Awards and Funding

Funding, Awards and Scholarships

All students admitted to our graduate program have secured financial support for at least the first 2.3 years of an M.Sc. program and the first 5 years of a Ph.D. program (or until thesis defense, whichever comes first), at the minimum rate of approximately $24,483 (M.Sc.) and $25,167 (Ph.D.) per year, subject to annual review of academic and teaching performance. (Salaries are quoted from the Faculty of Science 2015-2016 Salary Scale.)

Training our graduate students to be effective communicators and leaders in the biological sciences is accomplished in part by involving them in our undergraduate teaching program.  All graduate students in our department are required to teach for a minimum of one term. Financial support for graduate students comes from a variety of sources: 

  • Graduate Teaching and Research Assistantships
  • University of Alberta Awards
  • External agencies
  • Supervisor's research funds


In addition to Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents, International Students are eligible for:

Travel Opportunities

Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA)

GTAs are awarded to graduate students within their guaranteed funding period (MSc 2.3 years, PhD 5.0 years) who possess the necessary theoretical knowledge and practical abilities to serve as a GTA for the course in consideration. Priority is given to students that do not hold a major scholarship. Graduate students outside of guaranteed funding and/or possessing a major scholarship will be considered for a GTA only if no other qualified graduate students are available.

  • Approximately half of the ~250 graduate students in the Department are supported by GTAs. They are awarded primarily on the basis of academic excellence and the ability to to perform the required teaching duties
  • Incoming M.Sc. and Ph.D. students receive $16,322 and $16,778, respectively, for teaching during their first academic year (two 4-month terms)
  • Funding is assured for a total of 2.3 (M.Sc.) or 5 (Ph.D.) years (or until thesis defense, whichever comes first), pending annual review of academic and teaching performance
  • Students who defend their thesis during a term in which they have a GTA are required to complete their teaching assignment for that term
  • Generally, the 4 months of summer support is equivalent to the support for one academic term (~$8,161 for M.Sc.; ~$8389 for Ph.D.)

Personal funds and/or student loans are not considered sources of financial support.

If you receive a major scholarship (>$13,000) in your guaranteed funding period, you will be expected to accept the award in lieu of all or part of your GTA.

Support Following Completion of a Major Scholarship

Following completion of a major scholarship, students will automatically be awarded a GTA that will run up until the end of the 2.3rd (M.Sc.) or 5th (Ph.D.) year of the graduate program (or until defense of thesis, whichever comes first).