Financial and Scholarships

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General Financial Information

Financial support for students can come from five main sources: teaching assistantships, a research scholarship from the supervisor, departmental scholarships, a tuition supplement for international students, and possibly external scholarships (NSERC, OGS, Trillium, etc). Our minimum offer, for students without any external scholarship or entrance scholarship, gives students approximately $17 000 after they have paid their tuition and fees, both for international and domestic students. Scholarship funding is not taxed in Canada, whereas the teaching assistant pay is tied to employment and therefore is subject to Canadian income tax.

Scholarships

Below are some general notes regarding scholarships that students should keep in mind:

  • In general, in our department, scholarships are treated in the following way: the student's salary is increased by 45% of the award value; the supervisor's research scholarship contribution is reduced by 45% of the award value, and the departmental scholarship is reduced by 10% of the award value.
  • Most scholarships are only available for Canadian citizens and permanent residents, however the following are available for international students:
    • International OGS (only one avilable for the Faculty of Science)
    • Ontario Trillium fellowship ($40k x 4 years for incoming PhD students who have never been at an Ontario university before)
  • Most scholarships require that students have at least an average of 10 on the 12 point scale (i.e. around an A-) in each of the last 2 years of schooling.
    • Averages for students who have completed at least two years of grad school are computed using only graduate level courses
    • Averages for students who have completed less than two years of grad school are computed using any completed graduate level courses in addition to their last year of undergraduate studies.
  • All students who are eligible for scholarships (i.e. Canadian and with a high enough average) must apply for the relevant NSERC award in order to be considered for the OGS and OGF awards. Students who currently hold NSERC awards that will end in the current year must submit a special form (sent to them by the associate chair) to be considered for the OGS. These students are:
    • students who have held a NSERC CGS-M in their first year of gradate students and are not considering starting their PhD in their second year;
    • students who are in year 3 of their PhD.
  • There are a number of McMaster-specific awards (listed below). The departmental policy is that these are awarded to students who do not have NSERC or OGS/OGF funding, and the applications are submitted through Mosaic.

NSERC

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) is the largest federal government source of funding for science and engineering research. In particular, they offer a number of postgraduate programs (i.e. funding opportunities for master's and doctoral students) which are detailed below.

Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master's Program (CGS-M)

  • Value: $17,500 for 12 months, non-renewable
  • Eligibility: Applicants must:
    • be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada;
    • be enrolled in, have applied for, or will apply for full-time admission to a master's program (note: applicants who are not currently enrolled in their intended graduate program must submit an application for admission by the deadline for their intended graduate program or by March 15, whichever comes first);
    • have completed, as of December 31 of the year of application no more than 12 months of full-time studies in the master's program for which you are requesting funding;
    • not have previously held a CGS-M.
  • Note: You can also apply for a CMGS-M if you are fast-tracking from a master's into a PhD program within the first 12 months of the master's program. In this case the funding will be for the first year of your doctoral studies.
  • Application procedure:
    • Create or access applications at the NSERC Research Portal.
    • The application requirements are detailed here. Of particular note is that the application requires two references, a Canadian Common CV, an outline of proposed research and transcript.
    • Your application may be submitted to up to five different Canadian institutions. Accepting an offer from one institution automatically declines any other offers from other institutions where you submitted a CGS-M application. Your CGS-M award may only be tenured at the Canadian university where you have accepted their offer.
  • Deadline: Application must be submitted by 8:00pm (ET) on December 1. This includes completed letters of reference, so make sure to invite your letter-writers well before this deadline.


Canada Graduate Scholarships-Doctoral Program (CGS-D) and NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships-Doctoral Program (PGS-D)

