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PhD Financial Support

FIFSW PhD Funding Package

FIFSW offers a minimum level of financial support for PhD students who are engaged in full-time studies during the first five years of study in the PhD program. This funding package is part of FIFSW’s ongoing commitment to support students to be successful and is intended to offset the costs of graduate education. The value of the FIFSW minimum base funding package is equivalent $19,600* after tuition and fees.

The funding package generally consists of a combination of University of Toronto and FIFSW awards and fellowships, funding from major/external awards (e.g., SSHRC, CIHR, OGS), and employment income in FIFSW (e.g., research and teaching assistantships). International students also receive funding for the University of Health Insurance Plan.

To maintain eligibility for the base funding package, students must be registered as a fulltime student in good standing. Additionally, students must apply for major/external awards (e.g., SSHRC, CIHR, OGS) for which they are eligible. External awards are considered part of the financial support package however, additional “top-up” departmental funding for some awards is provided.


• All students are responsible for paying tuition and fees on their own through ACORN services. Student who are in the funded cohort, may request a fee-deferral.

• Registered students who are beyond the funded cohort are eligible for research and teaching positions but are not eligible for the funding package. See SGS guidelines for final-year fees for doctoral students.

• You may request to register without payment (i.e., make a fee deferral) through ACORN if you have no outstanding fees from a previous session and are the recipient of one of the following, which exceeds the Minimum Payment to Register amount on your ACORN invoice: a) University of Toronto Fellowship b) Ontario Student Assistance Plan (OSAP) loan, other provincial government loan, or c) a USA government loan.

A. Funding Package Breakdown for Students Pre- and Post-Candidacy

The composition between University of Toronto Fellowship (UTF) and employment opportunities (e.g., research assistantships) varies for students who are pre- and post-candidacy.

 Year  UTF +  Internal Sources –   Tuition + Fees* = Total
 1 to Cand.  $18,250** + $9,564 $8,214 = $19,600
Cand. to 5  $20,250** + $7,564 $8,214 = $19,600

*Based the Tuition and Fee schedule for 2023 – 2024
**International students will also receive funding to cover the University Health Insurance Plan

1. For students who have not received their candidacy by January 31, 2024:

Students who are pre-candidacy will receive a total of $18,250 for their University of Toronto Fellowship, which is disbursed in two instalments over the fall and winter terms of the academic year. The remaining $9,564 from the funding package will consist of a combination of employment income and other internal funding sources (e.g., teaching assistantships, research assistantships, or internal awards and bursaries).

2. For students who have received their candidacy by January 31, 2024:

Students who have achieved PhD candidacy by January 31st of the academic year, will receive a total of $20,250 for their University of Toronto Fellowship. UTF, which is disbursed two instalments over the fall and winter terms of the academic year. The remaining $7,564 from the funding package will consist of a combination of employment income and other internal funding sources (e.g., teaching assistantships, research assistantships, or internal awards and bursaries).

B. Top-up Funding for OGS & regular SSHRC Award Recipients

For students who receive an OGS or regular SSHRC award, the award amount is factored into your base funding, and you will receive top-up funding relative to your progress in the PhD program.

• Top-up of $6,750 will be provided to students who have not received their candidacy by January 31, 2023.

• Top-up of $8,250 will be provided to students who have received their candidacy by January 31, 2023.

• Students who hold a higher valued major external award, such as CGS-SSHRC, CIHR doctoral awards or the Vanier, are not eligible to receive top-up funding.

• Top-up funding only applies to students in Years 1 to 5.


C. Students who hold a higher valued major external award (e.g., CGSSSHRC, CIHR doctoral awards, and Vanier award

For students who receive a higher valued major external award (e.g., CGS, SSHRC, CIHR doctoral award, and Vanier award, the award amount is factored into your base funding, As the award value exceeds the Faculty’s minimum funding commitment, students who receive one of the higher value major external awards, are not eligible for top-up funding.



1. To be eligible for the funding commitment, students are required to be engaged in fulltime studies for the academic year so that they can pursue their education within the necessary time requirement and commit fully to their education. Full-time is defined as being registered as a full-time student each academic session.

