Imagine you’re an international student aspiring to study in Canada, dreaming of availing yourself of its top-notch education system, but the financial burden seems overwhelming. You might have heard about fully funded scholarships in Canada for international students, yet there’s a catch. These scholarships are exceptionally rare, especially for international students. Don’t fall for the notion that they’re plentiful; it’s a misleading and cruel myth that raises false hopes.
Canadian and US institutions primarily see international students as a source of income, bringing substantial foreign money into their countries. In 2018 alone, international students contributed around $20 billion to Canada’s economy. This influx of funds isn’t a result of giving away education for free.
The acceptance of international students is largely motivated by the financial benefits they bring. However, at the graduate level, things can be different. Many universities offer funding for tuition and living expenses, sometimes fully, sometimes partially. Take my case, for example, as an international grad student fully funded for both living and tuition, despite not qualifying for extra scholarships.
Although they are rare, there are fully funded scholarships in Canada for international students. Keep reading to know about fully funded scholarships available to international students in Canada.
Why Study in Canada?
As an international student, there’s probably one major reason why you want to move or study in Canada. For a better educational structure. However, the cost of living and tuition can be a hurdle, but universities offer numerous fully funded scholarships in Canada for international students that can make this journey more accessible, providing high-quality education to aspiring students from around the world.
You might find these scholarships a valuable tool. They’re non-repayable financial aids, easing the financial load and allowing you to focus on academics rather than part-time work to pay tuition. They do more than just ease financial strain; they also recognize academic achievements, pushing you to explore your academic and research capabilities fully. These scholarships aren’t just about money; they focus on your abilities and knowledge. They encourage stepping out of comfort zones and come with support like mentorship programs, academic and career counseling, and language training.
It’s important to start preparing early for these scholarships. But first, you need to know what’s available. There are three main types of fully funded scholarships in Canada for international students.
The first are government funded scholarships that are sponsored by the Canadian Government. These scholarships support students pursuing higher education. The second are non-government funded scholarships
These come from charities and trusts, providing funds for specific courses. Finally, there are institutional scholarships that are offered directly by schools and universities to international students.
If you want to get fully funded scholarships in Canada for international students, you need to first understand these available options.
Fully Funded Scholarships in Canada for International Students
You’re one of many international students eyeing Canada for higher education. If you aim for a top Canadian university and seek a scholarship, knowledge of fully funded opportunities is crucial. These fully funded scholarships in Canada for international students can significantly reduce your financial burden. Understanding and accessing them is key to achieving your academic goals in Canada. Let’s talk about each of these fully funded scholarships in Canada for international students.
Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships Program
The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships Program at the University of British Columbia (UBC) is Canada’s most prestigious postdoctoral award, designed to attract top-tier postdoctoral talent, both nationally and internationally. It’s not just a fellowship; it’s a chance to be at the forefront of economic, social, and research-based growth in Canada. With a generous offering of $70,000 CAD annually for two years, managed by the UBC Postdoctoral Fellows Office, this program is a gateway to remarkable research opportunities.
If you belong to underrepresented groups, the program especially encourages your application, underlining its commitment to equity and diversity. Keep an eye on key dates: there are specific deadlines for pre-application proposals at UBC Okanagan and for the UBC Internal Banting Competition, generally culminating in a national deadline around September. For any guidance, the program’s website is a treasure trove, equipped with resources for supervisors and answers to frequently asked questions.
Imagine being featured on the program’s website, among profiles of Banting Fellowship recipients who are leading research in areas as varied as climate change action, ecological studies, anti-colonial implementation science, and innovative applications of machine learning in biomedical engineering. Your work could contribute to understanding invasive mosquito species, unraveling the mysteries of diapause in insects, or exploring evolutionary patterns in rhizosphere communities. This fellowship is your stepping stone to making significant contributions in diverse scientific fields and tackling complex global challenges.
Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships
The Canadian Government’s Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Vanier CGS) program is designed to draw top-tier doctoral students globally, enhancing Canada’s status as a hub of research and advanced learning. Annually, up to 166 scholarships are available to Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and international students.
You can apply for this scholarship if you’re undertaking doctoral studies in health research, natural sciences/engineering, or social sciences/humanities. Your program must involve a substantial research element leading to a thesis, major project, publication, performance, recital, or exhibition, reviewed for merit at the institutional level.
Holding the Vanier CGS means studying at a Canadian university with an allocated Vanier CGS quota. The scholarship offers $50,000 annually for three years. You should be working on your first doctoral degree, with a strong research focus. Make sure you’ve completed less than 20 months of doctoral studies by May 1, 2024, and maintained a first-class average in your last two years of full-time study.
To apply, you need a nomination from a Canadian university holding a Vanier CGS quota. This can be initiated by you or the university. Prepare your application, submit it through the ResearchNet system, and your institution will forward it to the Vanier-Banting Secretariat. It’s essential to check the official Vanier CGS website for detailed instructions and application forms.
Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) Program
The Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) Program is a merit-based scholarship designed for students pursuing graduate studies at the master’s and doctoral levels in Ontario. The program offers awards for all academic disciplines at participating Ontario schools. Each award is funded jointly by the Province of Ontario, contributing two-thirds, and the respective school, contributing one-third.
The scholarship amount varies based on the duration of consecutive studies within an academic year: $10,000 for two consecutive terms and $15,000 for three. An OGS award is issued for a minimum of one academic year (two or three consecutive terms) and a maximum of two years (up to six consecutive terms). There are lifetime maximums for the awards: two academic years for master’s students, four for doctoral students, and a combined limit of six academic years for all students.
