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.

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.

All students in the Ph.D. program who are within their expected completion time are guaranteed a minimum of full tuition (whether domestic or international) plus an additional $15,000 per year. All students in the research-based M.Sc. program who are within their expected completion time are guaranteed a minimum of full domestic tuition plus an additional $13,000 per year. All graduate students who are offered TA positions are covered by the collective agreement between the university and PSAC Local 610. Funding guarantees for all students are conditional upon the student meeting normal progression requirements and maintaining a 78% average or higher.

Students in the course-based M.Sc. are not funded.


Information about the tuition and ancillary fees charged to both domestic and international students can be found on the Registrar's website. Tuition is charged by term, and there are three terms of four months apiece in the graduate year. Fall (Sept-Dec), Winter (Jan-April) and Summer (May-Aug).

Western Funding

The Department currently strives to ensure that all regular graduate students receive a minimum salary typically composed of monies paid for work as a Teaching Assistant (TA), supplemented by Western Graduate Research Scholarships and funds from the supervisor's research funds. Teaching Assistant pay rates are available here.

All qualifying international Ph.D. students are paid a fee differential to offset the high cost of international tuition. The total tuition payable for international Ph.D. students is set the same as a domestic Ph.D. student once funding has been applied.

The course-based Masters in Geology or Geophysics is not funded.

An agreement between the University and PSAC Local 610 specifies that students in the regular M.Sc. program are guaranteed two full years funding, and that Ph.D. students are guaranteed four full years funding, provided satisfactory academic standards and progress are maintained. Students whose studies continue beyond two years (M.Sc. program) or four years (Ph.D. program) are classified by the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies as being non-fundable, and as such, will not receive TA or other supplemental funding. International students receiving an international fee waiver, will, upon reaching this point, be required to pay full international student tuition fees.

Supervisors generally 'top up' TA and other funding sources to the Departmental recommended minimum annual salary, and some supervisors provide funding above this level. Summer support for field or laboratory expenses is generally provided through the supervisor's research grants.

External Funding

All eligible students are encouraged to apply for Ontario Graduate Scholarships (OGS), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology (QEIIGSST) grants. Eligible Ph.D. students are required to apply for these scholarships by university policy, 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.

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: January 31 of each year

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 in each of the last two years of study
  • Have not exceeded the lifetime maximum of four years of government-funded awards including OGS, and awards from CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC.

For application information, please see SGPS website.

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)

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

Annual Value: $17,500 to $35,000

Deadline for Application: Early October of each year

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
  • First class (A- or 80%) average in 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.

For application information, please see SGPS website.

Canada Graduate Scholarships - Master's (CGSM)

The objective of the Canada Graduate Scholarships - Master’s Program (CGSM) is to help develop research skills and assist in the training of highly qualified personnel by supporting students who demonstrate a high standard of achievement in undergraduate and early graduate studies. The CGSM Program supports 2,500 students annually in all disciplines and is administered jointly by Canada's three federal granting agencies. Successful applicants will win one of the following awards depending on the focus of the research proposed:

  • CIHR – Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarship
  • NSERC – Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship
  • SSHRC – Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship


  • $17,500 for 12 months, non-renewable

Deadline for Application: December 1 of each year


How to Apply: Online Application

Western is listed as “The University of Western Ontario” in the Research Portal options for Primary Affiliation and Proposed Host Organization. Up to 5 universities may be identified as Proposed Host Organizations by an applicant.

Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology

Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology (QEIIGSST), valued at $5,000 per term, are awarded to students enrolled in at least their second full-time term. Students may hold the award for a minimum of two, and maximum of three terms (one year). Recipients may not simultaneously hold an Ontario Graduate Scholarship or an NSERC scholarship, and are permitted to hold a half TA per year during the award. All applicants for QEIIGSST must have previously applied for NSERC and/or OGS scholarships, for which they are eligible. If winners are offered both the QEIIGSST and external (NSERC, OGS) awards, they must accept the external award.

Applications for QEIIGSST are automatic when applying for OGS scholarships.