Funding and awards

Graduate funding in Arts

Waterloo is proud to offer nationally competitive funding packages to the majority of incoming graduate students.

Depending on academic merit and program of study, MA students are typically eligible for a funding package of $18,000 per year, with the potential for top up. PhD students receive a minimum guaranteed funding amount paid over four years. Annual graduate funding amounts are determined each year by the Faculty of Arts and Graduate Studies & Postdoctoral Affairs.

Please note: Funding and scholarships are for graduate students registered in full-time studies. Some exceptions may apply.

Effective 2020 incoming *domestic PhD funding increased to $100,000 over four years

The Faculty of Arts offers increased funding in 2020 to help prospective doctoral students overcome financial barriers with $100,000 paid over four years. This is the minimum guaranteed amount for all incoming domestic PhD students; some students may receive additional funding.

President's Graduate Scholarship

Students entering a graduate program with an external award from either the Tri-Council or the Ontario Graduate Scholarship are also offered the $10,000 UWaterloo President’s Graduate Scholarship.

*Domestic students: You are a domestic student if you are a Canadian citizen, living in or outside of Canada; or, if you are a Permanent Resident of Canada.

Please note: The amount of graduate funding offered to individual students depends on the specific graduate program and the applicant. Particularly important is the applicant’s overall academic merit, as evidenced by the application support documents (transcripts, letters of reference, applicant statement).

How to apply for funding

In most cases, you don’t need to make a separate application for internal (UWaterloo-provided) funding. When the admissions committee of each Arts graduate program reviews applications, the applicants are also considered for graduate funding. Offers of funding packages are then made to the applicant at the same time as the program offer (acceptance into the program).

About funding packages

Most funding packages are a combination of graduate research and/or teaching assistantships and scholarships. An assistantship is essentially a part-time job of 10 hours per week – it offers students both pay and excellent academic work experience. A scholarship is disbursed over the year, giving the student equal portions at the start of each academic term.

Specific funding details are on the department website of your graduate program of choice.

Complete information on graduate funding and awards is on the Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) website.

External funding sources for graduate students

Application deadlines for major external awards are typically in early fall – that’s nearly one year before the award would be given, so plan ahead. Speak with the graduate coordinator in your home department about the application procedures. There are hundreds of potential awards out there - read more on the GSPA external awards page.

Graduate Studies Endowment Fund

Grad students or grad student groups at UWaterloo can submit funding proposals to the Graduate Studies Endowment Fund for initiatives that enhance the learning, research, and overall experience of graduate students. Examples of funded projects include improvements to graduate student common space, academic events organized by graduate students, and improvement of physical and electronic resources for graduate students.

Loans and bursaries

Graduate students from Ontario can apply for a student loan through OSAP. And if the OSAP loan is insufficient to cover financial needs, or students encounter a financial emergency and need extra help, Waterloo has a graduate student bursary program. (What’s a bursary? A non-repayable funding amount based on financial need).

Co-op work terms

While a co-op work term is primarily intended to enhance experiential learning, graduate students who do a co-op term will earn an income to help off-set their academic expenses.