The School of Religious Studies aims both to provide requisite funding and to assist graduate students in obtaining additional funding for their studies and research during their time at McGill. In addition to the cost of living in Montreal, tuition and other compulsory fees for Full-Time PhD studies will amount to roughly CAD 4,650 for Canadian residents and roughly CAD 18,900 for International students for PhD Year 1-4.  Fees for all PhD students in Year 5-7, which is called Additional Session, are reduced to approximately CAD 3,960 for Canadian residents and roughly CAD 4,709 for International students.

For Full-time MA studies, tuition and other compulsory fees will amount to about CAD 4,650 for Quebec residents, about CAD 10,200 for non-Quebec Canadian residents, and about CAD 20,740 for International students.

More on calculating your cost of attendance can be found on the Future Graduate Students website.  Remember that Montreal remains an attractive and affordable city for students.

Up-to-date detailed information about tuition and student fees can be found on the Graduate Tuition and Fees Table

Funding Opportunities

School of Religious Studies Fellowships

Funding for graduate students comes from several sources: School of Religious Studies Fellowships & Awards, Faculty of Arts Awards, Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies Fellowships, external awards, Teaching Assistantships, and Sessional Teaching. All awards and fellowships are granted competitively on the basis of academic merit.

The School of Religious Studies also has several named fellowships and bursaries that are awarded on an annual basis to full-time incoming and in-course PhD students. The named fellowships and bursaries include:

  • the Ellen Bradshaw Aitken Fellowship, in memory of the former Dean of the Faculty of Religious Studies, awarded to an outstanding graduate student in any field of study in Religious Studies;
  • the McBurney Graduate Fellowship awarded to students working in the area of Inter-religious Studies & Social Engagement;
  • the Birks Fellowship;
  • the Deirdre and Robert Stevenson award for students studying Asian Religions;
  • the Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem Graduate award for students pursuing research in ecumenical topics;
  • the McConnell Fellowship;
  • the Arthur and Jessie Lochead Bursary;
  • the Saint Maurice Power Corporation Award;
  • the Religious Studies Bursary;
  • the Samuel Finley Bursary,
  • and the Topping Memorial Bursary.

The awarding of these fellowships and bursaries are based on progress towards the completion of the PhD program and academic merit. All full-time registered PhD students in good standing are considered for these fellowships. No application is required.

The School has four 4-year Wilfred Cantwell Smith Fellowships of approximately $15,000 per year that may be awarded to students admitted to the doctoral program (PhD full time). There are only a certain number of these fellowships available; they cannot be offered each year. The Wilfred Cantwell Smith Graduate Fellowships, honoring the memory of an influential and internationally renowned professor of the Faculty, are available through the generosity of Barbara and Patrick Keenan.

The School of Religious Studies may also assign Differential Fee Waivers for full-time PhD students who are not Canadian residents. Such Differential Fee Waivers cover the difference between the award holder’s international tuition fees and Quebec residents’ tuition fees. (The award-holder remains responsible for the equivalent of Quebec residents’ tuition fees.) For more information, see the DFW website.

All doctoral entrance fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis; all applicants who have completed their applications by the funding deadline (January 15th) will be considered. All in-coming students admitted to begin MA programs (Full-Time) are considered for modest entrance fellowships.

Dissertation finishing fellowships

The generosity of Barbara and Patrick Keenan has also provided for two annual PhD Dissertation Finishing Fellowships for doctoral students in Religious Studies.

The professors, staff and friends of the School of Religious Studies have also established a PhD “Student Dissertation Fund” to assist students in the final stages of their doctoral program. All students in PhD Year 6 or year 7 in good standing and on track to complete their program will be considered in consultation with supervisors and the Graduate Program Director. Students do not need to apply for these funding opportunities.

External funding

Applying for External funding

All prospective students, both Canadian and International, are encouraged to apply for external funding. Potential applicants are strongly urged to investigate all external funding sources well in advance of making application to a graduate program, and to enter competitions for such fellowships as SSHRC and FQRSC in the fall of the year prior to commencing graduate studies. Thus, potential MA students should consider applying in the final year of their undergraduate studies, if they plan on going straight into an MA program; potential PhD students should apply in the final year of their MA studies.

Additionally, the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website includes information on fellowships for which in-course students may apply.

Students who receive School of Religious Studies graduate funding are expected to apply for all external funding for which they are eligible.

