Indigenous Social Science Doctoral Fellowship (ISSDF)

Applications will open in May 2022, pending approval by the Board of Governors

Contact: Jamie Baxter (Associate Dean)

Jan 5, 2022


The Faculty of Social Science prioritizes encouraging, mentoring, and supporting Indigenous scholars. As part of these efforts, we annually offer a $20,000 scholarship ($5,000 per year for four years) to support Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) applicants to any of our PhD programs. Successful applicants will demonstrate outstanding research potential and dedication to scholarly activity, which come in many forms. Indigenous scholars will also be considered for our Equity and Diversity Social Science Doctoral Fellowship (EDSSDF).


  • One award with a total value of $20,000 ($5,000/year for four years)
  • These awards are on top of Departmental funding and not subject to any downward adjustments

Effective Date

  • May 2022 (Applications will open in May 2022, pending approval by the Board of Governors)


  • Applicants must self-identify as Indigenous
  • Applicants must be admitted to a Faculty of Social Science PhD program at Western to take up the award
  • Those who earn awards can self-declare whether they want to be named in any announcements about the award

Award timeline


September to February

  • Each PhD applicant will be contacted at least twice by the department and encouraged to apply. First, when they submit their complete application. Second, when they are officially accepted into one of the Faculty’s PhD programs
  • The fellowship application is separate from the application to the program
  • The application consists of:
    • Statement (2000 words max) that includes:
      • Connection to your community
      • Personal journey/path to the PhD
      • Your suitability for this award
    • Summary of the proposed thesis research
    • CV
    • Two letters of reference
  • The information provided for this scholarship will only be viewed by those involved in the adjudication process and kept strictly confidential


Adjudication is at the Faculty level. The core selection criteria are research potential and dedication to scholarly activity. The Faculty ISSDF Adjudication Committee is chaired by the Associate Dean Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and will consist of representation across the Faculty’s departments. At least one member of the Committee must be an Indigenous staff, faculty, or community member.

Fourth week in February to first week March

  • The ISSDF Adjudication Committee members are asked to score each applicant

Second week in March

  • The Chair of the ISSDF Adjudication Committee sends the members the overall scoring for the cohort of applicants in a ranked list. A meeting is held if necessary, to identify the awardee

Third week in March

  • Program notifies awardee

Last week in March

  • Awardee notifies program about acceptance of award

First week in April

  • Awardee posted to scholarship page with permission