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Graduate Stipends

All you need to know about your graduate funding package.

Graduate students in EEB are paid an annual stipend to cover living expenses and the cost of tuition. This page provides a detailed breakdown of graduate stipends.

Guaranteed Stipend

Guaranteed Funding Periods:

  1. The first 16 months of the MSc program.
  2. The first 5 years of the PhD program for direct-entry PhD students, including those without an MSc. For students that transfer to the PhD program from our MSc program (without officially completing the MSc degree), the guaranteed funding period is 5 years total including the time in the MSc program.
  3. The first 4 years of the PhD program for students entering with a recognized advanced degree (4 years of BSc in biology as well as a research-based MSc in ecology and evolutionary biology).

Base Income

For the guaranteed funding period, graduate students are guaranteed a minimum “base income” defined by the Faculty of Arts & Science (A&S). EEB is proud to provide graduate students an “extended stipend” that greatly exceeds the A&S base stipend amount.

The EEB “extended stipend” is approximately $37,000 per year ($29,000 for rent, living expenses, etc. and approximately $8000 for tuition and other fees). To receive this stipend, graduate students are expected to work as a Teaching Assistant (TA) for 140 hours per year (approximately 6 hours per week during each semester). These stipend rates and expectations apply to students during the guaranteed funding period.

Many EEB graduate students receive incomes higher than our “extended stipend” described above by virtue of receiving scholarships and fellowships from the University and/or government sources (province, federal, international). For example, a second-year PhD student awarded an NSERC Vanier scholarship will receive a stipend of approximately $48,000 (after deducting tuition) with a 50% reduction in their TA load.

Students Outside the Guaranteed Funding Period

Those outside the guaranteed funding period are not guaranteed funding, though many receive some level of funding. If you are more than half way through the guaranteed funding period and are not 100% sure you will complete your degree before the end of that period, you should regularly discuss your funding situation as it relates to your time to completion with your supervisor. While students find these conversations awkward, they are a necessary and natural part of the process. You can always seek advice from members of your supervisory committee, the Graduate Coordinator, or the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies. In conjunction with your advisor, it may be sensible to adjust your research plans to finish in a more timely fashion. Many of the students that stay beyond the guaranteed funding period receive some funding from their supervisor as well as other sources of support from the department and university. However, these funding sources are not guaranteed and may result in less income than you received previously. To avoid a difficult situation, you are strongly encouraged to communicate regularly with your supervisor about your progress through your degree, your time to completion, and your funding situation.  

Individual Funding Packages

Payment Schedule

In August of each year, you and your supervisor will receive a statement of your guaranteed income for the following year, a breakdown of the value of each kind of support in the total package, and a letter describing each of the kinds of support. This description will take into account your visa status (domestic/international), term of first registration, any major scholarships you hold, and your stage in your degree program. The package represents a framework you and your supervisor can customize to some extent. Together you may choose to alter TA hours and amounts paid as Research Assistantships according to some constraints (see below). The scheduling of RA payments can be adjusted to best meet your individual needs. When you and your supervisor have agreed on the details, a jointly signed description of the customized support plan should be submitted to the local financial administrator for implementation. You will receive more information in August about this, when you receive your stipend package form. 

Categories of Support

Below is a breakdown of the different sources of funding that make up your graduate stipend.

Teaching Assistantships (TA)

Funding packages for students without major external fellowships include income from 140 hours per year that each student works as a teaching assistant in undergraduate courses. In EEB, for students in the funded cohort, a maximum of 140 hours of TAing are included in the EEB extended stipend package for students without a major scholarship and any TAing done above that amount is on top of their base funding package.

Funding packages for students supported by major external scholarships (NSERC, CIHR, OGS, FQRNT) require only 70 TA hours per year. 

The TA component of support packages may be increased or decreased based on discussions between students and their supervisors and, for students out of the regular funded cohort, may be contingent on the availability of TA positions. A student is permitted to teach fewer hours than specified in their funding package, but they thereby reduce their total income (unless the supervisor has agreed to compensate by providing additional RA funding).

Research Assistantships (RA)

Research Assistantships are paid by supervisors to their graduate students as part of their stipend. This funding comes from the supervisors’ research grants and helps to pay for the students’ fees and their living expenses.

University of Toronto Fellowships (UTF)

UTF funds are provided by the Faculty of Arts & Science to help pay for tuition fees while students are in the guaranteed income period (“funded cohort”). Students supported by external fellowships receive reduced levels of UTF.  Those outside the guaranteed funding period are ineligible to receive any UTF, but are still required to pay tuition.

EEB Internal Awards (“Restricted Awards”)

Donations to EEB have helped to establish a number of endowed awards. The interest earnings from these endowed “restricted awards” are used to support EEB graduate students financially at a level above the minimum base stipend set by the Faculty of Arts & Science and with a low TA load. No applications are necessary for the awards that are allocated as part of the EEB extended stipend package, as every graduate student in EEB is automatically considered for them. Some endowments require a recipient to meet certain criteria, such as study organism or subfield of research or citizenship status, and some awards require completion of financial need form.

Major Scholarships/Fellowships

Scholarships valued at $10K -$30K that are awarded based on national or provincial competitions represent a major source of support for EEB students. This support frees up grant money from RA allocations to fund further research, conferences, etc. Arts & Science provides top-up awards to the department for some eligible, major scholarships. It is EEB departmental policy to add these top-up awards to the guaranteed incomes of students winning eligible scholarships and to reduce the number of TA hours in support packages for winners of the larger scholarships.

Doctoral Completion Awards (DCA)Not available to P1-P4 students

This Arts & Science funding program is aimed at PhD students who are leaving the funded cohort before finishing their degree. Administration of the DCA program is done by our department. 


  • Have not received more than 1 year of support from the DCA program.
  • Have completed all their coursework and passed their appraisal exam (= achieved candidacy).
  • Have had a committee meeting in the last year and have shown good progress based on committee meeting reports and their supervisor’s evaluation
  • Are recommended for support by their supervisors.

Application Form & Deadline

The EEB Graduate Office will send the relevant information and form to all eligible students during the summer (usually June/July). The award value and information about payment of the award will be available in July. In recent years, the amounts have varied from $2000-2600 for domestic and double that for international students. 

For More Information

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