2. Students are required to make satisfactory progress through the program as defined by the School of Graduate Studies. A PhD student by the end of August of the third year is expected to have completed all program requirements exclusive of the Thesis (i.e., course work, Comprehensive Exam Proposal, Comprehensive Exam and Thesis Proposal approved by their committee). The research, writing and oral examination of the Thesis should be completed by the end of the fifth year of the program. Students on file with the University Accessibility Services follow a specific plan that is appropriate. Students who are on a leave of absence (health, parental, or other) in Years One through Five are not eligible for funding during the time absent. The time to completion clock will stop for students who are on approved leave until they return to full-time study.

Note: If a student has a disability or medical condition impacting their timeline, they may register with Accessibility Services and speak to their assigned Advisor regarding an appropriate, specific plan to complete their program.

3. Students must demonstrate evidence of applying for major/external funding.

4. Starting from the second year, all PhD students are required to complete an annual progress report with their supervisors, typically due June 1st. The annual report documents the student’s progress towards completing major milestones in the PhD program (e.g., coursework, comprehensive exam, thesis) which are required to maintain “good standing” in the program.

5. Students are required to apply for research assistantships and/or teaching positions and other internal funding opportunities that are advertised within the Faculty in order to maintain eligibility for internal sources offered by the Faculty as part of the minimum funding commitment. The minimum funding commitment from Interna sources will vary based on the student’s candidacy status as follows:

• FIFSW offers a minimum of $9,564 from internal sources to students in the funded cohort who are pre-candidacy.

• FIFSW offers a minimum of $7,564 from internal sources to students in the funded cohort who are post-candidacy.

Students who are unable to secure the minimum value of their funding commitment from internal sources by the start of the winter term (e.g., typically the first week in January) should submit a request to the PhD Program Director by the end of January, so they can assist the student in identifying suitable internal sources of funding.

Students who do not to apply for research assistantships, the Royal Bank Fellowship and/or internal funding opportunities for which they are eligible will receive UTF funding only and forfeit the remainder of the Faculty’s minimum funding commitment.


PhD Program Declaration of Funding

In June of each academic year, students who enrolled in Years One through Five will be asked to submit a declaration of funding form. The declaration form will be sent by the FIFSW PhD Program. In this form the student should indicate sources of internal and external funding (OGS, SSHRC, and CIHR) they have applied for or have received for the upcoming academic session and declare that they are eligible for the funding package. Information from this form will be used to determine students’ eligibility for the Base Graduate Funding Package in the following academic year.


FIFSW Internal Awards

FIFSW offers a number of internal scholarships/bursaries to full-time PhD students. A typical award value for PhD students ranges from $1,000 to $4,000.

The online application period typically takes place during the fall term. Learn about the full list of internal scholarships and awards. All internal awards and fellowships are considered part of the Faculty’s funding commitment to PhD students.


Royal Bank of Canada Graduate Fellowships in Applied Social Work Research

Royal Bank Fellowships valued at $10,000 (typically 5 awards per year) are available annually to PhD students as research internships in areas of faculty research. Information about application deadlines will be sent out to students in the summer through email. Students will have the opportunity to review faculty research project submissions and indicate/rank which projects best meet their research interests. Students submit their application to the PhD Program’s email at:

NOTE: Two-thirds of these fellowship awards are specifically earmarked for students with financial needs. The rest are based on merit. Recipients of these awards will receive disbursements in two installments, with half disbursed in mid-September and half in early January.


Conference and Research Travel Support

FIFSW Conference Bursary

The FIFSW Conference Bursary provides support for FIFSW students presenting at academic conferences. Students can apply for this bursary prior to receiving confirmation that their conference submissions have been accepted.

The maximum bursary amount is $500, as provided as a form of reimbursement after conference attendance.  It is meant to offset the expenses to participate in the conference rather than to cover full expenses.

Please read the following information carefully to understand whether you are eligible, how to apply, and the required documentation. Please note that the requirements and process for this fund are different from those of the School of Graduate Students Conference Grant.


