Interdisciplinary Studies

Funding and Awards Opportunities

Graduate Teaching Assistantships & Graduate Research Assistantships Funding

The Programs within the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies annually appoint a number of Graduate Teaching and Research Assistantships for services requiring three to twelve hours a week for 4 or 8 months per year. At the time of application, prospective graduate students may want to indicate whether they wish to be considered for an assistantship, but no appointment will be offered to any student until he/she has been formally admitted to graduate studies. Appointments are normally not made until mid-summer.

Ranking of students by merit is generally done in conjunction with decisions on admission; when the graduate committee ranks applicants, it generally takes into consideration the applicant's statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, record of awards and publications and gradepoint average (not necessarily in that order).

It is the normal policy of the Programs to award an assistantship to all PhD students, although reasonable exceptions do occur with the consent of the student. PhD students are normally awarded an assistantship of 12 hours per week.

The Programs in the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies cannot guarantee funding for MA students.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships

The function of a Teaching Assistant is to provide assistance for Faculty in the teaching function in a way that makes a significant contribution to the Faculty member's teaching efforts, while providing additional opportunities for specialized training of the Teaching Assistant. Students holding teaching assistantships may be required to assist with lecture preparation, marking or seminars.

The number of assistantships is determined each term, based on teaching/research requirements and resources available to the Programs.

Graduate Research Assistantships

For incoming graduate students, the strength of the reference letters and statement of purpose, as well as the appropriateness of their background, will be taken into account when paired with one or more professors in the performance of research work which will enhance their program skill-set.  The Religious Studies program, whose supervisors need RA’s to conduct their research or who have a unique expertise, will receive priority.

Students who have already received some type of funding (e.g. SSHRC, FGSR Recruitment Awards) will be considered on a lower priority for distribution of further funding.

Admission and funding priorities are determined by the Graduate Program Committee, which serves as both the admission committee and the graduate awards committee and it makes the decision regarding the internal distribution of the Program's funding. Note: MA applicants who want funding must apply by the PhD date.

Each time a student is assigned a graduate teaching or research assistantship, the student takes a Time Use Guideline form to the assigned supervisor to discuss and record the duties required by the assistantship. Signatures of both the student and supervisor are required on the form and then returned to the Graduate Advisor in Interdisciplinary Studies. The graduate teaching/research assistant is evaluated by the assistantship supervisor at the end of the appointment. The evaluation is placed in the student's file.

Awards Administered by Other Agencies

Canadian and Permanent Resident students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher in each of their last two years of study, currently in or applying to the doctoral program, are also expected to apply for federal scholarships from Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) in the Fall prior to the SSHRC application deadline (January of the following year). As awards are limited, prospective students are expected to pursue alternative sources of funding. For more information on SSHRC please go to the website at www.sshrc.ca .

Canadian and Permanent Resident students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher in each of their last two years of study, applying to the master's program or who are currently in a master's program and have completed no more than 12 months of full-time study are expected to apply for the Canada Graduate Scholarships Program - Master's Scholarship through SSHRC.

International students are required to inquire about financial aid from agencies or governments in their home country; those from Commonwealth countries are eligible for Commonwealth Scholarships and can write to the Canadian High Commissioner in their home country. More information can be obtained by contacting University of Alberta International.

Travel awards

FGSR Graduate Travel Awards

Funds for the travel awards administered by the FGSR (Mary Louse Imrie Graduate Student Award and the J. Gordin Kaplan Graduate Student Award) are provided by two endowments.  Increases in graduate student enrollment coupled with limited available funds have made it necessary to revise the allocation and eligibility for these travel awards.  For more information about these awards, please go to the FGSR website. 

GSA Professional Development Awards

The Academic Employment of Graduate Student (AEGS) fund is a benefit to all graduate students, provided by the Graduate Students' Association (GSA). The Professional Development Award provided from the AEGS fund allows for graduate students to participate in professional development activities such as conferences, research trips, and not-for-credit courses. To learn more about this award, please go the the GSA website.