Financial support

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.

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 Accounting for the current form. You should be fully aware of the deadlines for tuition payments so that you can plan your finances accordingly (please note that payments arrive at different times of the month depending on the funding source — see Distribution of Payments below).

Nearly all International students qualify for Graduate Awards (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

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 PhD 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.

NSERC Awards

(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, you may be 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).

Research Assistantships (RAs)

Payments for these appointments are made from your prospective supervisor's research grant and they involve research duties to be assigned by your supervisor.

Teaching Assistantships (TAs)

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 $2,467.48 per term for seven hours of work per week. Normally one TA position in each of the fall and/or spring terms may be held in conjunction with the other sources of funding. Currently, one TA position is guaranteed per year. Allocations for TAs are usually made during the first week of classes each term.

Graduate Awards

Students who are within the guaranteed minimum funding limits and have a TA position are eligible for Graduate Awards. Currently, the award amount is dependent upon the number of TA positions a student takes. International students within the guaranteed minimum funding limits receive an additional $300 award per term. These awards require maintenance of a minimum 6.5 GPA.

Donor Awards

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.

Depending on your funding source, you will receive your payment at different times of the month. Direct deposit is available for all funding types, and is required for TA payments as per the CUPE 4163 negotiated collective agreement.

At the beginning of each month (usually the 1st of each month), you can expect to receive your Scholarship, Fellowship or Award payment. If you elect to receive a paper cheque, you can expect your cheque to be delivered to the department within 7 business days of the 1st of the month.

In the middle of each month, you can expect to receive your RA payment (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.

At the beginning of the second month each term, you can expect to receive your departmental Grad Award top-up. Basic distribution of GA payments is shown in the table below; deviations from this distribution will apply in some cases.

Domestic 1 TA 2 TA International 1 TA 2 TA
Fall $1,000 $1,000 Fall $1,500 $1,500
Spring $1,000 $1,000 Spring $1,000 $1,000
Summer $1,000 $0 Summer $1,400 $400

It is the responsibility of the individual student to manage their finances taking into account the above information.


All amounts are Canadian $.

The guaranteed minimum funding for MSc students is $22,300 and for PhD students is $23,300. For 2015-2016, the average funding support for graduate students was above $25,000.

The table below shows some examples of guaranteed funding for a few representative cases for the current year.  These represent minimum levels guaranteed by the department.


Award UVic topup Minimum RA TA Grad Award [8] Total
NSERC CGSM (MSc) $17,500 $4,000 $3,100 $2,516 $27,116
NSERC PGSM (MSc) $17,300 $4,000 $3,100 $2,516 $26,916
UVic Fellowship (MSc) [5] $15,000 $4,784 $2,516 $3,000 $25,300
MSc no UVic Fellowship - 1 TA $16,784 $2,516 $3,000 $22,300
MSc no UVic Fellowship - 2 TA [5] $16,784 $5,033 $2,000 $23,817


Award UVic topup Minimum RA TA Grad Award [8] Total
NSERC CGSD (PhD) $35,000 $3,100 $2,516 $40,616
NSERC PGSD (PhD) $21,000 $4,000 $3,100 $2,516 $30,616
UVic Fellowship (PhD) [5] $15,000 $6,484 $2,516 $3,000 $27,000
PhD no UVic Fellowship - 1 TA $17,784 $2,516 $3,000 $23,300
PhD no UVic Fellowship - 2 TA $17,784 $5,033 $2,000 $24,817

Graduate funding support complies with the following rules:

  1. The guaranteed support level for students with only RA and TA support is $22,300 (MSc) and $23,300 (PhD) for current year. This minimum assumes 1 TA, and does not include possible Donor Awards. Our current support levels are usually above these minimum levels. For 2015-2016, the average funding support for graduate students was above $25,000.
  2. The minimum support levels will be in effect for 2 years for a student in an MSc program, up to 5 (2+3) 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. There is no Graduate Award support beyond this limit. After paying the set number of regular fee installments, tuition fees are reduced by approximately $3000/year, so the lack of Graduate Award is offset and net income remains flat. Please review the academic calendar for more information on fee installments.
  3. Arrangements for RA contributions 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.
  4. Normally a student assumes 1 TA in either the Fall and Spring term. Whereas a student who holds a fellowship i.e. NSERC/UVF/FQRNT and applies for yet is not granted a TA for Fall, Spring, or Summer term, the student will then receive a topup from the supervisor. Please note the student must apply for all three terms to be eligible for this topup. An NSERC holder may choose not to TA.
  5. Students can increase their total income by taking a second (optional) TA, if available. Taking a 2nd TA will result in a reduced Graduate Award. Students who choose not to TA do not receive a Graduate Award.
  6. International students receive an additional $300 Graduate Award per term, to offset the higher cost of international tuition.
  7. 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.
  8. Graduate Awards require maintenance of a minimum 6.5 GPA.