University of Toronto Department of Political Science
All students in the Doctoral program of the Department of Political Science will receive substantial financial support during the first five years of study in the PhD program on the condition that they are making good progress toward the degree. The Faculty of Arts & Science guarantees a minimum funding package for all doctoral-stream students, which normally includes a teaching assistantship. General information about the funding package, including information about complaint resolution, is available at http://www.artsci.utoronto.ca/graduate/scholarships.
For the 2009-10 academic year, the Faculty has determined the minimum funding package level to be $15,000 plus tuition and fees. For domestic students this means an award of approximately $22,400 and for visa students $31,400 (depending on the start year). A graduate funding package may be made up from a variety of sources including external awards such as SSHRC or OGS, scholarships, research assistantships, teaching assistantships and other U of T funding. If a student is offered any of the funding components as a part of their minimum funding package and then turns the offer down, the student forfeits that component of their funding package for that year.
All doctoral students must apply for Ontario Graduate Scholarships in their first four years, and all PhD students who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents must apply for a Doctoral Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, unless they already hold a fellowship from SSHRC or an equivalent multi-year fellowship from another source. Students in the funded cohort (up to and including their fourth year) who do not apply for these external awards will not receive departmental/university funding in the next academic year. This policy exists because the University of Toronto’s ability to offer its graduate student funding guarantee depends on many of its students receiving such awards. MA students applying to the PhD program are not required to apply for external fellowships, but are encouraged to do so.
Applications for SSHRC fellowships may be obtained from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 255 Albert Street, P.O. Box 1610, Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 6G4 or on the SSHRC website at – http://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/home-accueil-eng.aspx. Awards are restricted to Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Value of the Doctoral Fellowship in 2009-10 is $20,000.
Applications for Ontario Graduate Scholarships (OGS), with an award value in 2009-10 of $15,000, may be obtained from the Student Support Branch, Ministry of Education and Training, P.O. Box 4500, 189 Red River Road, Fourth Floor, Thunder Bay, Ontario, P7B 6G9. Toll free telephone: 1-800-465-3957. Applications are also available on the following website: http://osap.gov.on.ca/eng/Not_Secure/Plan_Grants_full_sepapp_OGS_12345.htm.
A departmental seminar on applying for external fellowships will be held each year in early September in the graduate student lounge. Past award winners and professors who have sat on OGS and SSHRC panels will be available during the seminar to give advice to students currently applying. The deadline for the submission of SSHRC and OGS documentation is usually the first week of October (check with the Grad Office for a specific date). Please note that students currently in the fourth year of the PhD are eligible to apply for OGS and must do so in order to be considered for departmental funding in their fifth year.
The Department’s Admissions, Awards and Scholarships Committee is responsible for providing an initial assessment of all SSHRC and OGS applications. That committee is comprised of faculty members representing each of the Department’s core fields: the MA Supervisor, the Graduate Administrator, and the Graduate Director, who chairs the committee. For the OGS, all applicants from the Department’s graduate programs must be ranked, and the rankings submitted to the OGS panels. The SSHRC process is similar, except that the Department is only permitted to forward its best applications. The Departmental rankings are strictly confidential. The assessment of applications is an extremely challenging process that takes into account the strength of the graduate student’s record or progress to date, the letters of reference, and the quality of the statement of research interest completed by the applicant. The latter warrants close attention, and should be as focused and articulate as possible.
Many very talented graduate students, especially in a Department with the high standards of ours, do not receive SSHRC or OGS scholarships. Our rankings are only part of what adjudicative committees outside the University consider, and in any event we realize full-well that the great majority of applications that go forward are being submitted by very good students.
There are various sources of support for students at the stage when they are researching and writing their dissertation. The Department itself administers a number of fellowships aimed primarily to help students at this stage, most of them intended to help with the extraordinary expenses associated with thesis research (for example field work). These fellowships include:
Students who have completed all non-thesis requirements are eligible to apply for these awards, and may do so with a single application due usually in April of each year. Final decisions on these awards is made by the Department’s Admissions, Awards, and Scholarships Committee.
The Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies each year offers a small number of Beattie Awards. These are intended for advanced Political Science PhD students whose dissertation research relates to issues of peace and conflict. Applications are due usually in April, and decisions made by the Trudeau Centre in consultation with the Graduate Director in Political Science. The allocation of Political Science awards for dissertation-stage students takes into account the granting of Beattie Awards to ensure the widest possible distribution of support. This allocation also takes into account the travel grant awards made by the School of Graduate Studies in the spring of each year.
The School of Graduate Studies invites applications for travel grants usually in April of each year. These are intended to support travel associated with thesis research, and priority is given to students who have not previously received support from this fund. PhD students in or approaching the dissertation stage are strongly encouraged to apply for travel grants. The cost estimates for these applications may also be used for applications to the Department for dissertation-stage fellowships.
Ph.D. students presenting papers at the CPSA or other conferences are eligible to apply to the Political Science Department for support. PhD students presenting papers based on their research at the Canadian Political Science Association are eligible to apply to the CPSA for travel support (see www.cpsa-acsp.ca). Students seeking departmental support for CPSA paper presentation are expected to have applied for CPSA support where eligible to do so.
Graduate student teaching assistants conduct small-section teaching and mark assignments in the Department’s undergraduate program. In 2009-2010, a full teaching assistantship, requiring ten hours a week of work, pays $10,853. Application forms are sent out to all students applying for graduate work and are otherwise available from the TA Co-ordinator, Department of Political Science. As many appointments as possible are made in the Spring of the previous academic year. In some cases, partial teaching assistantships may be available. A PhD student who becomes a teaching assistant for the first time is entitled, by contract, to be offered a second, third and fourth year of equivalent work. A teaching assistantship is normally a component of the funding package guaranteed to PhD students in their first five years. In most years, significant numbers of TAships are available to students outside the funded cohort, including some MA students. All TAs at the University of Toronto are represented by CUPE Local 3902, a certified trade union.
A few undergraduate courses are open each year for PhD students to teach on their own. Applications are solicited from senior PhD students who are well advanced in their dissertation work in two separate rounds, one for the fall/winter terms and the other for the summer. The Undergraduate Director is the chair of a committee that includes the Graduate Director and the MA Supervisor, responsible for choosing among applicants. Among the criteria used is the academic record, progress through the PhD program, the recommendation of the thesis supervisor, and the quality of the course proposal.
Individual professors or groups of professors often employ graduate students as research assistants. Graduate students should inquire about these opportunities from professors doing research in their field of interest. The University has no set scale of remuneration for research assistants.
University of Toronto (SGS) Bursaries are available to full-time graduate students on the basis of need. Funding is limited and is specifically for emergencies arising from unforseen circumstances. First year students are normally not eligible for consideration until the second term. Special or part-time students are not eligible. Students with scholarship support or who are eligible for OSAP are normally not eligible for bursary funding. Application forms are available at SGS in the Fellowships and Loans Office, 2nd floor, 63 St. George Street or on the SGS website at http://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/informationfor/students/inform/stuforms.htm .
The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), a student loan program, is administered by the Province of Ontario. Information and application forms may be obtained from the School of Graduate Studies, Fellowships and Loans Office at 63 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1A1.
There are two kinds of loans available to students:
Graduate Students’ Emergency Loan Fund
The University of Toronto Alumni Association Loan Fund
There exists a limited Department Emergency Fund. Application should be made first to the School of Graduate Studies for a Bursary or Loan. If you are not successful, your application will be considered by the department. Where it is not possible to apply for an SGS Bursary or Loan, application can be made to the Department by letter addressed to the Chair. You should note the reason for the request and briefly outline the circumstances leading to the emergency. While the department would like to assist as many students as possible, some requests will most likely have to be refused due to budgetary restrictions.