Specialist funding for Canadian studies

Funding for students and faculty interested in the study of Canada
by Dominique Clément, Memorial University and U.B.C.

The Government of Canada and several private agencies offer grants to foreign nationals and Canadians to study in Canada and abroad.  Below you will find a list of popular grants/scholarships for students and faculty in the United Kingdom to do research on Canada (including Canadians studying in the U.K.).  The list is not exhaustive, and you should visit the websites for information on new or additional funding opportunities.  The list below also does not include funding available from specific universities.  If you are not a resident of Canada or the United Kingdom, visit the websites indicated below for other scholarships you are eligible for.

Postgraduate students are often intimidated at the thought of applying for a grant, or consider the process too time consuming.  Keep in mind, however, that not all granting agencies receive large numbers of applications each year.  Given the large number of grants available to citizens of the United Kingdom and Canada for the study of Canada, you should seriously consider applying for support from one of these agencies.

The Association of Commonwealth Universities also administers grants for studying in Canada (for students from the United Kingdom) and offers some useful services on its website.

Faculty and students

Foundation for Canadian Studies in the United Kingdom

  • Post-Graduate Travel Award: This is an occasional travel grant towards the cost of a study visit to Canada. The grant provides a Canadian Studies Travel Award for a British Postgraduate student studying Canada, as part of their Masters-level or higher studies at a university in the UK which teaches Canadian Studies. Under the terms of the original donation, the student must be a British citizen and a British passport holder.
  • UK Doctoral Studentships: This fund seeks to provide financial support for well-qualified and talented British and Canadian citizens, who are permanent residents in the UK, to conduct doctoral research, at a UK University, containing a substantial Canadian element and with relevance to Canadian Studies in the UK. See Foundation website above for more information.
  • The Foundation also offers several grants for faculty and institutions, including the Canada / UK Partnership Program, Sustained Studies in Contemporary Canadian Issues Program, Canadian Studies Development Program, Publication Fund and the Small Grants Program.  

The Institute of Social and Economic Research and the J.R. Smallwood Foundation offer scholarships and research funding for students and faculty conducting research relating to the study of Newfoundland.  Editor’s Note: If your research relates to Newfoundland, you should seriously consider applying for funding from these agencies.  They have a large number of grants available for students and faculty, although you will want to confirm with them first about eligibility for specific awards of you are not a Canadian citizen and the offer scholarships and research funding for students and faculty conducting research relating to the study of Newfoundland.  Editor’s Note: If your research relates to Newfoundland, you should seriously consider applying for funding from these agencies.  They have a large number of grants available for students and faculty, although you will want to confirm with them first about eligibility for specific awards of you are not a Canadian citizen.  

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council 
SSHRC is Canada’s primary funding agency for the social sciences and humanities.  Most of the grants are only available to citizens and permanent residents of Canada, although some faculty and students can apply for a few grants if they are affiliated with a Canadian institution or researcher.  Canadian citizens or residents studying in the UK can apply for these grants.


The International Council for Canadian Studies has several funding programs for international scholars doing research related to Canada.  

Postgraduate students

Canada Memorial Foundation Scholarships
The Canada Memorial Foundation offers a small number of awards annually to British post-graduate students to study in Canada for one year. The awards are in memory of the 1 million Canadians who served with Great Britain during the First and Second World Wars.  UK nationals should contact: Association of Commonwealth Universities, 36 Gordon Square, London WC1H OPF, UK.

International Council for Canadian Studies:

  • Graduate Student Scholarships
    To enable successful candidates to spend 4-6 weeks at a Canadian university or research site other than their own doing research related to their thesis or dissertation in the field of Canadian Studies. The scholarship is not intended to initiate a thesis or dissertation but rather to provide access to crucial scholarly information and resources in Canada in support of a thesis/dissertation that is close to or at the point of writing.  
  • Canadian Studies Internships
    To enable young Canadian and foreign academics who have completed a doctoral thesis on a topic primarily related to Canada to visit a Canadian or foreign university with a Canadian Studies program for a teaching or research internship (assistantship).
  •  International Summer Seminars
    The International Council for Canadian Studies, in partnership with a number of Canadian universities in both Ottawa and Western Canada, now offers two five-day, multidisciplinary, international summer seminars during the month of August (funding is provided by the ICCS for students to attend the seminars).  
  •  Doctoral Student Research
    This program is designed to assist full-time graduate students at degree-granting institutions of higher education, whose dissertations are related in substantial part to Canada, to undertake doctoral research about Canada. The purpose is to increase knowledge and understanding of Canada and to support the development of Canadian Studies. The award provides assistance towards international airfare and a monthly flat rate allowance for up to a maximum of 8 months spent in Canada while doing research.  
  • Conference Travel Assistance
    This program is designed to help fund the participation of third-country scholars at major conferences of associations of Canadian Studies which are members of the International Council for Canadian Studies (ICCS)--e.g. a British Canadianist invited to participate in the Nordic Association for Canadian Studies conference.  
  • Best Doctoral Thesis in Canadian Studies
    This ICCS Award is designed to recognize and promote each year an outstanding PhD thesis on a Canadian topic, written by a member (or one of his/her students) of a Canadian Studies Association or Associate Member, and which contributes to a better understanding of Canada. The award forms part of ICCS's strategy aimed at fostering a new generation of Canadianists, and underlines the value of their theses.  

Department of Foreign Affairs, Canada
Canadian and International Scholarships Program (available for foreign students wishing to study in Canada)
Editor’s Note: This department also has funding available for Canadians wishing to study abroad- visit the scholarship website for more details.      

  • Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Programme Scholarships are awarded for a period of twelve months to undertake work in a Canadian university on a master's or doctoral degree and may be renewed for ONE additional year. In Canada, it normally takes two years to complete a master's degree program and a minimum of three to four years for a doctoral program. Non-renewable scholarships to undertake research in Canada for up to twelve (12) months are also available to assist individuals who are enrolled in a doctoral program at a university in their home country, or a third country.  

The Canadian Bureau for International Education has several generous scholarships for Canadian citizens wishing to study abroad.

The Province of Ontario and the Province of Quebec are the only two provinces which offer substantial support for visiting international students.  Quebec, for instance, will provide some international students with a tuition waiver from the normally high rates of tuition for international students.  Ontario also reserves a number of scholarships specifically for international students doing graduate studies in Ontario.

Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship 
These scholarships (includes Academic Year/Multi-Year/Cultural Ambassadorial Scholarships) aim to further international understanding and friendly relations among people of different countries. During the time abroad, Rotary scholars are expected to be ambassadors of goodwill through presentations to Rotary clubs and districts, school and civic organizations.  

Trudeau Scholars Program
The Program grants up to fifteen new scholarships every year to outstanding doctoral candidates in the social sciences and humanities. The Foundation supports doctoral candidates pursuing research of compelling present-day concern, touching upon one or more of the four themes of the Foundation. Trudeau Scholars are actively engaged in their fields, in which they are expected to become leading national and international figures. 

Editor’s Note: The Trudeau scholarships are among the most competitive in the country, but they are also very well supported- each student receives very generous research support in addition to the initial grant. 

Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, Graduate Student Assistance Program 
The Society continues its Graduate Student Assistance programme intended to offer some financial assistance to graduate students doing research in Canadian legal history to travel to out-of-town archives. Editor’s Note: Highly specific grants such as these often receive only a small number of applications each year.  The Osgoode Society, in particular, depends on a highly informal process for providing these grants- in general, you simply send them a letter and ask for a certain amount which can vary from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.