Student Funding


Stipend, Awards, Scholarships and More

With only a few exceptions (see below), graduate students must be paid a full stipend throughout their graduate careers.  Funding will come from various scholarships the student applied for and has been awarded, and in the absence of that, from the supervisor's grant. The stipend is paid to the student, including the submission of supervisor-approved corrections to their thesis to SGS, after which stipend payment must stop.

The Temerty Faculty of Medicine's Harmonized Stipend Agreement currently governs the stipend amount for students in all eight Basic Science departments. Yearly stipend amounts are calculated based on an estimate of living expenses (living allowance) and the current year's tuition fees. See the Harmonized Base Funding Agreement for 2022-2023 for more information.

Total Base Funding

The student living allowance is increased by 10% in 2022-23

2022-2023 Student Base Funding for Doctoral-Stream Masters and PhD

  MSc Ph.D.
Living Allowance 24,859.56 27,622.33
2021-22 Tuition Fees 8,054.28 8,054.28
Total (Base Funding)* 32,913.84 35,676.61
  M.Sc. Ph.D.
Living Allowance 24,859.56 27,622.33
2021-22 Tuition Fees 29, 364.28 8,054.28
UHIP* 756.00 756.00
Total (Base Funding)* 54,979.84 36,432.61

*2022-23 Tuition & Fees and UHIP to be confirmed in early summer 2022.

Top-Up Practices

All awards that require student applications are eligible for a top-up from their supervisor or graduate unit.

The top-up amounts are as follows:

Award Amount Top-Up
$0 to $2,000 There will be no top-up, but the student gets to keep the award(s) up to a combined maximum of $2,000. The award amount will not be deducted from the base funding.
$2,001-9,999 (cumulative awards) The award goes towards the base funding, and the student receives a $2,000 top-up over their base funding.
$10,000-15,000 (cumulative awards) The award goes towards the base funding, and the student receives a $3,000 top-up over their base funding.
Over $15,000 (cumulative awards $15,000 and up) The award goes towards the base funding, and the student receives a $4,000 top-up over their base funding.


  • Within an academic year, the total cumulative top-up maximum is $4,000. If a student holds an award of $5,000 and another award of $17,500, their total top-up is $4,000.

  • The top-up is only provided in amounts of $2,000, $3,000 or $4,000 per year (does not exceed 12 months) and is added above the base funding amount.

  • A student, who receives award(s) exceeding the amount equivalent to the base funding and maximum top-up of $4,000, will not be eligible to receive a top-up for these award(s).

  • Payment of top-ups will occur annually for the duration of the award. After that, the student will revert to the appropriate base graduate student funding package amount.

  • Top-up eligibility excludes the University of Toronto Fellowship (e.g., UTF Open), Doctoral Completion Awards, travel awards, and bursaries.

Current tuition fee rates are available on the website of the Vice-President and Provost.

The stipend can be interrupted if:

  • The student takes a department-approved leave of absence.

  • After the student has their committee's approval to write a thesis, the student takes unreasonable time to complete the writing.

  • For those students who extend their Ph.D. program beyond six years (direct entry Ph.D. students) or beyond seven years (students who reclassified into the Ph.D. program), SGS reduces the student's tuition fees by ~50%, and the tuition portion of their stipend is decreased accordingly.

Tuition Fees

All students are responsible for paying their tuition fees by the deadlines set by the University of Toronto. The Department cannot pay the fees on any student's behalf because this will disqualify them from receiving a tax credit. Students who are in arrears are not eligible to register with the School of Graduate Studies. Current tuition fee schedules are posted on the Student Accounts website.

Administration Of Student Funding

During a student's rotation period, the Department pays the stipend. Once a student has settled into a permanent lab, the student's research node administers the stipend payment. Students should direct general inquiries to the Business Officer in the student's node. The supervisor whose lab the student finally selects will be invoiced for the stipend paid during the rotations.

All students must complete a Graduate Student-Supervisor Agreement form (GEMS) at the start of the academic year.

