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Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Government of Canada
 

Application for a Doctoral Award
Instructions (Web)

Introduction

Information to read before applying:

We suggest that you print and consult this document and Help with Online Forms for reference while you are completing your online application. You can also refer to this document by clicking "Instructions" at any time on a screen. This button will link you directly to the instructions for the screen you are completing.

In addition, you should consult the definitions of terms SSHRC uses in the application process.

Application procedure and deadline

You must complete and verify the online SSHRC Doctoral Awards application form and your SSHRC web-based curriculum vitae (CV).

You must click "Preview" and "Verify" for each page of your application as you complete it, well in advance of the deadline. SSHRC’s online system will not accept applications that are incomplete (i.e., that contain unverified sections). If you make changes to a page, you must click "Verify" again for that page to confirm that SSHRC’s online system will accept the new information when you submit. The criteria for final verification of the application as a whole may be stricter than for individual modules. Therefore, you may, need to adjust previously validated sections of the application. Validation only confirms that mandatory sections (including uploads and letters) have been completed; it does not validate application content.

As the applicant, you are responsible for verifying content and ensuring all required application components (CV, two letters of appraisal, and all PDF attachments) have been submitted. All attachments, including letters of appraisal, must be provided in English or French only.

For applicants submitting directly to SSHRC

You must submit your complete application, including the PDF attachments (uploads) and the SSHRC web-based CV, electronically to SSHRC before the application deadline, 8 p.m. (eastern) on October 17, 2020. If a deadline falls on a weekend or a Canadian public holiday, the online application system will remain open until 8 p.m. (eastern) on the next business day.

For applicants submitting through a Canadian institution with a doctoral awards quota*

You must submit your application to the institution by the date set by that institution. The institution will coordinate a review of the application and, if recommended, the scholarship liaison officer (SLO) will forward it to SSHRC’s national competition. If changes are required, the SLO will return the application to the applicant.

SLOs will be able to forward applications until 8 p.m. (eastern), November 21, 2020.

*Doctoral awards quota: Most Canadian degree-granting institutions receive a quota indicating the number of applications they can forward to SSHRC's national competition.

For complete details on where you should apply, please refer to the ”Where to submit an application” sections of the SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships or CGS D Scholarships descriptions.

Note: Once the 8:00 p.m. (eastern) application deadline has passed for direct applicants on October 17, the application form will be offline and applications will not be accepted. The application form will come back online after 48 hours, and only applications from Canadian institutions with a quota will be accepted for the November 21 deadline.

Ensure that you have followed the instructions and accurately provided all required information. SSHRC cannot accept additional information after the application deadline, nor can it confirm the completeness of applications.

If you need help while preparing your application, you are encouraged to communicate with SSHRC’s Research Training Portfolio well in advance of the application deadline.

Attaching a document

Certain modules in your application will require you to attach, or upload, a PDF document. You must follow the specified requirements for margins and font size (12-point Times New Roman) or your application may be rendered ineligible.

Scan the document and save it as a PDF file (.pdf extension), locate it on your computer by clicking "Browse," and attach it to the application by clicking "Attach." An error message will appear if the file you are trying to attach does not meet the required specifications for page length and size. Once you have successfully attached the electronic file, we recommend you click the "View attached file" to ensure you have the proper file.

Acknowledgement of receipt of applications

After SSHRC receives your verified and completed application form, the data provided in your application and SSHRC CV are transferred to SSHRC's corporate database. SSHRC will acknowledge receipt of your electronic application form and will assign you an application number. Please cite this number in all correspondence with us. This acknowledgement refers to only the receipt of your application, not to its completeness, or its eligibility in the competition.


Application Profile

Title of research proposal
Provide a short, descriptive title for your research proposal in non-technical terms. Restrict use of acronyms (e.g., UN, NATO, NAFTA, etc.).

Use sentence-style capitalization, which means upper case is used only for the first word of the title, proper nouns and acronyms.

Preferred selection committee
Based on the subject and discipline(s) of your proposed research, choose the most appropriate committee for your research discipline, using the "List…" button.

