Tips and Tricks

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Characteristics of a good application

1- The application

A good application is one that demonstrates to the selection committee that the applicant is worthy of a prestigious award.

A good application:

  • presents all of the required information in a clear and concise manner
  • has no errors in spelling, grammar or facts
  • is coherent from start to finish
  • convinces the committee that the applicant has a strong sense of planning / direction in his or her scholarly career
  • presents forcefully the qualities and achievements of the applicant
  • demonstrates enthusiasm and dedication
  • convinces the committee that the probability is high that the applicant will successfully complete the doctoral program in a timely manner
  • presents a program of research promising academic excellence and demonstrating the potential of the applicant to conduct advanced scholarly research

2- The letters of appraisal  

i) Selection of referee:

  • Ideally, the referee should have known the applicant and his or her work for at least two years.
  • The referee should be able to write enthusiastically about the applicant and his or her program of work.
  • One of the referees should be the applicant’s M.A. or Ph.D. supervisor.
  • Do not neglect to send a copy of your CV and proposed program of work to the referee.

Tip: An applicant may be well advised to make an appointment with each referee to “coach” the referee. Remind the referee of your achievements and good grades, and inform him or her of your qualities, educational and work experiences, and skills of which he or she may not be aware. This will assist the referee to do an informed appraisal. (If you cannot meet with a referee, convey this information in writing.)

ii) A letter of appraisal should:

  • Support enthusiastically the applicant and the program of work
  • Reflect the skills and past achievements of the applicant
  • Focus on the applicant’s potential to conduct advanced scholarly research
  • Stress the strengths and personal attributes that inspire confidence that the applicant will complete the Ph.D. successfully and in a timely manner
  • Demonstrate why the applicant is of superior calibre and worthy of a national award
  • Support the information the applicant provides in the application

3-The departmental appraisal :

  • Is used to compare and rank applicants from a given department
  • Is used to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of an applicant’s performance, abilities and proposed program of work
  • May be used to attenuate comments from the referees

4- Program of work

The description of the program of work should:

  • Be well written, avoiding technical language and jargon
  • Be carefully crafted, using the limited space in an efficient manner
  • Demonstrate the originality and importance of the research topic and the potential contribution of the research to the advancement of knowledge in the field
  • Present a clearly articulated theoretical framework that situates the research within the current state of knowledge in the field
  • Briefly describe the methodology to be used
  • Demonstrate the link between this research and prior work done by the applicant
  • Use citations where appropriate; a bibliography may be appended

5- Deadlines

Respecting the deadline is crucial. An application received late shall be automatically rejected.

For further information :

Office of Research and Ethics
Tel.: 613-236-1393 Ext. 2323