Canadian Government Scholarships for International Students

If your plan is to move here in Canada, the study pathway is a smart move. However, for a foreigner, you want to save as much money as possible, as well as spend as little money as possible. Fortunately, there are some really good Canadian government scholarships for international students that will accept your application. As long as you meet the requirements, of course. A scholarship will help you study for free, and you can still be eligible to work and study in Canada.

We have other categories of scholarships, such as institutional and non-government funded. However, government funded is often the best due to security. The way government-funded scholarships work is that Canadian schools will get money from the government in the form of a contribution agreement for all successful candidates. It will then be the institution’s job to give the funds to the scholarship winners. There are undergraduate and graduate scholarships available in Canada. However, specific scholarships are restricted by academic level, course, or country of origin. As a tip, you have to apply for multiple scholarships to increase your chances of getting one.

Canadian Government Scholarships for International Students

We will talk about just 5 Canadian government scholarships for international students that no one in Canada will tell you about. First, make sure you meet the requirements, and then apply to secure the scholarship.

1. Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships

So, the first one is the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Vanier CGS). This one is not for undergraduates; it is for doctoral students in Canada. The scholarship was named in honor of Major-General Georges P. Vanier, Canada’s first francophone Governor General. Canada set up this scholarship to help Canadian institutions, primarily to attract highly qualified doctoral candidates. Here are some important things you should know if you are a doctoral student.

  1. The value of the scholarship is $50,000 per year. This money is given to you for 3 years during your doctoral studies.
  2. The program considers three equally weighted criteria: Academic Excellence, Research Potential, and Leadership, both potential and demonstrated.

You have to be nominated by a Canadian institution that has a quota for hosting Vanier scholars. So, first, you have to seek a nomination from the institution where you want to study in Canada.

Are you eligible as a foreign student? Yes, foreign citizens can apply for this scholarship.


2. Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships

Remember, the first Canadian government scholarship for international students is for doctoral students. Now, this one is for post-doctoral students and is called “Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships”. The Canadian government created this scholarship to attract and retain top-tier postdoctoral talents, both nationally and internationally. Let’s have an overview of this program:

  1. The fellowship provides $70,000 per year, and it is taxable. This funding is available for 2 years and is non-renewable.
  2. This scholarship program is open to:
    • Canadian citizens
    • Permanent residents of Canada
    • Foreign citizens
  3. The fellowship covers various research areas, including:
    • Health research
    • Natural sciences and/or engineering
    • Social sciences and/or humanities

3. Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) also offers postdoctoral programs. It is open to those who have recently obtained or are about to obtain their doctorate. Let’s talk about the main programs and opportunities available under this Canadian government scholarship:

Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships

Banting is a postdoctoral program that was designed to attract and retain top-tier postdoctoral talent from both national and international backgrounds. The focus of this program is to develop leadership potential and position participants for success as future research leaders. In the end, it contributes to Canada’s economic, social, and research-based growth. So, Canada needs you as much as you need the country.

NSERC Indigenous Student Ambassadors

As for the NSERC Indigenous Student Ambassadors (NISA) grant, the aim is to engage Indigenous students and fellows in promoting interest and participation in natural sciences and engineering. This works through visits to Indigenous communities and schools in Canada.

Supplements to the PDF Program

These include various awards and supplements like the Alice Wilson Award, Canadian Space Agency postdoctoral supplement, CMHC-NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowships, NSERC and L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science supplement, and a supplement for Research in the Field of Impact Assessment.

Human Frontier Science Program

One of the Canadian government scholarships for international students is the Human Frontier Science program. This is an international program that supports leading-edge research on the complex mechanisms of living organisms. It funds research across all levels of biological complexity and encourages interdisciplinary and risky research endeavors.


4. Study in Canada Scholarships

The “Study in Canada Scholarships” program is an exciting opportunity for international students to engage in short-term exchange opportunities for study or research at Canadian post-secondary institutions. This program is part of Global Affairs Canada’s International Scholarships Program and aims to increase opportunities for Canadian institutions to welcome students from a diverse range of countries and territories.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must:

  1. Be citizens of eligible countries/territories, which include regions in Asia (like Bangladesh, Nepal, Taiwan), Europe (Türkiye, Ukraine), the Middle East and North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia), and Sub-Saharan Africa (Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda).
  2. Be enrolled full-time at a post-secondary institution in an eligible country/territory.
  3. Pay tuition fees to their home institution at the time of application and for the full duration of the exchange.

The scholarship amounts and durations vary based on the level of study below:

  • College/Undergraduate (4 months): $10,200 for study or research.
  • Graduate (4 months): $10,200 for study or research at the Masters and PhD levels.
  • Graduate (5–6 months): $12,700 for more extended study or research at the graduate level.

The application process is simple. The Canadian institution you choose will apply on your behalf before the deadline. During the process, you will promote the scholarship, explore student exchange agreements, and make sure to follow all required documents and application instructions.

The reason you should apply for this scholarship is that it covers many expenses, including your visa or study/work permit fees, airfare, health insurance, living expenses, and educational supplies. Canadian institutions receive funding from Global Affairs Canada and are responsible for distributing the funds to successful students.

5. Government of Canada International Scholarships (ELAP | SEED)


If you are a research type of student, the Government of Canada offers a range of scholarship programs for international students, and the best for this purpose is the Government of Canada International Scholarships (ELAP | SEED). If you need to study or conduct research in Canada on a short-term basis, apply for this program. These include the Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP) and the Canada-ASEAN Scholarships and Educational Exchanges for Development (SEED). Here’s a simplified overview:

  1. Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP). This program is available to undergraduate and graduate students from various regions, including the Caribbean, Central America, North America (Mexico), and South America. Countries like Brazil, Argentina, Jamaica, and Mexico are among those eligible.
  2. Canada-ASEAN Scholarships and Educational Exchanges for Development (SEED). This is aimed at undergraduate and graduate students from ASEAN member states.
  3. Study in Canada Scholarships. These scholarships are open to undergraduate and graduate students from specific countries in Asia (like Bangladesh and Nepal), Europe (including Turkey and Ukraine), the Middle East and North Africa (such as Egypt and Jordan), and Sub-Saharan Africa (including Kenya and Nigeria).

The amount of money paid in this scholarship depends on the duration and level of study. For instance:

  • $15,900 CAD for an 8-month undergraduate program (SEED, Study in Canada Scholarships)
  • $12,700 CAD for a 5-6 month graduate program (SEED, Study in Canada Scholarships)
  • $11,100 CAD for a 5-6 month graduate program (ELAP)
  • $10,200 CAD for a 4-month undergraduate or graduate program (SEED, Study in Canada Scholarships)
  • $8,200 CAD for a 4-month undergraduate or graduate program (ELAP)

Read alsoFully Funded Scholarships in Canada for International Students 2024

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