The Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLSPH) funding policy is grounded in the University of Toronto Policy on Student Financial Support (https://governingcouncil.utoronto.ca/secretariat/policies/student-financial-support-policy-april-30-1998) and the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) guidance on how funding works for research stream students (https://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/awards-funding/how-funding-works-research-stream/). Please explore the SGS website as it provides information about funding policies across the University of Toronto.
This policy, described in more detail below, is in effect for all full-time PhD students registered in the Four-Year PhD program, in the Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences (PHS) for the 2023-2024 academic year. This policy is reviewed, and may be revised, on an annual basis.
2. Spirit of the Funding Policy
The University of Toronto Policy on Student Financial Support states: “Support for doctoral-stream students should take into account the student’s own ability to contribute to the cost of his or her education”. This means research stream doctoral students (i.e. PhD) are expected to raise enough financial funding to support their studies. The Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences (PHS) in the DLSPH recognizes that some students may not be able to raise financial support to reach a minimum threshold. Therefore, DLSPH commits to providing limited financial assistance to support students in need so they can still participate in full-time Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) study. To be eligible, students must be participating in the Four-Year PhD Program, registered as full-time students, and unable to secure enough financial support through awards, scholarships or stipends, to sum to a minimum funding threshold.
3. The Minimum Funding Threshold
The minimum funding threshold is the base amount of financial support students are expected to be able to contribute to the cost of their education through a combination of eligible sources. The minimum funding threshold for 2023-2024 is:
Domestic students: $18,500 plus tuition of $8,213.96 = $26,713.96
International students: $18,500 plus tuition of $8,969.96 (inclusive of UHIP fees) = $27,469.96
These thresholds are used to set the minimum funding threshold for this policy only; it is expected that students will seek and secure more than these minimum amounts.
4. Calculation of the Funding Package
A student’s annual funding package is determined at the start of each academic year. The Graduate Department Funding Declaration Form is used to collect information from each student about their eligible sources of funding in order to assess and calculate each student’s individualized annual Funding Package.
Eligible sources include:
- Scholarships and awards (e.g. SSHRC, CIHR, OGS, QEII, any other grants/scholarships/fellowships)
- Research stipends
- Training stipends
- Research assistantships
- Teaching assistantships
Income earned outside of these eligible sources are not included in the minimum funding threshold calculation.
The Graduate Department assesses the funds secured by students. For those students whose acquired eligible sources amount to less than the minimum funding threshold, the amount of financial assistance needed to reach the minimum funding threshold is provided by DLSPH in the form of the University of Toronto Fellowship top-up.
Example Funding Package calculations based on different funding scenarios from 2022-23 are depicted here. Each example includes the net amount available for living expenses, after tuition is paid.
A student’s funding package may:
- Look different from another student’s because of different income sources.
- Be re-assessed and updated during the academic year if any funding changes occur (e.g., new fellowship awarded, leave of absence approved).
- Vary in funding source composition from year-to-year because funding sources and amounts may change over time.
Student awards and funding opportunities are posted on the:
- SGS website: https://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/awards-funding/scholarships-awards/
- DLSPH website: https://www.dlsph.utoronto.ca/students/current-students/
5. What is the University of Toronto Fellowship (UTF)?
The University of Toronto Fellowship (UTF) is needs-based funding from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health’s core operating budget. The UTF is used to supplement (i.e. top-up) the funding packages of doctoral students who do not reach the minimum funding threshold through a combination of fellowships, scholarships, awards and stipends.
6. Information about Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant positions
Many students work as TAs or RAs, or both, as a way to support their studies. TA and RA earnings are included in the calculation of the funding package; however, only up to a maximum of $2,500 in total. TA and/or RA earnings above $2,500 are not included in the funding package calculation.
It is assumed that doctoral students will earn income through TA and/or RA employment of at least $2,500 each year. Therefore, this amount ($2,500) is automatically included in the calculation of the funding package. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the Graduate Department if they have not been successful in securing RA or TA income totaling $2,500. Students who do not apply for TA and/or RA positions, or decline TA/RA positions offered, will forfeit this portion of the funding package.
Other employment income is not considered in the minimum funding threshold calculation. PhD students should be aware of full-time registration regulations. See Full-time Status in section 11. Definitions.
Teaching Assistant positions administered by PHS are posted on the TA Opportunities page of the DLSPH website, the Human Resources & Equity/CUPE Local 3902 Unit 1 Job Postings website and are emailed to students via the PhD student mailing list.
Research Assistant positions advertised through PHS are posted on the DLSPH Professional Opportunities page.
Students are also encouraged to talk with the Graduate Department and their supervisor about funding opportunities and research assistant positions.
7. Roles and Responsibilities
Students: As indicated in the University of Toronto Policy on Student Financial Support, “Support for doctoral-stream students should take into account the student’s own ability to contribute to the cost of his or her education”. This means students are expected to seek and secure funds to financially support themselves during their academic studies.
Faculty: Faculty are expected to contribute to the financial well-being of our community of doctoral students, whenever possible, by providing stipends or research assistantships for work on grant funded research or, for instance, by covering student participation in conferences and manuscript publication costs not covered by the University of Toronto article processing charge agreements. See: https://onesearch.library.utoronto.ca/copyright/apc-discounts.
