Graduate Funding Terms and Conditions

The Terms and Condition of Graduate Funding for students in the Faculty of Arts & Science are appended to the annual funding letters provided to students in the funded cohort at the beginning of each academic year. The Terms and Conditions may vary from year to year in response to changes in the context in which graduate funding is provided or to improve clarity for students and administrators.

The 2019-20 Terms and Conditions of Graduate Funding are provided below, along with the 2020-21 version.

A base funding package is provided to all Faculty of Arts & Science (A&S) graduate students within the funded cohort to support students in the pursuit of their graduate programs. This document outlines the terms and conditions under which funding is provided.

Eligibility for Funding

Funding is provided to all A&S graduate students provided that they are:

  • within the funded cohort
  • registered
  • full time students
  • in good academic standing

When a student takes an approved leave of absence, the funding package will be revised to reflect the student’s enrolment status. If a student’s academic standing is in question, the graduate unit will inform the student before funding will be withdrawn.

Major External Scholarships

Major external scholarships are counted toward the base funding package. The inclusion of scholarships with a value of $10,000 or more in the base funding package is necessary to ensure that funding is distributed as equitably as possible among A&S graduate students.

Major external awards include Vanier Scholarships, Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGSD & CGSM), CIHR Doctoral Research Awards, NSERC Doctoral Postgraduate Scholarships (PGSD), SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships, OGS, QEII-GSST, Trillium, Connaught, Naylor, Trudeau, and so forth. Graduate students are required to disclose to the Graduate Administrator any external awards, including those paid directly to the student.

As a condition of funding, graduate students are required to apply for and accept external awards for which they are eligible. It is a great honour to receive a prestigious fellowship and writing applications for such awards is part of your academic training. Not all awards are paid through the University of Toronto. For example, awards from other countries are typically paid directly to the student. In such cases, the student is responsible for paying tuition and fees.

Employment

A Teaching Assistantship (TA-ship) forms part of the funding package for most students. Graduate students are required to apply for and accept TA positions for this portion of the funding package. If a student’s TA income is below the $8,200 maximum prescribed by the Collective Agreement with CUPE 3902, Unit 1, at the time that the funding letter is issued, and the student subsequently receives additional TA hours, the funding package may be revised at the discretion of the graduate unit.

Domestic students who hold major awards and international students with awards that cover all of their funding may choose to do less TA work. To ensure that the graduate units knows how much work students take on, graduate students are required to disclose TA positions held across multiple departments and campuses to the Graduate Administrator.

Being a full-time student is a condition of funding. It is recommended that students who take paid employment limit their hours of work to fewer than 10 hours per week on average in all forms of employment, including TA, other employment at the university and employment outside the university, while receiving this funding.

The Faculty of Arts & Science (A&S) establishes Graduate Funding Terms and Conditions for each academic year. The Graduate Funding Terms and Conditions are appended to the annual funding letter for each student in the funded cohort.

The Faculty of Arts & Science funding model requires that students fund their graduate education through academic awards, Teaching Assistant work and Research Assistant work. If a student’s income from these sources falls short of the A&S base funding package amount, University of Toronto Fellowship (UTF) funds will be used to bring the student’s package up to the A&S Base.

The base funding package for 2020-21 is $18,000 for students in the Humanities and Social Sciences and $18,500 for students in the Sciences, plus tuition and fees. Total tuition and fees vary by legal status (domestic or international) program (international Master’s students pay a higher tuition fee) and campus affiliation. Tuition and fees are announced annually in June prior to the academic year. Individual student funding packages and their composition also change from year to year for a variety of reasons, including increases in the base funding package, fluctuations in graduate unit resources, the availability of TA and RA opportunities and any awards that students may obtain.

For 2020-21, the A&S Graduate Funding Terms and Conditions are:

1. Students must be within the funded cohort to qualify for a Faculty of Arts & Science base funding package.

The definition of funded cohort varies across departments. UTF funds cannot be received by students outside the funded cohort.

2. For students in the funded cohort, funding typically commences in the first session of the first year of registration in the program.

Funding commences in the first year and session of registration, unless program design dictates that funding starts in the second year for all students in the program. Funding packages cannot be deferred by the student until a subsequent year or session. In some rare cases, a two-year Master’s program may require that all students receive funding in the second year of the program, usually to enable students to meet specific language requirements in their first year.

3. Students must be registered full time to receive a Faculty of Arts & Science base funding package.

Students must be registered for a full 17-week session to qualify for funding for that session. If a student takes an approved leave of absence, the funding package will be revised to reflect the student’s enrolment status. This applies in the event of a retroactive leave of absence. Part-time and Flex-time students are not eligible for a base funding package.

4. Students must be working full time on their program.

It is recommended that students who take paid employment limit their hours of work to no more than 10 hours per week, on average, in all forms of employment, including TA, other employment at the university and employment outside the university, while receiving a base funding package.

5. Students must be in good academic standing.

If academic standing is in question, the graduate unit will inform the student before funding will be withdrawn.

6. Students must apply for and accept external awards.

As a condition of funding, graduate students are required to apply for and accept external awards for which they are eligible. It is a great honour to receive a prestigious fellowship, and writing applications for such awards is part of academic training.

External awards become a part of, or replace, the student’s funding package. Examples of major awards are SSHRC, NSERC, OGS and foreign government awards, such as the CONACyT or China Scholarship.

Tuition and fees are typically deducted from the January and May instalments of external awards administered by the School of Graduate Studies (SGS). Students with major awards that are included in the funding package, but paid directly by an external source, such as a foreign government, are required to pay their tuition and fees.

7. Students must seek TA work, accept any TA work that is offered and advise the graduate unit of any TA work that is accepted.

Income from TA work is a component of the funding package for most students. Failure to apply for and accept TA work may result in the forfeiture of the TA component of the funding package, which is specified in the annual funding letter, unless the student has an award that exempts the student from the TA requirement.

If a student’s TA income is below the $8,200 maximum prescribed by the Collective Agreement with CUPE 3902, Unit 1, at the time that the funding letter is issued, and the student subsequently receives additional TA hours, the funding package may be revised at the discretion of the graduate unit.

To ensure that the graduate units knows how much work students take on, graduate students are required to disclose TA positions held across multiple departments and campuses to the Graduate Administrator.

Students who are terminated from their TA position “with cause” will lose the TA component of the funding package for the academic year to which it applied.

8. Students in most graduate units must accept RA-ships or similar opportunities if they are offered as part of the funding package.

The amount of RA income included in funding packages varies by department and may generate employment income or a stipend, depending on the nature of the opportunity and Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) policy.