All students who are admitted to a graduate program in the Department of Physics and Astronomy have access to a funding package that draws from various sources of funding and that complies with our financial support rules.
Please visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.
Sources of Funding
There are several sources of financial aid available for prospective graduate students in the Physics and Astronomy Department. Major sources of funding, other than external awards, include University of Victoria Awards, Research Assistantships, Teaching Assistantships, and Donor Awards. Note that no special application is required for any of these awards; you will automatically be considered when your application to enter a graduate program is evaluated by our department. Students should also note that they are responsible for paying tuition fees out of the funding package that they receive. Domestic and International students pay different fees.
Graduate tuition is due at the beginning of each of the following three semesters – Fall, Spring and Summer. Normally, tuition is paid early in September, January and May, however, it is also possible to set up equalized monthly debits from a declared bank account. A Graduate Student Tuition Income Offset Plan Form is required to set this up. See Student Instalment Payment Plans for more information. You should be fully aware of the deadlines for tuition payments so that you can plan your finances accordingly (please note that cheques arrive at different times of the month depending on the funding source -- see Distribution of Cheques below). For example, if you have a Fellowship and you are late with a tuition payment, your Fellowship cheque will not be sent to our department by the University.
Nearly all International students qualify for Academic Income Supplement (see below) and receive extra funding that approximately compensates for the higher tuition fees for International students. Amounts quoted are in Canadian dollars.
University of Victoria Awards
University of Victoria Awards
These awards include University of Victoria Graduate Awards and University of Victoria Fellowships. The value of these awards ranges from $5,000 - $15,000 for an MSc Program and $5,000 - $18,000 for a Ph.D. program. The minimum academic standing to be considered for such an award is an A- average in the last two years of an undergraduate program. Funding for these awards is available for the first year for the majority of admitted students who qualify. Please note, the first round of fellowships is assessed based on applications received by January 15th, so early application is encouraged.
(These are relevant for Canadian applicants only). If you have earned one of these awards, you must notify the office of the Dean of Graduate Studies when you arrive on campus to begin your graduate program. As the holder of an external award such as an NSERC (value at $25,000 or less), you are eligible for an additional special top in the form of a President’s Research Scholarship of $4000 from the University of Victoria.
If you have an NSERC fellowship (or are awarded one during your program), there are two (NSERC) forms that you are responsible for submitting to NSERC. These are currently called Form 1A and Form 1B. These forms can take over a month to process, so make sure you submit them well in advance (neither the department nor the university will prompt you do so).
Payments for these appointments are made from your prospective supervisor's research grant and they involve research duties to be assigned by your supervisor. Note that a supervisor cannot pay RA support from an NSERC research grant to a student holding an NSERC graduate award.
These appointments involve teaching and/or marking duties in the department. Students are required to submit a TA application if they wish to hold a TA position. Remuneration for one TA currently is $2,371 per term for seven hours of work per week. Normally one TA position in each of the fall and spring terms may be held in conjunction with the other sources of funding. See further rules on TAs below. At the present time, TAs are available for all students who require them. Allocations for TAs are usually made during the first week of classes in September.
Academic Income Supplement (AIS)
Academic Income Supplement (AIS)
Students who receive RA and/or TA support are eligible for AIS support. Currently, the AIS amount is $200 per term for Domestic students, and $500 per term for International students.
Special awards and fellowships are awarded each year to outstanding new or continuing students. The value of these awards vary from year to year; they are usually of the order of $5,000, but can be as high as $12,000. Decisions on these awards are made during the Fall term.
Distribution of Cheques
Depending on your funding source, your cheque will come to the department at different times of the month.
At the beginning of each month (usually the 1st of each month), you can expect to receive your Scholarship, Fellowship or Award payment via direct deposit. If you elect to receive a paper cheque, you can expect your cheque to be delivered to the department within 5 business days of the 1st of the month.
In the middle of each month, you can expect to receive your RA cheque (usually the 18th) and TA payment (usually the 15th).*
At the end of each month (usually the 30th/31st of each month), you can expect to receive your TA payment.*
It is the responsibility of the individual student to manage their finances taking into account the above information.
*Effective September 1 2013, all TA payments will be via direct deposit, per the CUPE 4163 negotiated collective agreement.
Financial Support Rules
PHYSICS & ASTRONOMY DEPARTMENT
2012-2013 GRADUATE STUDENT SUPPORT RULES
All amounts are Canadian $.
|NSERC CGSM (MSc)||$17,500||$4,000||$4,743||$400||$26,643|
|NSERC PGSM (MSc)||$17,300||$4,000||$4,743||$400||$26,443|
|UVic Award (MSc) ||$15,000||$4,657||$4,743||$600||$25,000|
|MSc no UVic Award||$16,657||$4,743||$600||$22,000|
|NSERC CGSD (PhD)||$35,000||$4,743||$400||$40,143|
|NSERC PGSD (PhD)||$21,000||$4,000||$4,743||$400||$30,143|
|UVic Award (PhD) ||$15,000||$6,407||$4,743||$600||$26,750|
|PhD no UVic Award||$17,657||$4,743||$600||$23,000|
The above table shows some examples of guaranteed funding for a few representative cases for the current year. International students typically receive $1,500 of AIS support. Graduate students holding an NSERC award only receive AIS during the terms they have a TA (two terms are assumed in this case). MSc (PhD) graduate students with a UVic Award receive a support of about 20% (25%) of this UVic award over the minimum funding corresponding to no UVic Award.
Graduate funding support complies with the following rules:
- The guaranteed support level for students with only RA and TA support is $22,000 (MSc) and $23,000 (PhD) for current year. This minimum assumes 2 TAs and 3 terms of AIS, and does not include possible Donor Awards. Our current support levels are usually above these minimum levels. For 2011-2012, the average funding support for graduate students was above $25,000.
- The minimum support levels will be in effect for 2 years for a student in an MSc program, up to 5 years beyond the BSc level for a student in a PhD program (including students who transfer from an MSc program at UVic), and for 4 years for a student who arrives at UVic with an MSc from another university. Arrangements after these time limits are between the student and supervisor. These support levels and time limits are in effect provided that a student's academic and professional performance is judged (by the Supervisory Committee) to be satisfactory.
- Normally a student assumes 1 TA each for Fall and Spring term. Where as a student who holds a fellowship i.e. NSERC/UVF/FQRNT and applies for yet is not granted a 2nd TA, the student will then receive a topup from the supervisor. An NSERC holder may choose not to TA.
- A graduate student will not be admitted unless a supervisor is in a position to support the student at the minimum level. Students should, however, be aware of the inherently unstable nature of grant funding.