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 .

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 to the GSA website.

Interdisciplinary Studies Research Travel Award Information

This award has been organized to give Graduate Students in either Religious Studies or Humanities Computing Programs an opportunity for travel assistance to expose your research and conclusions to peer review, to test ideas with acknowledged experts, etc. This trip should be a highlight of your graduate program. Typically, this activity will involve attending a major national or international conference where you must be actively participating by presenting a paper, poster session, or participating in a panel discussion, exhibiting work, etc. In some instances, this travel may afford you an opportunity to visit a major archive, museum, etc. where information critical to your graduate program research is lodged and resident experts may be consulted.

The travel fund is not intended to support routine data collection off campus. Trips to field sites, off-campus research stations, etc., are NOT eligible, nor is attendance at a conference where the student is an observer rather than an active participant.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Students must be registered both at the time of application and at the time of the proposed travel. Travel awards are NOT available for graduate students who are past their 2 years of MA program or 4 years of their PhD program. Once students have convocated they are no longer considered a student in the program and therefore are not eligible for funding. 
  • Preference will be given to students who have NOT received a travel award. For those who have received a travel award from the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies, the application will not be considered for full or partial funding until March (end of fiscal year). This is to allow those students who have not had the opportunity to receive a travel award to submit an application. 
  • There is no deadline, and applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until available funds have been exhausted; any funds remaining at fiscal year end (March) may be allocated to applications received from students who have received funds in the preceding years. 
  • The pool of funds for graduate student travel is not considerable and is unlikely to meet annual student needs; it is probable that the pool of funds will be fully allocated well before the expiration of the fiscal year on March 31. 
  • Students must provide evidence that their conference presentation has been accepted at the time of application. 
  • If students are claiming reimbursement against their flight, they MUST submit e-ticket/itinerary and boarding passes and other claims (i.e. registration fees, hotel expenses) original receipts MUST BE SUBMITTED. Please submit receipts to the Executive Assistant, 412 Arts & Convocation Hall. 
  • Graduate students who apply for a Travel Award must do so with the assumption that it may not be approved.

Download the Interdisciplinary Studies Research Travel Award Application form (MS Word).