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The Department attempts, insofar as is possible, to provide financial assistance for graduate students. Teaching Assistantships and Western Graduate Research Scholarships are awarded by the University on recommendation of the Graduate Committee. In virtually all circumstances, such financial assistance is restricted to students who have a B+ average (78%). Some members of the faculty also have research grants from which they can provide research assistantships to qualified students.
Employment of registered graduate students as Graduate Teaching Assistants is governed by the provisions of the Collective Agreement between the University and the Public Service Alliance of Canada. Through periodic negotiations with the University, the Graduate Teaching Assistants' (GTA) Union established the Collective Agreement which defines GTA working conditions, compensation, and benefits. Click here to view the Collective Agreement and the GTA Handbook on the Union's web site. Teaching Assistants are paid monthly, by direct deposit, on the second last banking day of the month. Click here to Sign In on the Human Resources' web site to view your pay information, update your banking information, or update your mailing address.
Each GTA is provided with a Duties Specification Agreement (DSA) (signed by the GTA and the course instructor at the beginning of the term), listing the number of hours to be dedicated to specific duties (leading tutorials, grading papers, etc.) for each course to which she or he is assigned. The DSA should also provide timelines for completion of any required grading as well as dates of exams that the GTA must proctor. GTAs are encouraged to track their hours and to contact the course instructor if they are approaching their maximum hours. If the concern is not resolved with the instructor, the GTA should contact the Graduate Chair and/or the Person Designated by the Department (as indicated on the GTA contract). A copy of the GTA contract and the DSA for each student is available from the Graduate Program Assistant.
Other funding may take the form of a Graduate Research Assistantship funded by research grants held by faculty members or a Department Sessional Teaching position, which can provide valuable experience for individuals interested in pursuing academic careers. Normally, students will not be permitted to teach a course before writing their comprehensives. Graduate Research Assistants and Sessional Instructors are paid, by direct deposit, on the second last banking day of the month.
Western Graduate Research Scholarship funding will be applied directly to your tuition. The balance, where applicable, will be paid by direct deposit in the first month of each term (September, January, May).
Eligible MA students in our department receive funding for a maximum of three terms (one year) in the research paper stream or for a maximum of six terms (two years) in the thesis stream; eligible PhD students for a maximum of twelve terms (four years).
To be eligible for continued funding from the above sources, students must maintain a 78% or above average in all graduate (and/or make-up undergraduate) courses taken.
For MA students, a departmental eligibility requirement is that students complete six courses by the end of their first two terms in the program (i.e., maintain a full course load). Exceptions to this latter rule (for example, for medical or compassionate reasons) may be granted only with the explicit permission of the Graduate Committee.
For PhD students, it is normally expected that students will complete six courses by the end of their first two terms of the program. Students may work out alternative arrangements for scheduling their course requirements. If such an alternative involves taking fewer than six courses by the end of the first two terms in the program, the full schedule of courses and their timing must be approved in advance by the graduate chair. PhD students are also expected to make regular progress in the completion of coursework and the Comprehensive Examinations in order to maintain eligibility for continued funding.
Some internal and external funding sources carry restrictions concerning the maximum that can be obtained from other sources of funding. The program must abide by the terms and conditions of external scholarships as well as program and faculty policies regarding allowable funding to external scholarship holders. External award recipients should consult the graduate program assistant for details regarding their personal funding package. Our External Scholarships web site provides information regarding application deadlines and eligibility.
Those paid by the hour must submit the number of hours worked to the Administrative Officer. If you have any questions concerning hourly employment, contact Emily Van Houtte (room 5314 SSC).
To enter or change your direct deposit account information, go to the Human Resources web site. You will need your employee user ID and password. From there, click on "Payroll & Compensation." For most, your employee user ID and password will be the same as your student user ID and password. Anyone employed by Western prior to 2009 will have a separate employee ID and password. In this case, if you do not know your employee user ID and password, ITS will provide this information (call 519-661-3800 (or ext 83800 on campus) with your employee number.
A limited number of Graduate Research Assistantships may be available in conjunction with funded research by departmental faculty. These arrangements are often summer projects and are made on mutually acceptable terms between the faculty member and the student.
Both the Federal and Ontario governments often have summer employment programs. These generally have February or March application deadlines. Directors in the Federal government (especially in demography) often call to ask about our students who have applied so they can try to pull their files out of this system. Those who are interested in being considered need to ensure that they apply in time and that they indicate an interest to work in Ottawa (for Federal positions). These applications are available in the Career Centre at Western.
The program administers a small amount of travel funds for Sociology graduate students presenting papers at professional conferences. The number of awards is determined by our graduate travel budget each year and the awards are approved on a first-come, first-served basis; therefore, students are encouraged to submit requests as early as possible (at the planning stage of the trip) by submitting a travel reimbursement request form to the graduate program assistant. Note that funds are often available, from professional associations that sponsor conferences, to students who are members of the association (e.g., Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association, Canadian Population Society).
The Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) offers travel bursaries each term. Applications are reviewed by a SOGS panel at the end of each term to determine recipients. Application forms are available from the SOGS Office in room 260 UCC or on the SOGS Travel Subsidy link.