Graduate funding

Funding for graduate studies in the School of Religious Studies

The School of Religious Studies aims to provide graduate students a satisfactory and stable source of revenue, which includes provisions for tuition costs and living expenses.

Quebec universities have the lowest tuition fees in Canada, and the cost of living in Montreal is quite low. Graduate studies at McGill University are therefore relatively affordable. To live in Montreal, an individual student will need roughly CAD 12,000. In addition, tuition and other compulsory fees for Full-Time Ph.D. studies will amount to roughly CAD 4,000 for Canadian residents and roughly CAD 16,000 for International students. For Full-time M.A. studies, tuition and other compulsory fees will amount to roughly CAD 4,000 for Quebec residents, roughly CAD 9,000 for non-Quebec Canadian residents and roughly CAD 18,500 for International students.

Further resources for financial planning of graduate studies are available through the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website.

Doctoral entrance fellowships

The School of Religious Studies aspires to offer every incoming doctoral student funding adequate to meet all such tuition charges (including international student supplementa*), and to provide a livable stipend, given the cost of living in Montreal, for a period of three years. (This period is normally adequate to the completion of coursework, comprehensive examinations, and the defense of the thesis proposal.) We do not include in any such funding provision the additional opportunities represented by teaching and research assistantships, which are disbursed separately. Nor do we include remuneration for teaching opportunities for stand-alone courses, most frequently offered during summer terms, which we are able to offer many of our doctoral students. We note also that a great many of our graduate students are successful in their applications for external fellowships, both prior to entry and in-programme (for which see below).

As a result of the generosity of Barbara and Patrick Keenan, we are also able to award FOUR four-year "Cantwell Smith" Funding Packages of at least* CAD 16,000 per year. (Each of these packages includes a Wilfred Cantwell Smith Graduate Fellowship, honouring the memory of an internationally renowned professor in the School.

* The School of Religious Studies may assign Differential Fee Waivers for newly-admitted international (non-Canadian) Ph.D. students (whether or not they also hold a Wilfred Cantwell Smith Fellowship). Such Differential Fee Waivers cover the difference between the award-holder’s international tuition fees and Quebec residents’ tuition fees. (The DFW award-holder remains responsible for the equivalent of Quebec residents’ tuition fees.) For more information see Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website.

All Doctoral Entrance Fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis; applicants who have completed their applications by the funding deadline will be considered.

Master's entrance fellowships

All in-coming students admitted to begin M.A. programmes (Full-Time) are considered for modest entrance fellowships.

External graduate 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 the competition for such fellowships as SSHRC and FQRSC in the fall of the year prior to commencing graduate studies. Thus, potential M.A. students should consider applying in the final year of their undergraduate studies; potential Ph.D. students should apply in the final year of their M.A. studies.

Students who receive School of Religious Studies graduate funding are strongly encouraged to apply for all external funding for which they are eligible by the Fellowships Working Group. All students who are eligible are strongly urged to apply early in the fall to the following competitions:

  1. SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council), for Canadians and permanent residents only
  2. FQRSC (Fonds de Recherche sur la Société et la Culture), for Quebec permanent residents only
  3. Trudeau Foundation Scholarships
  4. Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships
  5. PBEEE (Programme de bourses d'excellence pour étudiants étrangers), for international students only.

The application deadlines for these fellowships range from July to October. Students are strongly encouraged to start working on applications early and to contact their supervisor and Graduate Programme Director for assistance in their design of the best possible proposal.

For new applicants more information, including links to agency websites and deadlines, can be found at Future Graduate Students website. Students in the programme can find useful guidance at Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website.

In-Program funding

Each year, all graduate students in programme will be considered in consultation with supervisors and the Graduate Programme Director for a range of internal School of Religious Studies graduate bursaries and awards, including the following:

  1. A.R. Gordon Awards
  2. Arthur and Jessie Lochead Bursary Fund
  3. Deirdre and Robert Stevenson Award
  4. Houston Bursary
  5. Religious Studies Bursary Fund
  6. Samuel Finley National Bursary
  7. Topping Memorial Bursary
  8. McBurney Graduate Fellowships
  9. Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem Graduate Award
  10. Birks Fellowships
  11. Ellen Bradshaw Aitken Graduate Fellowships.

We are proud to be able to announce the advent of the latter fellowships, established in 2015 in memory of Professor Ellen Bradshaw Aitken, formerly Dean of Religious Studies. They were first awarded beginning in 2016 to outstanding graduate students in any field of study within the School of Religious Studies, on the basis of academic merit.

More information about these bursaries and awards can be found here Awards and bursaries.

In addition to these entrance fellowships, external graduate funding opportunities, and in-programme bursaries and awards, graduate students may apply for salaried Teaching Assistantships.

Ph.D. Dissertation finishing fellowships

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

The professors, staff and friends of the School of Religious Studies have also established a Ph.D. “Student Dissertation Fund” to assist students in the final stages of their doctoral programme. All students close to completing programme requirements will be considered in consultation with supervisors and the Graduate Programme Director; students do not need to apply for these funding opportunities.

Research travel funding

School of Religious Studies Graduate Student Travel Awards are designed to support graduate student travel for the purposes of research (including archival research or field work) and the dissemination of research (including conference presentations and talks). Funding is provided in part by the GREAT programme of the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office and by the School of Religious Studies.

Application deadlines are February 1 for International students and May 1 for Canadian students. Completed application form and support documents (detailed in the application form) should be sent to:

Francesca Maniaci
Birks Building
Room 113, 3520 University Street
Montreal, Quebec, H3A 2A7
francesca.maniaci [at] (Email)

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