Funding your graduate education
The Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies offers competitive funding for our graduate students. Financial support is available from many sources: graduate research studentships from supervisors’ grants, teaching assistantships, federal and provincial government scholarships, institutional scholarships, bursaries and loans provided by the government of Ontario.
Demystifying funding: A guide for prospective graduate students
Watch this video that explains some of the concepts and processes around funding your graduate education.
Department of Recreation and Leisure studies financial support
MA (thesis) support
Full-time master's students (thesis-based study only) are normally provided with two terms of funding during their first year, currently $15,914 minimum. The normal completion time for the master's program is approximately two years. You should plan your time and financial resources accordingly.
New full-time doctoral students are normally provided with $96,220 of funding over four years ($24,055 per year). The normal completion time for the doctoral program is three to four years, so you should plan your time and financial resources accordingly.
Teaching and research assistantships
Teaching and research assistantships are usually 10 hours per week for 16 weeks of the term. Payments are comprised of a monthly salary (two-thirds of the total payment) paid on the last Friday of each month along with a Graduate Experience Award (one-third of the total payment) received in the first month as a scholarship.
Teaching assistantships are assigned by the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies based on a combination of student funding commitments, instructor needs and requests, and best fit of students with courses.
Research assistantships are requested by individual faculty members with grant funds and research assistant needs.
The latest compensation rates can be found on Finance's website.
Thesis research support
In addition, the department provides one-time support for the costs of thesis research ($200 MA, $350 PhD).
Scholarships and awards
Students who successfully obtain external scholarships receive the President's Graduate Scholarship along with matching support from the department (usually in the form of a one-term teaching or research assistantship) to meet the minimum annual funding commitments.
Students are encouraged to apply for external scholarships including the Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Scholarship, which are the most common ones for our students.
Students should apply for these scholarships in the early fall (September and October deadlines) for the following academic year.
Internal scholarships include:
- President's Graduate Scholarship (PGS) is available for all recipients of Tri-Council Scholarships and Ontario Graduate Scholarships.
- The Governor General's Academic Gold Medal and the University of Waterloo Alumni Gold Medal are awarded to outstanding students, following completion of all their degree requirements, in recognition of academic excellence. Students are nominated for these awards by their departmental graduate committees.
Bursaries and financial aid
- Bursaries are available for students in financial need through the UWaterloo Graduate Studies Officer. These are restricted to full-time students who are Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents.
- The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) provides various types of assistance based on financial need to eligible students.
- The Faculty of Health also has an Emergency Loan Fund for graduate students experiencing short-term financial difficulties.
- The Provost's/Faculty of Health Graduate Incentive Fund Scholarship is a special fund designed to increase the pool of female candidates for faculty positions in Canada.
- Parental leave bursaries as well as day care bursaries are available through the Graduate Studies Office.
More information about bursaries and financial aid can be found on the Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs website.
Conference travel support
Assistance is also provided jointly by your supervisor (if funds are available), the department ($200), the faculty ($100 MA, $150 PhD) and the Graduate Studies Office ($500) for travel to present your research at a conference once per fiscal year (May through April). The Graduate Studies Research Travel Assistantship (PDF) form is submitted to your supervisor and then to the department to request these funds. Deadlines are:
- August 1 for fall term conferences
- December 1 for winter term conferences
- April 1 for spring term conferences
Other awards and scholarships
Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs maintains a list of other awards and scholarships available to students.
In addition, there are some awards offered by professional organizations, including:
- Future Scholars Award offered by the National Recreation and Park Association
- Graduate Award ($1,000) and PhD Award ($3,000) offered by the Travel and Tourism Research Association Canada
- Sustainable Tourism Scholarships ($1,000) offered by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada/Parks Canada
International student funding
Information regarding international student funding can be found on the Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs website.