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The University of Toronto has committed to a guaranteed minimum level of financial support to all its eligible, full-time doctoral stream students in the funded cohort, equivalent to $15,000 per year plus tuition for the first 5 years of study. The policy outlined below is in effect for all PhD students who began their program prior to September 2017.  The GDPHS funding policy has been revised as of the 2016-17 academic year, as it pertains to the student contribution through TA and RA work. The TA/RA contribution was ultimately not implemented and has been removed from this Funding Policy.

In the Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences (PHS), the minimum support for eligible students in the funded cohort is $15,000 plus tuition (known as the Annual Stipend or Funding Package). For the 2016-17 academic year, the funding package is $23,492 for domestic students and $37,604 for international students.

Basic Definitions

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 Annual Stipend, students are required to be registered in full-time studies and in good academic standing, as described in the Statement on Good Academic Standing and Satisfactory Progress in the Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences, completing the degree requirements and achieving the milestones as defined by the program.

Full-time Status
As described in the SGS Calendar (Section 7.1.2)1, Students registered as full-time students in the SGS must be engaged in their studies on a full-time basis, defined according to government regulations. They must be:

  • pursuing their studies as a full-time occupation,
  • designated by the University as full-time students
  • geographically available and visit the campus regularly2
  • considered to be full-time students by their supervisors.

To further clarify the meaning of full-time studies, it is also instructive to consider the eligibility criteria for CIHR Doctoral Research programs, as follows: Only those students engaged in full-time doctoral research training (research training is defined as a minimum of 30 hours/week dedicated to research and course work) in a graduate school are eligible for support. CIHR further defines this minimum commitment of 30 hours/week as 75% of the student’s time3. This is essentially equivalent to the often quoted guideline: that the maximum amount of time that a full-time student can work, outside of the academic program, is 10 hours per week.

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 that may include consulting, community organizing, self-employment, contractual work, or equivalent. Their research and program of study must be related to their professional work and vice versa. Students in the flexible-time program will normally register full-time for 4 years (paying full-time fees), with the option to transfer to part-time registration (and part-time fees) starting in the fifth year of study. Flexible-time students are not in the funded cohort. Transfer between the full-time doctoral program and the flexible-time doctoral program is not permitted4.

Sources of Funding for Doctoral Students in the Funded Cohort:

Doctoral student funding packages will be derived from any one or a combination of the following:

A. Awards/fellowships/scholarships, including those from:

  • Government and other external agencies (e.g. CIHR, SSHRC, NSERC, OGS, QEII-GSST, Trudeau Foundation, Ontario Women’s Health Scholar’s, etc.)
  • independent foundations (e.g. Cdn Breast Cancer Fdn)
  • UofT (e.g. Connaught, some OSOTF awards)
  • foreign governments or international agencies (e.g. PAHO)

B. Training grants and stipends from supervisors
C. UofT Open Fellowships

Funding from awards, fellowships and scholarships is preferred, as these awards are generally prestigious and bring honour to both the student and the School. Students are required to apply annually for major awards (e.g. CIHR, SSHRC, OGS), if eligible. Students who do not apply for Government and competitive external funds must provide documentation of ineligibility. Both the student and supervisor are expected to make every reasonable effort to obtain funding from external award sources.

There is an expectation that supervisors (as well as supervisory committee members) will contribute towards the funding package, through grants or contracts which include allocations for student stipends or fellowships. Trainee stipends are generally itemized separately from salary support and are “financial support given to a recipient of a training award, or provided by a grantee to a trainee, to support them while they are working on their research thesis and/or gaining research experience” 5. Supervisors (and/or supervisory committee members) of students not holding an award(s) that meets the minimum full funding package level, should make every effort to provide the full Annual Stipend (or the difference between the award and the full Annual Stipend).

UofT Open Fellowship (UTO) funds are used to complete the funding package, as needed. The UTO should be considered as the last source of financial support (i.e. in situations where sources A and B above are insufficient to meet the full funding package, currently $15,000 plus tuition and fees). It is anticipated that first year PhD students will draw on UTO more heavily than those in other years.

Students and their supervisors must complete and submit, annually:

  1. a Funding Declaration, and
  2. an Annual Activity Report.

Composition of the PhD Funding Package

The funding package for each eligible student will be set annually, at the beginning of the academic year, in accordance with this funding policy. This package will be established with the student, in consultation with his/her supervisor and the Graduate Coordinator/Associate Dean, Academic.

In July, eligible students will receive a customized Funding Declaration, from the Graduate Department, which will itemize, for the next academic year, all sources of funding (and dollar value) known by the Graduate Department, in the following categories:

  1. Awards/fellowships/scholarships, and
  2. Training grants and stipends from supervisor

Students and their supervisor will verify the information and add any additional sources of funding for the next academic year.

Other Conditions of Funding

  1. Students in the funded cohort who are receiving Government or other competitive external awards/fellowships/scholarships, valued at $15,000 or greater (but < $25,492) will receive a bonus of up to $2,000 from UTO, to a maximum of $25,492 for all funding sources.
  2. Students whose funding sources change during the year are required to provide the Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences 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/or the School. The student will, of course, still receive at least the minimum Annual Stipend.
  3. Students must be registered as full-time degree students for a minimum of 14 weeks in each term during which they hold an award. Repayment of an award is required if a student is in full-time attendance for fewer than 14 weeks in any term, transfers to another graduate unit, changes to part-time status, or otherwise fails to maintain full-time status.
  4. Students must remain in good academic standing, as described in the Statement on Good Academic Standing and Satisfactory Progress in the Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences, completing the degree requirements and achieving the milestones as defined by the program.
  5. Students are required to apply annually for major awards (e.g. CIHR, SSHRC, OGS), if eligible.
  6. Students receiving UTO funds will be expected to sign, annually, a declaration that they are eligible for the funding.
  7. Students on an approved leave of absence are not eligible for funding during the period of absence.
  8. Students are responsible for paying their fees.
  9. International students are strongly encouraged to apply for adequate support from external agencies and/or their home governments/institutions. Admitted international students in the funded cohort are entitled to a minimum funding of $15,000 plus tuition, which for 2016-17 is $37,604. The conditions of funding and the provisions described in this policy apply equally to International students, with the exception that the dollar values are proportionately modified.

2 A full-time student may be absent from the University only with written permission from the graduate unit in which he or she is registered.

7 Dec 2016