Funding Policy for PhD Students in the Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences
The Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences (PHS) in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLSPH) offers base funding to our PhD students. This support – the Funding Package – is allocated to eligible students in the funded cohort. The Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences is committed to providing all students a base funding package 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, registered in years 1-5 of the PhD program. To be eligible for the Funding Package, students are required to be registered in the full-time PhD program 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 as 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.
We also endeavour to provide assistance to full-time students in the years immediately following the years of base funding, usually through Teaching and Research Appointments, as well as the Doctoral Completion Award offered through the School of Graduate Studies.
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 competitive 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 (e.g. SGS University-wide Awards, Andrea Sass-Kortsak Award)
- Research and training stipends from supervisors
- Income from working as a Teaching Assistant
- Income from working as a Research Assistant
- 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.
External Competitive Awards
Funding from awards, fellowships, scholarships and studentships 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 awards, offered by bodies outside DLSPH, that are commonly awarded to PHS students include, but are not limited to:
- 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 Scholarships.
- 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 students who are eligible to do so, including those who intend to apply for entry to a PHS degree program, are strongly urged to apply to OGS. International (Visa) students are eligible for Ontario Graduate Scholarships.
- 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. Students do not apply directly, but must be nominated by their graduate unit at the time of admission.
- 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.
- 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. Need-based 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).
- The David Cornfield Melanoma Fund is 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.
These and 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 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, or other sources of funding, which include allocations for student stipends or fellowships (paid as T4A earnings), unless students are fully funded through external competitive 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 employment 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
Earnings from teaching assistant (TA) positions will contribute towards the Funding Package to a maximum of $1,500. 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 forfeit 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 5th floor CUPE bulletin board, and are emailed to the PhD student mailing list.
Research Assistant Positions
Earnings from 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 continue in RA positions currently held or accept a RA position to which they applied. The RA position can be through the student’s supervisor or found elsewhere. Students who decline a RA position (and do not take a TA position instead) or if no RA applications are submitted, will forfeit 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 annual base 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
- The Funding Package in the Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences for PhD students in the funded cohort is tuition and incidental fees plus $17,000 per annum.
- Students in the funded cohort who hold competitive awards between $2,000 and $5,000 will receive a bonus of $1,000 from UTO funds to bring the total up to tuition plus $18,000.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 base 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Students are required to complete annually the Funding Declaration and the PhD Activity report.
- Students are responsible for paying their own fees.