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Three year Initiative to Improve Graduate Education & Funding

Dwayne Benjamin and Graduate StudentsIn 2016, the Faculty of Arts & Science at the University of Toronto introduced a three-pronged approach to improve graduate education for doctoral-stream students in Arts & Science programs on all three U of T campuses. This approach arose from extensive consultation with students across the University.

First, we established two new programs, Milestones and Pathways, aimed at bolstering the level of support we provide to enable students to progress through their studies and prepare effectively for their careers.

Second, we introduced major improvements to graduate student financial support. A key component is the Fellowship Initiative under which all eligible Arts & Science students in the funded cohort - domestic and international, across all three campuses – will receive a base funding package of at least $2,000 more by 2018-19. All of this increase is being directed to students in the form of fellowship income.

Third, we established the Program-Level Fellowships in each of the graduate Departments, Centres and Institutes (academic units) in the Faculty of Arts & Science. The Program-Level Fellowships are dedicated pools of fellowship resources to be allocated to students in accordance with their priorities for graduate education. 

In 2018-19, the Faculty of Arts & Science will review all aspects of this three-pronged program to guide us on how we will proceed for our next graduate education planning period of 2019-22. Alongside the implementation of the program, we will also be actively pursuing an agenda to bring greater clarity and transparency to our graduate education activities.

Photo above: Dwayne Benjamin, Vice Dean, Graduate Education (centre) with doctoral students Boriana Miloucheva (left) and Ridwan Karim (right).

How does graduate funding work?

Graduate Funding in the Faculty of Arts & Science

The Faculty of Arts & Science (A&S) ensures that all graduate students in the funded cohort receive the A&S Base Funding Package.

What is the Base Funding Package?

Base Amount + Tuition & Fees = The Base Funding Package

The Base Funding Package 2017-18 *
Division Hum & SocSci Sciences
Base Amount $16,750 $17,250
Tuition & Fees $8,481 $8,481
Base Funding Package $25,231 $25,731

What are the components of the base funding package?

The composition of Base Funding Packages varies by division, by department and by student. Departments may use the following
components to create a funding package for a student:

External Awards
(eg. SSHRC, OGS)
TA-ship
maximum 180 hours
RA-ship
may take the form of hourly or stipendiary RA-ships
Other Paid Experience
training opportunities related to the program of study
UTF
an A&S stipend and/or tuition award
Other Awards
e.g. A&S restricted awards, departmental awards, FAST

Does every student receive the same amount?

All students receive the Faculty of Arts & Science Base Funding Package. However, packages may exceed A&S base funding
depending upon the following factors:

  • Which division the student is in – the base amount is higher in the Sciences.
  • The availability of TA opportunities in the department.
  • Research funding held by faculty which can be used for RA-ships.
  • The availability of awards and endowments.
  • Competitive offer type awards made by departments.
  • Decisions to on how to allocate top up funds.

What does a typical base funding package look like?

Typical Base Funding Packages *
Division Hum & SocSci   
Sciences
TA-ship $7,950 $7,950
RA-ship $1,500 $8,000
UTF $15,781 $9,781
Total $25,231 $25,731

What else affects how much a student receives?

  • Major awards, which displace base funding.
  • The TA component of the funding package may change from year to year, though student funding never falls below the A&S base.
  • Decisions, based on consultations with graduate students, on how to allocate Program Level Fellowship funds.

Will graduate funding increase in future years?

In 2016, the Faculty of Arts & Science announced a $2,000 three year funding increase that saw the base amount increase by $1,500 in 2016-17 and by $250 each year in 2017-18 and 2018-19. An additional $500 was allocated for Program Level Fellowships in 2017-18. This amount will increase to $1,000 in 2018-19. This represents a total increase of $3,000 by 2018-19. Subject to the three year review of graduate funding scheduled for 2018-19, further annual increases are expected. The review will be undertaken by the Graduate Advisory Committee, which includes graduate student representation.

 * Reflects domestic base funding packages. International packages include international tuition and fees.