Funding for MA and PhD students comes from several sources: departmental awards, Faculty of Arts awards, external awards, Teaching Assistantships (for PhD students), and Research Assistantships. Fellowships and prizes are awarded competitively on the basis of academic merit. Each year, the Director of Graduate Studies will nominate students for university awards according to the availability of those awards and the criteria of eligibility. These awards are listed under the Graduate Fellowships and Awards Calendar.
- Master's Students
- PhD Students
- Department Awards
- Funds for Scholarly Research and Scholarly Conferences
- SSHRC CGS Travel Supplement
- Allocation of Teaching Assistantships
- Sessional Teaching
- Differential Fee Waivers
6.1 Master's Students
Eligible students, specifically Canadian citizens and landed immigrants, should apply for SSHRC funding. Eligible students, specifically Quebec residents, should apply for FQRSC funding. MA1 students who intend to complete the degree in two years should consider applying to SSHRC or FQRSC during the fall term of MA1 (for MA2 funding). Applications for SSHRCC and FQRSC fellowships are usually due December 1 for MA students. Application forms are available at www.sshrc.ca and www.frqsc.gouv.qc.ca.
Limited MA funding is distributed on a competitive basis, and funding varies depending on faculty grants, area of research, and experience. Efforts are made to secure funding for all students over the course of the MA program.
MA students are eligible for Departmental and Faculty travel funding (see 6.4).
6.2 PhD Students
All doctoral students accepted into the program are guaranteed four years of support, normally through a combination of fellowships and teaching or research assistantships. Students will be automatically considered for fellowships; they need not make any separate application. The process for allocating Teaching Assistantships is described under 6.5.1 (below).
All students in the PhD program are expected to seek external funding for their studies. At the very least, students who do not already have external funding are expected to apply for FQRSC and SSHRC fellowships. Of particular interest to doctoral students in English are the following: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Fellowships (SSHRC) worth $20,000 per annum for the doctoral award or $35,000 per annum for the Canada Graduate Scholarship; Government of Quebec Fellowships (FRQSC), available to residents of Quebec only, worth $20,000 per annum. Applications for SSHRC and FRQSC fellowships are usually due in October for PhD students.
International students should investigate other fellowships, such as the PBEEE (Quebec government), Fulbright, Marshall, Commonwealth, and other awards.
Professors holding research funds often hire doctoral students as Research Assistants. These assistantships are arranged directly between the student and the professor. In order not to interfere with progress in the doctoral program, and to ensure a more even distribution of funds among PhD students, a student should not hold an RA-ship and a TA-ship at the same time.
Once students have completed all coursework, the Compulsory Research Project, the language requirement, and the thesis proposal, and provided that they are students in good standing, they are eligible to apply to teach courses in the department; courses vary from year to year. These teaching positions are considered an important part of professional training; students are usually offered either courses related to their own research, or courses central to an English curriculum which they will likely be teaching later in their career.
6.3 Department Awards
The following departmental awards and fellowships require no specific application. They are decided by the Director of Graduate Studies, in consultation with the Chair and the Director of Undergraduate Studies, where appropriate.
Mary Keenan Prize: for a student proceeding from the BA in English at McGill to the MA in English at McGill. Variable amount.
Glorianna Martineau Fellowships: for students in a graduate program in English. Variable amount.
Hugh MacLennan Fellowship: for students in a graduate program in English. Variable amount.
Slava Klima Award: for a PhD student awarded after PhD3, for excellence and timely progress in the program. Variable amount.
Michelle Rosa Award: for general excellence in the MA, awarded at the end of the degree. $250
Molson Chair Graduate Fellowships: For MA or PhD students. Variable amount.
6.4 Funds for Scholarly Research and Scholarly Conferences
There are several sources of funding for scholarly research travel and conference travel. Both MA and PhD students may apply for these funds. Some restrictions apply.
6.4.1. The Department has a limited fund to be used for graduate student travel for conferences or research. Additional travel funding from the Faculty of Arts is also administered by the Department (no separate application is necessary). Applications are due on 15 September, 15 December, and 15 March. Applications should consist of the following:
- a statement outlining the proposed trip and the relevance to the student's program
- a proposed budget
- a letter of support from the supervisor
- the abstract submitted to the conference
- the letter or email of acceptance from conference organizers.
The application package should be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator in Arts 155.
Priority is given to PhD students, especially those who have not previously received travel funding. Priority is also given to students applying to travel for research purposes. The research must have clear application to the student's thesis or dissertation project. Funding is not granted for students merely planning to attend a conference; applicants for conference travel must present work at the conference in question. Students may not receive more than one grant per academic year. For conference travel, the paper must be accepted by the conference organizers before the student applies to the department for funding. The profile of the conference and the development of the student's research profile will be factors in evaluating applications for travel funding. Students should aim to present papers on their primary field of research, or to do archival research that directly contributes to their research project or dissertation.
