-and-technology-qeiigsst/

To complete an OGS application for York University, you need to submit:

  • Research Proposal or a Plan of Study 
  • References or Works Cited 
  • Professional Experience 
  • Academic Background 
  • Credentials and Recognitions 
  • Research Contributions 
  • Relevant Experience and Activities  
  • Transcripts – undergraduate and graduate transcripts
  • Two reference assessments 

Ontario Graduate Scholarship: Application Tips

Being awarded the Ontario Graduate Scholarship relies on the strength of your academic background and your application materials. To get this award, it’s not enough to check all the boxes and have a solid grade average. With that in mind, here are a few tips to increase your chances of winning one of these scholarships!

#1 Start early

Start planning for your graduate studies and scholarship applications as early as possible. This is to ensure you are well organized and can submit your application on time, but also to make yourself a more competitive applicant.

There are a limited number of scholarships per year, and the earlier you submit, the more likely you are to beat the competition and secure a scholarship before the bulk of applicants submit. Planning your application early also gives you more time to participate in research and extracurriculars that can help your application stand out.

#2 Double check all requirements

The requirements to apply for the OGS are fairly similar across all participating schools, although some may have slight differences in their eligibility requirements or application materials. Double and triple check the requirements for your school or schools, if you’re applying to more than one.

Incomplete applications will not be considered, so it’s vital to make certain your application is correct and free of errors. If you need to reapply the following year, you risk losing potential funding for your degree or not being eligible the following year.

Also make note of different application deadlines and be sure all your materials are submitted on time.

#3 Choose strong references

To apply for the OGS, you will need at least 2 academic references, who will submit both a letter of recommendation on your behalf and fill out an academic assessment of your research and interpersonal skills. Naturally, this means your references will be either research supervisors, faculty or academic advisors. It’s in your best interest to build strong relationships with potential referees well in advance of your application.

It’s also your responsibility to check in with and confirm your referees have submitted your letters on your behalf. Be sure to give your referees plenty of time to write your recommendation and complete your assessment, as this can take some time.

#4 Don’t skip optional additions

Many of the participating schools encourage you to submit details about your extracurriculars, publications, presentations, awards and achievements, and even your work experience. In particular, many schools are looking for applicants who exemplify leadership, strong communication and interpersonal skills, community engagement and an understanding of building community.

To truly make your application stand out, do NOT skip out on including any extras or optional parts of the application form. Participate in extracurriculars and research opportunities during your high school and undergraduate years. An undergraduate summer research fellowship can be a great place to start gaining some research experience. Volunteer some of your time or look for internships for high school students and university students. Engage in academic clubs or events at your school. Every experience can add some value to your application and help you stand out from the crowd while demonstrating these values.

Ontario Graduate Scholarship Application Sample

Here's a look at a sample research proposal written for the Ontario Graduate Scholarship application! Most applications allow 1-2 pages for your proposal and 1 page for your bibliography, although some schools may set additional character limits.

FAQs

1. What is the Ontario Graduate Scholarship?

The Ontario Graduate Scholarship is one of the top provincial scholarships for graduate students in Ontario. Applicants can get funding up to $10,000 for 2 consecutive study terms or $15,000 for 3 consecutive study terms.

2. How do you qualify for the Ontario Graduate Scholarship?

To qualify for the Ontario Graduate Scholarship, you must be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or international student with a valid study permit. You must also be either enrolled in 2 consecutive terms in an eligible graduate program or have a completed graduate studies application at one of the participating universities. Most schools also require you to have an average of at last 80% in your coursework.

3. Is the Ontario Graduate Scholarship fully funded?

The OGS is jointly funded by the participating universities and the provincial government of Ontario. 

4. How many Ontario Graduate Scholarships are awarded?

There are over 3,000 Ontario Graduate Scholarships awarded each year by 19 different universities in Ontario.

5. How competitive is the OGS?

The OGS is a fairly competitive scholarship, as it is offered by the top graduate schools in Ontario and receives many applications each year. The academic standards for the scholarship are also quite high, making it a competitive award to win.

6. How do I apply for the OGS?

To apply for the OGS you must submit an application for each school through an online portal. The application will typically include your transcripts, a research proposal or statement of interest for a graduate program, a resume or CV, 2 academic references and optional inclusions of your past publications, presentations, extracurriculars or awards.

7. When is the OGS deadline?

The OGS application deadline varies from school to school, but the deadline is typically in December, January or February.

8. Are there other Ontario scholarships I can get with OGS?

Yes, there are many other scholarships you can get in Ontario concurrently with the OGS. Note that some schools will consider your ineligible to receive an OGS if you have already received select provincial or federal scholarships. 

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting


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