  • You are re-registered in a graduate program at FIFSW at the time of application and at the time of the conference
  • Have applied to present on research related to your FIFSW program as an author on a poster, paper, or roundtable presentation at a refereed conference. Conferences are refereed if presentations are selected for inclusion in the programme following a peer-review process. You may apply for the bursary even if you have not yet received confirmation that your conference submission has been accepted
  • You may receive the bursary for only one conference per academic year (September to August)
  • Your supervisor’s approval is required (via email). Your supervisor’s approval shows that your presentation is related to your research and/or to your program of study. Students in the MSW program may use the MSW Director’s approval if they do not have a supervisor

Eligible expenses:

  • Registration and membership fees, including conferences attended online
  • Expenses incurred when travelling to a conference, including conference registration fees, membership fees, transportation, and accommodation are eligible for reimbursement
  • Funding can only be used for the conference listed on your application
  • and you are eligible to apply to both bursaries if your expenses exceed the amount of both bursaries
  • If you were approved for the bursary but are no longer a registered student on the date of your presentation you are not eligible to submit a reimbursement claim

When attending conferences outside of Canada:

If you are travelling outside of Canada for the conference, you must follow the instructions and steps listed on the Safety Abroad Office website for completion of the Safety Abroad pre-departure requirements well in advance of your travel abroad.

These requirements include:

That you comply with university travel guidelines and restrictions. For the most up to date information, refer to the U of T COVID-19 Information for Students webpage.

Safety Abroad procedures are mandatory for all U of T students travelling outside of Canada, including to the U.S.A., and must be completed before the travel occurs (regardless of receiving SGS Conference Grant support). Travel for in-person conferences that is conducted without prior completion of all Safety Abroad requirements would render students ineligible.

The following steps must be completed prior to departure for in-person conferences:

  1. Review the Safety Abroad website for details on what action is necessary prior to your travel date;
  2. Contact the Safety Abroad Office directly by emailing to discuss your planned travel and be added to the Safety Abroad Registry;
  3. Complete the online Safety Abroad pre-departure workshop (valid for 1.5 years); and
  4. Obtain supplementary health insurance (if not already covered).

How to apply:

Submit the FIFSW Conference Bursary form, ask your supervisors to complete the FIFSW Conference Bursary Approval form and email once these two steps are completed.  If you are travelling abroad please include proof that you have completed the Safety Abroad pre-departure workshop and were added to Safety Abroad Registry in the same email.

Students can apply for this bursary prior to receiving confirmation that their conference submissions have been accepted.

To receive funding:

Upon return of the conference, submit:

  • Expense Reimbursement form
  • Original receipts (note that for airfare, original boarding passes are required)
  • Proof of conference attendance which includes your name, the title of your paper, the date of your presentation, and the name of the conference. (e.g., a copy of the conference program or a website printout)
  • Original receipts (note that for airfare, original boarding passes are also required)
  • If you have paid by credit card, submit a credit card statement that includes the name of the cardholder and the last four digits of the credit card number. For privacy reasons, please block out any charges on your statement that are unrelated to your reimbursement claim
  • If you have incurred expenses in a foreign currency, expenses will be calculated according to the exchange rate on your credit card or bank statement. If you do not have a credit/bank statement, the FIFSW Registrar’s Office will determine the appropriate conversion rate

Supporting documents must be submitted within 45 days of the last day of the conference, or within 45 days of receiving application results.  You must be a registered student at the time of the conference to be eligible to claim the funding.

Send your documentation through to the with the email address included on your ACORN profile.

Decisions are final and will be sent to you via email. Please check that email from has not been directed to your junk email folder.


SGS Conference and Research Travel Grant Links

The School of Graduate Studies (SGS) also offers grant opportunities for conference and research travel for PhD students.


Doctoral Completion Award (DCA) – Year 6

Registered students will be required to pay fees if enrolled in the sixth year but will not be eligible for the funding package. Registered students continue to be eligible for research and teaching positions.

A Doctoral Completion Award (DCA) is available for eligible students in Year Six. The DCA is a competitive award intended to provide students with funding to assist them in completing their degrees by the end of the sixth year. The amount will vary from year to year based on the funding allocation and number of eligible students. Funding can begin in the month of May between the 5th and 6th year. Students can receive funding while registered for one, two, or three terms (i.e., a student can receive DCA funds from May to December, if they graduate in December).

Students may apply for OGS for the sixth year of the PhD Program.