Payments are usually disbursed against original receipts after the travel is complete.
6.4.2 SSHRC CGS Travel Supplement
Those students who hold a CGS SSHRC, either at the MA or PhD level, are eligible for supplementary travel funding. Value: $6000. Application is available at www.sshrc.ca. This award is exclusively for students who already hold a CGS.
The appointment of Teaching Assistants is determined largely by the regulations of the collective agreement between McGill University and the Association of Graduate Students Employed at McGill (AGSEM). All students who are employed as Teaching Assistants become members of AGSEM. Students in the MA Program are eligible for a very limited number of Teaching Assistantships under the rules governing the determination of the Priority Pool (Article 13). Research Assistantships are allocated within the department.
All PhD students with no other funding are offered Teaching or Research Assistantship through PhD5 if they so wish. The Department expects all doctoral students to do some teaching as part of their training in the program, and takes seriously its responsibility to observe and evaluate student teaching.
The position of TA is defined under Article 11 of the collective agreement with AGSEM. The AGSEM regulations for TAs are sent to each TA at the beginning of the term by AGSEM. Normally teaching assistants lead conference groups and participate in the setting and grading of assignments. The duties of a TA and the hours allocated to each duty are agreed upon between the TA and the instructor at the beginning of the appointment. A standard workload form is distributed to each instructor which both TA and instructor must sign.
In accordance with SSHRC guidelines, the department normally makes full TA appointments of 180 hours per term. While the collective agreement defines TA working hours, it should be pointed out that TAs frequently let the demands of their teaching obligations expand to such an extent that they encroach on the students' own studies. In facing this conflict between institutional teaching work and personal and individual research work, the students will of course confront directly the kind of demands that are placed on all staff members in the profession. The wise and careful management of time, in this respect, will be a significant factor in facilitating the students' smooth progress towards completion of the degree.
The department also makes half-TA appointments for 90 hours per term. Students may hold only one half-TA appointment per term.
6.5.1. Allocation of Teaching Assistantships
Teaching Assistantships are allocated according to Articles 12, 13, and 14 of the collective agreement. Vacancies are posted online during the spring and fall for the following term. Students are required to fill out an application form, available from the Graduate Student Affairs Office, within ten days of the posting. The application form allows students to indicate 3 course preferences, and whether they wish to be considered for other courses. It is not always possible to match a student's principal academic interest with their first preference (see Article 13.03.02 of the collective agreement). The matching of individual Teaching Assistants to particular courses is the responsibility of the Coordinator of Graduate Assistants. When selecting a TA, the department considers the applicant's academic qualifications, general qualifications as posted in the job description, and formal written performance evaluations (see Article 13.03.01 of the collective agreement and Article 14).
Support for doctoral candidates normally takes precedence over support for MA candidates. In all cases, however, the following criteria are taken into account in allocating TAships:
- The student's academic record (as reflected in past grades, letters of recommendation, standing in the annual fellowships competition, etc.);
- The student's progress in completing work in the program; as noted above, students with K grades, or who have failed to complete departmental requirements, will not normally be assigned a Teaching or Research Assistantship;
- The student's special interests and competence, as described on the annual Application for a Teaching Assistantship (however, it is not always possible to match a student's principal academic interest with a course requiring a TA);
- The student's record of performance in previous TA positions, or in other teaching situations;
- The desirability of offering some teaching experience to all doctoral candidates, and to MA candidates when possible.
6.5.2 Sessional Teaching
When the Department has sessional teaching openings, recent PhD's and PhD students nearing completion of their degrees may be considered for such posts. The following considerations will normally apply: strength in the area to be taught; nearness to completion of degree; a history of steady progress in the program; record of previous teaching; financial need.
After postings appear, PhD graduates and students who wish to be considered for such positions are asked to submit a letter of application and a cv to the Chair. It is the student's responsibility to keep the application up-to-date.
6.6 Differential Fee Waivers
A limited number of Differential Fee Waivers (which pay the difference between Canadian and International student fees) are available for students whose visa status requires them to pay full international tuition fees. These awards are based on academic merit. DFWs are restricted to full time graduate students registered in Master's or Doctoral programs and cannot be held in additional sessions. They originate in GPSO and are allocated in consultation with the Department. No special application form is required. If granted, the value of the DFW will be credited to the student's fee account.
International students admitted to McGill must have financial support before coming to Montreal. International students on visas cannot work in Canada, and there is no guarantee of financial support after arrival.
Canadian citizens or permanent residents who have been residing in a province for more than a year are eligible to apply for loans from that province. These loans are awarded on the basis of need and do not have to be repaid while the recipient is a full-time student in good standing. Some provinces also award non-repayable bursaries on the basis of financial need. The addresses of the provincial loan agencies are listed in the Graduate Fellowships and Awards Calendar.