  • Value: CGS-D: $35,000 a year (for two or three years); PGS-D: $21,000 a year (for two or three years)
  • Eligibility: Applicants must:
    • be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada;
    • hold, or expect to hold (at the time you take up the award), a degree in science or engineering from a university whose standing is recognized by NSERC (if you have a degree in a field other than science or engineering, NSERC may accept your application at its discretion);
    • intend to pursue, in the following year, full-time graduate studies and research at the doctoral level
    • have obtained a first-class average (a grade of "A-") in each of the last two completed years of study (full-time equivalent);
    • have completed, as of December 31 of the year of application no more than 24 months of full-time studies in the doctoral program for which you are requesting funding;
    • you must not have previously taken up an NSERC PGS B, PGS-D, CGS-D, IPS 2 or a Vanier CGS (see below);
    • you must not hold, or have held, a CGS D or Vanier CGS from either CIHR or SSHRC.
  • Note: If you registered in a master’s degree and subsequently transferred to a doctoral degree, the months in the doctoral degree will be calculated starting from the date on which you were officially registered in your PhD program.
  • Note: you will be eligible for only a two-year CGS-D/PGS-D, if:
    • you previously held a two-year IPS 1;
    • you have completed more than the full-time equivalent of 12 months of your doctoral program.
  • Note: Scholarship support for graduate studies through NSERC is limited to a lifetime maximum of four years (48 months) of full-time equivalency.
  • Where scholarships can be held:
    • You may take up your PGS-D at any eligible Canadian university. You may also take it up at any eligible foreign university, provided you have received a previous degree in the natural sciences or engineering from a Canadian university.
    • Without exception, CGS-D awards are tenable only at eligible Canadian universities.
  • Application procedure:
    • Note: If you are interested in a CGS-D, apply for a PGS-D. There is no separate application form (or process) for the CGS-D Program. The highest-ranked PGS-D applicants will automatically be considered by NSERC for a CGS-D.
    • To apply for these scholarships, you must complete and submit Form 201 on-line. Read the instructions on how to complete Form 201.
    • If you are currently registered at Canadian university in a degree program then you must submit your application through that university.
    • If you are currently registered at a foreign university or currently not registered at a university then you must submit your application directly to NSERC.
    • A complete application will have the following elements (see the instructions on how to complete Form 201 for more details):
      • Application Profile
      • Personal Profile
      • Addresses
      • Academic Background
      • Work Experience
      • Scholarships and other Awards Offered
      • Location of Tenure
      • Justification for Location of Tenure (PDF applicants)
      • Scholarship/Fellowship Information
      • Thesis Information
      • Key Words/Research Subject Code
      • Outline of Proposed Research (Attachment)
      • Justification for Eligibility of Proposed Research (Attachment)
      • Contributions/Statements (Attachment)
      • Transcripts (Attachment)
      • Reports on the Applicant
  • Deadline:
    • If you are submitting through a Canadian university then you must consult the School of Graduate Studies at that institution (typically mid-October for McMaster).
    • If you are submitting directly to NSERC then your application must be submitted electronically to NSERC before 8:00 p.m. (ET) on October 15. You can only submit directly to NSERC if you were not registered at a Canadian university in the current calendar year.


Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships Program (Vanier CGS)

  • Value: $50,000 per year for 3 years (non-renewable).
  • Eligibility: Applicants must:
    • be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada or a foreign citizen;
    • be nominated by only one Canadian university
    • be registered as a full-time student at the nominating Canadian university and be pursuing your first doctoral degree
    • not have completed more than 20 months of doctoral studies as of May 1
    • have achieved a first-class average, as determined by your university, in each of the last two years of full-time study or equivalent. Candidates are encouraged to contact the university for its definition of a first-class average; and
    • not have already received a doctoral-level scholarship or fellowship from CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC to undertake or complete a doctoral degree.
  • Where scholarships can be held:
    • Without exception, the Vanier CGS is tenable only at the eligible Canadian university that submitted the nomination.
  • Application procedure:
    • Note: Each student can be nominated once. If more than one university is interested in nominating an individual student for a Vanier CGS, the student must choose one university to submit their nomination. Multiple nominations will not be accepted.
    • The application process is initiated when the student informs the faculty of graduate studies at the selected university of their intent to apply to the Vanier CGS program;
    • Applications are prepared by the student and submitted to the university by the nominating university's internal deadline (set in ResearchNet by the nominating university) using the ResearchNet application system.
    • See this page for detailed application instructions.
    • A student who has completed the Vanier CGS electronic application through ResearchNet must submit the application online to the Canadian university that will be putting forward their nomination. Applications submitted by candidates directly to the Vanier CGS program, instead of through a Canadian university, will not be considered.
  • Deadline:
    • Each university has its own internal application deadline, which will appear at the top of each page of ResearchNet. For McMaster, this is typically mid-September.
    • Universities must forward their selected nominations to the Vanier CGS program by early November.


