With only a few exceptions (see below), graduate students must be paid a full stipend throughout their graduate career. Funding will come from various scholarships that the student has applied for and has been awarded, and in the absence of that, from the Supervisor’s grant. The stipend is paid to the student up to and including the submission of supervisor-approved corrections to their thesis to SGS, after which payment of the stipend must stop.
The Faculty of Medicine’s Harmonized Stipend Agreement currently governs the stipend amount for students in all eight Basic Science departments. Yearly stipend amounts are calculated based on an estimate of living expenses (living allowance) and the current year’s tuition fees. The 2016-2017 Harmonized Stipend Agreement is now available.
Current tuition fee rates are available on the web site of the Vice-President and Provost. Since there is a large difference between domestic and international student fees, international (“visa”) students can only be accepted if they have a commitment from a sponsoring faculty member who guarantees the payment of their full tuition and incidental fees differential in addition to the living allowance.
The stipend can be interrupted if:
- The student takes a department-approved leave of absence.
- After the student has his/her committee's approval to write a thesis, the student takes an unreasonable amount of time in completing the writing.
- For those students who extend their Ph.D. program beyond six years (direct entry PhD students) or beyond seven years (students who reclassified into the Ph.D. program), SGS reduces the student's tuition fees by ~50%, and the tuition portion of their stipend is decreased accordingly
All students are responsible for paying their own tuition fees. The Department is unable to pay the fees on any student's behalf because this will disqualify him/her from receiving a tax credit. Students who are in arrears are not eligible to register with the School of Graduate Studies. Current tuition fee schedules are posted on the Student Accounts website.
Administration of Student Funding
During a student's rotation period, the stipend is paid through the Department. Once a student has settled into a permanent lab, payment of the stipend is administered through the node at which the student is located. General inquiries should be directed to the Business Officer in the student's node.
Students must to ensure that any changes or problems with stipend payments are brought to the attention of their Business Officer as soon as possible. It is particularly worth noting that in cases where awards are concerned. It is the student's decision whether to accept or decline an award as well as the duration for which he/she may accept the award; the onus is thus on the student to inform his/her Business Officer as to which award he/she is accepting, when and for how long. On the other hand, it is the supervisor's and the supervisory committee's decision to terminate a student's stipend if he/she fails to fulfill the requirements of this handbook.
Up to one month's notice may be required to make payroll changes. Students must inform the relevant Business Officer personally of the following changes:
- Selection of a permanent lab
- Change of supervisor
- Receipt or cancellation of an award
- Long-term leave of absence
- Withdrawal from the program
- Completion of the degree (if it coincides with the supervisor's decision to terminate stipend payments)
Any attempt to retain an award while registered as a full-time student in another program is in clear violation of the rules of the awarding body and the School of Graduate Studies. The student must familiarize him/herself with the rules of the award he/she has accepted and abide by those rules.
Awards & Scholarships
Students are encouraged to apply for external scholarships from such agencies as:
Applications and eligibility requirements are available on the respective websites. Students will be sent award announcements via email as they become available.
Apart from these major awards/scholarships, the School of Graduate Studies and the Faculty of Medicine’s Graduate & Life Sciences Education Office maintain full lists of available awards and scholarships to which graduate students can apply.
The Department of Molecular Genetics has several awards that are only available to students in this department. Calls for applications with deadlines, award amounts and application instructions are made each year via email to our student body.
David Stephen Cant Graduate Scholarship in Stem Cell Research - Granted annually to a Molecular Genetics graduate student in the M.Sc. or Ph.D. program demonstrating excellence and commitment in the area of stem cell research. A particular preference is given to outstanding students studying neurological disorders or macular degeneration.
Hannah Farkas-Himsley and Alexander Himsley Memorial Prize - Awarded every other year, alternating with the Biomedical Engineering Group. The award honours the memory of Dr. Hannah Farkas-Himsley, a Professor from the former Department of Microbiology. The value of the award is the interest on the endowment. The award is given on the basis of financial need, which includes all graduate students, according to the Faculty of Medicine. As a result, the award will be given based on the applicant’s contributions to research. This award is part of the Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Funds (OSOTF).
