SSHRC 2010

1,193 posts in this topic

Posted

Yeah, I tried to make my statement as free of jargon as possible, but it's a real challenge. I would think that one's referees will toot their own horns a bit in order to indicate to the reviewers that they are a big name or are faculty at a reputable program, just in case the reviewers all happen to be pretty ignorant about the field. I know that one of my referees has been funded by SSHRC and has had many students funded by SSHRC. I wonder if that gets factored into the equation...

I totally agree with your outlook - ultimately luck will have something to do with it so it's best to keep your hopes up but not be too traumatized if it doesn't work out. :) Is this your first time applying? It is for me.

Yeah, definitely. One shouldn't feel too bad if he's/she's not funded by SSHRC. Their selection method is far from perfect.

This is the first time I apply for doctoral funding, though I did go through this process once before for the MA (even though there it was somewhat different, since when I heard the application was forwarded I pretty much knew already what the final outcome would be, as opposed to our case here). Still, the waiting game is not easy..

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Posted

I am going to preface this by saying i am a first time applicant (I started my PhD in sept 2009 and applied for the first time in sept 2009). My sshrc application made it to the national contest....my grades are pretty average so i am not sure how that happened, and was wondering if it was publications? (I have 2, one in a collection of essays and another in a good peer reviewed journal, both published at the end of my MA. I am not well connected...lol....just did coursework so had a few ok papers floating around)

anyway, I was wondering how many publications past winners have had under their belts, and how many conferences? (I have 2 small conferences that involved zero travel)

Does that make up for average grades? (My MA overall is an 83.4%...and one grade of 78 so that probably looks kind of bad). How can i make up for average MA grades?

what have people's experiences been like, specifically with professional development stuff like publishing? have you found it makes a difference?

thanks for the insight:)

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Posted

addendum:

oops

I am in the interdisciplinary category (womens studies)

thanks guys :)

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Posted

I don't think your grades are that big of a deal. My guess is that other things will matter more. You have to think about what they are trying to do with these awards - they want to give them to people they can feel confident are going to go on to be productive researchers in their field. Being able to get good marks in a classroom setting is not important (although failing classes at the grad level is a red flag). Often students think that they just need to keep getting good marks and they will be successful, just like undergrad. Being able to mobilize yourself to be productive in research and engage in professional activities is hugely important to your future success. Whatever indicators of this ability you have in your application will work in your favor. Think about it holistically rather than trying to peg yourself against past winners in terms of specific accomplishments.

I am going to preface this by saying i am a first time applicant (I started my PhD in sept 2009 and applied for the first time in sept 2009). My sshrc application made it to the national contest....my grades are pretty average so i am not sure how that happened, and was wondering if it was publications? (I have 2, one in a collection of essays and another in a good peer reviewed journal, both published at the end of my MA. I am not well connected...lol....just did coursework so had a few ok papers floating around)

anyway, I was wondering how many publications past winners have had under their belts, and how many conferences? (I have 2 small conferences that involved zero travel)

Does that make up for average grades? (My MA overall is an 83.4%...and one grade of 78 so that probably looks kind of bad). How can i make up for average MA grades?

what have people's experiences been like, specifically with professional development stuff like publishing? have you found it makes a difference?

thanks for the insight:)

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Posted

I don't think your grades are that big of a deal. My guess is that other things will matter more. You have to think about what they are trying to do with these awards - they want to give them to people they can feel confident are going to go on to be productive researchers in their field. Being able to get good marks in a classroom setting is not important (although failing classes at the grad level is a red flag). Often students think that they just need to keep getting good marks and they will be successful, just like undergrad. Being able to mobilize yourself to be productive in research and engage in professional activities is hugely important to your future success. Whatever indicators of this ability you have in your application will work in your favor. Think about it holistically rather than trying to peg yourself against past winners in terms of specific accomplishments.

I actually believe that grades matter a lot, though maybe I am not that familiar with the process. Isn't academic merit the most important factor in the process? This is measured I believe by awards received previously, letters of reference, but also by grades.

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Posted (edited)

From the SSHRC website (though perhaps this only applies to MA students?):

Multidisciplinary committees evaluate applicants based on:

Academic Excellence

Weighting: 60%

Academic excellence—as demonstrated by academic transcripts, awards and distinctions.Research Potential

Weighting: 30%

Quality of analytical skills, ability to think critically, ability to apply skills and knowledge, judgement, originality, initiative and autonomy, determination, and ability to complete projects within an appropriate period of time—as demonstrated in the description of the degree program and by work experience, research contributions, letters of appraisal and, if applicable, the departmental appraisal. Communication Skills

Weighting: 10%

As demonstrated in the description of the degree program and, if relevant, by work experience, community involvement and other extracurricular activities, as well as by letters of appraisal, the quality of presentation of the application and, if applicable, the departmental appraisal.

