Queen's School of Computing

Financial Support for 2015-2016

All thesis students (Ph.D. and research pattern M.Sc. students) accepted into the graduate program are guaranteed several sources of support from the School sufficient to cover basic fees and living expenses while enrolled at Queen's.

A range of national, provincial and Queen's scholarships are available to replace or augment basic student funding. All eligible students are encouraged to apply for both NSERC and OGS scholarships before applying to the School and during their graduate program.

International students may be offered an additional tuition bursary to help offset the higher cost of international student tuition. On occasion, the School admits self-funded international students who can demonstrate that they have external scholarships sufficient to support them independently for the length of their graduate program.

**(The numbers below are approximate ).

Patterns of Support


Financial support is guaranteed, subject to satisfactory performance, for up to four years for Ph.D. students and four terms (one and one third years) for M.Sc. students, although individual supervisors may be able to provide additional support as a continuing Reasearch Assistantship (R.A.) after these periods. You should discuss additional support with your supervisor early in your degree program as, in most cases, R.A. funds are limited.

The sources and conditions of your funding will be made clear in your offer of admission to the graduate program. Some typical examples are given here for illustrative purposes.

Example 1    A research pattern M.Sc. student ("Pattern I") with no major external award is guaranteed $19,500 per year in funding. The funding is normally made up of a Queen's Graduate Award (Q.G.A.) augmented with a research assistantships (R.A.) from the supervisor and possibly teaching assistantships from the School.
Example 2 A Ph.D student with no major external awards is guaranteed $21,500 per year in funding. The funding is usually made up of Queen's Graduate Award (Q.G.A.) augmented with a research assistantships (R.A.) from the supervisor and possibly teaching assistantships from the School.
Example 3 A Ph.D. Student with an NSERC PGSD scholarship of $21,000 per year is offered an additional $11,000 per year consisting of a Queen's Graduate Award (Q.G.A.), research assistantships from the supervisor, and possibly teaching assistantships from the School.
Example 4 A Preparatory M.Sc. student ("Pattern I", but accepted with the requirement of taking a number of undergraduate courses) normally receives limited support during the Fall and Winter terms of their first year and full support during their second year.
Example 5 A Project M.Sc. student ("Pattern II") or Coursework M.Sc. student ("Pattern III") receives no funding.

If an international M.Sc. student receives a tuition bursary, it covers most of the difference between international and ordinary fees, and is currently valued at $5,000. Competition is high for international tuition bursaries (ITA). A international PhD student receives an additional $6,900.00 which includes an ITA

Sources of Support

Graduate financial support comes from a combination of several different sources that may entail different expectations.

Grants, Scholarships, Fellowships and Awards give you money but do not require you to do any work in return (other than remain in good standing in your graduate program). These are the preferred sources of graduate funding. Students without external scholarships normally receive a Queen's Graduate Award (Q.G.A.) or other internal award as a part of their guaranteed financial support.

A Research Assistantship (R.A.) is research support paid from the research funds belonging to your supervisor (or another faculty member) in support of your thesis or other work of interest to your supervisor's research program. This forms a portion of your guaranteed support and is the usual source of continuing support if you require it. Expectations vary widely by faculty member, and you should discuss with your supervisor the research expectations associated with your R.A. support. At a minimum, satisfactory thesis progress is required, but there may be other tasks such as reviewing research papers, looking up references and summarizing related research, carrying out experiments or developing software.

Since the availability and level of continuing R.A. support that can be provided after the guarantee period varies widely across supervisors, you should discuss continuing support with your supervisor well in advance if you may require it. With approval of your supervisor, you may accept an R.A. from other faculty members of the School, and you may have to do so if your supervisor cannot afford to give you one.

A Teaching Assistantship (T.A.) is payment from the School in return for your assistance in the provision of undergraduate courses, normally as a tutor, lab supervisor or marker for a course. Each T.A. lasts for one term, during which you are expected to spend about seven hours per week on teaching-related duties. Satisfactory performance is required. T.A.s often form a part of your guaranteed funding, and are occasionally available as continuing support after the guarantee period if not all of them have been used to fund students in their guaranteed funding periods, with preference being given to those earlier in their program.

