Funding Graduate Studies

Financial Planning

Making plans for financial support is very important as you plan for the next stage of your education as a graduate student. How do you handle your financial concerns? Financial planning for graduate students is a must. Learn more about successful financial planning strategies . You will want to make sure that you know your income and your expenses. Income may be made up any or all of the following: scholarships, Graduate Teaching Assistantships, Graduate Research Assistantships or other employment. To assist you in your financial planning please consult these

Support for Graduate Students

The University of Guelph is committed to providing a minimum stipend of $17,500.00 for all domestic and international doctoral students for a period of three years.  Many graduate programs offer stipends to master's students, so please check with the program for details. In some programs a student may be admitted where that student does not require funding.   In these instances the program will submit a waiver request, explaining the reasons for the recommendation.  All income and funding commitments are contingent on satisfactory progress in the program, as defined by the academic unit.   The university reserves the right to amend the commitments made in the student funding agreement should satisfactory progress not be achieved.

Funding & Employment

As a graduate student you will have received a funding package made up of a number of components.   The options may be one or more of the following:

  • Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA)
  • Graduate Research Assistant (GRA)
  • Graduate Service Assistant (GSA)
  • Scholarship (external and/or internal)
  • or you may be self funded.

If you are to be employed as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA), or a Graduate Service Assistant (GSA), that employment is regulated by CUPE Local 3913 - Unit #1. A copy of this collective agreement will be supplied to you by the department in which you are employed.  

The 10-hour Rule

Full-time graduate students should be in a position to devote their full time and energy to a coherent program of graduate study and research, and should make full time progress toward completion of the requirements of that program. Even though university-related employment (such as GTAs, GSAs, and sessional lectureships) may provide a significant portion of the financial support that enables a graduate student to pursue graduate study, and may provide experience that supplements the formal academic program in developing skills relevant to a future career, too much time spent on employment activities diverts time and energy from the program of study and research, and delays completion. Consequently, in August 1994, the Government of Ontario requested that the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies publicly confirm its position on the ten-hour rule (i.e. that every member university is committed that full-time graduate students should not be permitted to work more than an average of 10 hours per week on campus, and should be encouraged to limit their time spent on employment either inside or outside the university to an average of no more than ten hours per week.). OCGS did so on September 16, 1994, and it was adopted by the University of Guelph immediately and maintained ever since.

University of Guelph graduate students who have completed their studies, but are awaiting thesis/dissertation defence, may apply for an exemption through their Advisor, Graduate Program Coordinator and the Dean of Graduate Studies to take on additional work.


Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs) are paid to graduate students in support of their scholarly activity/research and in the preparation of their thesis/major paper.

Funds to pay the GRA may be from research grants or contracts received by faculty members from external agencies or governments. In these cases, the student's research would contribute to the research of the faculty member under whose direction it is conducted and the dollar value of GRA stipends may depend on the external granting agencies' guidelines on support of graduate students through research operating grants. Alternatively, funding for the GRA may be from the University. Regardless, in either situation the GRAs must be approved by the department chair or school director on the recommendation of the advisor.

Financial Aide and Counselling

Whether you need to apply for OSAP assistance, need assistance or require some assistance to figure out your financial situation, there are resources available to you.