Edited by Phalène

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Posted (edited)

Basically for the PhD award they used to specify a different breakdown from the MA award, with less emphasis on grades and more on research (for obvious reasons: PhD students were assumed to have more experience). However, now they evaluate solely on "academic merit" which includes research potential, grades, etc. That is, academic merit, broadly construed. This must be at least in part because some of us are in PhD programs but do not have master's degrees. So they are looking at the whole picture and evaluating you in terms of your potential to be an academic researcher. Not to say that grades don't matter, but it certainly does not seem to me that they are the most important factor, especially at this stage in the game. We have to be able to do a lot more than sit in a classroom and get good marks to succeed. There are many people out there who have gotten good grades all their lives but are not cut out to be researchers or to thrive in graduate school.

Anyway, this is from the website (under SSHRC doctoral award):

Evaluation Criteria

Multidisciplinary selection committees evaluate applicants solely on academic merit, measured by:

  • past academic results, as demonstrated by transcripts, awards and distinctions;
  • the program of study and its potential contribution to the advancement of knowledge;
  • relevant professional and academic experience, including research training, as demonstrated by conference presentations and scholarly publications;
  • two written evaluations from referees; and
  • the departmental appraisal (for those registered at Canadian universities).

From the SSHRC website (though perhaps this only applies to MA students?):

Multidisciplinary committees evaluate applicants based on:

Academic Excellence

Weighting: 60%

Academic excellence—as demonstrated by academic transcripts, awards and distinctions.Research Potential

Weighting: 30%

Quality of analytical skills, ability to think critically, ability to apply skills and knowledge, judgement, originality, initiative and autonomy, determination, and ability to complete projects within an appropriate period of time—as demonstrated in the description of the degree program and by work experience, research contributions, letters of appraisal and, if applicable, the departmental appraisal. Communication Skills

Weighting: 10%

As demonstrated in the description of the degree program and, if relevant, by work experience, community involvement and other extracurricular activities, as well as by letters of appraisal, the quality of presentation of the application and, if applicable, the departmental appraisal.

Edited by Phyllis Stein

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Posted

Just to clarify, I didn't mean to imply that I didn't think grades mattered. I was referring more specifically to the poster who had indicated his/her grades were not impressive. When people are talking about having a single B+ at the grad level....that kind of thing isn't important.

I actually believe that grades matter a lot, though maybe I am not that familiar with the process. Isn't academic merit the most important factor in the process? This is measured I believe by awards received previously, letters of reference, but also by grades.

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Posted

thanks for the input

i made myself crazy this year trying to improve on grades (that B+ killed my MA average), and while things went better this year i was nervous that those grades would haunt me forever. I took a peek at a thread from last year (stats on publications, conferences, grades etc) from winners and it also gave some good insight.

good luck to everyone waiting for an answer from sshrc.

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Posted

Does anyone know if there's a difference between the approved and the not-approved envelopes? I want to be prepared when the letter finally arrives and I don't want the suspense. I'm totally on the edge of my seat as it is. I check this message board compulsively.

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Posted

Yeah, I think the not-approved envelopes have a big red 'X' on them. Just kidding! Seriously, I doubt there is a difference. But I'm with you and the compulsive board checking. I need to stop! :S

Does anyone know if there's a difference between the approved and the not-approved envelopes? I want to be prepared when the letter finally arrives and I don't want the suspense. I'm totally on the edge of my seat as it is. I check this message board compulsively.

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Posted (edited)

This is my second time applying for SSRHC at the PhD level, my previous advisor told me that it's tough to get funding in your first year. It might just be a perception thing.. but I imagine for a lot of students they aren't precisely sure what university they'll be attending.. who they will be working with.. etc. Heck, lots of students who are finishing up their first year might not know that! The statistics do seem to say otherwise, so that is good news =)

I'm extremely nervous, I really need this. I lack confidence and have rarely applied for awards.. so I think that hurts my chances to be honest. Good luck everyone.. I hope we hear soon.

Edited by Amuna

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Posted

Hi Amuna,

You made it to the second round, that should make you feel good! :) I am in a similar situation in that I never applied for any awards in the past. By the way, I'm curious about everyone out there who is waiting and why they really want the award? Are people relying on this as their sole means of funding themselves? Or is it the prestige? Both? I have funding at my school, but with the SSRHC I could have a bit more - would definitely change my quality of life!

