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Program Level Fellowships

The 2016 Funding Announcement

In 2016, the Faculty of Arts & Science (A&S) announced a three pronged strategy to improve graduate education for doctoral stream students. It included a base funding increase, which is being rolled out over three years, new initiatives to assist students to progress through their programs and prepare for careers, and Program Level Fellowship Pools, to be deployed at the graduate unit level after consultation with students. These initiatives are to be reviewed in 2018-19 with a view to developing a strategy for the coming years.

Program Level Fellowship Pools

The Program Level Fellowships are dedicated pools of funds provided to each graduate unit by the Faculty. These pools are scaled to the number of funded cohort students in the unit, calculated at $500 per student in 2017-18 and rising to $1,000 per student in 2018-19. The Program Level Fellowship funds must be spent:

  • on students in the funded cohort;
  • in the year allocated;
  • on fellowships (i.e not employment).


The Program Level Fellowships program objectives are to:

  • increase funding for graduate students in the funded cohort;
  • give students a voice on how funds are spent;
  • improve transparency;
  • demonstrate to graduate students that, as students and as scholars, their views are respected; and
  • provide an opportunity for dialogue on graduate student funding.

Annual Consultations & Reporting

Graduate units were required to consult with their students in the fall of 2016 about how to deploy the Program Level Fellowship funds for 2017-18. The consultation process is to be repeated each fall to:

  •  inform students who are new to the graduate unit about the Program Level Fellowships;
  • review the different models that other graduate units have adopted;
  • review the plans that the unit has in place for the current academic year;
  • determine if there is continued support for the plan or whether students wish to change it for the following year; and
  • give students an opportunity to discuss any broad issues related to graduate funding.

The 2017 consultation process, which will result in either the confirmation or reform of each unit’s Program Level Fellowship plans for 2018-19, will be completed by most graduate units by November 30, 2017. Graduate units must submit reports on their consultations and any changes to existing plans.

Examples of Program Level Fellowships Plans

Each unit’s Program Level Fellowship plans and consultation process will be posted on the Faculty of Arts & Science website so that students can see the results for all departments. The models include:

  • Equal distribution of the per student allocation to all funded cohort students.
  • Distribution of funds to students with income below a certain threshold.
  • TA buy-out for students in the final year of the funded cohort.
  • Awards for those who have met certain milestones – eg. achieving candidacy.