The Department is committed to providing graduate students in a thesis-based program with adequate funding by a mixture of teaching and research assistantships, as well as scholarships and awards.

Course based students will normally not receive any financial support during their program.

Funding Guarantee

Most of our students in a thesis-based MSc or a PhD program receive a Funding Guarantee from the Department, the details of which are spelled out in the Departmental Offer Letter.

This means that the Department will ensure that the student receives a minimum amount per year (from all, including external, sources related to the student's graduate program at the Department).

Domestic MSc students with a Funding Guarantee can expect funding of at least $27,704 per year for up to two years.

Domestic PhD students with a Funding Guarantee can expect funding of at least $28,816 per year for up to four years (and can apply for additional funding for their fifth year).

International students are guaranteed to receive the same amounts and an additional approximate $4,500 per year to cover for their increased tuition and program fees.

The details and conditions of this funding commitment are spelled out in the Departmental Offer Letter and attached documents (and may vary in individual cases), as well as the Regulation and Guidelines.

Some students do not receive a Funding Guarantee, for example, international students sponsored by their home country.

The Departmental Offer Letter will specifically mention whether a Funding Guarantee applies, and to what extent.

Graduate Teaching and Research Assistantships

Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA) at the Department are available to most PhD and thesis-based MSc students. No separate application or request is required for incoming students. A typical full-time assignment will involve 12 hours per week (averaged over a full 4 month term, roughly 16 weeks).

GTA funding is available during the Fall and Winter terms.

GTA funding will normally be offered during the first two years in the (thesis-based) MSc program and the first four years in the PhD program. PhD students can apply for a fifth year, but that is not guaranteed. Students who transfer from an MSc to a PhD program will usually be offered TA funding during their first five years as a graduate student at the Department.

Holders of a major scholarship are usually not eligible for a full GTA appointment during their tenure of the scholarship, but, depending on the rules of the scholarship, may receive partial GTA support (usually a quarter) if desired.

For Spring and Summer terms (May through August) there are limited additional opportunities to work as a Marking or Lab Assistant. These are not regular GTA appointments and not part of the guaranteed funding commitment of the Department.

Graduate Research Assistantships

During the summer months (May, June, July, and August), MSc (thesis-based) and PhD students' financial assistance is usually provided by their supervisors in the form of a Graduate Research Assistantship Fellowship (GRAF). For students receiving support from a scholarship, supervisors may decide not to provide a GRAF (or reduce their commitment).

Some support may also be provided in the form of a Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA), which is an assistantship with assigned research related tasks (similar to a GTA as it may not directly relate to the student's own research). Such appointments are limited to a combined average (including all concurrent GTA and GRA appointments) of 12h per week (averaged over the term).

Currently, the recommended amount of summer support is $8,000 for Canadians or Permanent Residents.

International students have to pay increased tuition ("differential fees"). Supervisors are encouraged to take that into account and offer accordingly increased support from their research grants if available.

For students that satisfy the conditions of their Funding Guarantee (if applicable), the Department will ensure that they receive at least the financial support in line with the Funding Guarantee.

Scholarships and Awards

There are numerous scholarship and award opportunities available to our graduate students: The Department administers a number of substantial internal awards each academic year. The University offers many additional scholarships and awards.

For example, the Department normally offers several Josephine Mitchell Scholarships (worth about $5000) and one Josephine Mitchell Prize (worth about $10,000) each year. There are numerous Entrance Scholarships available for exceptionally strong students.

Recipients of an NSERC or SSHRC Master or Doctoral Scholarship can expect significant top-ups from the University, the Faculty of Science, and the Department:

NSERC/SSHRC scholarship holders will receive a $3,000 Josephine Mitchell Recruitment Scholarship from the department. The Faculty of Science will provide a $2000 Scholarship to any NEW graduate student holding an NSERC, SSHRC, Commonwealth or a CIHR Scholarship, entering an MSc or PhD program. In addition, PhD NSERC scholarship holders will receive the President's Prize of Distinction of $10,000 (in the first year, and tuition and fees in subsequent years, while holding the scholarship). MSc NSERC scholarship holders will receive a Walter H Johns Scholarship to the amount of tuition and fees.

NSERC/SSHRC scholarship holders are usually not eligible for full time TA appointments, but are welcome to accept quarter appointments (3h/week over the term).