Adel S. Sedra Distinguished Graduate Award
Awards of Excellence
The Adel S. Sedra Distinguished Graduate Award is a fellowship of up to $25,000 awarded annually to a doctoral student who demonstrates outstanding academic and extracurricular leadership. (If the recipient is an international student, the award is increased to fund any tuition differential and individual University Health Insurance Plan premium.)
The selection committee chooses finalists to be interviewed for the award. Finalists who are not selected as the Sedra Scholar will each receive a $1,000 prize in recognition of their achievement, and will be named UTAA Graduate Scholars.
The Adel S. Sedra Distinguished Graduate Award was created in 2002 in recognition of the remarkable contribution made by Professor Adel S. Sedra to the advancement of the University of Toronto during his nine-year term as Vice-President and Provost. During the period of his leadership, the graduate student experience at the University of Toronto was significantly enhanced by Sedra’s dedication to the University’s goal of becoming one of the world’s best public teaching and research universities. Among his many notable accomplishments, Professor Sedra spearheaded the University’s efforts to provide minimum funding to its full-time doctoral-stream students. It is only fitting that the establishment of a prestigious graduate student award should commemorate Adel Sedra’s profound legacy.
Student candidates may be encouraged to apply for a scholarship, but the committee will not consider applications made on a student's behalf. All scholarship applications must be made directly by the students themselves.
Candidates across all divisions, including humanities, social sciences, and sciences, are warmly encouraged to apply. At the time of application, applicants must be registered and in good standing in the second or third year of a doctoral program. Direct-entry or "fast track" doctoral students may apply in the third or fourth year of their program. The scholarship is not open to students who are pursuing master’s degrees.
Note: If a student transfers from a master’s program to a doctoral program without completing the master’s degree, the commencement of their doctoral program will be from the date of first registration in the master’s program. For example, if the student transferred after their first year of registration into a PhD program, they would now be in year two of a "fast track" PhD program.
- Will have an outstanding academic record and be making exceptional progress in their doctoral program, as demonstrated by academic records, letters of recommendation, and other measures of scholarship according to their discipline;
- Should be involved in work that reflects a concerted effort to understand and respond to the changing intellectual landscape in their field of study; and
- Should have demonstrated a commitment during their doctoral program to enhancing the student experience of their peers through extracurricular leadership within the University and involvement in the life of the University. Of equal importance will be the candidates’ commitment to community outreach and involvement, as demonstrated by extracurricular activities outside of the University and their discipline. Community outreach often relates to disciplinary background. Therefore, outreach not specifically related to one’s research or academic field is highly valued and should be emphasized in the application. NOTE: only achievements/contributions during the doctoral program will be considered.
The deadline for submitting a nomination was Friday, November 24, 2023.
Applications that are incomplete, ineligible or are submitted after the deadline will not be considered. Hardcopy application materials will not be accepted.
A complete application package will include all of the following items:
- Completed online application form.
- Curriculum vitae outlining academic achievements, scholarships and awards received, plus publications, work experience, and extracurricular involvement both inside and outside the University in the following three categories:
- Academic Performance – scholarships & awards, contributions to research and development (e.g., publications, articles, book chapters, patents, presentations, creative outputs). Applicants should indicate their role in their most notable research contributions explaining the rationale or practice for any unusual ordering of authors. For multi-authored publications, use a percentage to approximate the portion of the contribution.
- Leadership and Engagement within the University (Departmental, Faculty, or University-wide)
- Leadership and Engagement Outside of the University (e.g., including volunteering or community work within and beyond the limits of the field of study)
Note: Only achievements/contributions during each applicant's doctoral program will be considered. Applicants are encouraged to provide details for two to three of their extracurricular activities on their CV to demonstrate commitment to enhancing the student experiences through extracurricular leadership within the University, involvement in the life of the University, and community outreach/involvement outside the University during their doctoral program
- Statement of no more than 500 words about each applicant’s future academic and career goals
- Scans of original or certified/validated copies of up-to-date official transcripts from master’s and doctoral level studies. Direct-entry or "fast track" doctoral students must also supply original or certified/validated copies of their official undergraduate transcripts. (see further details in “What Other Application Details Should I Keep in Mind?” below)
- Three or four supporting letters of recommendation from the following list of people. (see further details in “What Other Application Details Should I Keep in Mind?” below)
- One (1) letter of recommendation from the thesis supervisor or supervisory committee member who can comment on the applicant’s academic progress
- One (1) letter of recommendation from a member of the teaching staff (of the department/s in which the applicant is registered) who can comment on the student’s academic progress and/or involvement in university life
- Up to two (2) additional letters of recommendation that attest to the student’s academic and extracurricular leadership
For U of T transcripts:
- Although official transcripts are preferred, ACORN academic histories (web “Print to PDF”) are accepted for U of T transcripts only.
