Ontario Trillium Scholarship

The Ontario Trillium Scholarships (OTS) program is an important initiative to attract top international students to Ontario for PhD studies. Students interested in the Ontario Trillium Scholarships are encouraged to express their interest in the competition to the graduate program chair when applying for admission to Western University. A qualified international applicant must be nominated for the scholarship by the Graduate Chair of the admitting program.

Value and Duration

  • $40,000 per year renewable for up to 4 years, and will begin concurrently with the start of the recipient’s PhD program.
  • OTS Terms and Conditions

Western's Allocation

  • to be announced

Timeline and Deadlines

  • to be announced


Academic Eligibility: An eligible applicant must have achieved a minimum of 80% in each of the last two most recently completed years of full-time university study, or equivalent to full-time study. Eligibility averages for the competitive scholarship are rounded ONLY to the nearest decimal place. 

To Be Eligible for Nomination by the Graduate Chair, an applicant must also:

  • Be an international student at the time of application and when taking up the award
  • Intend to be present on campus to undertake full-time PhD studies in any discipline at Western at the start of either Summer Term or Fall Term immediately following the annual call for nominations
  • Not be currently registered in a university degree program at an Ontario university at the time of nomination 
  • Have exceptional research experience and potential, combined with an outstanding university academic record

To Be Eligible to Hold the Award, the recipient must:

  • Have received a valid temporary resident visa as a member of the student class under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada) by the start date of the PhD program
  • Be present and registered full-time in the PhD program at Western by the start date of the award and for its full duration
  • Not have concurrently accepted a scholarship or fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), or the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), or be in receipt of an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) or a Queen Elizabeth II - Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology (QEII-GSST)
  • Maintain satisfactory progress in the program which will be verified by the recipient’s completion of an annual progress report in conjunction with his/her supervisor

N.B. A recipient may continue to hold the Trillium should he/she become a permanent resident of Canada during the tenure of the award.

Administering the Competition - Roles and Responsibilities

The Nomination File:

International candidates must be nominated by their admitting Graduate Chair (Director or Associate Dean), and the candidate’s complete admission application is used as the basis of assessment along with a Nomination Letter written by the Graduate Chair (Director or Associate Dean.

Remember that when applying for admission, applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of their proficiency in the use of the English language. Please refer candidates as appropriate to the information on English Language Proficiency on our website.

Initial Considerations for the Graduate Chair

  • Am I satisfied that the student meets the criteria for nomination i.e. does the student have an established record of high research potential and academic excellence, as well as strong interpersonal and communication skills?
  • Does my graduate program’s research training environment offer the candidate the right opportunities and facilities, and do the candidate’s research interests align with our priorities?
  • Am I familiar with the quality and reputation of the candidate's previous university or of the department from which they recently completed their degree program?

Graduate Chair Responsibilities

  • Recruit a competitive candidate(s) and have them complete and submit an Online Application for admission, or identify a competitive candidate(s) from the pool of PhD admission applications already submitted.
  • Confirm that the candidate has performed at a first-class level recently by;
    • Calculating two eligibility averages, one for each of the last two years of full-time study. See Academic Eligibility rule above.  
  • Notify the candidate(s) that they are being considered for the scholarship
  • Write the Nomination Letter (max. 2 pages), addressed to the Vice-Provost, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, that provides a rationale for the choice of candidate, clearly articulating the excellence of the candidate according to the four selection criteria outlined in the Trillium Scoring Rubric
        • Academic excellence
        • Research potential and experience
        • Interpersonal Qualities of the Candidate
        • Quality and reputation of previous university and/or degree program
  • Prepare the nomination file (single PDF) in this order:
    • Nomination Letter
    • Admission Application which normally includes: summary, academic intent, letters of reference, transcripts, supplementary documents
    • CV (mandatory)
  • Submit the PDF nomination to SGPS (pmenzies@uwo.ca) any time after February 1st until SGPS closes the annual call.

SGPS Responsibilities

  • Receive nominations from graduate chairs, select the annual recipients in a timely manner, and determine a ranked waitlist of alternate candidates by August 31.
  • Communicate the offers to the Ontario Trillium Scholars-elect via the admitting graduate programs
  • Update the External Funding Portfolio on an ongoing basis with the results of the annual competition
  • Make offers to waitlisted candidates in the event of declined offers

Terms and Conditions

Value, Duration and Payment of the Scholarship

      • $40,000 per year for the first four years of a PhD program.
      • Annual scholarship funds are paid in three equal installments by term to the recipient's Student Center account.
      • A T4A is issued for each calendar year that the recipient holds the Trillium.

Conditions for Acceptance and Continuance of the Scholarship

Trillium recipient:

      • Must be an international student with a valid temporary resident visa as a member of the student class.
      • Was not studying at an Ontario postsecondary institution at the undergraduate or graduate level at the time of nomination
      • Must be registered full-time, per SGPS and Ministry  regulations (Section 4.04), in the PhD for which the scholarship was awarded as of the payment start date.
      • Must not be enrolled in a qualifying or make-up year
      • Must not have concurrently accepted a scholarship from :
        • The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
        • The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
        • The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
      • Must not be in receipt of:
        • An Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS)
        • A Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology (QEIIGSST)
      • Must not have failed to repay all or any part of, an unearned Ontario Trillium Scholarship.
      • Agrees that SGPS may provide award-related information from the original application to other units on campus, as well as to the donor, because Trillium Scholarships are funded, in part, by matched private donations to The University of Western Ontario. The content of evaluations provided by referees in the original application will not be released.
      • May be requested to write a letter of thanks to the donor who contributed to the scholarship.
      • Agrees that the University may publicize his/her award, specifically by name, degree, graduate program, and research title, where applicable, in Western and London media for the duration of the Trillium

Interrupting the Scholarship

      • A request for an interruption of a Trillium must be accompanied by an approved leave of absence request to SGPS. A leave of absence may be granted to a maximum of 3 terms or 12 months.
      • The interruption of a Trillium must not exceed, on any one occasion, more than 12 consecutive months, for reasons including:
        • Immigration process
        • Maternity or parental leave
        • Family or medical leave; or
        • Compassionate leave (e.g. bereavement)

Completion/Withdrawal from the Graduate Program

    • Repayment of Trillium funds received is required if the Trillium recipient:
      • Completes their program before the natural end of the scholarship
      • Transfers to another institution
      • Withdraws from the program
      • Loses full-time status
      • Fails to maintain good academic standing as determined by the graduate program
      • Otherwise loses eligibility for continued receipt of the Trillium as set out in these conditions
    • SGPS will prorate the Trillium to the end of the month in which the recipient's full-time status changes. For example, if a recipient completes, or withdraws from, the program on February 15, SGPS would recover the March and April portions, or $6,667, of the original Winter Term installment paid of $13, 334.