Average Starting Salaries: Financial Services 2014

Fellowships, Scholarships And Paying For Grad School


So, you want to go to grad school? Keep reading.

The good thing about grad school: you take fewer courses and fewer years to complete your degree.

The bad (bad, bad) thing about grad school: your tuition per course is more than for undergrad classes, so grad school can still be just as expensive or even more so than a bachelor’s degree.

Scholarships, fellowships, research assistantships, teaching assistantships, as well as provincial and national awards can all help pay the bills.

The good thing about it being more expensive (if anyone in their right mind would consider it a good thing!) is there are more ways for graduate students to pay for their education.

Scholarships, fellowships, research assistantships, teaching assistantships, as well as provincial and national awards can all help pay the bills.


Graduate scholarships are similar to undergrad scholarships in that they are based primarily on academic merit and often awarded based on need.  There is no one way to obtain scholarships: some require applications while others are awarded by the university or specific departments.

Research assistantships

Research assistantships are awarded to students based on academic merit and begin as soon as the student starts their studies at a school.  A research assistant (RA) helps a supervising professor to complete their professional research.  As a result, the money granted through an RA-ship is actually from their supervisor’s funding partner (body), and not the school itself.

Students completing an RA-ship work a certain number of hours per week, for which they are paid an hourly wage.

Teaching assistantships

All undergraduate students have encountered at least one TA during the course of their studies, and as a result have a fairly good idea of what a teaching assistantship may require.  The majority of TAs lead labs or tutorials, mark student assignments, labs, tests and papers, maintain office hours and help get materials ready for classes.

There are also marking TAs who have no interaction with students and only mark the papers, assignments and tests of students.  TAs are allotted a certain number of hours and get paid an hourly wage for the hours they work.


There are two kinds of fellowships, portable fellowships and institutional fellowships:

Portable fellowships can be used by students at any institution they choose, and are often called external fellowships, since funding normally comes from outside organizations.

Institutional fellowships, on the other hand, are granted by an academic institution for study at that school, and are sometimes restrictive to the program being studied, as well as the subject manner.

Provincial and national awards

Students thinking about applying to graduate school often don’t apply for provincial or national awards since they typically require in-depth applications that are incredibly competitive.  Nevertheless, they can provide excellent sources of funding during the course of your graduate degree.

Some provinces that offer graduate programs at their university offer awards to students studying in that province, such as the Ontario Graduate Scholarship, or the Pacific Centry Graduate Scholarship.

National programs include NSERC, SSHRC, and CIHR.   Awards from these organizations can also granted to post-doctoral fellows and tenured faculty.

The bottom line

All of the funding options listed above are competitive in nature.  Your grades, extra curricular activities, research statement, and prior work in academia may be considered when you apply for these positions and awards.

There is a good possibility that you won’t get any funding help, so if that happens, how do you plan on paying for grad school?

So, you want to go to grad school? Click here to read more.