Additional NSERC Programs

  • Aboriginal Ambassadors in the Natural Sciences and Engineering Supplement Program
    • The Aboriginal Ambassadors in the Natural Sciences and Engineering Supplement (AANSE) Program promotes interest and participation in natural sciences and engineering, through the visits of Aboriginal students and fellows to Aboriginal communities and schools. NSERC encourages qualified Aboriginal students and fellows to apply for this supplement.
  • Canada Graduate Scholarships – Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplements Program
    • The Canada Graduate Scholarships – Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplements (CGS-MSFSS) Program supports high-calibre Canadian graduate students in building global linkages and international networks through the pursuit of exceptional research experiences at research institutions outside of Canada. You must hold a CGS-M or CGS-D award to apply for this supplement.
  • Industrial Postgraduate Scholarships Program
    • The Industrial Postgraduate Scholarships (IPS) Program provides financial support for highly qualified science and engineering graduates. The support allows them to gain research experience in industry while undertaking advanced studies in Canada. These scholarships are aimed at encouraging students to consider research careers in industry where they will be able to contribute to strengthening Canadian innovation.
  • Summer Programs in Japan or Taiwan
    • The Summer Programs in Japan or Taiwan provide graduate students in science and engineering with a hands-on research experience and an introduction to a different culture, language, and university research system.



Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS)

  • Value: $5,000 per term up to a maximum of $15,000.
  • Eligibility: Applicants must:
    • be full-time graduate students at the master’s or doctoral levels
    • have a first-class average (average of 10 in each of the last 2 years of study)
  • Application procedure:
    • Apply for the relevant NSERC award or submit the individualized form if you are a current NSERC holder.

Ontario Trillium Scholarships (OTS)

  • Value: at least $40,000 per year, renewable for total funding up to four years
  • Eligibility: Applicants must:
    • Be an international student who has received a temporary resident visa as a member of the student class under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada) on the first day of class;
    • Be intending to pursue full-time graduate studies at an eligible Ontario university at the doctoral level in the subsequent academic year;
    • Hold a first class average in the last two years of study;
    • Not currently be studying at an Ontario postsecondary institution at the undergraduate or graduate level;
    • Not be intending to enroll in a qualifying or make-up year;
    • Not have concurrently accepted a scholarship or fellowship from provincial MTCU (i.e., OGS, QEII-GSST) or, federal Tri-Agency (i.e., CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC);
    • Not have failed to repay all or any part of an unearned Ontario Trillium Scholarship.
  • Application Procedure:
    • Much of the application work is done by the Department, the student will be informed of any required action
  • Deadline: Graduate programs will set their own internal deadline, contact the Physics Department for the deadline
  • Additional information: found here.

Dawes Memorial Fellowship for Graduate Studies in Physics

  • Value: $1,200
  • Eligibility: To be awarded to any full-time graduate student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy
  • Application Procedure: This award is based on a recommendation needed from the Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Applications are submitted through Mosaic.

The Desmond G. Burns Graduate Scholarship

  • Value: $4,000
  • Eligibility: This scholarship is awarded to students in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
  • Application Procedure: This award is based on a recommendation needed from the Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Applications are submitted through Mosaic.

Frank Dennee Scholarship

  • Value: $6,000
  • Eligibility: To be awarded to any full-time graduate student to entering or currently registered Canadian students in the Departments of Engineering Physics or Physics and Astronomy. Preference will be given to graduate students in the area of nuclear science or nuclear engineering.
  • Application Procedure: This award is based on a recommendation needed from the Departments of Engineering Physics or Physics and Astronomy. Applications are submitted through Mosaic.


External

Mitacs

  • Multiple kinds of scholarships and sources of travel funding. Mitacs has two mandates -- to foster international collaboration, and to connect academics to industry. They pay for international students to come to McMaster, for McMaster students to travel outside Canada for collaborations, and for students to work in industrial settings relevant to their work. There are many programs with various deadlines and various kinds of eligibility. Watch for emails from the associate chair or department chair about opportunities, or go to the Mitacs site at https://www.mitacs.ca/en. In addition, Mitacs offers workshops on campus covering many useful career-building skills that are run by SGS. Watch for those announcements in the SGS weekly or bi-weekly emails.

