Funding Policy for PhD Students
in the Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences
Dalla Lana School of Public Health

2017-2018

The Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences (PHS) of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLSPH) offers guaranteed funding to our PhD students. The University of Toronto currently has a minimum level of financial support to all eligible, full-time doctoral stream students covering tuition and incidental payments (health care, etc.) plus $15,000 per year for 4 years for students admitted with advanced standing. The support – the Funding Package – is allocated to eligible students in the funded cohort. The DLSPH Graduate Department of PHS is committed to guaranteeing all newly admitted students at a higher level, a minimum of $17,000 CDN above tuition and incidentals. The policy described herein is in effect for all PHS PhD students beginning their program on or after September, 2017.

1.    Funded Cohort Definition

Funded Cohort: The funded cohort includes full-time students, both domestic and international, in years 1-5 of the PhD program. To be eligible for the Funding Package, students are required to be registered in full-time studies and to be in good academic standing, as described in the Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences Statement on Good Academic Standing and Satisfactory Progress, completing the degree requirements and achieving the milestones as defined by the program. To receive the funding package, students will attest to eligibility on a yearly basis.

Full-time Status: Students who are registered full-time in the School of Graduate Studies must be engaged in their studies on a full-time basis, as required by government regulations for full-time studies (see the SGS Calendar). These students are pursuing their studies as a full-time occupation. Regular full time employment (defined as 35 hours per week [or full-time employment as specified in an employment contract] over all or most of the fall and winter terms) is inconsistent with full-time student status with respect to the funding policy.

 Flexible-Time Status: In PHS, the PhD is also offered as a flexible-time program. This option is for practicing professionals, who continue to be engaged in work activities (see the SGS calendar). As they are not pursuing their studies on a full-time basis, flexible-time students are not in the funded cohort.

2.      Sources of Funding

The student’s funding package is derived from many sources and includes any one or a combination of the following:

  • External awards the student may win (e.g. SSHRC, CIHR, OGS, QEII, Trillium, Connaught, or any other major grants/scholarships/fellowships)
  • University of Toronto or Public Health Sciences awards
  • Research and training stipends from supervisors
  • Income from working as a Teaching Assistant (starting in year 1)
  • Income from working as a Research Assistant (starting in year 1)
  • University of Toronto Open Fellowship (UTO)

In order to maintain eligibility for the funding guarantee, students must

  • Maintain good standing
  • Not be employed full time
  • Apply for external awards for which they are eligible
  • Accept or apply for TA and/or RA positions. If the student does not apply for TA/RA positions or declines TA and/or RA appointments, the funding guarantee for that year is reduced by the amount of the TA or RA contribution to the Funding Package.

We also endeavour to provide assistance to students in the years immediately following the years of guaranteed funding, usually through Teaching and Research Appointments, as well as the Doctoral Completion Award offered through the School of Graduate Studies.

External Awards

Funding from awards, fellowships and scholarships is preferred, as these awards are generally prestigious, bring honour to both the student and the School, and provide evidence of excellence to future employers. Students are required to apply annually for major awards (e.g. CIHR, SSHRC, OGS). Both the student and the supervisor will make every reasonable effort to obtain funding from external award sources, and report those efforts on the annual Funding Declaration. The principal kinds of grants/fellowships/scholarships awarded by bodies outside DLSPH that are commonly awarded to DLSPH PHS students include, but are not limited to:

Government Agencies

  • The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) provides funding in all areas of health research. The CIHR Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) is valued at $35,000 per year for up to 3 years, and the CIHR Doctoral Research Award is worth $21,000 per year for up to 3 years.
  • The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) awards Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS) at $35,000 per year for 3 years and doctoral fellowships at $20,000 per year for 1 to 4 years, to outstanding candidates pursing studies in the social sciences and humanities.
  • The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) awards Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS) at $35,000 per year for 3 years and doctoral fellowships at $21,000 per year for 2 or 3 years, to high caliber scholars who are engaged in a doctoral program in natural sciences or engineering.
  • The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC) support students who demonstrate leadership skills and excellent scholarly achievement. Award value is $50,000 per year for up to 3 years. International (Visa) students are eligible for a Vanier Scholarship.
  • The Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) program recognizes academic excellence in graduate studies in all disciplines of academic study. Full-time PhD students in Years 1 to 5 may receive the scholarship, valued at $15,000, for up to four years. All those who intend to apply for entry to a PHS degree program, and who are eligible to do so, are most strongly urged to apply. In addition, a set number of OGS awards are available to international (Visa) students.
  • The Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarships in Science and Technology (QEII-GSST) program is designed to encourage excellence in doctoral studies in science and technology. Four QEII-GSST awards, valued at $15,000, are available in PHS, each with specific eligibility criteria.
  • The Ontario Trillium Scholarships (OTS) program is a provincially-funded initiative to attract the best-qualified international students to Ontario for doctoral research studies. Applications are accepted only via nominations by the graduate units.

Independent Foundations

  • The Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarships aim to support doctoral candidates who are pursuing research of compelling present-day concern, touching upon one or more of the Foundation’s four founding themes: Human Rights and Dignity, Responsible Citizenship, Canada in the World, and People and their Natural Environment. Scholarships are available for international (Visa) students (preference for candidates from developing countries).
  • The Ontario Women’s Health Scholars Award provides assistance to outstanding researchers at Ontario universities who have been improving the health of women through their research. The doctoral award is valued at $35,000
  • Restracomp is the SickKids Research Institute’s graduate scholarship and post-doctoral fellowship program, and it funds exceptional researchers working under the supervision of a SickKids scientist. Restracomp PhD scholarships are valued at $24,000 for up to 4 years.
  • Other common foundations include the Ontario institute for Cancer Research (OICR), CanHepC, Canadian HIV Observational Cohort (CANOC), Canadian Immunization Research Network, and the Wilson Centre.

International Agencies

  • The Delta Kappa Gamma World Fellowship Fund was established to provide opportunities for women from foreign countries to pursue graduate studies in Canada and the United States. Eligible applicants must be female, international registered, full-time students. Applicants cannot be a citizen or landed immigrant of Canada or the United States. The award value is $4,000 USD.
  • The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) offers a range of fellowships and awards for students to fund innovative work that will address development challenges. Citizens of developing countries pursuing a doctoral degree at a Canadian university and who, prior to applying, have a student visa with a work permit valid in Canada are eligible.
  • The Margaret McNamara Education Grants is a nonprofit, public charity founded in 1981, which awards education grants to exceptional women from developing countries, who are at least 25 years old, and enrolled at universities in the US, Canada and select universities in South Africa and Latin America. Grants of up to US$15,000 have been awarded in the US/Canada program. 

University of Toronto Awards

  • The Adel S. Sedra Distinguished Graduate Award is a fellowship of up to $25,000 awarded annually to a doctoral student who demonstrates outstanding academic and extracurricular leadership. International students are eligible to apply.
  • A number of University-Wide awards have been established at the School of Graduate Studies through the generous support of donors. Approximately 16 awards with individual eligibility criteria and values are available. Funds awarded in excess of $5,000 will contribute towards the PhD Funding Package.
  • The Connaught International Scholarships assist graduate units in recruiting and supporting top international scholars. Students do not apply directly, but must be nominated by their graduate unit at the time of admission. The effective value awarded to each student is $35,000.00 in total (including tuition).

Other major external awards can be discovered by consulting the School of Graduate Studies’ Scholarships & Awards information.

Public Health Sciences Awards

  • The Dr. Andrea Sass-Kortsak Award is a merit-based award available to a PhD student engaged in research related to management, evaluation or policy related to occupational health, or secondly, to a PhD student in the Occupational and Environmental Health program. The award is valued at approximately $4,000.
  • The David Cornfield Melanoma Fund is a new award offered to a student with a demonstrated special interest and research achievements in the field of melanoma skin cancer, and who demonstrates academic excellence. The award is valued at approximately $4,000.
  • The Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund (OSOTF) is a category of awards that have been developed through a matching program with the Ontario government. Eligibility includes demonstrated financial need. The value of these awards is based on the annual income earned. OSOTF funds awarded in excess of $5,000 will contribute towards the PhD Funding Package.