This is my second time applying for SSRHC at the PhD level, my previous advisor told me that it's tough to get funding in your first year. It might just be a perception thing.. but I imagine for a lot of students they aren't precisely sure what university they'll be attending.. who they will be working with.. etc. Heck, lots of students who are finishing up their first year might not know that! The statistics do seem to say otherwise, so that is good news =)

I'm extremely nervous, I really need this. I lack confidence and have rarely applied for awards.. so I think that hurts my chances to be honest. Good luck everyone.. I hope we hear soon.

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Posted

I'm a long-time lurker here, as I've been a bit too shy to post :) But I need some advice! I received a one-year Master's SSHRC for this last year of my degree. I elected to start my payments in September 2009, with my grad secretary assuring my that I would still receive three payments (Sept 2009, Jan 2010, May 2010). I found out now that as I plan to graduate this June I have forfeited my third payment. This is NOT clear on SSHRC's website (I checked there before I checked the little box on the form!) and I'm wondering if anyone else has been in this situation? My graduate school contact says that with OGS it's easy to backdate the payment, but she's not sure about SSHRC. I'm preparing for my defence in two weeks and I really don't want to postpone it four months, as I'll be starting my doctorate then. Anyone been here? What happened? Thanks so much for any insights you can share!

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Posted

Hi Amuna,

You made it to the second round, that should make you feel good! :) I am in a similar situation in that I never applied for any awards in the past. By the way, I'm curious about everyone out there who is waiting and why they really want the award? Are people relying on this as their sole means of funding themselves? Or is it the prestige? Both? I have funding at my school, but with the SSRHC I could have a bit more - would definitely change my quality of life!

I'm in a similar position as well. There are a few reasons why I want the award. The first is definitely the prestige. It's nice to have that kind of validation, especially during a part of the Ph.D. program when courses are over and I'm just working on the proposal, mostly on my own. It would be nice and significant bit of feedback that I'm going in the right direction. During the SSHRC grant-writing courses at my school, the instructor also drilled into us how much getting a SSHRC or CGS will shape our future opportunities. Speaking from his own experience, as someone who only got an OGS and didn't really try for the SSHRC (in an era when the OGS was worth a lot more), he seemed to really regret not having tried harder for a SSHRC. I've browsed a lot of CVs on the web, and I definitely get the sense that receiving something like the SSHRC is the norm for people who end up in tenure-track jobs. Not only that, I think getting a SSHRC will help me look like a better candidate for other awards in the future. It's all about the Matthew Effect.

The second is the financial freedom. At my university, we're guaranteed a decent level of minimum funding, and getting the SSHRC isn't actually an increase over the standard package. But since our standard funding includes a certain amount of TAing, getting a SSHRC means either not having to spend time grading or running tutorials, or that I can choose to TA for extra money. I'm not struggling at the moment (my partner works a 9-5 job, though we share expenses evenly), but it would be nice to have a bit more of a cushion.

The third is just that my department basically requires us to apply for SSHRC and other external awards as a condition of continuing to receive the standard internal package, so we actually have little choice about whether we want to or not. It's another hoop to jump through.

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Posted

Well, I find this to be a key issue actually (background of whomever judges your file). From what I gather you can choose which sub-committee will read your file (from the 5 committees mentioned in the application), but then in this sub-committee you have people from multiple fields, so it's not really read by people from your field specifically. This is in fact why a siginificant portion of the outcome depends on 'luck' and randomess; you might have people from other fields reading your file, and they'd have no idea what you're talking about in your research statement, and will not know your referees or your department that well (and of course, it could also be the other way around). This is why I tried to write my propsal as simple as possible without too many technicalities, so that pretty much everybody can understand it (they actually mention it somewhere that it should be done this way). I hope it would help somehow. We'll see shortly I guess.

This is a common complaint about SSHRC and one reason why SSHRC results are seen as more random than NSERC. I'm in social psychology and the consensus is you'll be lucky to get a psychologist on your committee, much less a social psychologist. There's just a danger that somebody in, say, English will use different criteria to evaluate candidates than, say, someone in Sociology. This creates error variance in the ratings. It's also easier to unintentionally say something that will make somebody dislike you because different fields have different triggers.

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Posted

Here's a question: what if you are in a PhD program where the MA is is rolled into it. It's a PhD program, but you get an MA along the way (if you want to). It was appropriate to apply for the PhD award, but are my chances possibly higher because technically I am at a master's level? (Probably not, but I figured I'd ask.)