Students must ensure to bring any changes or problems with stipend payments to the attention of their Business Officer as soon as possible. It is particularly worth noting that in cases concerning awards, it is the student's decision whether to accept or decline an award and the duration they may receive it. The onus is on the student to inform their Business Officer about which award they accept when and for how long. On the other hand, it is the supervisor's and the supervisory committee's decision to terminate a student's stipend if they fail to fulfill the requirements described in the graduate handbook.

Up to one month's notice may be required to make payroll changes. Students must inform the relevant Business Officer personally of the following changes:

  • Selection of a permanent lab

  • Change of supervisor

  • Receipt or cancellation of an award

  • Long-term leave of absence

  • Withdrawal from the program

  • Completion of the degree (if it coincides with the supervisor's decision to terminate stipend payments)

Any attempt to retain an award while registered as a full-time student in another program is in clear violation of the rules of the awarding body and the School of Graduate Studies. The student must familiarize themself with the rules of the award they have accepted and abide by those rules.

Awards & Scholarships

Students are encouraged to apply for external scholarships from such agencies as:

Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)

Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships 

Ontario Graduate Scholarships (OGS)

Applications and eligibility requirements are available on the respective websites. The department will send students awards announcements via email as they become available.

Apart from these significant awards/scholarships, the School of Graduate Studies and the Temerty Faculty of Medicine's Graduate & Life Sciences Education Office maintain complete lists of available awards and scholarships to which graduate students can apply.

Departmental Awards

The Department of Molecular Genetics has several awards that are only available to students in this department. Calls for applications with deadlines, award amounts and application instructions are made each year via email to our student body.

David Stephen Cant Graduate Scholarship in Stem Cell Research

Granted annually to a Molecular Genetics graduate student in the M.Sc. or Ph.D. program demonstrating excellence and commitment in the area of stem cell research. A particular preference is given to outstanding students studying neurological disorders or macular degeneration.  

Hannah Farkas-Himsley and Alexander Himsley Memorial Prize

Awarded every other year, alternating with the Biomedical Engineering Group. The award honours the memory of Dr. Hannah Farkas-Himsley, a Professor from the former Department of Microbiology.  The value of the award is the interest in the endowment.  The award is given based on financial need, which includes all graduate students, according to the Temerty Faculty of Medicine.  As a result, the award will be issued based on the applicant’s contributions to research.  This award is part of the Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Funds (OSOTF). 

L.W. Macpherson Microbiology Award

Offered yearly on a competitive basis to the best, acclaimed all-around registered M.Sc. or Ph.D. student working in the broad area of Microbiology.  The award honours the late Dr. Lachlan W. Macpherson, a Professor and Acting Chair from the former Department of Microbiology and Parasitology.  The monetary amount consists of the annual interest that accumulates from the original donation made by Dr. Macpherson (1984).

Roman Pakula Award

Offered annually on a competitive basis to the best acclaimed all-around M.Sc. student registered in the Department of Molecular Genetics.  The award honours the late Dr. Roman Pakula, a Professor and Acting Chair from the former Department of Microbiology.  The monetary amount consists of the annual interest that accumulates from the original donations made by the family and friends of Dr. Pakula.

The Norman Bethune Award

This award is a result of an honorarium given in 1988 to Mr. Frederick Kahan, a Senior Scientist in Exploratory Biological Research at Merck Sharp and Dohme, for his contribution to developing the antibiotic "Primaxin."  Mr. Kahan wished that his alma mater, the University of Toronto, would receive the money and wished the prize to be named in honour of Dr. Norman Bethune. The award is available on a competitive basis to a graduate student in the first two years of a Ph.D. program.  This includes students who have reclassified from an M.Sc. program, in which case the initial starting date will apply.  The award aims to recognize and encourage young, talented researchers on the threshold of their careers. 

The Dr. Louis Siminovitch Catalyst Award

Awarded annually to the best acclaimed senior Ph.D. student (3rd year or beyond) working in the broad area of genetics who demonstrates a commitment to mentorship and the importance of mentorship in enabling their scientific career. The Dr. Louis Siminovitch Catalyst Award has been established in honour of Dr. Lou Siminovitch, who founded our Department in 1969 under Medical Cell Biology. The award aims to inspire and support the next generation of scientific thought leaders who will lead the way toward transformative discoveries in genetics over the next 50 years and beyond, recognizing the importance of mentorship in enabling scientific careers. The monetary amount consists of the annual interest that accumulates on the endowment.

