30+ Hidden Scholarships for International Students in Canada

I like talking about scholarships, especially fully funded ones, for those who are interested in an undergraduate, master’s degree, or PhD in Canada. So, if you are searching for a scholarship, you are definitely in the right place. What are we going to cover in today’s episode? Today, I’m going to share with you hidden scholarships for international students in Canada. I’ve used this method myself, and it’s always worked for me.

When we start thinking about applying for scholarships in Canada, the first question that pops up is, where can we find scholarships that are less competitive? You may find yourself constantly searching online, typing ‘scholarship’ over and over again. Today, we’ll concentrate on those lesser-known scholarships that many students frequently overlook or don’t take into account when looking for scholarships. It’s more common for people to concentrate on the well-known scholarships, such as the Mastercard scholarship, the Erasmus Mundus scholarship, the China Council scholarship, the Chevening scholarship, the Commonwealth scholarship, and big names like Knight Hennessy. When you are looking for a hidden scholarship, you might search for something specific, such as a scholarship to study English or mathematics. But sometimes, this approach might not give you the results you are hoping for. These famous scholarships get a lot of applications, and the more applications they receive, the slimmer your chances of getting accepted. Right, I’m going to help you make a different decision that will actually fetch you a scholarship.

What Are Hidden Scholarships in Canada?

Hidden scholarships are scholarships and awards that very few people apply for, typically due to less publicity around them. Usually, if a scholarship isn’t hidden, it just receives multiple applications, so much so that it becomes extremely competitive for someone else to win. But, in Canada, there are many of them that are hidden. Why is that? Simply because students aren’t applying for them because they are not interested or unaware.

According to CBC.ca, millions of scholarship dollars go unclaimed each year in Canada. To be specific, according to Scholarships Canada, as much as $200 million in scholarships are unclaimed each year. That means thousands of scholarships have no applicants at all. There’s a lot of money waiting to be used for a college education. The reasons why these scholarships might be hidden can be quite surprising, which we will talk about later.

Hidden Scholarships for International Students in Canada

Every year, the number of hidden scholarships in Canada changes, but there are always many that aren’t found and used. If you are looking for scholarships that aren’t as well known or are a bit smaller, there are quite a few options. These scholarships might not offer as much as $10,000, but even a little help can go a long way. Check out these hidden scholarships for international students in Canada:

  1. AIA Arthur Paulin Automotive Aftermarket Scholarship Award ➔ For students interested in the automotive industry
  2. Beaverbrook Scholars Award ➔ For New Brunswick high school students
  3. Calgary International Entrance Scholarships ➔ For international students applying to the University of Calgary
  4. Carleton Prestige Scholarships ➔ For international and US students applying to Carleton University; offers unlimited awards
  5. Electro Federation of Canada Scholarships ➔ $1,000; open to all students
  6. Ken Lemke Memorial Scholarship ➔ $750; only for Alberta students
  7. Maureen Forrester Quebec Musicians’ Guild Scholarship ➔ Given to students studying music
  8. Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro Scholarships ➔ $1,000; for students applying to arts programs
  9. NOVA Scholarships for Women and Aboriginal Students in Business ➔ For Nova Scotian undergraduates only
  10. Prince Edward Scholarship of the Province of Nova Scotia ➔ For Nova Scotian undergraduates in their final year of study
  11. Smart Serve Ontario Scholarships ➔ $2,000; for students pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce degree
  12. TD Scholarships for Community Leadership ➔ For all students outside Quebec; you need a minimum 75% average
  13. Ted Rogers Scholarship Fund ➔ Offers various prizes
  14. Terry Fox Humanitarian Award ➔ For students involved in humanitarian or charitable work
  15. York University International Student Scholarship ➔ For international students applying to York University
  16. Randolph E. Cox Scholarship ➔ $4,000; you must be enrolled in a Bachelor of Science program
  17. E.S. Rogers Film and Video Production Award ➔ $1,500
  18. Jan Kretz Adventuress Sea Kayaking Award ➔ $1,000
  19. Cara Brown Ringette Scholarship ➔ $1,000
  20. Edmonton Beer Geeks Anonymous Award ➔ $1,000
  21. Manitoba Trucking Association (MTA) Scholarships ➔ $500-1,000; for Manitoba students studying transportation.
  22. Heather Simpson Memorial Award in Dance ➔ $600
  23. Ages Foundation Research Scholarships and Bursaries ➔ Only for graduate students
  24. Anne Vallee Ecological Fund ➔ For graduate students in BC or Quebec studying animal ecology
  25. Dairy Farmers of Prince Edward Island Award ➔ For veterinary students in their third or fourth year
  26. Marcella Linehan Scholarship ➔ For Registered Nurses, with a preference for graduates of General Hospital School of Nursing, St. John’s, NL
  27. David Hoy Annual Scholarship ➔ For British Columbia students studying Forestry
  28. De Beers Group Scholarships for Canadian Women ➔ $4,500; for women studying STEM subjects
  29. Jean Murray → Moray Sinclair Theatre Scholarships ➔ For Manitoba students studying theatre
  30. Laura Ulluriaq Gauthier Scholarship ➔ For post-secondary students in Nunavut
  31. Manulife Life Lessons Scholarship Program ➔ For students who have lost a parent or guardian
  32. Telus Innovation Scholarship ➔ For residents of Northern British Columbia
  33. Tourism Saskatchewan Scholarship ➔ Only for Tourism students in Saskatchewan
  34. UBC International Impact Award ➔ Only for students at UBC
  35. Yukon Energy Scholarship ➔ For Yukon students aiming for a career in the energy sector

