Frequently asked questions - Read more

What is the deadline for application to the next competition? 

The 2020 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Scholarship Competition opened on 15 November 2019. Students must apply through a university's internal selection process, and each university sets its own deadlines. 

The final deadline for universities to submit their nominations to the Foundation is 22 January 2020. 

How do I apply? 

You must apply through a university's internal selection process using the Foundation's application portal. If your university chooses to nominate you for the national competition, your application will be forwarded to the PETF with a letter of nomination and will undergo a rigorous review process. Finalists will be invited to interviews with the selection committee. Up to 20 Scholars will be selected in 2020. The Foundation advises students to contact their university to learn about its internal selection process and deadlines.

Can I send my own application directly to the Foundation? 

No. Files sent directly to the Foundation by students will automatically be declined. Only completed applications nominated by a university prior to the deadline will be considered.

Does the Foundation offer scholarships other than at the doctoral level? 

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship program is for students at the doctoral level only. The Foundation does not offer funding for undergraduate or master's programs.

Is the Scholarship valid for three or four years? 

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship is a three-year program (with no possibilities of extension) and Scholars must be involved for the three years in the learning program of the Scholarship.

Which fields does the Foundation consider to be social sciences and humanities? 

The Foundation recognizes that many doctoral students are working on research projects that are interdisciplinary and qualify as advanced research in the social sciences and humanities, regardless of their faculty or department affiliation. Most importantly, all applicants must relate their research to one or more of the following four themes: human rights and dignity, responsible citizenship, Canada and the World, and people and their natural environment. Due to a large volume of requests, the Foundation is not able to assess the eligibility of individuals' research topics by email or over the phone.

To date, the Foundation has offered scholarships to students in many fields, including public health, anthropology, communications, criminology, law, economics, history, literature, philosophy, religion, environmental sciences and political science.

Does my research project have to be linked to the four themes of the Foundation?

Yes. You must link your research to one or more of the Foundation themes in order to be considered for the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship. The Foundation's themes are: Human Rights and Dignity, Responsible Citizenship, Canada and the World, and People in their Natural Environment. Learn more about the themes

Can I apply if I am studying part-time for my doctoral degree?

Only students studying full-time in a doctoral program are eligible to receive a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship.

Are applications from foreign students accepted? 

Foreign students who have been accepted or are in year one, two, or three of a full-time program in the social sciences or humanities at a Canadian university are eligible. The selection criteria are the same as for any other student, i.e., completed applications must be submitted by a university. 

Are Canadians studying at a foreign university eligible? 

Yes. Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarships can be awarded to Canadians studying at a foreign university. 

Which university should submit my application: the institution where I am currently studying or the one where I applied? 

The Foundation accepts applications from any university. It is up to students to decide which institution will submit the most suitable file on their behalf. Universities may nominate a current student who will be pursuing a doctorate at another institution. The award is portable, meaning students may keep the scholarship even if they change institutions, provided their eligibility for the award does not change. 

Am I eligible to apply for a Scholarship if I am already enrolled in a doctoral program? 

To be eligible for consideration by the Foundation, candidates must be doctoral students already accepted into or in year one, two, or three of a full-time program in the social sciences or humanities. If you have not yet been accepted into a doctoral program in time for this year's competition, we invite you to apply next year once you have been accepted. 

Where can I find the application form?

The application can be found at the following link for the duration of the competition:

Does the Foundation provide a format for reference letters? 

Reference letters should be a maximum of one page and should focus on how the applicant meets the Foundation's selection criteria. Academic references should focus on the applicant's academic excellence and the leadership reference should focus on the applicant's leadership skills and abilities. Letters should be signed (electronic signatures are acceptable) and the name and contact information of the referee should be clearly stated. Letters must be submitted in PDF format.

Is it okay if my leadership reference is written by an academic?

The Foundation is seeking candidates whose leadership experience and abilities go beyond the academic world and our selection criteria reflect this. The leadership reference letter should focus on leadership skills and abilities as opposed to academic excellence. However, if you feel that the person who is best placed to attest to your leadership skills happens to also work in an academic setting, you may ask that person for a leadership reference. Please ensure that your reference understands what the Foundation expects from leadership references as opposed to academic references. 

What should universities include in their letter of nomination?

Universities may submit the same letter of nomination for each of their nominees. It should be a maximum of one page, and it should state the name and faculty of each of the nominees, be presented on letterhead and be signed by a high-ranking official of the institution (e.g. President, Vice-president, or Dean of graduate studies). The letter should not include a reference for the nominees nor should it explain the reasons for which the nominees were chosen. The letter must be submitted in PDF format.

Which transcripts should be submitted? 

Please upload transcripts covering all of your post-secondary education in one PDF document. Any candidates who attended CEGEP in Quebec should not include their CEGEP transcripts.

What language is used during the interview? 

The interview will be held in English or French, or in both of the official languages of Canada, depending on the language skills and preference of the finalist. 

Do I need to be fluent in both English and French to receive the scholarship?

No, you do not need to be fluent in both official languages to receive the scholarship. However, the Foundation recognizes that an openness to and understanding of multiple languages is a hallmark of leading academics, public intellectuals, and innovative educators. Possessing an understanding of Canada's official languages enhances Scholars' experience within the multilingual context of the Foundation's events, as well as offering a greater understanding of Canada.

The Foundation further recognizes the significance of Indigenous languages to Canadian culture and society.

Scholars will be provided with guidelines to ensure they increase their ability in the official language with which they are less familiar, as well as opportunities to learn Indigenous languages as part of their three-year Scholarship with the Foundation.

Is the accumulation of awards allowed?

Yes, scholars may receive multiple awards and accumulation is permitted to a certain extent. Beginning in 2019, the first $20,000 of the $40,000 stipend will be guaranteed to all Scholars. For those who receive multiple awards, the Foundation will reduce the amount of the remaining stipend in accordance with the value of the award such that a Scholar who receives an external award of $20,000 or less would qualify for $40,000 and those with external awards of $50,000 or more would receive $20,000.

I registered for an account on the Foundation's application portal, but I haven't received my login information by email. What should I do?

It takes up to 4 business days for registration to be processed and incomplete registrations will not be processed, and it is the applicant's responsibility to factor this time constraint into their application planning. If you have not received login information in the inbox of the email address you entered during registration after 4 business days have passed, we invite you to check your spam folder. If you have an account from a previous year, you will not receive new login information by email and must login using your old information or visit the portal and click on "Reset or create password" to receive new login credentials. If you have already tried all of these steps and are still encountering issues, please contact:


Our offices are located on the traditional territory of the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk), a place which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange among various nations.

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation
600 - 1980 Sherbrooke Street West
Montréal, Quebec Canada H3H 1E8

Phone: +1-514-938-0001
Fax: +1-514-938-0046