Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (VCGS)

updated: June 14, 2018

Congratulations to Federica Guccini, a recipient of the Vanier Canada Scholarship in 2019.

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (VCGS) program aims to attract and retain world-class doctoral students by supporting students who demonstrate both superior leadership skills and an outstanding record of scholarly achievement in graduate studies in the social sciences and/or humanities, natural sciences and/or engineering and health. International and domestic candidates are eligible to be nominated for a Vanier CGS.  Please visit the SGPS Vanier webpage to learn more about the award.

Faculty of Social Science (FSS) Process

The internal FSS deadline allows a round of review by at least two faculty who have mentored award winning applications for their own students in the past.  


Candidates are nominated by the Faculty by reviewing scholarsheets. The scholarsheets are web forms circulated by SGPS. Vanier eligibility criteria.

Vanier FSS Timeline for Reviewing/Vetting files*

  • First week in May – Scholarsheet ranking sheet sent to FSS Vanier Committee
  • Third week in May - Scholarsheet rankings sent to Associate Dean Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs
  • Fourth week in May – FSS Vanier Committee meets to discuss who to invite to make full application. Candidates are invited to apply.
  • First week in June: Associate Dean Grad notified of candidate’s intention to proceed
  • Last week in June: Draft application sent to Associate Dean Grad. Send as a single Word file** please (include all 4 letters of reference; draft Grad Chair letter optional at this point). Files will be distributed to FSS Vanier Committee members – two or three members will review each file.
  • Second week in July: Comments directly from the FSS-VC members back to candidates
  • Third week in July: Draft application directly from student to SGPS for vetting/review - single Word file**.
  • Third week in July to end of August: Comments from SGPS back to candidates and green light given to start filing application online in ResearchNet (portal opens early July)
  • Sept 30: Final application due to SGPS

 * reviewing/vetting process is for support only; i.e., no further adjudication of the files at FSS-level, all files can go forward for final submission to SGPS. Those who by-pass the reviewing/vetting process do so at their own peril!
** Referee letters can be sent directly to the Associate Dean Graduate Studies, Jamie Baxter, via
Ann Seabrook, Administrative Assistant) if referees prefer letters not be viewed by the candidate, these will be collated into a single file for the reviewers.

Notes for putting together Vanier applications:

1) Consult the SGPS Vanier page
2) See the Vanier Application Components Template (May 2018)
3) Understand the Vanier evaluation criteria on the Tricouncil Vanier page – 3.1.4 b
4) Seek out applications from current Vanier holders in the Faculty or elsewhere.
5) Pay close attention to organization (e.g., list scholarship value, clearly identify peer reviewed publications rather than mix with conference presentations), and avoid the appearance of misleading information (e.g., WGRS is not a merit award)
6) Consider the full range of leadership – see this leadership report on the Tricouncil Vanier website (esp. p.29-34 summary)
7) Mobility – if an explanation is required for multiple degrees at Western, make strong arguments that Western is the “only”, “best” place to do the proposed research (e.g., supervisor(s), facilities).
8) Notify the referees up front that they may be asked to modify their letter to better highlight key aspects of the candidate’s file – i.e., in relation to other letters. See the note at the bottom of the table above about sending letters directly to the Associate Dean if preferred.
9) Grad Chairs – you are required to write a letter of support for each candidate. Work closely with the supervisor and perhaps the Chair to ensure the complete range of items is covered in the Application Components Template for the letter.