How to Find Hidden Scholarships in Canada

There are some well-known places to start, such as government websites, your school’s financial aid office, and scholarship search engines. So, how do you approach this, especially if you are a humanities student looking for an MA or a PhD?

1. Apply for Research Degree Scholarships

First, let me say, if you’re pursuing a research degree—and by research degree, I’m referring to an MSC, MA, or PhD—you should be optimistic that there’s some form of funding available for what you want to study. Now, it’s a different situation for professional degrees like MBAs and others, which are in a separate category. Funding for these professional degrees is possible, but it’s a different scenario. However, I want to focus on purely research degrees. Based on what I know, I can say that most research degrees in North America, like MSCs, MAs, or PhDs, are likely funded. In fact, there’s about a 70 percent chance that these programs have funding.

2. Find Scholarships on a Specific School’s Website

You can also find out which schools offer scholarships or funding for a sociology degree. First, you search for “fully funded Masters in Sociology” on Google, for example. Now, check out the University of Alberta, for example. The University of Alberta offers two types of Masters programs: a thesis-based Masters and a course-based Masters. For the thesis-based Masters, they provide $32,000 for an MA – that’s their base funding. They also offer a PhD in sociology, which is a 4-year program with around $105,000 in funding for PhD students. This means if they offer more than $20,000, it likely covers all your tuition and living expenses. So, that’s one example of how they fund their programs.

Now, let’s look at other universities, such as UBC. What does UBC offer for sociology graduate funding? They combine graduate scholarships, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships. Since I’m familiar with these terms and have discussed them before, I understand that this combination usually indicates full funding. UBC also mentions that full-time students in their MA and PhD programs are eligible for scholarships. So, it seems their program is fully funded too.

Lastly, let’s consider McGill University. Like the others, many of their programs appear to be fully funded. So, these are some examples of universities with funding options for sociology studies.

3. Apply for Program-Specific Scholarships

Let’s consider a program like political science at the University of Alberta. We know that most PhD programs usually have funding, but it’s a bit more challenging with Masters programs. So, the University of Alberta’s department has a policy of providing full funding to PhD students in political science for the first 5 years of their program. This means that PhD students who choose to study political science at the University of Alberta can expect to receive funding guaranteed for 5 years. The department often also provides a year of funding to full-time MA students in political science who are working on their thesis. However, they might also admit students without offering funding. Students who apply for the course-based MA and plan to study part-time, or those who switch from full-time to part-time, are usually not eligible for funding. Also, the department generally doesn’t extend funding offers to applicants of the course-only and practical-based MA in political science.

So, their PhD programs are completely funded. For the master’s program, they offer funding for the first year, and then there’s a promise of funding for the second year, but it’s not a sure thing. However, don’t stress too much because they usually end up providing funding most of the time. You don’t need to worry about it.

This is my trick for finding fully funded programs. Instead of searching for scholarships for international students in Canada in a complicated way, like typing ‘scholarship to study political science’, it’s better to search for ‘fully funded Masters in Social Sciences’ or ‘fully funded PhDs in Social Sciences’. This way, you are more likely to find hidden scholarships for international students in Canada. Most research degrees in these fields come with assistantships that help support students financially. So, there you go. That’s my advice for finding fully funded scholarships. It’s a method that always works for me, especially for programs in Humanities and Social Sciences. And I believe that most science PhD programs also offer similar funding options.

Why Are Scholarships in Canada Hidden?

The main reason scholarships in Canada are hidden is that not enough students apply for them, or no one applies at all. Here are some reasons why these scholarships remain unclaimed and why students might not apply for them:

  1. Students think they’re not eligible. A lot of students don’t bother applying for scholarships because they believe they need outstanding grades, or they think they just don’t meet the requirements. Many feel they haven’t achieved enough or don’t have enough accomplishments to win a scholarship.
  2. Some scholarships have specific requirements. While there are many large scholarships that anyone can apply for, there are also smaller scholarships and awards that have very specific requirements. These might be based on where you live, what you’re studying, your interests, or your experiences.
  3. Some scholarships are not well advertised. The problem with some hidden or small scholarships is that they don’t get enough publicity. Students simply don’t know about them, so they don’t apply. Most students are busy applying for the big, well-known national scholarships or the ones that are easy to get in Canada.
  4. Students overlook small scholarships. Everybody tends to go for the big scholarships, like the ones worth $10,000, and so the smaller ones that are worth $500 or so often get ignored and remain hidden.