L.W. Macpherson Microbiology Award - Offered yearly on a competitive basis to the best, acclaimed all-round registered M.Sc. or Ph.D. student working in the broad area of Microbiology. The award honours the late Dr. Lachlan W. Macpherson, a Professor and Acting Chair from the former Department of Microbiology and Parasitology. The monetary amount consists of the annual interest that accumulates from the original donation made by Dr. Macpherson (1984).
Roman Pakula Award - Offered annually on competitive basis to the best acclaimed all-round M.Sc. student registered in the Department of Molecular Genetics. The award honours the late Dr. Roman Pakula, a Professor and Acting Chair from the former Department of Microbiology. The monetary amount consists of the annual interest that accumulates from the original donations made by the family and friends of Dr. Pakula.
The Norman Bethune Award - This award is a result of an honorarium given in 1988 to Mr. Frederick Kahan, a Senior Scientist in Exploratory Biological Research at Merck Sharp and Dohme for his contribution to the development of the antibiotic "Primaxin". Mr. Kahan wished that the money be given to his alma mater, the University of Toronto and wished the prize to be named in honour of Dr. Norman Bethune. The award is available on a competitive basis to a graduate student in the first two years of a Ph.D. program. This includes students who have reclassified from a M.Sc. program, in which case the initial starting date will apply. The aim of the award is to recognize and encourage young, talented researchers on the threshold of their careers.
Eric Hani Fellowship - Awarded to first, second or third-year graduate students in the Faculty of Medicine on the basis of financial need. Preference will be given to students undertaking research in microbiology. This award is part of the Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Funds (OSOTF).
Barbara Vivash Award in Molecular Genetics - Awarded annually for the most outstanding Ph.D. thesis in the Department of Molecular Genetics. Attention is given tot he production of a major work of scholarship that has led to a significant advance in understanding the molecular genetic mechanisms underlying an important biological or biomedical process. The awardee must have written an outstanding Ph.D. thesis and then have conducted an equally excellent oral defence of their body of work.
Switching labs after rotation period
On rare occasions, a student will move to a different lab and mentor to carry out their thesis project well after the rotation period has ended. This move can be initiated only by the student, not the mentor, and can occur only after the student has discussed the situation in detail with the Graduate Coordinator (and the first supervisor when appropriate). If the student switches labs within a 4-month period (excluding all initial rotations) of joining the first lab, the second lab will fully reimburse the first lab for covering the stipend costs during the rotation period upon request by the first supervisor. If the student switches labs after the 4-month of being in the first lab (excluding all initial rotations), but before beginning their 9th month, the second lab will reimburse the first lab for half of the stipend costs during the initial rotation period upon request by the first supervisor. If the student switches labs after the completion of 8 months, the second lab will bear no responsibility for the costs of the student's stipend during the rotation period. In this case, the expense for the stipend during the rotation period will remain with the first lab. If a student leaves the Department at any time after joining a lab, that lab will not be reimbursed the stipend costs during the rotation period by the department or any other lab.
Grant Paid Students
Under the CIHR General Guidelines for all Research Funding Program, Research Trainees on Grants section, with the approval of their supervisors, students may "earn from an additional source not exceeding the value of their academic fees or 35% of the amount received from the grant, whichever is greater." In the absence of an explicit policy from agencies such as NSERC or NCIC, the Department has adopted the CIHR guideline for all grant-paid students including those who hold a Connaught, an OGS or an UTO.
Students who hold a Studentship from a Granting Agency
Funding agencies set limits to the additional income students may receive. Students must make sure that they are abiding by the conditions of the award they are receiving. This includes the number of Teaching Assistant (TA) hours that are allowed. The Chair has delegated the authority of approval of TA hours to supervisors. It is a supervisor's responsibility to ensure that these guidelines are adhered to. The supervisor must provide the course supervisor with written approval for the student to TA. If a student's earnings exceed the 35% limit the supervisor is entitled "claw back" the difference (i.e., reduce the student's stipend by a corresponding amount).