Financial Assistance

Research Assistantships | Teaching Assistantships | Fellowships and Scholarships | Bursaries and Loans | Information on Living Expenses


Financial support to qualified graduate students is available in the form of Fellowships, Research Assistantships, Teaching Assistantships, Bursaries, and Loans. Fellowships and Research Assistantships are awarded competitively based on academic excellence. Applicants to the graduate program will be automatically considered for McGill Fellowships. The Research Assistantships and Teaching Assistantships described below are granted within the Department.


Research Assistantships

These are stipends granted by the Department faculty member from funds provided by a granting agency for carrying out a specific research investigation. Usually, the work performed by the student under such an arrangement forms the basis of their research thesis. Accordingly, these Assistantships are normally offered only to MSc and PhD students.

The monthly payment and duration of a Research Assistantship are variable. Presently, the maximum rate is $1375 per month, but this amount can be supplemented by stipends from Teaching Assistantships as explained below. Currently, about half the graduate students in the Department are supported on Research Assistantships. Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents of Canada must be given priority in the allocation of the funds received from governmental granting agencies such as the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Province of Quebec's programme de formation des chercheurs et l'aide à la recherche (FCAR). Some Research Assistantships are, however, awarded to international students on the basis of a very high academic performance.


Teaching Assistantships

The graduate student is employed by the Department each semester to qualified full-time graduate students in return for their assistance relating to the teaching duties of a staff member. The assistance usually consists of grading the weekly assignments of a course, helping in laboratory demonstrations, and being available for consultation by students in the course. The Teaching Assistant's normal workload for a course is six hours per week at $23.44/hr (2009) resulting in a stipend of $1,688 for the semester. A majority, but not all, full-time graduate students can be offered a Teaching Assistantship. Students with Research Assistantships or any other form of financial assistance may also hold Teaching Assistantship appointments. With this supplement, it is possible for a student holding a Research Assistantship to earn up to a total of $19,876 a year for Masters and $22,376 a year for PhD students. A majority, but not all, full-time graduate students can be offered a Teaching Assistantship.


Fellowships and Scholarships

These are awarded based on acadamic excellence by agencies outside the Department and are mostly restricted to Canadian or Landed Immigrant students. The major sources of the awards are listed below. For detailed information please visit the Fellowships and Financial Aid page at the Graduate and PostDoctoral Studies web site.

  1. External Fellowships (Usually restricted to Canadian Citizens or Landed Immigrants)

    These are awarded based on academic excellence by agencies outside the Department and are mostly restricted to Canadian or Landed Immigrant students. The major sources of the awards are listed below. For detailed information please visit the Fellowships and Financial Aid page at the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies web site:

    • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Fellowships The fellowship awards are $17,300 or $17,500 per annum for Master's students and $21,000 or $35,000 per annum for PhD students. Applicants must have completed one full year of study or research at a Canadian University. Deadline: Usually in late October.
    • Le Fonds Québéqois de la Recherche sur la Nature et les Technologies (FQRNT) Quebec Fellowships. The fellowship awards are $15,000 (Master's) and $20,000 (PhD) per annum. Applicants must have been permanent residents of Quebec for at least one year. Deadline: Usually in late October.
    • Other Fellowships, which might in certain circumstances be available to graduate students in the Department, are offered by the Department of National Defence, the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and L'institute de recherche en santé et en securité du travail du Québec.
  2. McGill University Graduate Faculty Fellowships
    • International PhD students: High Calibre doctoral students who are registered as full-time students at McGill University pay the same tuition as Québec doctoral students through the McGill Engineering International Tuition Award. For more information see MEITA.
    • Guaranteed top-up to all incoming recipients of NSERC & FQRNT doctoral scholarships through the McGill Engineering Doctoral Award MEDA ($5,000 -$12,000 for NSERC and $12,000 for FQRNT). See Funding for Graduate Programs for more details.
    • Fellowships of $22,000 to $25,000 a year for 3 years, for high caliber PhD students (MEDA), including prestigious named fellowships. See Funding for Graduate Programs for more details.
    • Principal’s Graduate Fellowship (PGF): Any PhD or Masters student may be nominated for a PGF. PGFs are awarded in units of $2,500 each, and may be combined.
    • Provost’s Graduate Fellowship (ProGF), for Masters students: All first-year Research Masters students are eligible for nomination for a ProGF. The minimum level for a ProGF award is $4,000. All incoming Master’s students who have been awarded government graduate scholarships from NSERC, CIHR, SSHRC, FQRNT, FRSQ or FQRSC will receive a guaranteed top-up of $4,000 for the first year of their studies.
  3. Exchange Fellowships

    A number of fellowships are available as a result of inter-provincial government agreements, for example, the Ontario-Quebec Exchange Fellowships. Prospective applicants should enquire of their provincial Ministry of Education. Other international cultural exchange agreements provide for graduate fellowships. Citizens of the following countries should contact their respective Canadian Embassies: Belgium, Brazil, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

    Applicants from Commonwealth countries may also be eligible for Commonwealth Scholarships. Information about these may be obtained from The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, 151 Slater Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5N1.

  4. Graduate Research Enhancement and Travel Awards (G.R.E.A.T.)

    Administered by the Department of Civil Engineering, the purpose of the G.R.E.A.T. Awards is to support graduate students in their research efforts by partially funding travel to scholarly meetings or conferences where the student is presenting a paper related to their research.

    Value of Awards: Each award is valued at up to $600.00 CAD


    • At the time of application and presentation, applicants must be registered as full-time graduate students (or additional session students, working full-time on their degree) in a Master's (MA.1, MA.2) or Doctoral (PhD.1-PhD.5) program in the Department of Civil Engineering at McGill.
    • At the time of taking up the award, applicants must have been accepted to present a paper or poster at a scholarly meeting or conference that falls within the specified time period of the competition.
    • Students may apply prior to receiving confirmation of acceptance, but must have been accepted to present a paper or poster in order to be eligible to take up the award. Students who do not expect to receive confirmation of acceptance to the meeting before the competition deadline MUST still abide by our competition deadline - no extension will be granted.
    • ORIGINAL applications only accepted by the deadline date.
    • In the case of multiple-authored papers, only the presenter may apply for a travel grant.
    • Applications for conferences that have already taken place will not be considered.
    • Applicants may receive only one G.R.E.A.T. Award per degree.
    • Results will be emailed to all applicants approximately 2 weeks after the application deadline date.
    • Graduate Research Enhancement and Travel Award (G.R.E.A.T.)                


July 15 (for travel from September 1 to December 31)
November 15 (for travel from January 1 to April 30)
March 15 (for travel from May 1 to August 31)

Submit your original application to:

Student Affairs Coordinator (Graduate Records)
Civil Engineering
Macdonald Engineering Building, Rm. 492


Bursaries and Loans

The University Student Aid Office administers a program of loans and also awards a limited number of bursaries (up to $2,000) to graduate students on the basis of financial need and academic performance. For Federal and Provincial government loans, the basic requirement is that candidates must be Canadian Citizens or Landed Immigrants, with one year of residence in the province to which the application for a loan is made. For more information please visit Fellowships and Financial Aid.


Information on Living Expenses

Although McGill University is located in the central part of the city, it is usually possible for a single student to find suitable accommodation within walking distance of the University. The average living expenses for a single student during a 12 month period are estimated to be $1,000-$1,100 per month, excluding fees. Information regarding the availability of living accommodation close to the University may be obtained from:

McGill Residences and Student Housing
University Hall
3473 University St
Montreal, QC  H3A 2A8

Tel.: 514-398-6368
Fax: 514-398-2305
housing.residences [at] (E-mail)


Back to top