Graduate funding and awards

Greenery in campus greenhouse

Your graduate education is an important investment to make. A variety of funding opportunities are available for graduate students in the Faculty of Science, including scholarships, awards, assistantships, and other forms of financial aid. Note that details may vary per academic department.

Faculty of Science financial support

The Faculty of Science provides minimum funding for all master’s research programs and doctoral programs. There are three possible avenues for students to receive their minimum funding. Every academic department has their own polices on how funding is distributed, and students are encouraged to visit the website of the department they are interested in.

Teaching assistantship

A teaching assistantship (TA) is a position held by a qualified student to assist a faculty member with instructional responsibilities. This can vary from assisting in labs or helping in the undergraduate instructional program. TA positions are considered employment income and how they are awarded vary by academic department.

Graduate research studentships

A graduate research studentship (GRS) is funding provided by a supervisor. The goal of a GRS is to allow students to focus on their research and provide them with the skills to become an independent researcher. Students work collaboratively with their supervisors, as opposed to taking direction. A GRS is paid through Finance.

Graduate research assistantship

The graduate research assistantship (GRA) is the hiring of a student to assist a professor in their own research. Students will be considered an employee and will be doing work unrelated to their own thesis. A GRA is paid as employment income.

Confused about the difference between a GRS and GRA? Read this explanation by Human Resources.

University of Waterloo awards

There are over 100 different awards available for graduate students in the Faculty of Science. To look at the full list of available awards and scholarships, visit the graduate funding and awards database. Note that the database also lists awards in which students must receive a nomination as opposed to submitting an application to be eligible.

External awards and scholarships

Students looking for additional funding to support their studies can refer to the external awards listing provided by Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) on guidance for awards such as NSERC and OGS.

Students who need financial aid can find more information on the GSPA website. There are additional funding opportunities for Indigenous and international students listed there as well.