Awards and Funding

You might associate being a leader with having a big budget and endless resources. We know that’s not always the case. We can connect you with awards, funding and valuable leadership development programming to help you connect the dots between your skills, goals and hopes for the world around you.

A new leadership college is coming to Mac

McMaster is launching Canada’s most comprehensive leadership college thanks to a $50M gift Chancellor Emeritus Lynton “Red” Wilson and the Wilson Foundation.

Read the Daily News Article

Wilson Leadership Scholar Award (WLSA)

Update for 2024–2025: The exciting announcement of the Wilson College of Leadership and Civic Engagement in 2022, alongside our commitment in meeting the evolving needs of our students, has created a moment of reflection for the Wilson Leadership Scholar Award program, which will pause applications for 2024–2025.

Renaissance Award

Application period: October 10, 2023 to January 15, 2024

There is no one path to leadership, and no one discipline that guarantees success and meaning. The Renaissance Award is designed to give you a chance to explore and lead an 4- to 12-month project that you propose, and that is outside of your degree program. The award emphasizes experiential learning and creates transformative experiences for students from all Faculties and programs, including undergraduate, graduate and professional programs.

Should you be selected for the Renaissance Award, you will have up to $25,000 each year, and the award size depends on the project budget. Students in financial need may build a wage into their budget to help compensate for time spent on the project. Individuals and teams of two are welcome to apply. Full eligibility requirements are listed on on AwardSpring.

The Renaissance Award is really meant to promote inquiry and encourage people to do something different than they ever thought they might. This award is for students who want to go outside the box and bring some of the expertise from other specialties into their own area of study. It’s meant to encourage people to get away from a regimented stream and course of events into something that’s a little less planned, a little less obvious to most people, and to encourage exploration. We’d like students today to know that there are actually many pathways.”

— Drs. Jolie Ringash and Glen Bandiera, founders of the Renaissance Award

Project support

You can receive support for your award application through the SSC Writing Centre. If selected, you will be assigned a coach through the Student Success Centre.

You will have two advisors for your project: one coach from the Student Success Centre and one faculty member from outside your program.

Start by contacting the Student Success Centre to be connected with a coach. If you don’t already have a connection to a potential Faculty advisor, your SSC coach can help you connect with one. Your Faculty advisor should be someone whose expertise is relevant to your project and who can help direct your research. Your SSC coach will be your main go-to person. They are who you’ll stay in touch with for project updates, deliverables and any challenges that you might encounter.

To be eligible for the Renaissance Award, you must…

  • Have completed the first year of your program
  • Be a current full-time undergraduate, graduate or School of Medicine student
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 10 or more
  • Want to engage in a 4- to 12- month, self-directed enrichment experience outside your chosen program of study

The full eligibility details are also posted on AwardSpring.

The Renaissance Award is highly personal. It’s a chance for you to work on a project that matters to you. Past projects are not templates, and we invite you to reflect on what would be a meaningful way to spend your time and energy in an 8- to 12-month project.

Here are just some past projects:

  • Study on post-civil war narratives in Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan-Canadian diaspora
  • Gender Blender podcast series
  • Consultation on sustainable food supply for an Ontario community
  • Book on A Spiritual Quest for Equanimity in Eastern Philosophy

Deadline: January 15, 2024, 11:59 p.m. ET

Apply on AwardSpring, McMaster’s online award platform. Contact Aid & Awards via online chat if you have questions or need support.