Finances, Stipends & Scholarships

October 8, 2016

Guaranteed Stipends - for prospective and new students

Graduate Students in the sciences at the University of Toronto are guaranteed a base annual stipend to pay for their rent, living expenses, etc. and their tuition and other fees. For 2016-17 this minimum is $17,000 above tuition and fees. The EEB Department adds an additional $1000 guarantee for all students. For domestic students (that is, Canadian citizens and permanent residents) the resulting EEB base income is $26,500/year ($18,000 for rent, living expenses, etc. and approx. $8500 for tuition and other fees), and for international students (on visas) it is $40,600/year ($18,000 for rent, living expenses, etc. and $22,000 for tuition and other fees). These base income rates are guaranteed for 16 months for the M.Sc. program. For students in the PhD program, those that have a MSc are guaranteed funding for four years; those that entering directly from a bachelor's program or transferring from a MSc to a PhD program have this guaranteed funding for five years. Some funding is available for PhD students after the guaranteed funding period ends if they are making good progress (e.g., TAing (210 hours are recommended)), a Doctoral Completion Award and, in some cases, RA from the supervisor (please ask your potential supervisor about this).

For each student, the annual income is composed of different categories of support. Each category of support is described in some detail below the following table. The table documents how external scholarships can change the teaching versus research balance in your program and raise your disposable income for rent and living expenses. 

Income Specified in Support Packages for Different Groups of Graduate Students

Student Group TA hours required* to achieve guaranteed income Total of support package (including TA$) Disposable income after tuition and fees
Base income for a standard science grad student in Arts & Science at UofT 




EEB Students without major scholarship support




Student with a major scholarship

Usually 70

Amounts vary with the value of the scholarship

Amounts vary with the value of the scholarship

As one example: in 2016-17, a domestic student with an NSERC CGSM in the first year of a MSc




* Students may decline a TA offer but their income will then be correspondingly reduced unless their supervisor replaces the lost income by increasing the Research Assistantship component of the support package. Alternatively, students may TA more than specified in the initial stipend package, if they obtain permission from their supervisor and if slots are available. In 2016-17, one 70-hour TA slot pays about $3,100.

**The Doctoral Completion Award (DCA) (approx. $2000-3000/year for two years) may be available to some doctoral students in this category.

D Canadian students and permanent residents, I International students on visas

Individual Stipend Funding Packages

In August of each year, students and their supervisor(s) will receive a statement of the student's guaranteed income for the following year. The statement will include a breakdown of the value of each kind of support in the total package. This description will take into account the student's status (domestic/international), term of first registration, any major scholarship, and stage in program.

September Cash Payments from the Support Package

All new students will receive in early September an early payment (normally a minimum of $1300) from their support package to help pay for relocation to Toronto and/or getting ready for the new academic year. The amount of this payment will be specified in each student's detailed description of their stipend package, which will be sent out in August.

If you have questions about any of the above information, please contact the EEB Graduate Office ( or read through the Details about Categories of Support section below.

Details about Categories of Support in Graduate Stipend Packages

NOTE: All of this information will be fully explained when the stipend package is provided.

Teaching Assistantships (TA):

Funding packages for students (without major, external scholarships) include income from the 140 hours that students work as a teaching assistant in undergraduate courses. In 2016-17, each student is paid ~$6,200 for doing this teaching. [NOTE: The Faculty of Arts and Sciences expects graduate students to TA for 210 hours to meet the guaranteed funding level, but our department is able to reduce this amount to 140 hours because we are able to provide (restricted) awards from our endowment fund. This allows students to focus more time on their research activities without sacrificing income.] Students supported by major scholarships (e.g. NSERC, OGS, FQRNT) are only required to do 70 hours of TAing a year (=~$3,100 in income) to receive the guaranteed base funding. The TA component of support packages may be increased or decreased based on discussions between a student and their supervisor, and will be contingent on the availability of TA positions. A student is permitted to teach fewer hours than specified in their funding package, but they thereby reduce their total income.

Research Assistantships (RA):

Research Assistantships are provided by the supervisor to the student, from the supervisor's research grant, to assist the student with rent, living expenses, etc. 

MSc program: In 2016-17, for students that start their program in September, the RA that the supervisor pays to domestic and international students in the16-month MSc program is $9,300 for the first 12 months and, for the remaining four months, $9,000 for domestic students and approx. $12,000 for international students. RA values may be less for students holding an external scholarship, if the scholarship provides enough support to replace some or all of the usual RA; such RA reductions are permitted only when the reduced value of the RA is compensated by a larger value of the scholarship.

PhD program: In 2016-17, the RA for PhD students is currently $9,300 per year for both domestic and international students for the 4-year period of guaranteed income (when the student already has a MSc when he/she joins our PhD program) or 5-year period of guaranteed income (for students that did not have a MSc when they join the PhD program). RA values may be less for students holding an external scholarship, if the scholarship provides enough support to replace some or all of the usual RA; such RA reductions are permitted only when the reduced value of the RA is compensated by a larger value of the scholarship. When the student leaves the funded cohort, some supervisors will continue to pay some RA to him/her (ask your proposed supervisor about this).

University of Toronto Fellowships (UTF):

UTF funds are provided by the Faculty of Arts & Science to help cover the costs of tuition and other fees and to ensure that each graduate student has some financial support during their graduate program. For students without large external scholarships, the value of the typical UTF award each year is about $9,500 for domestic students and about $23,500 for international students (the difference between these amounts is purely to offset the differential in tuition and other fees paid by the two groups, so that their after-fees incomes are equal).

UTF "top-ups" are awarded by the Faculty of Arts & Sciences to students holding eligible scholarships and are added on top of the base income for winners of NSERC CGSM and PGSD (in 2016-17, the top-up was ~$1,500), and OGS (~$1,500) scholarships. 

EEB Internal Awards (Restricted Awards from EEB Endowment Funds):

EEB Restricted Awards are funded by the interest on donations to the Department's endowment funds that have been supplemented by matching gifts from the University and sometimes the Province.

The department's endowment funds play a critical role:

  • in allowing the department to provide graduate student income above the base level set by Arts & Science,
  • in reducing the TA hours required in our standard funding packages to 140 hours for students without a major scholarship, and
  • in allowing us to recognize outstanding achievements by individual students.

No applications are necessary for the awards. Every graduate student in EEB is automatically considered for them. To receive some endowed awards, recipients must be studying particular groups of organisms or kinds of processes. There may be some financial needs requirements, but most graduate students (unless they are independently wealthy) satisfy those criteria. Values of the awards vary widely depending on other components of the student's financial package.

Please ask us if you have questions about our funding packages (EEB Graduate Office