Faculty can prioritize the students they supervise but are not limited to supporting these students.
Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences: Based on information gathered in the Funding Declaration, the Graduate Department will assess each student’s individual funding situation and evaluate whether a student may be allocated UTF top-up funds. Students will receive a Funding Letter, outlining their Funding Package for the upcoming academic year, by September 30th.
8. How Do I Know If I am Eligible for UTF Top-Up Funding?
Students maybe eligible for UTF supplemental funding if they are:
- Registered Full-time in the Four-Year PhD program as defined in the SGS policy (see Full-time Status in 11. Definitions below).
- In academic years 1-4 of the PhD program. Note, funding is available to those fifth-year students who are in good academic standing and progressing well towards completion, demonstrated through submission of the 5th Year Timeline Form.
- Maintaining 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.
- Applying for competitive awards, RA positions and TA positions for which they are eligible.
- Completing the annual Funding Declaration.
- Below the minimum funding threshold.
9. What is the Schedule of Payments?
Review the Award Payment Schedule.
10. What Else Should I Know?
- UTF is intended to support students in need, where need is defined as not reaching the minimum funding threshold after summing all eligible funding sources secured.
- For students holding fellowships, scholarships or awards administered through the university, tuition fees are generally paid from the award funds directly to their student fee account. Research/training stipend funds (from supervisory committee members), awards administered outside of the university, and all TA and RA earnings are paid to students in full. Students receiving funds from sources administered outside of the university are required to make payments towards their tuition fees through their financial institution. See the Award Payment Schedule for more details.
- Students whose funding sources change during the year are required to notify the Graduate Department immediately at: firstname.lastname@example.org. This can be done by providing scholarship/award/employment documentation. A student’s funding package will be recalculated, adding or subtracting amounts based on the changes. This may change the amount of UTF a student will receive for a given academic year. Changes may result in returning UTF funds that have been dispersed in excess of the revised UTF amount.
- Need-based awards (excluding UTF) up to $5,000 will not be included in the minimum funding threshold calculation.
- Students who secure a fellowship, scholarship, award, and/or stipend will be given a 10% bonus, by the DLSPH, of the total funding obtained, up to a maximum total funding level of $30,000.
- TA and RA earnings assessed in the funding package can be secured from a variety of research and/or teaching assistant opportunities, many of which cannot be verified by the Graduate Department. Therefore, it is assumed that doctoral students will earn, through TA and/or RA positions, at least $2,500 each year. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the Graduate Department if they have not been successful in securing RA or TA income totaling $2,500. Students who do not apply for TA and/or RA positions, or decline TA/RA positions offered, will forfeit this portion of the funding package.
- Students who hold major competitive awards, scholarships, or stipends equivalent to, or greater than, the minimum funding threshold are not expected to hold an RA or TA position. In this case, any income earned through RA or TA positions will be in addition to award, scholarship, or stipend.
- Students must be registered in PHS as full-time degree students for a minimum of 14 weeks in each term. Repayment of UTF 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 are responsible for ensuring that all tuition and incidental fees are paid before April 30th of each academic year.
Competitive Awards: Applying for fellowships, scholarships and awards is a key part of scholarly activity. Honing this skill set prepares PHS students for the future and provides them a track record of success on their C.V. These awards are generally prestigious, bring recognition and honour to both the student and the School, and provide evidence of excellence to future employers. Students are required to apply annually for competitive awards (e.g. CIHR, SSHRC, OGS). Both the student and their supervisor will make every reasonable effort to obtain funding from competitive award sources and report those efforts on the annual Funding Declaration. Student awards and funding opportunities are posted on the:
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). Students registered for full-time study should be aware that also being committed to outside employment can create a conflict of commitment. Full-time doctoral students should ensure sufficient time is devoted to the academic requirements of their program, in particular, full-time employment is usually not compatible with full-time student status. Students who intend to continue to be engaged in full-time work activities should be registered as flexible-time status.
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). Flexible-time students are not included in the funded cohort.
Research Assistantships: RA positions advertised through PHS are posted on the DLSPH Professional Opportunities page. The maximum income contribution from research assistant (RA) sources is limited to $2,500 for the PHS minimum funding threshold calculation; meaning that any RA income earned over $2,500 is not included in the minimum funding threshold calculation, and can be considered bonus income for the student, above the minimum threshold. A maximum of $2,500 will be considered as part of the funding package from the total earned in both RA and TA employment.
Teaching Assistantships: TA income is included in the minimum funding threshold in accordance with the CUPE Local 3902, Unit 1, collective agreement. The maximum income contribution from teaching assistant (TA) sources is limited to $2,500 for the PHS minimum funding threshold calculation; meaning that any TA income earned over $2,500 is not included in the minimum funding threshold calculation.
TA positions administered by PHS are posted on the TA Opportunities page of the DLSPH website, the Human Resources & Equity/CUPE Local 3902 Unit 1 Job Postings website, and emailed to students via the PhD student mailing list. A maximum of $2,500 will be considered as part of the funding package from the total amount earned in both TA and RA employment.