The disciplines represented by each committee are as follows:

Committee 1 (7521) Fine arts, literature (all types)
Committee 2 (7522) Classical archaeology, classics, classical and dead languages, history, mediaeval studies, philosophy, religious studies
Committee 3 (7523) Anthropology, archaeology (except classical archaeology), archival science, communications and media studies, criminology, demography, folklore, geography, library and information science, sociology, urban and regional studies, environmental studies
Committee 4 (7524) Education, linguistics, psychology, social work
Committee 5 (7525) Economics, industrial relations, law, management, business, administrative studies, political science

If your main discipline is women's studies, choose the committee based on the aspect of women's studies you are working on. For example, if your research involves women's literature; you should choose Committee 1.

If your main discipline is interdisciplinary studies, choose the committee based on the most prevalent discipline among those related to your research. For example, if your research involves history and sociology, but it is less focused on history and more focused on sociology, you should choose Committee 3.

Note: For tips on selecting the most appropriate committee, you can consult with SSHRC staff by emailing fellowships@sshrc-crsh.gc.ca before submitting your application; however, the decision rests with you.

Supplement
If you want to be considered for a supplemental award, and meet the eligibility criteria, select the supplement from the drop-down menu. Provide a maximum one-page justification per supplement. Successful candidates will be notified.

Joint or special initiative
If you want to be considered for a joint or special initiative, and meet the eligibility criteria, select the initiative from the drop-down menu. For each initiative, provide a maximum one-page justification or other required information or form, as applicable. Successful candidates will be notified.

Note: By indicating you wish to be considered for a supplement, and/or a joint initiative, you are agreeing to have SSHRC share information with the partner organization.

Does your proposal involve Indigenous research, as defined by SSHRC?
Select “Yes” to signal to the selection committee that your application should be reviewed in the context of SSHRC’s definition of Indigenous research and its Guidelines for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research. For more information, consult SSHRC’s Indigenous Talent Measures. SSHRC relies on a community of merit reviewers with experience and expertise in Indigenous research to judge the extent to which the guidelines may be applied to a particular research proposal or program of work.

Option for self–identified Indigenous applicants

By selecting this option, you choose to have your doctoral application considered for submission beyond your institution’s doctoral awards quota. Applications from self-identified Indigenous applicants who are required to submit directly to SSHRC are automatically evaluated in the national competition.

For more information, consult SSHRC’s Indigenous Talent Measures.


Program Information

Indicate whether:

  • You are currently registered in a degree program at a Canadian institution with a quota*.
  • You are not currently registered in a degree program but were registered at any other time during the year of application in a degree program at a Canadian institution with a quota.
  • You are currently registered at an institution without a quota (Canadian or foreign).
  • You were not registered at any time during the year of application in a degree program at a Canadian institution with a quota.

*Quota: Maximum number of applications the institution can forward to SSHRC's national competition.

Organization at Time of Application

If you selected Option A or B, indicate the name of the institution and department. Your application will be sent to this institution for an internal selection process and, if recommended, will be forwarded to SSHRC's national competition.

Degree Sought Through This Application

Type in the degree name (e.g., PhD, DPhil, SJD) and select the organization and the department/division that will award the degree. If the organization or department/division is not listed, select "Other" from the list and type the information in the box provided.

Note: Applicants applying to multiple doctoral-level degree programs must list their preferred program and institution in the application form.

Indicate the date you started or expect to start the program for which you seek support.

Support Requested

Expected Start Date of the Award
Indicate when you propose to take up your award should you be successful in the current competition. The award can only begin in May, September or January. You must not select a start date that precedes the beginning of your program.

Number of Months of Doctoral Studies

In the evaluation of your eligibility and the eligible periods of support, SSHRC will consider all studies counted toward the graduate degree for which funding is requested, whether completed at the degree-granting institution or from previous studies.

Since SSHRC assumes that all studies were full time and uninterrupted (e.g., the beginning of September 2019 to the end of December 2020 means 16 months of study), you must take approved leaves of absence and periods of part-time study into account and apply any deductions when calculating your number of months of studies completed.