I hate to say, but your chances might be a bit lower because if you applied to the PhD award then you'll be evaluated against other PhD students (who could already have an MA and now be in first, second year PhD). (Unless I'm misunderstanding your situation.)

My program is also organized like this and it's more common for people to get PhD SSHRC's in second year, though people do get them in year one. If you get one now that's exceptional news, but don't be too discouraged if it doesn't happen.

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Posted

I'm a long-time lurker here, as I've been a bit too shy to post :) But I need some advice! I received a one-year Master's SSHRC for this last year of my degree. I elected to start my payments in September 2009, with my grad secretary assuring my that I would still receive three payments (Sept 2009, Jan 2010, May 2010). I found out now that as I plan to graduate this June I have forfeited my third payment. This is NOT clear on SSHRC's website (I checked there before I checked the little box on the form!) and I'm wondering if anyone else has been in this situation? My graduate school contact says that with OGS it's easy to backdate the payment, but she's not sure about SSHRC. I'm preparing for my defence in two weeks and I really don't want to postpone it four months, as I'll be starting my doctorate then. Anyone been here? What happened? Thanks so much for any insights you can share!

That situation sucks, but I kind of side with SSHRC here. Your MA took 8 months and they funded 8 months. Are you paying tuition this summer? Why should they continue to pay you if you're no longer a student?

Is there any way you can defend in two weeks and just submit your graduation papers later? Then you're still a student throughout the summer and could get a head start on your PhD research.

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Posted

I'm in a similar position as well. There are a few reasons why I want the award. The first is definitely the prestige. It's nice to have that kind of validation, especially during a part of the Ph.D. program when courses are over and I'm just working on the proposal, mostly on my own. It would be nice and significant bit of feedback that I'm going in the right direction. During the SSHRC grant-writing courses at my school, the instructor also drilled into us how much getting a SSHRC or CGS will shape our future opportunities. Speaking from his own experience, as someone who only got an OGS and didn't really try for the SSHRC (in an era when the OGS was worth a lot more), he seemed to really regret not having tried harder for a SSHRC. I've browsed a lot of CVs on the web, and I definitely get the sense that receiving something like the SSHRC is the norm for people who end up in tenure-track jobs. Not only that, I think getting a SSHRC will help me look like a better candidate for other awards in the future. It's all about the Matthew Effect.

The second is the financial freedom. At my university, we're guaranteed a decent level of minimum funding, and getting the SSHRC isn't actually an increase over the standard package. But since our standard funding includes a certain amount of TAing, getting a SSHRC means either not having to spend time grading or running tutorials, or that I can choose to TA for extra money. I'm not struggling at the moment (my partner works a 9-5 job, though we share expenses evenly), but it would be nice to have a bit more of a cushion.

The third is just that my department basically requires us to apply for SSHRC and other external awards as a condition of continuing to receive the standard internal package, so we actually have little choice about whether we want to or not. It's another hoop to jump through.

I just wanted to echo these points, especially the one about the Matthew Effect. At my university people with an external scholarship (SSHRC or OGS) get a release from 75% of their TA work, which frees up an astounding amount of time for research. Research is what gets you a job, so the real boost to one's CV isn't the award per se (though it helps) but the freedom you get to pursue research and not get bogged down teaching.

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Posted

That situation sucks, but I kind of side with SSHRC here. Your MA took 8 months and they funded 8 months. Are you paying tuition this summer? Why should they continue to pay you if you're no longer a student?

Is there any way you can defend in two weeks and just submit your graduation papers later? Then you're still a student throughout the summer and could get a head start on your PhD research.

Actually - it is a two year degree that I took two years to complete. SSHRC funded one year of that, not eight months. So I was counting on one year of funding. Nowhere does my graduate school make it clear that the three payments have to start in May or else you give up a third of the scholarship.

I'm waiting to find out if I can put off the convocation and still defend as planned. It would really suck to put off my defense itself for four months. I'm wondering if anyone else has had this problem and has had their third payment backdated.

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Posted

Thanks. To clarify, I will be going into year 2 PhD in Fall 2010. I would hope that they would take into consideration the fact that I haven't done an MA yet and judge me accordingly. I think they might expect more productivity from someone who has completed an MA, so just having an MA and having done some research shouldn't necessarily make them more competitive than me. I've done a fair bit, considering the fact that I haven't done an MA and am in my first year. I think that's partially why they've modified their evaluation criteria to be more holistic. But we shall see what happens. I think having potential as an academic researcher is what is key, and the advantage that people who have completed an MA have is more time to demonstrate this potential.

