Doctoral scholarships

For doctoral students 

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation doctoral scholarships in the humanities and social sciences are the only one of its scope and stature in the country. Each year, the Foundation awards up to fifteen scholarships to Canadian and foreign doctoral candidates pursuing research related to one of its four founding themes. Trudeau scholars are outstanding students who are interested in growing in a multidisciplinary learning environment and in addressing important questions for Canada and the world.

At a glance

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation scholarships provide:

  • $40,000 per year for three years;
  • $20,000 per year for three years, as research and travel allowance;
  • Opportunity for a fourth year: writing or dissemination scholarship;
  • Advice from a mentor from various spheres of Canadian public life, starting the second year of the scholarship;
  • Development of leadership potential;
  • Support from an outstanding community of scholars, fellows and mentors, and opportunities for interaction with 350 leaders and personalities in every sector of the humanities and social sciences;
  • Involvement in lively exchange with other researchers or scholars and a keen interest in contributing to public dialogue;
  • Collaboration with Trudeau mentors, fellows and scholars on interdisciplinary projects going beyond their own field of expertise;
  • Sharing of innovative ideas at events organized by or in conjunction with the Foundation.

Other highlights:

  • A total of 208 applications were considered in the 2016 competition.
  • Universities submit up to eight of their top files received.
  • Screening and interviews were conducted by external review committees.
  • A total of 15 scholarships were awarded in 2016.
  • The Foundation has selected and supported 202 scholars since its inception.
  • Since 2003, the Foundation has received 2,426 nominations.


  • Full-time first or second year students enrolled (or in the process of enrolling) in a doctoral program in the humanities and social sciences; and
  • Canadian citizens or permanent residents enrolled full-time in a doctoral program in Canada, or Canadian citizens enrolled full-time in a doctoral program outside of Canada.
  • Up to one scholar in four per given year may be a foreign national enrolled full-time in a doctoral program at a Canadian institution. This applies in particular to students from emerging nations.

Fields of research

Humanities and social sciences, and specifically one or more of the following areas:

Nomination process

Candidates must be nominated by the Canadian or foreign institution where they wish to study or are currently studying. Universities can nominate a candidate from their institution who is pursuing doctoral studies at another university.

Selection process

Trudeau scholars are selected through a rigorous selection process that involves the following steps:

  1. Evaluation of application files by a selection committee. For the semi-finalists, this may include a video via a web platform.
  2. Invitation to approximatively 30 finalists to an interview at the Foundation offices in Montréal.
  3. Recommendation of fifteen candidates to the Application and Nomination Review Committee, and then to the Board for approval.

Evaluation criteria

  • Academic excellence
  • Communication skills
  • Public engagement
  • Desire to contribute to public dialogue and transmit knowledge
  • Desire to be involved in the community with other researchers or scholars
  • Thematic relevance of the doctoral research

Key dates

2017 competition

1 September 2016


2017 doctoral scholarship competition opens

Fall 2016


Internal university deadlines for submission of files

9 December 2016


Foundation deadline for receiving files from universities

Early February 2017


Notification of semi-finalists

Early March 2017


Finalists invited for interviews

Mid-March 2017


Interviews with finalists in Montréal

Late April 2017


Notification of selected candidates

Mid-May 2017


Mandatory participation in the Foundation's Summer Institute

Early June 2017


Official announcement of 2017 scholars

Person in charge

Josée St-Martin
Program Director, Doctoral Scholarships
T. 514 938-0001, extension 230 (general questions) (technical questions)

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