This includes fellowships and awards allocated by:

  • Federal departments and agencies (SSHRC Doctoral and MA Scholarships for Canadian applicants)
  • Canadian awards for Canadian and international students Vanier CGS, Trudeau Scholarship
  • Foreign government awards for study in Canada (check with your country’s educational authority)
  • Provincial departments and agencies (i.e. FQRNT, FQRSC, FRSQ)
  • Mitacs Internships
  • Foundations
  • Private companies

Why apply for external grants?

  • Grants give you financial support while you continue your academic career

    • Fellowships are worth up to $50,000 for top Canadian students

    • Other grants are worth up to $30,000 for Quebec residents
  • Grants help to bolster your academic resume
  • Grants enhance your academic reputation and assist your career development

Research travel funding


The Graduate Research Enhancement and Travel Awards (GREAT) are allocated by the School of Religious Studies throughout the year for graduate student travel for the purposes of research (including archival research or field work) and the dissemination of research (including conference presentations and talks).

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and are considered at Graduate Funding Working Group meetings.  Please submit all applications before April 1 for travel in the upcoming summer. A completed application form and supporting documents (detailed in the application form) should be e-mailed to studaffairs.relg [at]

In the event that the deadline falls on a weekend or a holiday, the deadline will be extended to the next business day.

Graduate Mobility Awards

This award encourages graduate students to study and conduct research abroad by defraying the cost of the international experience. To apply, students are asked to complete an application form and send supporting documents (detailed in the application form) via e-mail to studaffairs.relg [at]

After the School of Religious Studies approves your application, you will be able to move forward with receiving the award by applying to the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies office.

Barbara and Patrick Keenan Experience Award for Interfaith Studies

Established in 2012 by Barbara Keenan, BA 1954 and Patrick Keenan, BCom 1954, CA 1957. Awarded by the School of Religious Studies to students participating in an activity in an international setting to further their studies, allowing first-hand experience of religious cultures in a global context. The Fund provides financial assistance to students with travel and other expenses related to international activity. Students can apply for affiliation at an institution that furthers their study of religion and international encounters.

Open to students in any Faculty who have completed at least two courses in religious studies. Students must be returning to McGill the semester following the international activity.

New Funding Opportunity at SRS

Katherine Young Travel Award for Studies in Religion and Society. Established in 2018 by Katherine Young, PhD 1978, Professor in Asian Religions at McGill’s Faculty of Religious Studies between 1975 and 2011 and James McGill Professor (2001-2011). Awarded to graduate students and faculty in the School of Religious Studies to enable them to undertake research in religious studies to the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society at the University of Victoria in Victoria B.C., and participate in the activities of the Centre. The award will support students at various stages of writing their thesis on religion, and those who graduated with a PhD from McGill within the past year, and faculty who are doing research related to religion. Preference will be given to those studying Asian religions. Participation subject to Centre approval. Value: Varies.

Applications should consist of a two-page statement of purpose that explains how the Travel Award would be used and an up-to-date curriculum vitae. Applications should be sent to Professors mikael.bauer [at] (Mikaël Bauer) and hamsa.stainton [at] (Hamsa Stainton), and they are also happy to answer any questions about the Travel Award.

For more travel funding opportunities, continue to check the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website.

Student Aid

The McGill Scholarships and Student Aid Office provides information and resources on managing your money, financial aid, government aid and the Work Study program.

Federal, provincial and territorial governments offer aid for students with assessed financial need in the form of loans, grants and bursaries.

Canadian students, including those from Quebec, apply directly to their province or territory of residence, while US students can apply for funding offered by their federal government and/or by a number of alternative loan providers.

Please note that the Scholarships and Student Aid Office does not administer government aid for International students (non-US) – all related inquiries should be made directly with domestic aid agencies.

Employment Opportunities

Teaching Assistantships

The School of Religious Studies hires graduate students as teaching assistants during the academic year. Students must apply for the positions on a term to term basis. Teaching assistant positions are for a maximum of 180 hours per term. Please consult our Academic Jobs page for Teaching Assistant Postings. These positions are independent of fellowship awards at McGill. Fellowships are awarded without consideration of, but may be combined with, teaching assistant positions.

Sessional Teaching

The School posts all course lecturer positions on our Academic Jobs page. PhD students nearing the completion of their degrees are encouraged to apply for positions in their area of expertise. 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.

McGill Career Planning Service (CaPS)

The McGill Career Planning Service (CaPS) assists students in their career development and search for permanent, part-time, and summer jobs, as well as internships, by providing workshops, individual advising, a comprehensive job posting service, and an extensive Career Resource Center.

Back to top