More help on the way for graduate students
Globalization, the information economy, scientific innovation and new technologies – these are just some of the factors that have both government and industry recognizing the crucial role that graduate students play in building better economies and driving social progress around the world.
It is recognition that has meant increased investment in graduate education and support for research students. But it has also meant that universities like McGill are looking at a new and challenging recruitment landscape. “Over the past 10 to 15 years, attracting the best graduate students in the world has become extremely competitive,” says Lissa Matyas, Director of McGill’s Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies office. To compete with other world-class universities, it often comes down to the bottom line: what funding can you offer?
Fortunately, philanthropy has allowed the University to increase overall financial support for graduate students from $3 million to $14 million per year. How has this increased support impacted students? Just ask Douglas Barthold, a PhD candidate in Economics and the recipient of a McCall MacBain Fellowship in Arts, established by John McCall MacBain, BA’80, and his wife Marcy.
“The fellowship has been one of my few income sources as a graduate student, and they are crucial to my livelihood,” says Barthold, whose thesis focuses primarily on health insurance design, with particular attention to the role of cost sharing arrangements in influencing health care utilization patterns – work that may help health policymakers in their efforts to design more efficient and higher quality health insurance schemes.
Philanthropist Richard Tomlinson, PhD’48, DSc’01, has also breathed new life into McGill's ability to support graduate students through his donation to create and endow over 40 fellowships. Today, Tomlinson Scholars are exploring the management of invasive species, the conservation of watershed systems, even the design of violins that could lead to better performance.
The Schulich Graduate Fellowships, established through a gift from Seymour Schulich, BSc’61, MBA’65, DLitt’04, are supporting students in a wide variety of areas of study within the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, as well as in the Schools of Architecture and Urban Planning, and the Departments of Physics, and Mathematics and Statistics.
In the Faculty of Engineering, the Hatch Graduate Fellowships, established by Dr. Gerald Hatch, BEng’44, DSc’90, are funding students who are driving technological change in fields ranging from nanotechnology to environmental engineering to next-generation materials in aerospace.
“Thanks to the tremendous generosity of donors, McGill is finally able to match the competitive funding levels offered by our peers, allowing us to attract and retain the best and brightest graduate students to our programs,” Matyas says.