Funding and awards

Student typing on laptop

Waterloo Arts is proud to offer competitive funding for graduate students.

Most of our full-time research-based students are guaranteed a minimum level of funding while they are within their program time limits and in good academic standing. All funding is contingent on satisfactory academic progress throughout the duration of a student's program. Departments and supervisors may choose to support students above the minimum requirements.  

Minimum funding amounts

Program Duration Amount (per year)
MA 3-6 terms (1-2 years) $18,000
PhD 12 terms (4 years) $27,130*

*effective May 1, 2024

Most funding packages are a combination research/teaching assistantships and scholarships. An assistantship is essentially a part-time job of 10 hours per week that provides students with financial support and academic work experience. A scholarship is disbursed over the year, giving the student equal portions at the start of each academic term.

In most cases, students do not need to make a separate application for internal funding as applicants are automatically considered during the application review process. Funding packages are listed in the offer of admission.

Additional funding sources 

In addition to the funding provided by the Faculty of Arts, graduate students can apply for external awards, loans and bursaries, or submit at proposal to the Graduate Student Endowment Fund.

External awards

External awards are a great way for graduate students to enhance their academic and professional development. External awards come with substantial funding and adds prestige to one's resume and opens the door for new research collaborations, networking opportunities, and increased visibility in the academic community.

Waterloo students who receive major federal and provincial competitions will also receive the President's Graduate Scholarship valued at $10,000/year. Receiving an external award normally replaces the internal funding that the Faculty of Arts provides. The Faculty then uses that internal funding to support another student. Please be sure to contact your department graduate coordinator to discuss the funding changes that a prestigious external award will bring.

The application deadline for external awards is usually close to a year before the award is given, so it's important to plan ahead. Speak with your graduate coordinator for application details.

Loans and bursaries

Graduate students from Ontario can apply for a student loan through the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), which supplies eligible students with loans, grants, and bursaries. Domestic students from outside of Ontario can apply for government aid through their home province.

If government loans are insufficient to cover financial needs, or students encounter a financial emergency, Waterloo offers a graduate student bursary program for domestic students, emergency loans, and financial needs-based awards.

Graduate Studies Endowment Fund

Graduate students can submit funding proposal to the Graduate Studies Endowment Fund for initiatives that enhance the learning, research, and overall experience of graduate students.

Examples of funded projects include improvement to graduate common space, academic events organized by graduate students, and improvement of physical and electronic resources for graduate students.