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M.A. Program Funding

Teaching Assistantships

We do not normally admit applicants into the program unless we can offer them a full Teaching Assistantship for their first year. The value of the T.A. is fixed by the Collective Agreement between the University and Local 3906, Unit 1 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. For the year 2017/18 the stipend for a full year T.A. for an in-program student is $11,520.46. The School of Graduate Studies will almost always accept the Department’s recommendation to offer a T.A. for a further year (or four terms in total). In order to hold a T.A., students must be registered full-time and have paid full-time fees.

The typical duties for a full T.A. are: (i) conducting two one-hour tutorial classes per term for two terms. Tutorial classes are normally made up of about 20 undergraduate students from 1st or 2nd year philosophy courses; (ii) maintaining reasonable weekly office hours; and (iii) doing all the grading for which they are responsible.

Teaching Assistants carry out their duties under the supervision of the instructor in charge of the relevant course(s).

Under the agreement with Local 3906 and the University, the position of Teaching Assistant is one which requires an average of 10 working hours per week over a full academic session, for a maximum of 266 hours. If the job is taking longer than it should or if any other difficulty arises, the T.A. should raise the issue with the instructor in charge of the course.

McMaster Graduate Scholarships

In addition to the T.A., we offer a McMaster Graduate Scholarship (MGS) to full time students who do not have other scholarship funding in both their first and second years of study. The value of the scholarship varies from student to student and year to year according to past accomplishments and the availability of funds, but is usually in the range of $3,000-5,500 in the first year, and $2,000-3,000 in the second. Please note that initial offers are usually made before the scholarship competition results become available: if you win an award such as an OGS, CGS or Prestige Scholarship, your initial offer of an MGS is rescinded, although (depending on the availability of funds in the given year) the Department may reward you for your success in winning the award. No extension of MGS funding beyond two years is possible as students are expected to complete the program on time.

The John E. Thomas Bursary and the Shalom Bursary

Funds from the Dr. John Thomas Memorial Bursary are used to assist graduate or undergraduate students enrolled in a Philosophy program, or in the Faculty of Health Sciences, demonstrating financial need. To be eligible, graduate students must be working on a research thesis which, in the view of the Department of Philosophy, is making, or promises to make, a useful contribution to the field of applied ethics. One bursary is awarded annually, in the amount of $2,500.

The Albert Shalom Travel Scholarship is awarded every other year to support travel costs incurred by a graduate student in Philosophy conducting research overseas. The value of the award is $1,000.00.

An e-mail will be sent to graduate students inviting them to express their interest in being considered for these bursaries.

External Awards

We require candidates to apply for all external awards for which they are eligible. The Department of Philosophy will ensure that graduate students are made aware of all external awards, the application procedure, and will help students through the application process.

Academic Travel Subsidies

Scholarly conferences provide an excellent opportunity to present the results of your research to the relevant philosophical community. Doctoral students especially, but M.A. students as well, should consider writing up their best work for submission to appropriate conferences. This is especially important for you if you hope eventually to get a university appointment. NOTE: The following entitlement is subject to the availability of funds.

Each graduate student who has a paper accepted as a peer-reviewed philosophy conference is eligible for funding up to $500, once a year. Please complete the Department of Philosophy Travel Funds application, which gives us a rough estimate of your anticipated expenses.

Graduate students wishing to attend (but not to present at) conferences considered by their supervisor to be central to their research activity should consult the Chair about the possibility of modest support.

In addition to the above, limited funds for conference purposes may also be available from the Graduate Students Association (pdf, doc) and the School of Graduate Studies Yates Scholarship Fund.