SHSM (Specialist High Skills Majors)

What is a Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM)?

The SHSM is a program that provides students in secondary school an opportunity to focus on a specific sector and gain valuable experiences while meeting the requirements of the OSSD (Ontario Secondary School Diploma).
AMDSB schools offer a variety of programs, with each school providing a unique combination of the following options:

Components of the SHSM:

1. 8-10 sector specific courses
  • Students gear their learning towards a specific sector and take a bundle of courses that provides them with focused learning. Two of the credits must be in Cooperative Education and in a sector related to the SHSM.
2. Sector Specific Certifications and training
  • Students will complete 6-8 sector specific certifications including First Aid & CPR.
3. Reach Ahead Opportunities
  • Students will participate in opportunities that expose them to the various post-secondary pathways.
4. Experiential Learning Opportunities
  • Students will engage in various career exploration activities in the sector that they are enrolled in to gain a deeper understanding of that sector.
5. Sector Partnered Experiences
  • Experiences in which students engage with a sector partner to explore sector-related content, skills, and knowledge involving either ICE (Innovation, Creativity, Entrepreneurship), coding or mathematical literacy.

When can I enroll in the SHSM?

Students can enroll at the beginning of Grade 11. Go to your Student Services department to enroll or to gain more information.

Can I start working on SHSM components before Grade 11?

Students should be working with their teachers and guidance counselors to plan ahead for their SHSM. For example, some students may want to consider a summer co-op between grades 11 and 12 if co-op will not fit into the student’s timetable.

Why should I take a SHSM?

  • Students gain valuable experiences and the program supports their education and career/life planning process
  • Students gain sector relevant certifications and training that could help them to get a job or an apprenticeship
  • Many Colleges and Universities offer SHSM scholarships
  • Students will engage with industry professionals who could possibly support students’ throughout their career

Where do I go to find SHSM Scholarships at Ontario Colleges and Universities?

School / Institution Amount Details Link
Brock University $500 80% or higher Student Awards and Financial Aid
Lakehead University
Arts & Culture
Health & Wellness
$1000 You must indicate that you are completing an SHSM on your OUAC application, and submit the SHSM Financial Award Application by the deadline for consideration.
Must be registered full-time in an undergraduate program.
Entrance Scholarships, Awards & Bursaries for Future/New Students
Loyalist College $1000 3 awards given in the fall and 2 awards in the winter term.
500 word essay on SHSM experience and how it impacted student’s post-secondary pathway.
Students must submit a copy of their secondary school transcript with an SHSM seal.
Awards, Bursaries and Scholarships
Niagara College $1000 Varies based on the program.
Eligibility is based on the average of the highest final senior level courses in required subjects as of May 1, 2021. Where the Grade 12 course is in progress, the Grade 11 final will be used.
Minimum average of 80% in the required subjects must be maintained to receive this award.
SHSM Focus Scholarships at Niagara College flyer
St. Clair College $1000 Must confirm acceptance before May 1st, 2021.
First year students entering a full time post-secondary program who have received, or will receive, a SHSM credential.
Have 75% or higher in senior level courses.
Must apply online before the 10th day of classes.
Specialist High Skills Major Scholarship
Trent University $2000 Essay: In 1000 words or less, explain how completing a SHSM will help you to be successful as you pursue your degree.
You must be a new incoming student directly from secondary school and be registered full-time in Peterborough or Durham.
One scholarship will be offered based on the SHSM essay application
University of Guelph - Humber
Arts & Culture
Health & Wellness
Information & Communications Technology
Justice, Community Safety & Emergency Services
$1000 OSSD
6 grade 12 U or M courses including program specific subjects.
Canadian Citizen or permanent resident entering first year of post-secondary studies.
Minimum admission average of 80%.
Indicate on the OUAC application that the student completed SHSM
Specialist High Skills Major Entrance Award
University of Guelph - Ontario Agriculture College (OAC) $1000 75% admission average.
The scholarships will be awarded each fall to the three students with the highest admission average entering the first year of any OAC program and applied directly to the student’s financial account in two equal payments in the fall and winter semesters. No application necessary.
Ontario Agricultural College SHSM Scholarships
University of Windsor $500
Minimum admission average: 80%. All programs are eligible. Full-time registration in Fall 2021. No citizenship requirement. Students will be required to upload supporting documentation to confirm the completion of the program to their award application/profile.
Scholarships and Bursaries for Entering Students 
Western University -
Brescia University College
Arts & Culture
Health & Wellness
Justice & Community Safety
Non Profit
$2000 79% admission average from Brescia Admissions.
Must be enrolled in full-time studies.
$2000 one time and can be in conjunction with entrance scholarship.
Scholarships and Awards
Western University -
Huron University College
Arts & Culture
Health & Wellness
$2000 3 scholarships
Must have an average of 80%
4 available per school board
Scholarships, Bursaries and Grants
Western University - King's
Arts & Culture
Health & Wellness
Justice, Community Safety & Emergency Services
Non-Profit/Social Justice
$2,000 Unlimited No application required Scholarships, Awards and Bursaries

How is the SHSM acknowledged when I graduate?

  • An embossed SHSM seal of distinction on your diploma when you graduate
  • An SHSM report card with all of your accomplishments listed
  • Formal recognition on the Ontario Student Transcript