Even though these might seem like good reasons not to apply, the reality is that there are thousands of scholarship opportunities in Canada. These are particularly valuable for students who are willing to do a bit of extra work to find those hidden, yet rewarding, scholarships.

4 Benefits of Hidden Scholarships in Canada

There are lots of hidden scholarships in Canada for international students, including many smaller or lesser-known ones that don’t get enough applicants. Applying for these scholarships, even if they offer smaller amounts or have specific criteria, can really help. You just need to search for and apply to all the scholarships you might be eligible for. Here are some benefits of applying for hidden scholarships in Canada:

1. Little to No Competition

Hidden scholarships usually have less competition since not as many students apply. Instead of going for one big $10,000 scholarship that’s highly competitive, try applying for ten $1,000 scholarships with fewer applicants. You might find it easier to win a good amount of money.

2. They Are Flexible

Smaller and hidden scholarships usually have shorter applications, or they might be no-essay scholarships in Canada. Shorter application processes mean you can apply for more scholarships, increasing your chances of winning more funds.

3. Some Pay Directly to the Student

A lot of scholarships pay directly to your school; however, some hidden scholarships pay directly to the student. I made an article about scholarships that pay directly to a student, so make sure to check out that article.

4. Easy Requirements

Smaller and hidden scholarships often have less strict selection criteria, or they might have more specific requirements or require a short essay. This can discourage some students from applying. If you’re willing to look for those hard-to-find unclaimed scholarships or put in a little extra effort, it can really pay off.

Other Ways to Find Hidden Scholarships

Your personal situation or certain characteristics can also lead you to hidden scholarships. These often relate to specific criteria, like these:

  1. Military Association – If you or a family member is in the military or has served in the military, there are many unclaimed scholarship opportunities for you. Canada’s military offers scholarships for current service members, veterans, and their families who want to go to university.
  2. Your Cultural Background– There are scholarships specifically for people from certain ethnicities or cultural backgrounds. These scholarships aim to increase diversity in higher education and provide educational opportunities to minorities and other groups who might have fewer financial resources.
  3. Local Community Organizations or Businesses. -Talk to businesses or well-known groups in your local area to see if they offer any scholarships or grants for students. Lots of organizations give awards to high school and university students, regardless of their size. Look into places like rotary clubs, community foundations, or 4-H clubs.
  4. Disability – If you have a disability, or if you are caring for a family member or someone else with a disability, you might qualify for a scholarship. There are many scholarships designed to help students with disabilities cover costs for things like accessibility, school supplies, and more.
  5. Professional Associations and Organizations – Check out professional groups and organizations related to your field of study or career goals. Many of these organizations offer scholarships for students. Look at the websites of relevant associations to see if they have any scholarship offerings.
  6. Heritage or Religious Affiliation – Many religious and cultural organizations give out scholarships to outstanding students who are part of a specific group or organization. If you belong to any heritage associations or religious groups, or if you’re planning to study cultural subjects, this is a great place to search for scholarships!
  7. Special Circumstances or Hardships (Medical, Family, Financial) – If you’ve faced significant challenges or obstacles in your education, you might be eligible for certain scholarships that focus on more than just financial need or academic merit. These scholarships aim to support students who have overcome tough situations or who have had setbacks in their education or career.
  8. Employers and Unions – If you have a job, check if your employer offers educational grants or scholarships for employees who are eligible.
  9. Clubs or Religious Groups – Community service clubs, sports groups, or religious organizations might have scholarships for students who fit certain criteria or who show the values of the organization. Look into groups in your area or your province that might have smaller, hidden scholarships.


So, we have just talked about 35 hidden scholarships for international students in Canada. These scholarships in Canada are often the smaller, lesser-known ones that get overlooked. But they are a great chance to get some extra funding for your post-secondary education. If you need help finding the best scholarships for you, consider talking to a college admissions consulting service. There are also resources for grad school applications, like grad school admissions consultants. And if you are an international student, you can seek advice from an international student scholarship advisor to find the right scholarships for you.

I’ve got this idea that getting a PhD or a research degree without funding is really tough, especially in North America. It’s not the same in Europe because they have a different way of handling funding. But here in North America, you’ll find that most PhD programs and research degrees do come with funding. And here’s my little trick for finding those programs that are fully funded. Now, if you found this article helpful, I’d really appreciate it if you could share it.

Read AlsoHow to Study in Canada for Free

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