Funding & awards

In recent years due to changes in funding, the department has generally only been able to admit graduate students who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents. However, exceptions may occasionally be possible. If you are an international student considering graduate study at Waterloo, contact the graduate chair to discuss your case before submitting an application.

Internal support

Financial support for graduate study is currently available from federal, provincial and internal university sources. The Department offers incoming full-time graduate students financial support. This support includes some combination of Teaching or Research Assistantships and University of Waterloo scholarships, with typical offers at the Master of Arts (MA) level being $18,000 for 12 months, and typical support at the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) level of $25,000 per year for four years.

PhD funding is guaranteed for the full four years of the program, provided the student progresses through the program on schedule and performs Assistantship duties satisfactorily (and provided the University continues to receive adequate government funding).

Teaching or Research Assistantships are normally given for two terms in the MA program, and eight of twelve terms in the PhD program to students who are within their program time limits. Continued eligibility for Teaching Assistantship in the PhD program is conditional upon completion of the Course Work stage (the departmental pro-seminar, four one-term courses, and applied placement/research areas) within six terms. Students who complete the Course Work stage on time may expect Teaching or Research Assistantships during the two years allowed for the prospectus and thesis stages of the program.

Waterloo/Arts Faculty Scholarships make up the remainder of the support offered by the department, for those who have not won external financial support. Eligibility for these scholarships is subject to the student maintaining an overall average of at least 80% in the most recent two years of full-time study or equivalent. There are also a limited number of other scholarships awarded to students in the department, including the annual Seligman Memorial Scholarship awarded to a student working in the area of Ancient Philosophy, and the Ardeth Wood Memorial Scholarship, which normally goes to a woman PhD student.

Of course, as a legal matter we need to state that the availability of Teaching or Research Assistantships and scholarships is subject to budgetary constraints (though the budget has never been so constrained that a student in good standing has not received the money offered when admitted into the program).

External support

Graduate students are strongly encouraged to apply for external funding for which they are eligible. The Ontario Graduate Scholarships (OGS), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Master’s Scholarships, and SSHRC Doctoral Scholarships are the primary options for graduate students in philosophy. The department and the university both offer sessions each fall giving advice on how to prepare applications for these awards. For more information on the application processes, see the OGS, SSHRC Master’s Scholarships and SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships links on the University of Waterloo's Graduate Studies website. Read what past recipients have said about their awards. 

Doctoral Thesis Completion Award

Funding is available for some students during the last two terms of their PhD program. Ask Ashely Price (Department Administrative Manager) or Chris Lowry (Associate Chair of Graduate Studies) if you are interested. Here is some more information on the Doctoral Thesis Completion Award.

Travel funding

Funds are available for the purpose of assisting full-time Waterloo graduate students to attend and present their research at professional conferences. Funding is subject to availability and students must submit a travel expense form with original receipts.  The submission of the form does not guarantee funding.  Please contact the department administrative manager for additional information.

Funding for Canadian Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences

The Department of Philosophy Congress Graduate Award has been established to provide funding to master’s and doctoral students who present their research at the Canadian Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences. Recipients will receive an award valued at up to $1,500 to assist with the cost of in-person travel to the conference. Interested students must submit an this online application, and have their instructors submit their endorsement. Submissions are due by April 15th. 

The Graduate Committee in the Department of Philosophy will select recipients and determine the value based on the budget available. Applicants will be notified of the decision within two weeks of submitting their application. Upon approval, the award will be applied to the term in which the conference occurs. The award will be coded to the student’s Quest account and first applied to any outstanding tuition and incidental fees. Any credit balance will be released as a refund to the student via direct deposit.

Apply for Congress Funding Here

Need help or have a question? Please contact Philosophy Graduate Coordinator, Ashely Price.