Specify the number of months of full-time and/or part-time doctoral studies that you will have completed by December 31 of this year. You must include in your calculation, all previous doctoral-level studies (full-time and part-time) that were credited to the degree for which funding is requested including studies completed before you were officially registered in your doctoral program.

If you studied on a part-time basis, or interrupted your studies with your institution's official approval, you must append to your application an official letter from the institution’s registrar (or assigned designate), specifying the dates of the change of registration status in your doctoral program.

To determine the period of support applicable to you, you must total the full-time months of study and one half of the part-time months of study: for example, for 8 months of full-time study plus 12 months of part-time study (8 + 6 = 14).

Use the following table to calculate how much support you are eligible for depending on how many months you will have already completed of your doctoral (or equivalent) studies.

Number of months completed by December 31 of the year of application

CGS Doctoral Scholarship (CGS D)

SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship

Applicants who will have completed between 0* and 12 months

36 months

48 months

Applicants who will have completed between 13 and 24 months

36 months

36 months

Applicants who will have completed between 25 and 36 months

Not eligible**

24 months

Applicants who will have completed between 37 and 48 months

Not eligible

12 months

Applicants who will have completed 49 months or more

Not eligible

Not eligible

*If you started studies in a doctoral program directly from an undergraduate program (i.e., never enrolled in a master’s program) you must be enrolled in your doctoral program at the time of application to be eligible for a CGS D.

**To be eligible for a CGS D, you must not have completed more than 24 months of study in your doctoral program by December 31 of the year of application (or 36 months if transferred directly from an undergraduate program to a doctoral program or enrolled in a joint program e.g., JD/PhD, MA/PhD).

Languages

Specify the language(s) required to carry out your proposed research. Indicate your current proficiency in each.


Areas of Study

The information provided in this section refers to your research/study.

Ethics
State whether or not your proposed research/study will involve human beings as research subjects. If it does, select “Yes,” consult the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans and submit your proposal to the research ethics board of the institution where you will undertake your research. If applicable, you must also ensure that an ethics review is conducted in the host country (as per article 8.3 of the policy). You do not need to submit your proposal to the research ethics board before submitting your doctoral award application.

Keywords
List keywords, separated by semicolons, that best describe your project.

Disciplines
Indicate and rank up to three disciplines relevant to your proposed research/study, with entry 1 being the most relevant and entry 3 the least relevant. Entry 1 must be a main discipline (main discipline codes end in 00).

For entries 2 and 3, if the applicable discipline is not listed, you may select an entry such as "Other (relevant discipline)" (e.g., Other Psychology) from the list, and type the information in the box provided.

You can only choose "Other (relevant discipline)" once. For instance, you can not choose "Other Psychology" in entry 2 and choose it again in entry 3. Also, you can only choose "Other" (with an explanation) once.

Example:

Entry 1

Sociology

Entry 2

Other Psychology

Entry 3

"Other"

Areas of research
Indicate and rank up to two areas of research related to your proposed research/study, with #1 the most important and #2 the least important.

Temporal period
If applicable, indicate the historical period covered by your proposed research/study.

Geographical regions
If applicable, indicate and rank up to two geographical regions covered by or related to your proposed research/study, with #1 the most important and #2 the next most important.

Countries
If applicable, indicate and rank up to five countries covered by or related to your proposed research/study, with #1 the most important and #5 the least important.


Research Proposal—maximum two pages

Attach a PDF copy of your research proposal. Write your proposal in clear, plain language. Avoid discipline-specific jargon, acronyms and highly technical terms when writing your research proposal. Members of a multidisciplinary selection committee will review your application, not all of whom will be familiar with your area of research.

Ensure that your text includes the following required elements, especially with respect to your research proposal.

If you are not currently enrolled in a doctoral degree program:

  • clearly state your current level of study;
  • give the title and a brief description of your master's thesis or research project, if applicable;
  • identify the degree program that you will pursue, including any relevant courses, and provide an explanation for your choice; and
  • provide an outline of your doctoral thesis or research project, including the research question(s), context, objectives, methodology and significance and expected contribution to advancing knowledge, and your special interests in the proposed area of research.