Tuition bursaries may be available for international students to help offset the additional cost of foreign student tuition. This support usually continues after your guaranteed funding period.

Employment, either inside or outside the university can be used at any time to supplement your income. You can remain a full-time student as long as you are not employed more than 10 hours per week. Above this limit you must change your status to part-time. Note that residency requirements for each degree specify a minimum time that you must spend as a full-time student, and scholarships and visas may require you to remain in full-time study.

Inside the University you may be able to find a position as a Research Associate (at a salary determined by university pay scales) either in the School or in another department, or you may find other research or administration positions.

Emergency support from the University may be available if you run out of all other options following the end of your guaranteed funding period. The University maintains a continuing bursary/loan fund for hardship situations.

Fees and Living Expenses

The School of Graduate Studies has provided an excellent summary of tuition fees and estimated living costs in Kingston.

The University awards tuition bursaries to offset the higher fees paid by international visa students. As a minimum requirement to obtain such a bursary, applicants should have at least an A average (around 80%).

There is a wide variety of housing available in Kingston. Costs vary greatly according to the type of accommodation and its location. A room in a "student house" close to campus usually costs around $350 per month. Bachelor apartments are approximately $500 per month, one bedroom apartments start at $600 per month and two bedrooms are around $700 and up.

Apartments close to campus are difficult to find, particularly as September approaches. In recent years, apartments have become more difficult to find and students are recommended to arrange accommodation as far as possible in advance of arriving in Kingston. There is also limited accommodation available in various University Residences. For detailed housing information, prospective applicants should contact the University Housing Service directly.

Students should expect to require about $12,000 to cover living expenses in addition to their tuition and other student fees, most or all of which can be covered by your guaranteed support.

Health Insurance

All International students are required to enroll in the University Health Insurance Program (UHIP) unless they are already covered by a similar health plan program.

External Scholarships

Students are strongly encouraged to apply for external scholarships. The two principal sources are NSERC Scholarships, which are open to Canadians and landed immigrants, and Ontario Graduate Scholarships (OGS) which are available to all Ontario residents, including international visa students.

Scholarships tenable by international students are available from a variety of sources. These are often quite difficult to locate and, where possible, the School will, on request, provide any available information to eligible students.

Queen's University also offers a range of sponsored internal scholarships each with its own requirements. The graduate school provides an excellent guide to scholarships and bursaries available to Queen's graduate students.

Rules about Funding

The following rules about financial support apply to all full-time graduate students. These rules are currently under discussion by the Provincial Government, but no changes are expected for several years.

  • A full-time graduate student is not permitted by the Province of Ontario to be employed for more than 10 hours per week outside of their studies.
  • A graduate student being paid a Research Assistantship (R.A.) is considered to be doing work for pay, whatever private arrangements the grant- or contract-holder may have made with the student. It makes no difference that the student is only working on his/her research, or that the grant-holder considers this to be a stipend.
  • The pay rate for Teaching Assistantships (T.A.s) for 2009-2010 is $36.40 per hour. The pay rate for R.A.s cannot be far out of line with this; $25.99 per hour should be regarded as the upper limit. This rate is roughly equivalent to an annual salary just over $40,000, and would cause a student working 10 hours a week to receive the maximum which NSERC permits a student R.A. to be paid from NSERC funds. Only in very exceptional circumstances would a higher rate be justified.
  • Students who have not completed three years of education at an English speaking institution may be required to take a test of English upon arrival. T.A. funding is contingent on passing this test.
  • The previous items affect the amount a student can receive by way of paid employment. They do not affect any scholarships or bursaries the student has been awarded. In most cases a student can receive both pay for work and scholarships. Some scholarships and operating grants, however, have their own restrictions. For example, a student holding an NSERC scholarship cannot be paid as an R.A. from an NSERC operating grant and is more constrained in regards to paid work than described above.

Contracts and salary requisitions to pay full-time graduate students must include a rate per hour and a number of hours per month. You should check that the total number of hours for which you are being paid does not exceed the 10 hours per week limit set by the province.