Best Scholarship Programs In Canada For African Students

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Scholarships are a great way for African students to access education in Canada. While tuition fees are already relatively low in Canada compared to other countries, scholarship programs offer students the extra financial help they may need to pursue their dreams.

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For African students looking for the best scholarship programs in Canada, this guide provides all the information you need. From government-funded scholarships to awards from private foundations and corporations, we’ll cover everything you need to know to find the perfect program for you. Read on to learn more!

Best Scholarship Programs In Canada For African Students

There are several scholarship programs available in Canada for African students, some of the popular ones include:

  1. Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships: Offered to doctoral students to support their studies in Canada.
  2. International Leaders of Tomorrow Award: Offered to international students entering an undergraduate program at the University of British Columbia.
  3. Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program Provides full scholarship support to students from Sub-Saharan Africa to study at select Canadian universities.
  4. Alexander Rutherford Scholarship
  5. Globalink Research Award: Offered to international students pursuing research in Canada, including students from Africa.
  6. International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Doctoral Research Awards: Offers support to African students pursuing PhDs in fields related to international development.
  7. British Columbia Achievement Scholarships

It’s advisable to check with individual universities and colleges for specific scholarships and funding opportunities.

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships

Valued at $50,000 annually for three years while pursuing a doctorate. focuses on the three equally weighted selection criteria of leadership, research capacity, and academic excellence (potential and demonstrated ability)

In order to improve Canada’s capacity to draw and keep top-tier doctorate students and position the country as a global hub of excellence in research and higher education, the Canadian government introduced the Vanier CGS program in 2008.

In their graduate studies in the social sciences and humanities, the natural sciences and/or engineering, and health, Vanier Scholars exhibit leadership qualities and a high quality of intellectual success.

The Canadian institution at which a student is applying for PhD studies is where they must apply for a Vanier CGS. Canadian institutions will submit a set number of nominations to the Vanier CGS program based on their quotas.

The three federal grant-making organizations, which each issue 55 prizes annually, jointly distribute the maximum number of 166 Vanier Scholars. NSERC and CIHR alternate receiving the additional grant on a yearly basis.

The day-to-day management of the program is the responsibility of the Vanier-Banting Secretariat, which is a part of CIHR.

Scholarship requirements:

  • Application details (form)
  • Canadian common CV (CCV)
  • Nomination letter – maximum two pages (signed by the relevant department head of the nominating institution)
  • Institution transcripts (scanned and attached by the institution’s administrative staff)
  • Personal Leadership Statement – maximum of two pages for English applications; maximum of 2.5 pages for French applications (self-evaluation written by the student)
  • Two Leadership reference Letters – maximum two pages each (written by someone who knows the candidate in a non-academic capacity – this letter is attached to the nomination by the candidate)
  • Research proposal – maximum of two pages for English applications; maximum of 2.5 pages for French applications (written by the student)
  • Project references – maximum five pages (written by the student)
  • Research contributions – maximum one page (written by the student)
  • Special circumstances (optional) – maximum one 0.5 page (written by the student)
  • Two referee assessments – three sections each

Nomination process:

A Canadian institution having a quota* for hosting Vanier scholars must nominate candidates. Only the institution where a candidate wishes to study should nominate them.

The maximum number of nominations that an institution may submit to the national competition is referred to as the “quota.”


  • Canadian citizens
  • Permanent residents of Canada
  • Foreign citizens

Apply Here

International Leaders of Tomorrow Award

This prize is given to outstanding students who have demonstrated a commitment to and a willingness to find solutions for issues relating to social justice, the environment, equity and inclusion, societal health and wellbeing, and freedom of speech.

Eligibility requirements:

  1. You must be an international student who has been granted a study permit to study in Canada.
  2. You must be transferring from your first year of a post-secondary college or another university, or you must be attending UBC from a recognized secondary school.
  3. You must have completed high school no earlier than the academic year for which you are applying. Candidates for 2023, for instance, must have completed high school no earlier than 2022.
  4. Your application for your first undergraduate degree must be submitted.
  5. You must show that you have achieved academically (achieve all as or equivalent standards).
  6. You must show that your financial situation is such that it would otherwise preclude you from obtaining a degree at UBC. (UBC automatically examines all international students for the merit-based Outstanding International Student Awards and International Major Entrance Scholarships, which have a combined annual maximum value of $25,000 each. You are qualified to apply for the International Scholars Program if this sum is insufficient to satisfy your needs for tuition and essential living costs.)
  7. The English Language Admission Standard as well as general and degree-specific requirements are among the requirements for admission to UBC.

Application deadline:

  • November 15: You must have turned in your International Scholars Program application 
  • December 1: The deadline for submitting your UBC admissions online application. Only your first-choice degree will be taken into consideration for an International Scholars Program scholarship, even though you can list two-degree options in your application.
  • Meet the English language admission standard for direct entry to UBC by January 31. If you have applied to a Vantage One program and want to be considered for the Vantage One Excellent Award, you must also meet the English language criterion for UBC Vantage College.
  • January 31: Send in any paperwork needed for your admission to UBC. Instead of the day mentioned in your “next steps” email, kindly submit by this deadline.
  • You will be notified of any awards in the middle of April.

Apply Here

Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program aspires to create an inclusive and equitable socioeconomic change-making network of young people and institutions across Africa. The Program has helped almost 40,000 young Africans pursue secondary or tertiary education since its establishment in 2012.