If you are currently enrolled in a doctoral degree program:

  • clearly state your current level of graduate study;
  • indicate at what stage you are in your thesis/research project;
  • provide the name of your supervisor of doctoral studies, if known;
  • provide an outline of your thesis or research project, including, for example, the research question(s), context, objectives, methodology and significance and expected contribution to advancing knowledge; and
  • describe what you hope to accomplish during the award tenure and what will remain for you to do before you obtain your degree.

Notes: If your proposed research overlaps with areas that the other federal research funding agencies support, justify your submission of this proposal to SSHRC (rather than to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council or the Canadian Institutes of Health Research), based on the General Guidelines for the Eligibility of Subject Matter at SSHRC. If in doubt about the eligibility of your proposed research, consult SSHRC staff by emailing fellowships@sshrc-crsh.gc.ca prior to submitting your application.

If your project involves Indigenous research, refer to the section Does your proposal involve Indigenous research, as defined by SSHRC? before preparing your proposal.

If your project uses a research-creation approach, clearly indicate its research component. Outline the objectives of your research and the context, methodology, and expected contribution to the advancement of knowledge.


Bibliography and Citations

maximum 5 pages

Attach a PDF copy of:

  • a bibliography for your proposed research (do not upload publications or include endnotes); and
  • bibliographic details for all citations included in your research proposal (ensure that these are clear and complete to allow reviewers to locate the sources easily).

Transcripts

You should include up-to-date official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate studies in the application. Retain the paper copy of any uploaded transcripts, as you may be asked to provide it for verification purposes.

Up-to-date official transcripts are defined as transcripts issued by the Registrar’s Office and dated or issued in the fall session of the year of application (if currently registered) or after the last term completed (if not currently registered).

If you do not provide transcripts for all programs of study listed in the SSHRC CV, the selection committee(s) will have less information on which to base their assessment, which may put your application at a disadvantage.

Requirements:

  • If you submit transcripts written in a language other than English or French, you must provide a certified English or French translation.
  • If you are or were registered at an institution that does not provide transcripts, you must instead submit a letter bearing the official institution seal/stamp or a letter signed by the Dean of Graduate Studies, confirming:
    • your program of study;
    • your registration status;
    • the date of initial registration;
    • the degree obtained or sought; and
    • the fact that the institution does not provide transcripts.

Note: Applications without transcripts are considered incomplete.

Official Letter to Confirm Part-time Study and/or Leave of Absence
maximum one page (only if applicable)

In calculating the value and duration of awards, SSHRC assumes that all doctoral studies were full-time and uninterrupted. If, as part of your doctoral studies, you have studied on a part-time basis, or have interrupted your studies with your institution’s official approval, you must upload an official letter from the institution’s registrar (or assigned designate) confirming the change of registration status in your doctoral program (including dates and duration). No deduction of months of study will be made unless you include an official letter with your application.


Allowable Inclusions

maximum one page (only if applicable)

If applicable, attach a PDF document.

SSHRC asks its adjudication committees to consider special circumstances that may have affected applicants’ research, professional career, record of academic or research achievement, or completion of degrees. Relevant circumstances can include administrative responsibilities, maternity/parental leave, child-rearing, illness, disability, cultural or community responsibilities, socio-economic context, health-related family responsibilities, or pandemic. Specify the dates for any delays or interruptions.

As part of the Indigenous Talent Measures, Indigenous applicants are encouraged to use the “Allowable Inclusions” section of their application to describe special circumstances that may have had an impact on their academic or career paths.


Research Contributions, Relevant Experience and Activities

maximum two pages

Attach a PDF copy of your research contributions including any knowledge translation outputs as well as a description of your relevant experience and activities.

Given the page limits, be selective and summarize information where appropriate. Provide information in the two sections listed below. You are permitted to use a maximum number of two pages for both sections combined.

Part I – Research Contributions

Provide details, as appropriate, on the contributions you list, as follows:

  • In the left margin, identify refereed publications with an "R." A refereed work is assessed:
    • in its entirety—not merely an abstract or extract;
    • before publication; and
    • by appropriately independent, anonymous, qualified experts ("independent" in this context means at arm's length from the author).
  • Specify your role in co-authored publications.
  • For published contributions, provide complete bibliographic details as they appear in the original publication (including co-authors, title, publisher, journal, volume, date of publication, page numbers, number of pages, etc.)
  • For publications in languages other than French or English, provide a translation of the title and the name of the publication.

