Student Finances

As one of Canada's leading research institutions, we place great importance on helping you finance your education. While at Western, you will want to devote your full energy to the successful completion of your studies, so we want to ensure that stable funding is available to you.

Some funding is awarded to you upon entry into a program, some is based on recommendations from the program that is admitting you, and others you must apply for yourself, either to The University of Western Ontario or to an external funding agency.

There are two main types of funding available to graduate students:

  • Western Funding - Provided directly by department, faculty or the University, these types of funding are distributed to students on a term by term basis.
  • External Funding - Awarded by federal, provincial and private agencies, to students who apply for scholarships and awards in annual competitions to support graduate study the following academic year.  Major scholarship competitions are run through the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Western Funding

The basic graduate student funding package is a combination of Graduate Teaching Assistant salary (which requires being at the university during the academic year) and the supplementary WGRS (Western Graduate Research Scholarship). This is provided to all M.Sc. students maintaining a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 78%, and to all Ph.D. students who have not acquired outside funding, and who maintain a G.P.A. of 78%. Ph.D. students should be aware that the university and the Department cannot offer funding beyond the fourth year. 

The Department is also able to provide a range of scholarships to support research. These awards are competitive within the department and will be awarded to students who have demonstrated academic excellence and devotion to research, and have demonstrated their commitment to applying for external grants.

In addition, there are Donor Funded Awards available to graduate students within the Department. Donor Funded Awards are made possible by generous donations from alumni, corporations, foundations and other friends of Western in support of student scholarship. Most graduate award recipients are selected by nomination or competitions internal to the graduate program. For a comprehensive listing of all current donor funded awards available to graduate neuroscience students at Western, please visit our Donor Funded Award Search.

External Funding

All students are encouraged to apply, where applicable, for Ontario Graduate Scholarships (OGS), Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) grants. Ph.D. students in particular are expected to apply for these scholarships, not merely because of the financial advantage but also because grant-writing is an essential part of academic training, and success in acquiring grants will be essential to finding employment in the highly competitive academic job market.

Recent Funding Decisions and Awards

2009 - 2010 Student Awards

NSERC doctoral awards: Charles Pettypiece, Sandy Shultz
NSERC awards: Michael Koval, Melissa Meeking, Bridget Valsamis, Robert Whitwell
OGS: Jeffrey Malins, Loretta Norton, Michael Pace
OGSST: Matthew Hutchison, Jessica Phillips, Edward O'Neil
CIHR: Jeremy Wong, Daniel Wood

2008 - 2009 Student Awards

NSERC Vanier award: Kenneth Valyear
doctoral awards: Jason Gallivan, Ben Bowles
NSERC awards: Stephanie Bishop, Elizabeth Wilson
OGS: Jeremy Wong

The Ontario Graduate Scholarship Program

The Ontario Graduate Scholarship Program is jointly funded between the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and matched funding through donations to The University of Western Ontario. The Ontario Graduate Scholarships are designed to encourage excellence in graduate studies at the master's and doctoral levels.

Annual Value: $10,000 to $15,000

Deadline for Application: The application deadline is set by your home department.

Eligibility to Apply:

  • Plan to be enrolled full-time in a graduate program at an Ontario university
  • Canadian citizen, permanent resident or an international student studying on a study permit
  • A- (80%) average over the last two years of study if less than two years of graduate work OR the cumulative graduate average, if more than two years
  • Have not exceeded the lifetime maximum of four years of government-funded awards including OGS, and awards from CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC.

How to Apply: Online application

Tools for submitting a successful application:

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

The CIHR Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS) Master's Awards are intended to provide special recognition and support to students who are pursuing a master’s degree in a health-related field.

View the 2010/2011 CIHR presentation (.ppt)

Annual Value: $17,500

Deadline for Western Applicants:  Tuesday, January 5, 2010

To be considered eligible to apply for support, you must:
  • be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident;
  • at the time of the CIHR deadline for application (February 1):
    • have completed or be in the last year of a Bachelor's degree; or
    • have been registered for no more than ten months as a full-time student in a Master's program; or
    • have been registered for no more than ten months as a full-time PhD student and were admitted to the PhD program directly from the Bachelor's degree.
  • be applying for support to pursue their first graduate degree (i.e., Master's or PhD). All previous studies at the graduate level, regardless of discipline, either course-based or research-based, will be included in determining eligibility; and
  • not have already held an award from SSHRC, NSERC, CIHR or any other federal source to undertake and/or complete a Master's or PhD degree.

Persons with a health professional degree who seek support for Master's or PhD research training may be eligible to apply to this program, but should also consult the guidelines for the CIHR Fellowship award program. Those eligible for both have the option of applying to either program but not to both in the same year (i.e., September through August). Please note that a person holding a health professional degree would receive a higher stipend only through the CIHR Fellowship award program.

Special Eligibility Note: To be eligible to apply through Western you must be registered at Western during the Fall 2009 semester i.e, registered in any level course, or in any other capacity; for example, part-time, full-time, one course only, course not related to the master's program, or special student.

How to Apply: ResearchNet and Application Phase Instructions

Special Instructions for Western Applicants:
Please submit to SGPS by Tuesday, January 5, 2010, the following documents together in one envelope which is clearly marked with your name and student number:

  • current official transcripts for other universities you have attended. SGPS will provide the current official Western transcript.
  • signature pages, already signed by applicant and supervisor(s). SGPS will provide the institutional signature.

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)

NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships (PGS) provide financial support for masters and doctoral students in the natural sciences or engineering research programs.

Annual Value: $17,300 to $35,000

Deadline for Application: The application deadline is set by your home department.

Eligibility to apply:

  • Be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada
  • Hold (or expect to hold) a university degree in science or engineering
  • 1st class (A- or 80%) average in EACH of the last 2 years of study (full-time equivalent)
  • Intending to undertake full-time graduate studies at the master's or doctoral level in the natural sciences or engineering disciplines
    *Consult the NSERC website to verify your eligibility as more conditions may apply.

How to Apply: Application

Tools for submitting a successful application:




Contact Us

Susanne Schmid, Ph.D. Co-Director
Stefan Köhler, Ph.D. Co-Director

Program Coordinator
Susan Simpson

T (519) 661-4039
F (519) 661-4153

Western University
Robarts Research Institute, RRI 5260a
1151 Richmond Street North
London, Ontario, CANADA N6A 5B7

Office Hours
Monday - Friday
8:30 am - 3:00 pm

Areas of Research

Cellular, Molecular and Developmental Neuroscience
Computational Neuroscience
Neural Substrates of Behaviour

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