How to Win the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship

December 7, 2023

As a student committed to public service, you understand the importance of acquiring advanced knowledge and skills to make a meaningful impact. The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship offers you an unparalleled opportunity to develop your leadership abilities and gain valuable experience to complement your academic training. Established in 2001, the Foundation awards up to 15 doctoral scholarships each year to students in the social sciences and humanities whose work aligns with themes of human rights and social justice. Valued at up to $180,000 over 3 years, the prestigious scholarship provides funding and mentorship to support you through your doctoral studies. With its generous support for research and travel, the scholarship will open doors to life-changing experiences that shape your growth as a leader in your field. If you aspire to follow in the footsteps of Canada’s 15th Prime Minister by serving the public good, the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship deserves your close consideration.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship

Overview of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and Scholarships

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation offers prestigious scholarships for Canadian and international doctoral students in the social sciences and humanities. Established in 2001, the Foundation honors the former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s intellectual legacy and commitment to public policy, civic engagement, and human rights.

  • The Foundation awards up to 15 Trudeau Scholarships each year to support doctoral candidates pursuing research of compelling present-day concern. Scholarships provide $40,000 per year for up to 4 years and include access to a network of mentors and enrichment programs.
  • Applicants must be nominated by a university, have an excellent academic record, and propose an innovative research project that aligns with the Foundation’s themes of human rights and social justice, responsible citizenship, Canada and the world, and people and their natural environment.
  • An independent selection committee evaluates candidates based on the originality, quality, and significance of their research proposal; personal achievement; and future leadership potential.
  • In addition to funding, Scholars gain valuable experience through annual gatherings, public policy workshops, mentorship opportunities and collaborations with other scholars, Fellows and mentors.

The Trudeau Scholarships represent a unique opportunity to work with leading scholars and policy experts on issues shaping the future of Canada and the world. If you aspire to become a leader in your field and influence policy decisions, apply for this prestigious program. You could be part of the next generation to receive this accolade and join a vibrant network of researchers making a difference.

Eligibility Requirements for the Trudeau Scholarships

To be eligible for a Trudeau Scholarship, you must meet several requirements.


You must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. The Trudeau Scholarships support future Canadian leaders, so non-citizens are ineligible.

Academic Standing

You must have an undergraduate degree and be enrolled in or accepted into a master’s or doctoral program at an accredited university, either in Canada or abroad. Preference may be given to candidates in social sciences and humanities. Your academic record should demonstrate strong analytical and critical thinking skills.

Areas of Interest

Your research and study interests should align with one or more of the Foundation’s themes: human rights and dignity, responsible citizenship, Canada and the world, and people and their natural environment. For example, research related to public policy, international relations, environmental studies, Indigenous issues or ethics would be well-suited.

Leadership Potential

You must demonstrate outstanding leadership potential and a commitment to public service. Strong communication, interpersonal and creative thinking skills are assets. Relevant experience could include volunteering, activism, creative endeavors or entrepreneurship.


You will need three references from professors or mentors familiar with your academic work and leadership potential. They should be able to speak knowledgeably about your abilities, skills, and likelihood of success.

By meeting these eligibility requirements, you will be well on your way to becoming a Trudeau Scholar. Best of luck!

Tips for Submitting a Winning Trudeau Scholarship Application

To win a prestigious Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship, a strong application is key. Here are some tips to help you submit a winning application:

Follow the Instructions Carefully

Read the application guidelines thoroughly and follow all instructions precisely. Pay close attention to deadlines and required materials. Submitting an incomplete or late application can disqualify you from consideration.

Focus on Leadership and Impact

The selection committee looks for applicants who demonstrate leadership, creativity, and a commitment to public service. Emphasize experiences where you initiated an innovative project, solved a complex problem, or had a meaningful impact on your community. Discuss the outcomes and lessons learned.

Develop a Compelling Proposed Program of Study

Your proposed master’s or doctoral program of study should align closely with the Foundation’s values of diversity, inclusion, and civic engagement. Explain how your program of study will enable you to develop expertise and skills to become a leader in your field and contribute to the public good. Discuss potential research topics or projects in your statement of interest.

Secure Strong References

Ask professors, employers, or community leaders who know you well to write references in support of your application. Provide them details about the scholarship and your proposed program of study so they can speak to your relevant qualities, skills, and potential for success. Follow up to ensure the letters are submitted before the deadline.

Prepare for the Interview

If selected for an interview, be ready to discuss your experiences, goals, and proposed research in more depth. Come prepared with examples of challenges you have faced and how you overcame them. Explain your motivations for graduate study and how you will apply your education to benefit society. With thorough preparation, you will shine in your interview!

Following these tips will help ensure you submit the most compelling application possible. Good luck!

READ ALSO: The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Grant: Unlocking Funding for Performing Artists and Environmental Causes


At this point, you have a solid understanding of what it takes to become a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar. While the application process is competitive, if you have a track record of leadership, civic engagement, and academic excellence, you have a strong chance of being selected. Remember that demonstrating passion for and commitment to public service are key. Beyond filling out the online forms, spend time crafting thoughtful proposals and essays, seek references from those who can speak to your potential for impact, and practice for your interview. If chosen as a Trudeau Scholar, you will have an unparalleled opportunity to develop leadership abilities, build a professional network, and gain experience that will propel you into a career shaping the future of Canada. Stay focused on how you can contribute to the public good, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. With hard work and perseverance, you can win this prestigious scholarship.

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