Tips for Funding Applications
There are a number of funding opportunities available for both graduate students in general and for Indigenous applicants in particular. Funding comes in a number of different forms and will prove very useful in helping to complete your degree.
1. When in doubt, apply
By keeping on top of funding opportunities and applying for as many financial awards as possible, you may be able to find more than enough financial support to complete your studies.
Most of the funding opportunities
are open to both thesis-based and course-based graduate students, and so all Indigenous graduate students should apply if eligible. The money from these scholarships, which the donors are happy to disburse, can provide critical financial support during your graduate studies. The money for scholarships is available but too often there are no applicants and so the funding is simply not paid out.
2. There is no such thing as time wasted for funding applications
If you receive the award, you will secure additional funds to help along your degree. If you do not, you will have an application file you can further refine for future funding opportunities.
Overall, the best approach is never be discouraged when applying for funding. Funding applications are central to academic research at all stages of your career. Applying for funding is a skill that is always in constant development. Unsuccessful applications are simply part of the learning process.
3. Know the application deadline
The most important is keeping abreast of deadlines and due dates and prepare your work well in advance of the due date. Consult our award timeline
to see deadlines for all major awards available to all students. For all other awards, always pay careful attention to the Terms of Reference and note the closing dates.
For more tips, visit the Tips for Success
pages in the Awards section of our website.
1. Bursaries are financial awards that are based upon both merit and financial need.
2. Scholarships are typically awarded based upon merit and are not judged according to financial needs of the applicant.
3. Teaching or research assistantships, in which students must help the course instructor deliver course content, run seminars, mark assignments or exams, and hold office hours.
4. Graduate supervisors may be able to provide additional funding.
Bursaries and Scholarships are non-taxable, however, teaching assistantships are basically half scholarship and half salary, so half their value is taxable. See our page on Sources of Funding
to learn more.
The University of Calgary also offers a number of scholarships and bursaries to graduate students, many of which are judged through the annual Graduate Awards Competition
, which has an annual due date of February 1, or earlier depending on the date set by your graduate program. If you wish to know more about the university's financial award opportunities, visit Awards Opportunities
section on our website.
Both prospective and current students should look through the Graduate Awards Database
, which provides a detailed overview on the internal scholarships available, their requirements, and their due dates. Some of these scholarships are limited to thesis-based programs, some to course-based programs, and others to all graduate programs.
Course-based graduate programs may also offer funding support internal to the programs themselves and students should check with their program/department to ascertain whatever awards may be available.
1. Band Funding: First Nations students should consult with their Band for funding before applying for any of the available scholarships. Many Bands will provide funding for graduate studies and applicants are encouraged to check with their specific Band for these funding opportunities. The University of Calgary considers Band funding to be third-party sponsorship, and students with Band funding are eligible to apply for scholarships and bursaries just as if they had student loans. However, they should keep in mind demonstrations of financial need some of these awards (especially bursaries) insist upon for the applicant’s eligibility.
If you are receiving Band funding, and are thus a sponsored student, you should consult this link
on sponsorship letters, payment options for sponsors, and any other important details.
Thesis-based graduate students may be eligible to apply for Tri-Council Funding
– the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).
2. External Scholarships
for prospective and current Indigenous graduate students at the University of Calgary should consult this link
for specific information on external scholarship opportunities. These funding opportunities range broadly between the intended subject matter, eligible groups, or courses of study.