Eligibility for the OGS is based on merit, and applications are assessed and ranked by the intended school. Eligible candidates must be enrolled in a full-time graduate program for at least two terms in the academic year of application and attend one of the participating Ontario schools, which include universities like the University of Toronto, McMaster University, and Queen’s University, among others.
The application process for the OGS involves using the specific application provided by each participating school, typically available from October. If applying to multiple schools, separate applications are required for each. Deadlines and specific application requirements vary by school, and successful applicants are notified by the respective school. For further details or questions about the application, candidates are advised to contact the Graduate Studies Office of the school they plan to attend.
Trudeau Foundation Scholarship
The Trudeau Foundation Scholarship is a three-year leadership program aimed at developing Engaged Leaders. It provides exceptional doctoral candidates with skills to implement their ideas for the benefit of their communities, Canada, and the world. Each year, selected scholars receive leadership training in Brave Spaces and substantial funding for their studies.
In the first year, scholars participate in week-long events across Canada and globally, involving learning sessions led by Fellows and Mentors, fostering community among participants.
In the second year, scholars organize a public conference to share knowledge and stimulate community dialogue on societal issues. In the third year, they present at this conference, experimenting with various knowledge dissemination methods to promote social inclusion.
Scholars become part of a vibrant community, receive leadership training, opportunities to improve proficiency in Canada’s official and Indigenous languages, and financial support. This includes up to $40,000 per year for tuition and living expenses, and up to $20,000 per year for language learning, travel, and research. Scholars are expected to engage in Foundation events, organize and present at the Impact Conference, perform volunteer service, and improve language proficiency in Canada’s official and Indigenous languages.
The Foundation emphasizes the importance of multilingualism, recognizing it as a key leadership trait. Scholars not fluent in both of Canada’s official languages are encouraged to improve their proficiency and familiarize themselves with Indigenous languages.
UdeM Exemption Scholarship for International Students
The Université de Montréal has established the UdeM Exemption Scholarship Program for international students, excluding French and French-speaking Belgian students. This initiative, starting from Fall 2020, offers exemptions from tuition fees normally charged to international students, continuing through the Winter 2025 session. The program aims to attract top global talent to one of the leading francophone research universities, thereby enhancing the cultural diversity and educational mission of the Université de Montréal community.
Eligibility for the scholarship requires candidates to have received an admission offer from UdeM, possess valid study authorizations, maintain full-time enrollment (unless an absence is approved), and not benefit from any other form of tuition fee exemption. Additionally, candidates should not be enrolled in independent study programs or certain undergraduate programs from Winter 2024, including certificates, majors, minors, short programs, and preparatory year programs.
The scholarship amounts vary for undergraduate, master’s, and PhD programs and are denominated in Canadian dollars. To receive the scholarship, candidates must first apply for admission, follow up on their application, and accept the offer of admission. The scholarship does not require a separate application; eligibility and the amount are determined upon review of the candidate’s file. Successful candidates will be promptly informed of their scholarship amount via email.
Further details about the scholarship, including resources for financing studies, are available on the UdeM Exemption Scholarship for International Students page on the Office of the Registrar website. The page also includes a tuition fee calculator, financing sources, and a directory of scholarships. For additional assistance, the university offers various resources, including a help center, chat with the admissions team, email queries, and information about activities and events.
University of British Columbia International Entrance Scholarships
There are a couple of fully funded scholarships in Canada for international students can at the University of British Columbia. UBC dedicates over $30 million every year to scholarships, awards, and other forms of financial aid, showcasing its dedication to attracting and assisting academically exceptional students globally.
When you receive an admission offer from UBC, you’re automatically considered for merit-based awards. These awards focus on your academic and extracurricular achievements. A key award is the International Major Entrance Scholarship (IMES), designed for outstanding international students beginning their undergraduate studies. The IMES, renewable for up to three additional years, varies in number and level annually, depending on available funds. To be eligible, you must be new to UBC, possess a Canadian study permit, and exhibit remarkable academic and extracurricular accomplishments. You should not be nominated for a need-and-merit-based International Scholars award. Remember, the application deadline is January 15, with decisions announced from mid-March to late April each year.
UBC also presents the Outstanding International Student (OIS) Award, a one-time, merit-based scholarship for students with strong academic and extracurricular records. Eligibility for the OIS Award mirrors that of the IMES.
The International Scholars Program stands out, targeting high-achieving students eager to effect global change and contribute to their communities. This program offers a globally recognized degree, a network of supportive young leaders, and diverse learning experiences.
For academically proficient international students who don’t meet English language proficiency for direct admission, UBC’s Vantage One program is ideal. It includes awards based on academic prowess, intellectual potential, and extracurricular or community involvement, with some considering financial need.
Additionally, UBC assists current international students with various in-program scholarships and awards, each with different amounts and renewal criteria. To estimate your first-year expenses, including tuition, books, meals, living costs, and transportation, UBC provides a cost calculator.
You can secure your dream scholarship in Canada, despite the competition and challenges. With the right tools, knowledge, and academic prowess, a fully funded scholarships in Canada for international students is within your reach. Canada provides a top-tier education and research setting across all educational stages, from primary to higher education. Additionally, the ease of transitioning between different types and levels of education in Canada is a significant advantage, unlike in many other regions. This opportunity opens doors to a world-class education, fostering academic and professional growth. Embrace this chance to elevate your educational journey in a country renowned for its inclusive and diverse academic landscape.