Types of Scholarships in Canada for International Students

Types of Scholarships in Canada for International Students – Canada has emerged as a popular destination for international students seeking high-quality education and a multicultural environment. While pursuing studies in Canada can be a rewarding experience, the associated costs can be a concern for many. To alleviate financial burdens and encourage diversity, Canadian universities, government bodies, and private organizations offer various scholarships for international students. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the diverse types of scholarships available in Canada, providing aspiring students with valuable insights to explore funding opportunities for their education.

1.University-specific Scholarships:

a. Entrance Scholarships: Many Canadian universities offer entrance scholarships to recognize and reward academic excellence. These scholarships are awarded based on the student’s academic achievements before entering the university. Eligibility criteria often include high school grades, standardized test scores, and other achievements.

b. Merit-based Scholarships: Merit-based scholarships are awarded to students who have demonstrated exceptional academic, athletic, or artistic achievements. Universities may consider a combination of factors, including academic performance, leadership skills, and extracurricular activities when awarding these scholarships.

c. Program-specific Scholarships: Some scholarships are tailored to specific academic programs or fields of study. These program-specific scholarships aim to attract talented individuals to particular disciplines, fostering expertise in areas deemed crucial for societal development.

d. Graduate Scholarships: Graduate-level scholarships are designed to support international students pursuing master’s or doctoral degrees in Canada. These scholarships often consider academic achievements, research potential, and the candidate’s contribution to the academic community.

2. Government Scholarships:

a. Canadian Government Scholarships: The Canadian government, through various agencies such as Global Affairs Canada and the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), offers scholarships to international students. Programs like the Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Program and the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships are examples of initiatives supporting academic excellence.

b. Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships: Aimed at attracting and retaining world-class doctoral students, the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships provide financial support to students who demonstrate leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement.

c. Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP): ELAP is a Canadian government scholarship program that supports students from Latin America and the Caribbean. It provides opportunities for short-term exchange programs and study scholarships at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

3. Private and Non-profit Organization Scholarships:

a. Endowed Scholarships: Many private donors, alumni, and organizations contribute to endowed scholarship funds at Canadian universities. These scholarships, often named after the benefactor or organization, provide sustainable financial support to deserving students.

b. Foundation Scholarships: Various foundations in Canada, such as the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and the Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarships, offer scholarships to international students pursuing research-oriented programs. These scholarships focus on supporting individuals with a commitment to addressing pressing societal issues.

c. Corporate Scholarships: Some Canadian corporations and businesses collaborate with universities to offer scholarships to international students. These scholarships may be linked to specific fields of study or may prioritize candidates with an interest in contributing to the corporate sector.

3. Specific Country Scholarships:

a. Commonwealth Scholarships: Commonwealth countries, including Canada, participate in scholarship programs to enhance educational collaboration. The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) facilitates the exchange of students between Commonwealth nations, providing opportunities for international students to study in Canada.

b. Francophonie Scholarships: For students from French-speaking countries, the Francophonie Scholarship Program provides financial support to pursue studies in member countries, including Canada. This program encourages linguistic and cultural exchange among Francophone nations.

4. Research-based Scholarships:

a. Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Scholarships: CIHR provides scholarships to international students pursuing health-related research programs. These scholarships support students engaged in innovative research that contributes to advancements in health sciences.

b. Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Scholarships: NSERC offers scholarships to international students in natural sciences and engineering fields. These scholarships aim to foster research excellence and innovation in these disciplines.

5. Diversity and Inclusion Scholarships:

a. Diversity Scholarships: Recognizing the importance of diversity, some Canadian universities offer scholarships specifically aimed at promoting inclusivity. These scholarships may target individuals from underrepresented backgrounds, including those from marginalized communities.

b. Women in STEM Scholarships: To address gender disparities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, some scholarships are designed to support women pursuing STEM-related degrees. These scholarships aim to encourage more women to enter and excel in traditionally male-dominated fields.

5. Sports and Arts Scholarships:

a. Athletic Scholarships: For students with exceptional athletic abilities, some universities in Canada offer sports scholarships. These scholarships may cover tuition, accommodation, and other expenses, allowing talented athletes to balance academics and sports.

b. Arts and Creative Industries Scholarships: Recognizing the significance of arts and creativity, certain scholarships focus on supporting students pursuing degrees in fine arts, performing arts, literature, and other creative disciplines.

6. Community Engagement and Leadership Scholarships:

a. Leadership Scholarships: To support students with a proven record of leadership and community engagement, some scholarships prioritize candidates who have demonstrated a commitment to making a positive impact in their communities.

b. Volunteerism Scholarships: Scholarships that emphasize volunteerism and community service aim to reward students who have dedicated their time and efforts to making a difference in society.


The diverse array of scholarships available for international students in Canada reflects the country’s commitment to fostering global talent and promoting educational excellence. Aspiring students should carefully explore the various types of scholarships offered by universities, government bodies, private organizations, and specific countries. Understanding the eligibility criteria, application processes, and deadlines is essential for maximizing the opportunities available.

Whether based on academic merit, specific fields of study, government initiatives, or a commitment to diversity and inclusion, these scholarships contribute to making Canadian education accessible to a broad spectrum of students. By leveraging these financial resources, international students can not only pursue their academic goals in Canada but also actively contribute to the vibrant and multicultural fabric of Canadian universities. The key lies in thorough research, meticulous preparation, and a proactive approach to seeking out the scholarships that align with one’s academic and personal aspirations.

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