APS FGSA Travel Scholarship

  • Value: 500 USD
  • Eligibility: Applicants must:
    • be awarded a member of the APS-FGSA;
    • be attending a conference in the period of eligibility (3 award periods per year 4 months each);


  • Application procedure:
      • CV
      • Letter of reference
      • Statement of purpose
  • Deadline: December/March/June/September 20th.
  • Additional information: [1]

Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS) Scholarship Supplement

  • Value: $5,000/year for up to two years
  • Eligibility: Applicants must:
    • be awarded an Canada Graduate Scholarship-Doctoral (CGS-D) or a Postgraduate Scholarship-Doctoral (PGS-D) award;
    • be studying atmospheric or oceanic sciences in a recognized postgraduate program;
  • Note: All branches of atmospheric sciences, including hydrology, are acceptable. In the oceanic and limnological sciences, biological research is not accepted, unless it is as an indicator of physical/dynamical/chemical processes.
  • Application procedure:
    • You must submit the following to CMOS (see address here):
      • A copy of your Notification of Award from NSERC
      • A copy of your successful scholarship application
      • A two-page (12-point font) résumé describing your career goals and academic and extracurricular activities that support your interests in meteorological or oceanographic research
      • A statement of endorsement from your research supervisor describing why you are particularly suitable for meteorological or oceanographic research
  • Deadline: April 20 of the year in which you are awarded your PGS-D or a CGS-D.


Environment Canada Atmospheric and Meteorological Graduate Supplements

  • Value: $5,000/year for up to two years
  • Eligibility: Applicants must:
    • be awarded an Canada Graduate Scholarship-Doctoral (CGS-D) or a Postgraduate Scholarship-Doctoral (PGS-D) award;
    • be studying or planning to study atmospheric or meteorological sciences in a recognized program at a Canadian university.
  • Application procedure:
    • You must submit the following to the address found here:
      • A copy of your Notification of Award document from NSERC
      • A copy of your successful scholarship application
      • A brief explanation (maximum 300 words) showing how the proposed research will contribute to the advancement of atmospheric or meteorological science
      • Any additional information (e.g., two letters of recommendation).
  • Deadline: April 20 of the year in which you are awarded your PGS-D or a CGS-D.

Other resources

Finances

Living in Hamilton

Also see the New Students page for more information.

This can also be a helpful resource: https://www.reddit.com/r/Hamilton/

Housing

Rent varies depending on the living accommodations you choose (e.g. one bedroom apartment or a bedroom in a house). For a bedroom in a house with a few other people you can expect to pay $300-600 per month depending on the location and what other amenities are provided. For a one bedroom apartment you can expect to pay $700-1200 depending on the location, what other facilities are in the building (e.g. fitness room) and how recently the apartments have been built/renovated. Bachelor apartments as well as two bedroom apartments (with rent split between the two occupants) tend to be much cheaper options than a one bedroom with similar living conditions, often two bedroom units cost as little as $200 per month more than a one bedroom of comparable quality i.e. $1200/2people vs $1000/1person.


For a list of housing ads (including prices) targeted towards McMaster Graduate students/Faculty/Staff see https://macoffcampus.mcmaster.ca/classifieds/category/gradfacultystaff-rentals/.

Food

A meal on campus is $10-15. There are fast food restaurants near by campus where one could get a meal for ~$7. In terms of groceries, you can check out the Metro flyer and Fortinos flyer to get an idea of prices (you can use the postal code L8S 4L8 if prompted).

Transportation

  • All graduate students at McMaster have access to the HSR bus service included in their student fees.
  • Hamilton also has a bike share program, SoBi. They have many payment plans, and a very attractive $70/year plan for McMaster Students.
  • For transportation outside the city of Hamilton there the following services: GO transit (bus and train service to the greater Toronto area; a one way trip to Toronto is ~$10), Greyhound (bus service to a variety of locations in Canada and the United States), and Coach Canada (bus service to a variety of locations in Canada and the United States). All these services have stops on campus.


Departmental Finances

  • For costs which will be reimbursed (e.g. travel and registration for a conference), you will contact Tina (tstewar@mcmaster.ca). If you send here a receipt then she will set up the reimbursement, which is handled by the Mosaic system.

Teaching Assistant (TA) Income

  • Much of a graduate student's income typically comes from a teaching assistantship (see TAing for more details). Generally, a teaching assistantship consists of 260 hours per year paid at ~$40 per hour (exact hourly pay may vary from year to year), i.e. ~$10,400 per year.