We are aware that in order to help scholars and young people flourish across Africa, it is necessary to remove systemic hurdles to higher education, build capacity, promote creative solutions in key industries, and link ecosystem actors to increase our effectiveness.

How to apply:

The Program works to create the conditions that will allow young people to receive inclusive and relevant education, transition easily into respectable and fulfilling employment, and lead transformative lives. We do this in collaboration with young people, universities, NGOs, and other stakeholders in higher education.

Through their affiliated universities and non-governmental organizations, the Scholars Program is carried out. Each partner oversees the application procedure and decision-making on their own. You must submit an application through the university of your choice if you want to be a scholar.

Partner institutions set their own admission costs and deadlines. For additional information, we advise you to look up the application requirements or get in touch with the institution of your choice. If a student is chosen for the Scholars Program, all application fees that the institution charges as part of the admissions procedure will be refunded.

Partner schools ( Undergraduate ):

  • African Development University
  • American University of Beirut
  • Ashesi University College
  • Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)
  • Sciences Po
  • University of Abomey-Calavi
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Gondar
  • EARTH University
  • Makerere University
  • United States International University Africa
  • African Leadership University
  • International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering (2iE)

Masters/Graduate Schools:

  • African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS)
  • American University of Beirut
  • Arizona State University
  • Carnegie Mellon University Africa
  • McGill University
  • University of Oxford
  • Sciences Po
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Cape Town
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Gondar
  • University of Pretoria
  • University of California, Berkeley (UCB)
  • University of Toronto (U of T)

Apply Here

British Columbia Achievement Scholarships

Students in British Columbia who are enrolled in a post-secondary program at a public post-secondary institution in British Columbia are eligible for British Columbia Achievement Awards.

Those who have been accepted as full-time undergraduate students and have finished at least one year of their degree as well as Canadian nationals or permanent residents are also eligible for the rewards.

Your financial need, individual situation, academic standing, and attendance will all play a role in how much you might earn. Read More.

Ontario Graduate Scholarship for International Students – Canada

The School of Graduate Studies at the University of Toronto is presently accepting applications for the Ontario Graduate Scholarship for International Students who desire to enroll in a degree program for the 2023–2024 academic session.

The University of Toronto and the Province of Ontario collaborate to fund the university’s scholarship program. The Province distributes OGS awards to universities, indicating the maximum number of awards that each institution may annually grant to its students.

The Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) program is a government-funded scholarship program in Canada for international and domestic students enrolled in graduate programs at eligible universities in Ontario, including the University of Toronto. The scholarship provides funding for tuition and living expenses for full-time students in an eligible graduate program.

Application deadline:

June 1, 2023

Program requirements:

Application requirements for the Ontario Graduate Scholarship for International Students include the following:

  • A predetermined number of OGS awards are available for overseas students studying or planning to study at the University of Toronto on a temporary resident visa (student study permit); valid study permits must be in force as of the OGS international application deadline for graduate units;
  • By the student deadline set by each graduate unit, be a citizen, permanent resident, or protected person as defined in paragraph 95(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada);
  • Be enrolled or expect to enroll full-time in a qualifying program in 2023–2024;
  • Not go over the lifetime cap on government funding or the top OGS/QEII assistance limit?
  • Have earned at least an A- (or equivalent) in each of the last two years of study that have been successfully completed (on a full-time basis); or, if the student has already finished two years or more of graduate study at the time of application, the student need only show an overall average of at least an A- (or equivalent) in all graduate courses that have been successfully completed.

Apply Here

Globalink Research Award

The Mitacs Globalink Research Award (GRA) promotes research partnerships among Canada and specific partner organizations as well as with eligible nations and areas.

Successful senior undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows will receive a $6,000 research scholarship to carry out a 12- to 24-week research study abroad, under the joint supervision of a home and host professor.

Awards are contingent upon financial availability and are provided in collaboration with Mitacs’ Canadian academic partners (and, in some situations, Mitacs’ overseas partners).

Program Summary:

  1. 16 weeks before the start of the project, applicants (students or postdoctoral fellows, home and host supervisors), submit their applications to the partner organization or to Mitacs for processing.
  2. Mitacs will inform participants of the application’s outcome within 12 weeks of submission. A year must pass after the outcome date before travel can occur.
  3. Within six months of their departure date, the intern submits the completed Mitacs Code of Conduct and Ethics and International Pre-Departure paperwork.
  4. After obtaining the signed Mitacs Code of Conduct and Ethics and International Pre-Departure paperwork, Mitacs transfers the GRA monies to the Canadian university. In some circumstances, the partner organization of Mitacs may provide interns a percentage of the money.
  5. After setting out for the location, the intern starts the research endeavor.
  6. The intern produces a final report that includes a summary of the project after it has been completed.

Eligible countries:

The program supports travel and research with academic institutions between Canada and the following countries and regions: 

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Chile
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • India
  • Iran (Travel to Canada only)
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Latvia
  • Lebanon (Travel to Canada only)
  • Lithuania 
  • Luxembourg
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Morocco
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Tunisia
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Apply Here


African students seeking higher education in Canada have an immense opportunity to fulfill their dreams by taking advantage of the various scholarship programs available.

With the help of these scholarships, African students can acquire a top-notch education from some of the best universities in Canada and around the world.

We hope that this article has helped you discover what some of these great opportunities are and how you can take advantage of them. Good luck with your studies!

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