How to Win the Trudeau Foundation Scholarship in Canada – PhD

This is a guide on how students can apply for and win the Trudeau foundation scholarship which is offered by Canadian institutions. This is one of the most popular Ph.D. scholarships in Canada and it is offered across many schools in Canada.

Canada is known as one of the best study destinations, providing world-class education at every level of study and discipline to scholars nationally and internationally.

To encourage students and also make it easier for them to partake in the world-class education Canadian institutions offer, there are different types of scholarships program that students can apply for to assist their funding.

Some of these scholarships may be partially-funded or fully-funded but nevertheless, they all offer financial assistance to students’ education burden.

Most of these scholarships are provided by the Canadian government, charity organizations, foundations, wealthy individuals (mostly alumni of the school) and the institution’s school board.

The Trudeau Foundation is one of the charity foundations that provides scholarships to Canadian scholars, both international and domestic students enjoin in this award which is hosted by Canadian institutions.

Through this article, you will know the eligibility criteria and application process to apply and win the Trudeau foundation scholarship either as a domestic or international student.


The Trudeau Foundation Scholarship In Canada

What is Trudeau foundation scholarship?

Fully known as Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation (PETF) and with a mission to empower researchers into having a meaningful impact in the world. The foundation is an independent and non-partisan charity foundation founded in 2001 in memory of the former prime minister of Canada.

Trudeau foundation scholarship is a three-year program established to train engaged leaders and equip outstanding doctoral candidates with the right tools and knowledge to share and apply their research and be creative leaders in their institutions and communities.

The scholarship is up to $40,000 per year for three years and covers tuition and cost of living and another $20,000 per year for three years as a research and travel allowance.

The three-year scholarship program will go as follow;

  1. Engaged Leadership: In the first year of the term, scholars must attend institutes of engaged leadership in locations across Canada and the world where scholars will be exposed to ideas and experiences outside of a university wall. The engaged leadership program empowers scholars to develop new social, emotional and behavioural competencies.
  2. Impact Conference: In the second year of the program, scholars will come together to organize a public conference where they get to share knowledge with the general public and foster community dialogue providing scholars with the opportunity to enhance their leadership abilities through working with others.
  3. Creative Project: This is the third and final year of the program, scholars will work collectively to develop a creative project which may be in the form of a book, theatre production or a fundraiser. In doing so, scholars experiment with unconventional practices of knowledge dissemination and public engagement.

The Trudeau Foundation scholarship is only for doctoral students, nationally and internationally, and focuses on developing students to leaders. The scholarship is spread out across various Canadian institutions who host them and students apply only through their host institution.

Trudeau Foundation scholarship is awarded to a selected diverse group of scholars, including diversity in terms of gender, perspectives, language, race/ethnicity, Canadian region of studies and disabilities.

Documents to Apply for the Trudeau Foundation Scholarship

  • A valid student visa for international students
  • Academic transcripts
  • A valid means of identification
  • Two letters of recommendation

How to Apply for the Trudeau Foundation Scholarship

Here is a guide on how to apply for the Trudeau Foundation scholarship but firstly there are certain eligibility criteria applicants must pass.

Eligibility Criteria for the Trudeau Foundation Scholarship

  • Applicant must already be offered admission to a full-time doctoral program in humanities or social sciences into a recognized Canadian institution.
  • Applicants already in year one, two, or three of a full-time doctoral program in humanities or social sciences in an accredited Canadian university are also eligible to apply.
  • The Foundations’ four central themes are Human Rights and Dignity, Responsible Citizenship, Canada and the World, People and their Environment. To be an eligible candidate, an applicant’s doctoral work must relate to at least one of the foundations’ theme.
  • Canadian citizens who are either at a Canadian or international institution are eligible to apply.
  • Foreign students, non-Canadians and permanent residents who are enrolled at a Canadian institution with a valid study permit are also eligible to apply.

What does the Trudeau Foundation doctoral scholarship look for in applicants?

  1. Excellence in academics
  2. Leadership experience and skills
  3. Originality and audacity
  4. Thematic relevance of doctoral research to the foundation’s four central themes
  5. Involvement in your community

Once you pass the above-mentioned eligibility criteria, you can then go ahead with the application process which has been outlined below.

Wait! Before you learn about the application process, the selection process is also important to know as it will help you know how winners are selected and give you tips on how you too can win the Trudeau foundation scholarship.

The Selection Process for the Trudeau Foundation Scholarship

  • Applications are only done through your host university internal selection process via the foundation’s application portal.
  • Host universities may decide to nominate candidates from their school as well and if you are nominated by your school, your application will be forwarded to the PETF to undergo a rigorous review process.
  • Finalists in the competition will be invited to be interviewed by the selection committee at a given date which will be sent to you through your mail.
  • 20 or more scholars are usually selected as winners yearly.

Application Process for the Trudeau Foundation Scholarship

This is a step by step guide on how to apply for the scholarship

  1. Learn about your host institution’s internal selection process deadlines: As I mentioned earlier, the Trudeau Foundation scholarship is spread amongst various Canadian institutions thus they all have different deadlines, so learn about your university deadline and begin an early application.
  2. Registration: When the competition starts, register for an account on the foundation’s application portal. After 4 business days of registering the account, you will receive an email with your username and password. If you do not see it by then, you can check your spam folder and can also contact the foundation if not still found.
    However, if you have an existing account from a previous scholarship competition, you can still log in using your existing credentials or request for a password reset.
  3. Fill out the application: Once you are logged in, you can apply by completing the application form in the “Draft” section of the portal and fill out your correct contact information in the “Contacts” section of the portal.
  4. Get recommendation letters: You will be asked to enter the name and email address of your two referees in the provided box while filling out the application form. An email will then be sent to both referees asking them to upload their reference letter in PDF format directly to the foundation portal. Let your references know about this and ensure they submit in time.
  5. Upload transcripts: You will upload a single PDF document transcript covering all of your post-secondary education.
    NOTE: Candidates who attended CEGEP in Quebec should not include their CEGEP transcripts.
  6. Contact your university: Applicants are to inform the awards officer in charge of the Trudeau Foundation scholarship competition at their various universities letting them know you have applied which ensures that your application will be included in your university’s selection process.
  7. University nominations: Universities too can nominate up to four candidates for the Trudeau Foundation scholarship while foreign universities can nominate only three candidates. The names of each candidate are to be submitted to the foundation which will then send an acknowledgment to those applicants who have been nominated by a university.
  8. Trudeau foundation scholarship selection process: All candidates who have been nominated by a university will go through a rigorous selection process, finalists will then be invited for an interview. The date of this interview is usually not made known to the general public.

There you have the application process for the Trudeau Foundation scholarship competition and other necessary information to help you win the scholarship.


The Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation scholarship will help you get the education you deserve in being a good leader, its three-year program is a bold, cutting-edge gateway to make doctoral researchers become engaged leaders who will contribute positively to the society and their various communities.

By working alongside others who have a diversity of perspectives and come from different backgrounds, scholars learn leadership by stepping outside of their comfort zone and empower them to become good scholars with the right leadership skills.

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