Note: A thesis is not considered a refereed publication.

Group your contributions by category in the following order, listing your most recent contributions first:

Refereed contributions
Examples include books (where applicable, subdivide according to those that are single-authored, co-authored and edited works), monographs, book chapters, articles in scholarly refereed journals, conference proceedings, etc.

Other refereed contributions
Examples include papers presented at scholarly meetings or conferences, articles in professional or trade journals, etc.

Non-refereed contributions
Examples include book reviews, published reviews of your work, research reports, policy papers, public lectures, posters, community products, etc.

Forthcoming contributions
Indicate one of the following statuses—"submitted," "revised and submitted," "accepted" or "in press." Provide the name of the journal or book publisher and the number of pages. Contributions not yet submitted should not be listed.

Creative outputs
Applicants whose research outputs include an artistic creation may list their most significant achievements, starting with the most recent, in a separate category: "Creative outputs." This category may be followed by the categories shown above, as appropriate. Examples of creative outputs may include, for example, exhibitions, performances, publications, presentations, film, video, audio recordings, etc.

Although it is possible to list research contributions, SSHRC recognizes that some applicants may not yet have publications or other research contributions to list.

Note: In the context of Indigenous research and as per the Guidelines for the Merit Review of Indigenous Research, other contributions can be listed within existing or additional categories.

Part II – Applicant’s Statement

In this section, group your comments under the following headings:

Relevant experience
Describe the research abilities that you have gained through your past research experience, including special projects, honours/master’s thesis, co-op reports, etc. If you have relevant work experience, discuss the relevance of that experience to your proposed field of study/research and any benefits you gained from it.

This section may also be used to describe your training relative to your proposed research, such as knowledge gained through lived experience and traditional teachings.

Relevant activities
Describe your participation in relevant professional, academic and extracurricular activities as well as collaborations with supervisors, colleagues, peers, students and members of the community, such as:

  • teaching, mentoring, supervising and/or coaching;
  • managing projects;
  • participating in science and/or research promotion;
  • community outreach, volunteer work and/or civic engagement;
  • chairing committees and/or organizing conferences and meetings; and
  • participating in departmental or institutional organizations, associations, societies and/or clubs.

Supplement Justification (only if applicable)

If you are interested in being considered for any of these supplements, you must provide a maximum one-page justification, per supplement, indicating how your research proposal responds to the objectives.

Aileen D. Ross Fellowship

  • A $10,000 supplement is awarded yearly to a SSHRC doctoral award recipient conducting poverty-related research in sociology.

Queen’s Fellowship

  • A $10,000 supplement is awarded yearly to a SSHRC doctoral award recipient entering a program in Canadian studies at a Canadian institution. At the time of application, SSHRC considers eligible, candidates who intend to enrol in or are registered in the first year of such a program.

Successful candidates will be notified.

Information on supplements is available in SSHRC's funding search tool.


Joint or Special Initiatives Justification (only if applicable)

If you are interested in being considered of any of these joint initiatives, you must provide a maximum one-page justification, per initiative, indicating how your proposed research responds to the objectives.

Department of National Defence MINDS Scholarship Initiative

SSHRC and the Department of National Defence (DND) partnered to offer doctoral awards to individuals conducting social sciences and humanities research in areas related to the Mobilizing Insights in Defence and Security (MINDS) Policy Challenges and/or Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged. The MINDS Initiative Doctoral Awards are valued at $35,000 per year and are tenable for up to 36 months. Learn more about the MINDS Scholarship Initiative.

To be considered for this initiative, you must:

  • select the “MINDS Scholarships Initiative” option from the drop-down menu in their application form; and
  • use the Joint or Special Initiative Justification to explain how you proposed research project is related to one or more of the MINDS Policy Challenges and/or Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged.