I hate to say, but your chances might be a bit lower because if you applied to the PhD award then you'll be evaluated against other PhD students (who could already have an MA and now be in first, second year PhD). (Unless I'm misunderstanding your situation.)

My program is also organized like this and it's more common for people to get PhD SSHRC's in second year, though people do get them in year one. If you get one now that's exceptional news, but don't be too discouraged if it doesn't happen.

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Posted

I don't get this...on the form I put September as the start date because I wanted to make sure that I was funded through the summer on year 3 of funding (which will be year 4 of my degree). I will still have another year of grad school after that. Did I make the wrong choice? I hope making that selection doesn't mean I forfeited funding for the 3rd summer?

Actually - it is a two year degree that I took two years to complete. SSHRC funded one year of that, not eight months. So I was counting on one year of funding. Nowhere does my graduate school make it clear that the three payments have to start in May or else you give up a third of the scholarship.

I'm waiting to find out if I can put off the convocation and still defend as planned. It would really suck to put off my defense itself for four months. I'm wondering if anyone else has had this problem and has had their third payment backdated.

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I don't get this...on the form I put September as the start date because I wanted to make sure that I was funded through the summer on year 3 of funding (which will be year 4 of my degree). I will still have another year of grad school after that. Did I make the wrong choice? I hope making that selection doesn't mean I forfeited funding for the 3rd summer?

I think that because you still have another year of your program afterwards you are OK. As it was explained to me, my problem is that I don't have another year of the SAME degree. I had thought this would be OK because we usually graduate in November, but I have since found out we graduate from this program in June. I hadn't been sure whether or not I would be done this spring, so I had my funding start in September in case I wasn't.

But to me (and I am not sure) you seem OK.

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Posted

Hi Amuna,

You made it to the second round, that should make you feel good! :) I am in a similar situation in that I never applied for any awards in the past. By the way, I'm curious about everyone out there who is waiting and why they really want the award? Are people relying on this as their sole means of funding themselves? Or is it the prestige? Both? I have funding at my school, but with the SSRHC I could have a bit more - would definitely change my quality of life!

Thanks, you're very correct. I was so pleased to make it to the second round, but as the months pass by I am very aware of my increasing anxiety :/

I want the award for both reasons honestly. The prestige really helps to build your CV, and the financial benefit ensures you have more time to focus upon your own work.. which translates into a more developed CV. I think it also helps your confidence. I know graduate school has done a number on my confidence over the years, it's a bit of a roller coaster eh? - Good grade = Yay I'm awesome. Bad grade = I am the worst student ever. Accepted paper = I am the best researcher everrrr! Rejection letters = why am I here, I'm not good enough. - Hahaha, I'm sure you all get my point. So I think the recognition builds confidence in important ways.

I guess on the financial level, I'm currently the main income in my home as my partner is also a student (He supported me during the end of my BA, so we've switched roles now that I have more earning power). So that can be a little stressful.

If I don't get it, I won't be super surprised.. as I said my award record is much shorter than most PhD students, and my research contributions are limited as well. So I'm crossing my fingers, but I would understand why I wouldn't be selected. There is always next year, hopefully I can get a few of my working papers out for review or something.

Someone brought up the point about the disciplinary variation. I think this is really important honestly. Social sciences and the humanities are quite different fields. On the other hand, trans-disciplinary collaboration is the theme of the future... so maybe people are more informed about what is a good proposal for psychology versus english versus sociology. (At least I hope!!) The "Matthew effect" is definitely discouraging...

Sorry to be so negative, I'm doing PhD coursework and I'm very burnt out. (We all are I'm sure) So again, good luck everyone. (Fingers crossed!)

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Posted

Actually - it is a two year degree that I took two years to complete. SSHRC funded one year of that, not eight months. So I was counting on one year of funding. Nowhere does my graduate school make it clear that the three payments have to start in May or else you give up a third of the scholarship.

I'm waiting to find out if I can put off the convocation and still defend as planned. It would really suck to put off my defense itself for four months. I'm wondering if anyone else has had this problem and has had their third payment backdated.

That is very unfortunate and I sympathize. I still understand why SSHRC has its rule (i.e., if you've graduated your not a student and theoretically could do something else for the summer). All that said, it really seems to be the grad department's fault for not having you start the award last May.

Good luck -- I hope you can postpone convocation.

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