For transcripts external to U of T:
- Certification/validation of unofficial transcripts or web print-outs may be performed by the graduate unit. If the graduate unit is not able to certify/validate a transcript, it is each applicant’s responsibility to obtain and provide within their application package a scan of an original official transcript that was issued by the appropriate institution.
- Official e-transcripts are acceptable, but any encryption may need to be removed before uploading or combining with other transcript files. Students may use freely available PDF software such as Adobe Acrobat Reader or their internet browser (e.g., Chrome) to “print to PDF” in order to create an unencrypted “copy” of the file, which remain acceptable.
- Grading legends must be provided with every transcript
- Transcripts should not be mailed to the Graduate Awards Office
Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation must be emailed by each referee as a PDF attachment directly to firstname.lastname@example.org by the application deadline.
- The letters should be sent from each referee’s institutional email address (i.e.: not a gmail address) with the subject title “Sedra 2023 – NAME OF APPLICANT”.Please use file naming convention of "Referee Last Name, Sedra 2023" for the PDF attachments.
- Letters of recommendations should use strong positive language and measure the candidate in comparison to others in the same discipline and stage in their academic program. In addition, describe the applicant while providing information relevant to the field of study, degree or culture of the department (e.g., publishing norms, degree requirements, grading practises, unusual accomplishments, or special outreach activities) that would otherwise not be known outside the discipline. Referees are encouraged to speak about opportunities for service that is normal for the discipline, highlighting how the student has gone above and beyond the expected norms
- Each letter should be on institutional letterhead, signed, and the name and contact information of each referee must be clearly stated
- There is no particular formatting standard or page limit but each letter must be written specifically for the Sedra competition and should be addressed to the "SGS Adel S. Sedra Distinguished Graduate Award Committee".
- A letter of support signed by multiple individuals will count as one letter towards the total.
- Referees' letters must remain confidential and not be reviewed by applicants.
Applicants must complete an online Adel S. Sedra Distinguished Graduate Award application by the application deadline
- A Curriculum Vitae, Statement and transcripts are to be uploaded as a single PDF file to the online application.
- Supporting letters of recommendation are not submitted through the online application. Letters must be emailed by each referee as a PDF attachment directly to email@example.com by the application deadline.
Applications that are incomplete, ineligible or are submitted after the deadline will not be considered.
Hardcopy application materials will not be accepted.
Receipt of the Adel S. Sedra Distinguished Graduate Award may be deferred for one year in the event that a student designated as an Adel Sedra Scholar receives additional scholarships or awards which, as a condition of acceptance, place a limit on the total amount of scholarship support that the student may receive. Interest earned on the deferred award will remain part of the capital fund from which the scholarship is generated.
Final receipt of the Sedra Award funds will be contingent upon the Sedra Scholar’s continuing study at the University of Toronto. If, after the scholarship has been deferred, the designated Sedra Scholar chooses not to pursue further studies, a $2,000 prize will be awarded and the student's name will remain on record as the recipient of the award for the year specified. The balance of the money will remain as part of the capital fund from which the scholarship is generated.
Additional documents/letters should not be submitted.
Supplementary documents will not be considered.
All letters of recommendation are confidential and will be viewed by members of the Selection Committee only. Those who wish to view the letters for publicity or information purposes must first obtain permission from the individual who wrote the letter. Once submitted, all application materials become property of University Advancement and cannot be sent to the applicant.
It is each applicant’s responsibility to ensure that they submit an electronic copy of their completed application as per the sections above.
Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.
Interviews are held for the finalists. Applicants who are not selected to be interviewed will be notified by the Graduate Awards Office in late January.
Candidates selected for an interview will be contacted by a member of the Selection Committee who will provide further details of the process. The Selection Committee will provide a minimum of one week’s notice of the interview date.
Candidates who are interviewed as Sedra finalists but are not selected as the Sedra Scholar will each receive a $1,000 prize in recognition of their achievement, and be named UTAA Graduate Scholars.
Graduate Awards Officer
School of Graduate Studies