Initiative for Digital Citizen Research

Through the Initiative for Digital Citizen Research, the Department of Canadian Heritage and SSHRC partnered to offer Doctoral Award supplements, valued at $10,000, to individuals who are conducting research related to online disinformation as well as their impact in the Canadian context. Comparative approaches to these themes that are inclusive of, but extend beyond, the Canadian context are also eligible for supplementary funding.

To be considered for funding under this initiative, you must:

  • select the “Initiative for Digital Citizen Research” option from the drop-down menu in their application form;
  • use the Joint or Special Initiative Justification to explain how your proposed research project addresses one or more of the specific areas of research listed under the initiative’s Eligible projects section; and
  • upload their justification to the application form by selecting the “Initiative for Digital Citizen Research" option in the form's left-hand menu.

To be offered a Doctoral Award supplement under this initiative, you must first be successful in the SSHRC Doctoral Awards competition, and you must be affiliated with an eligible Canadian postsecondary institution during your award tenure.

Sport Participation Research Initiative

SSHRC partnered with the Department of Canadian Heritage through the Sport Participation Research Initiative to provide doctoral award supplements.

To be considered for funding under this initiative, you must:

Successful candidates will be notified.

Information on joint initiatives is available in SSHRC's funding search tool.


Referees

Instructions for Requesting Letters of Appraisal

Enter the family name, given name and email address of each referee. After the data are saved, the system will automatically generate an email to each person, inviting them to complete a Letter of Appraisal form. Inform your referees that they will receive an email with the subject line “Invitation to provide a letter of appraisal—Invitation à fournir une lettre d’appréciation.”

It is your responsibility as the applicant to ensure that each invited person completes and verifies the form in advance of the application deadline. Note that the application deadline for candidates applying directly to SSHRC is October 17. Candidates applying through a Canadian institution with a quota should consult with their graduate studies office to confirm their internal application deadline.

If the referee declines the invitation, you will be notified by email. The status will also change to "Referee unable to complete the form." You can then remove the person from the application by clicking "Clear entry." You may then add a new referee.

If the referee deletes the system-generated email by error, then you can click "Resend email" to send the invitation again.

If the referee accepts the invitation to provide a letter of appraisal, the status will change to "Email sent—Letter of Appraisal form not yet created." Referees who have accepted will be able to view an electronic version of your application to inform their reference. Once the referee has completed the form (and the status, becomes “Letter of Appraisal form completed”), it will be attached electronically to your application once submitted. You will not be able to successfully verify your application until each referee form has been successfully verified and completed.

Note: You will not be able to view the appraisals at the time you complete and submit your application.

You are responsible for ensuring all required application components have been submitted (including all attachments and letters). The system does not allow submission of incomplete applications.

Notify your referees in advance that they will be receiving an invitation, as firewalls and/or spam filters may limit their ability to receive the official system email inviting them to complete a Letter of Appraisal form.

Make sure you give your referees enough time to complete and submit their support letter so that your application can be submitted in advance of the deadline. Typically, there is a very high volume of users in the online system on the last day, which may create delays and put timely submission at risk.

Letter of Appraisal Requirements

  • Provide information about the two referees who will each complete a one-page letter of appraisal as instructed above.
  • Complete applications must include two letters of appraisal of one page each. Additional letters will not be accepted.
  • Referees should have had sufficient opportunity to assess your research ability and potential and the relevance of your experience and achievements obtained within and beyond academia, as described in the selection criteria.
  • One referee should be very familiar with your research and abilities (i.e., current or previous research supervisor) and the other should be sufficiently familiar with your research and abilities to provide a meaningful commentary.
  • Letters of appraisal provided in formats other than the form provided will not be accepted.

Contact information

If you need help while preparing your doctoral award application, you are encouraged to communicate with SSHRC staff well in advance of the application deadline.

SSHRC staff endeavour to respond to inquiries as quickly as possible during normal business hours. In the weeks before application submission deadlines (peak periods), response times may be delayed.

For questions about the doctoral awards, contact the Research TRaining Portfolio:

Tel.: 613-943-7777
Email: fellowships@sshrc-crsh.gc.ca

For technical questions, contact the Helpdesk:

Tel.: 613-995-4273
Email: webgrant@sshrc-crsh.gc.ca

Date modified: 2020-07-29

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