Dr. Siminovitch has mentored, and trained generations of young scientists, inspiring research excellence and has been an influential force in Canadian biomedical science. Dr. Louis Siminovitch played a fundamental role in the establishment and development of three of the most outstanding medical research environments in Canada, especially in genetics: the Ontario Cancer Institute (1956-1969), the Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute (1970-1985), and the Samuel Lunenfeld Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto (1983-1994).

The David Dime Family Catalyst Fund - Catalyzing the Talent Pipeline Scholarships

This newly established scholarship is generously supported by the family of the late Dr. David Dime. David had a rich history at the University of Toronto, with a Ph.D. from the Department of Chemistry, followed by a job in industry in Switzerland, and then postdoctoral research in the Department of Molecular Genetics. David was the founder of Toronto Research Chemicals, which he started in 1983 in a small space on the 4th floor of the Medical Sciences Building. With his wife, Elisa Nuyten, and his children, Julian, Sophia, and Camille Dime, he established this Catalyst Fund to support innovative and exploratory research and training in the Department of Molecular Genetics. 

The objective of the Catalyzing the Talent Pipeline Scholarship is to engage and support young, brilliant scientists to enable them to pursue careers in fundamental and basic research. These scholarships specifically aim to help young graduate students in the Department of Molecular Genetics who come from underrepresented backgrounds in basic biomolecular research.

Eric Hani Fellowship

Awarded to first, second or third-year graduate students in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine based on financial need.  Preference will be given to students researching microbiology.  This award is part of the Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Funds (OSOTF).

Barbara Vivash Award in Molecular Genetics

Awarded annually for the most outstanding Ph.D. thesis in the Department of Molecular Genetics. Attention is given to producing a significant work of scholarship that has led to a significant advance in understanding the molecular genetic mechanisms underlying a critical biological or biomedical process. The awardee must have written an outstanding Ph.D. thesis and then have conducted an equally excellent oral defence of their body of work.

Switching Labs After Rotation Period

On rare occasions, a student will move to a different lab and mentor to carry out their thesis project well after the rotation. This move can be initiated only by the student, not the mentor. It can occur only after the student has discussed the situation in detail with the Graduate Coordinator (and the first supervisor when appropriate).

If the student switches labs within 4 months (excluding all initial rotations) of joining the first lab, the second lab will fully reimburse the first lab for covering the stipend costs during the rotation period upon request by the first supervisor. If the student switches labs after the 4 months in the first lab (excluding all initial rotations), but before beginning their 9th month, the second lab will reimburse the first lab for half of the stipend costs during the initial rotation period upon request by the first supervisor. If the student switches labs after 8 months, the second lab will bear no responsibility for the costs of the student's stipend during the rotation period. In this case, the expense for the stipend during the rotation period will remain with the first lab. If a student leaves the Department at any time after joining a lab, that lab will not be reimbursed the stipend costs during the rotation period by the Department or any other lab.

Other Earnings


Under the CIHR General Guidelines for all Research Funding Program, Research Trainees on Grants section, with the approval of their supervisors, students may "earn from an additional source not exceeding the value of their academic fees or 35% of the amount received from the grant, whichever is greater." In the absence of an explicit policy from agencies such as NSERC or NCIC, the Department has adopted the CIHR guideline for all grant-paid students, including those who hold a Connaught, an OGS or a UTO.


Funding agencies set limits to the additional income students may receive. Students must make sure that they are abiding by the conditions of the award they are receiving. This includes the number of Teaching Assistant (TA) hours that are allowed.  The Chair has delegated the authority of approval of TA hours to supervisors, and it is a supervisor's responsibility to ensure that these guidelines are adhered to. The supervisor must provide the course supervisor with written approval for the student to TA. If a student's earnings exceed the 35% limit, the supervisor is entitled to "clawback" the difference (i.e., reduce the student's stipend by a corresponding amount).