Research and Training Stipends from Supervisors

Supervisors (and/or supervisory committee members) are expected to contribute towards the Funding Package, through grants which include allocations for student stipends or fellowships, or through other sources of funding, unless students are fully funded through external student awards plus TA/ RA positions.

Income from Working as a Teaching or Research Assistant

Students will contribute to the Funding Package through Teaching or Research Assistant positions to a maximum combined total of $1,500. Students fulfilling their contribution through a teaching assistant position are not required to take a research assistant position and vice versa.

Teaching Assistant Positions
Teaching assistant (TA) positions will contribute towards the Funding Package to a maximum of $1,500. To qualify for this portion of the funding, students must take up a subsequent appointment TA position or accept a TA position to which they applied. Students who decline a TA position or decline / defer a subsequent appointment (and do not take an RA position instead), or if no TA applications are submitted, will not be eligible to receive this portion of the Funding Package. Students who receive funding from other sources with a total value > tuition plus $20,000 are not required to accept TA positions.

TA positions administered by PHS with application instructions are posted on the TA Opportunities page of the DLSPH website, the Human Resources & Equity/CUPE Local 3902 website, on the 6th floor CUPE bulletin board, and are emailed to the PhD student mailing list.

Research Assistant Positions
Research assistant (RA) positions will contribute towards the Funding Package to a maximum of $1,500 (or to a maximum of 60 hours of work per year). To qualify for this portion of the funding students must accept a RA position. The RA position can be through your supervisor or found elsewhere at the University. Students who decline a RA position (and do not take a TA position instead) or if no RA applications are submitted, will not be eligible to receive this portion of the Funding Package. Students who receive funding from other sources with a total value > tuition plus $20,000 are not required to accept RA positions.

University of Toronto Open Fellowship (UTO)

 UTO Fellowship funds (i.e. financial support from the Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences) are used to complete the Funding Package, if needed, to meet the minimum annual guaranteed level.

The Funding Package for each eligible student will be finalized annually by the Graduate Office, in accordance with this funding policy. In July of each year, eligible students will receive a Funding Declaration from the Graduate Department that itemizes, for the next academic year, all sources of funding (and dollar value) known by the Graduate Department. Students and their supervisors will verify and complete the information in the Funding Declaration, adding other sources of funding as necessary. To receive the funding package, students will attest to eligibility on a yearly basis.

3. Conditions of Funding

  1. The Funding Package in the Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences for PhD students in the funded cohort is tuition plus $17,000 per annum.
  2. Students in the funded cohort who hold competitive awards between $2000 and $5,000 will receive a bonus of $1,000 from UTO funds to bring the total up to tuition plus $18,000.
  3. Students in the funded cohort who hold competitive awards between $5,001 and $15,000 will receive a bonus of $2,000 from UTO funds to bring the total up to tuition plus $19,000.
  4. Students in the funded cohort who hold competitive awards > $15,000 will receive a bonus of up to $3,000 from UTO, to a maximum of tuition plus $20,000.
  5. Students who hold competitive awards with a total value > tuition plus $20,000 are not eligible for further UTO funds. These individuals will not be required to contribute through TA or RA positions.
  6. Students whose funding sources change during the year are required to provide PHS with supporting documentation. In addition, students may be required to return or decline funds in order to comply with the policies of the funding sources and PHS. The student will, of course, still receive at least the minimum Funding Package. The Graduate Department of PHS is committed to funding students in as predictable a fashion as possible; immediate notification by students of funding source changes will facilitate this.
  7. Students must be registered in PHS as full-time degree students for a minimum of 14 weeks in each term. Repayment of UTO funds is required if a student is registered in PHS for fewer than 14 weeks in any term or otherwise fails to maintain full-time status.
  8. Students must remain in good academic standing, as described in the Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences Statement on Good Academic Standing and Satisfactory Progress, completing the degree requirements and achieving the milestones as defined by the program. Repayment of UTO funds is required if a student is not in good academic standing and/or is not making satisfactory progress.
  9. Students are required to complete annually the Funding Declaration and the PhD Activity report.
  10. Students are responsible for paying their own fees.