Awards and funding

We believe that excellence in graduate studies is reinforced by providing funding so you can devote time and energy to your studies.

Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) works closely with our Faculties, academic departments, the Office of Development and external agencies to develop and promote competitive-based awards and scholarships. There are also bursaries available to support those who demonstrate financial need.

The term "award" is a general designation applied to any scholarship, prize, medal, fellowship, or grant of money assigned to a student. Within this designation, awards are further defined as follows:

  • Awards - based on a combination of criteria such as academic performance, leadership or involvement in extracurricular activities or student affairs at the university or in the community, work-related experience, athletic achievement or participation, or work-term performance, and may include a financial need component
  • Bursaries - based primarily on financial need
  • Scholarships - based primarily on outstanding academic merit (80% or greater) or excellence in a specific subject or group of subjects

Find out what you are eligible for:

Recipients of awards and funding may have their information (including details such as recipient name and program, award value, etc.) shared with donors, sponsors, agencies and institutional administrative staff for stewardship, recognition and statistical purposes. Should you have any questions about this, please contact the Assistant Director, Graduate Financial Aid & Awards.

Waterloo awards and funding

At Waterloo, graduate students may be able to receive funding from various sources such as awards, bursaries and emergency loans. Many of these have been made financially possible through donations from the public sector and private donors. The majority of internal awards do not require an application; instead, students are nominated by their departments based on specific award & selection criteria. Normally, scholarships are only available to students registered full time. Students who must register part time for a co-op or internship opportunity as part of a program requirement or for medical reasons may also be eligible for consideration. In addition, students may have the opportunity to fund their studies with part-time employment through the University, in the form of Teaching Assistantships (TA), Research Assistantships (RA) or Graduate Research Studentships (GRS). For more information, review the following web pages or contact your  Department Graduate Co-ordinator.

External awards

External awards programs are offered by federal and provincial scholarship agencies or private companies who rely on Waterloo to adjudicate competitions and manage payment of awards. For additional information please visit the external awards web page.

International student funding

Check out our international student funding page for specific information about funding opportunities available to international students.

Financial need funding

Waterloo offers many funding opportunities to those graduate students who demonstrate financial need. Visit our financial need funding page for more information. 

Minimum funding

Learn more about how to finance your degree by reviewing our minimum funding levels.

Find out how you get paid

Visit our funding payment information web page to find out how you will get paid.