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SSHRC proposal for first year Masters

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Hi all,

I am applying for a CGS award, but I am also intending to start grad school in Sept 2012. Is there anyone who is familiar with writing proposals while not enrolled in any particular grad program? I understand the general structure of the proposal when enrolled in a specific program; but how does this differ for my situation?

Any help would be great!



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I don't know if SSHRC is the same as NSERC, but I basically wrote a random research proposal that had nothing to do with what I thought I might want to do in grad school. All they wanted to see is that you could write a research proposal. Now that I have a project I just had to send them a new proposal so they could ensure it wasn't clinical work or anything else that isn't funded by them.

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I just finished the SSHRC app for first year Doctoral studies (my deadline was Monday; yours, apparently, is a little more than a month away... if, as I'm given to understand, you are not currently enrolled in a program/convocated more than a year ago and need to apply directly to SSHRC).

You have some work to do. If you haven't already, start by trawling the SSHRC website. Specifically the SSHRC Resource Centre is helpful. Below is a link to the Resources for MA scholarships:


The "What's in an application?" piece will let you know what they expect in a proposal from a student who's planning to enter an MA program and is applying straight to SSHRC. BEFORE you check that out, confirm your subject matter eligibility here:


You are kind of vague regarding your current status. Do you still have connections with your undergrad institution? (where are your letters coming from? - SSHRC letters should be academic, employer letters don't mean as much) Are you planning on returning to that institution for the MA? Or are you going elsewhere? Depending on your answer, I would say that the next move might be to contact your undergrad university and see if they've got any resources for you. Some institutions hold SSHRC workshops, keep past successful proposals on file for students to view or can refer you accordingly (writing resources, academic directors with good advice ect;).

For myself, I am planning to enter the first year of doctoral studies. I want to return to the same program where I did my MA, but I was away from the department for JUST long enough that I needed to apply to SSHRC directly. However, my previous profs and academic advisor were very forthcoming with support and encouragement (I was able to get in on a workshop/proposal drafting session).... I also contacted them in June to give them a good heads up... you might be a bit more pressed for time.

I put A LOT of emphasis on WHAT program I specifically wanted to attend, in both my MA SSHRC app and my PhD one. I mentioned profs who would serve as thesis advisors (I contacted them first to get their agreement, obviously), courses I wanted to take and specific resources that the department/program/university had that would be of benefit to my research. I know people that have had success with SHHRC without mentioning all of this, but not many. The school at which you will hold the award is accountable to getting a portion of it paid to you, so it matters that you give them some thought. Spelling out the program/institution at which you want to conduct research will show that you've given this some thought and are prepared to articulate how these choices will (I) allow your research to THRIVE (II) provide opportunities for you to CONTRIBUTE and (III) provide resources to ensure that you will FINISH. Because, these are the things that SSHRC wants you demonstrate before they can justify funding you. Your proposal should be engaging, but the components I just listed should be prioritized over the topic you pick; you can change your mind on your topic, you WILL likely change your mind, but the elements above should be things that you are unwavering about.

Plan to do many drafts. Ideally, you should have at least one go-to prof or academic professional who will read at least 2 drafts and make comments. Then, get everyone else who is willing to read it and hand it off to them. The SSHRC proposal should be free from jargon (it will be read by an interdisciplinary committee) and should demonstrate the elements above; the presence of these components should be clear, to non-academics or otherwise, so anyone reading it has the potential to give you feedback on whether or not you are coming across clearly and competently.

It's hard to do the application stuff when you're not enrolled (I had a break between the BA and MA, and now have another between the MA and PhD). I've worked during these, and it's hard to set aside the time and get in the right headspace. If you have any specific questions, feel free to PM me.

But, yeah, get on this!

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Thanks so much for your response. It was hugely helpful.

I'm a year and half out of my undergraduate and working at a lab - you're right about the awkwardness of being in between stages.

I've been plugging away at my statement for a few weeks now, but seemed to reach an impasse. Your advice will definitely help me fire out the finishing touches.

Once again, much appreciated!



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