May 24, 2024  
School of Graduate Studies Calendar, 2019-2020 
School of Graduate Studies Calendar, 2019-2020 [-ARCHIVED CALENDAR-]

Financial Matters





5.1 Fees for Graduate Students

(The Board of Governors reserves the right to amend fees after the printing of this statement.) These regulations apply to tuition and mandatory supplemental fees. They cover the various charges which would be incurred for reasons of late payment or late registration. The 2019-2020 fees schedule is in effect for a period of September 1, 2019 to August 31, 2020 and applies to all graduate students whether registered in regular or part-time degree programs.  Please consult the Accounts and Cashiers website for the official graduate fees.



Students promoted to a Doctoral program from a Master’s program will be considered as new admissions for the purpose of time limits for completion of the degree requirements, eligibility for financial assistance, and fee assessment.

Some international students may be eligible to pay Canadian fees depending on various immigration policies, and the Ministry Funding Manual.

Program Fees assessed on a term by term basis

Most students will pay regular tuition fees and these fees are assessed on a term by term basis. Part-time fees apply only to those students originally offered admission to a part-time program. If students change status from full-time to part-time, they will still be required to pay regular (full-time) fees. In most cases part-time fees will allow registration in up to 3 half courses per academic year, in programs where fees are costed on a term by term basis. Students registering in more than 3 half courses will be assessed full-time fees. In situations where a student in a part-time program completes the degree or withdraws from the university, fees for the academic session will be assessed by the number of terms or number of half courses (whichever is the greater). Term count is adjusted if student changes status from part to full time at a ratio of 2:1.

If a full-time student wishes to change their status from full-time to part-time, they will still continue to pay full-time tuition fees for the entire program. The most common occurrence of this situation would be when a student gains full-time employment, changes in status to part-time will be effective at the start of term.  Their mandatory supplementary fees however would be reduced to the part-time rate at the start of the next academic year.

Program Fees assessed on a course basis

Students enrolled in programs with course costed tuition will be assessed tuition fees for each course that they take.  The limit of 3 half courses per year does not affect their status.


Ph.D. students who have been registered as full-time for longer than the normal period of funding eligibility (as defined in Section 5.2.1 ) will be assessed discounted tuition fees.

A fee is charged for each course taken on the basis of Section 2.1.8  by persons who are not registered graduate students. The tuition fee for certain courses may be higher.


Leave of Absence

Students on leave of absence do not pay tuition fees for any complete months that they are on leave but do pay mandatory supplemental fees. Students who are on leave for a complete academic year do not pay mandatory supplemental fees.


Students who have “withdrawn in good standing due to time limit” do not pay fees until readmission. Readmission will only take place at the start of a term for students being readmitted to program. Students readmitted to defend will be readmitted at the point that they are ready to defend. See Section 5.1.5 (Readmission Tuition Charges) .

Mid-Year Admissions

Students admitted in January or May, will have a slightly different schedule of fees for tuition and mandatory supplemental fees.

Enquiries should be referred to Student Accounts and Cashiers ( 905-525-9140 ext. 24478

5.1.1 Payment of Fees

 In order to register a student mustpay full tuition and all additional fees for the full year. Details for payment methods and due dates can be found on the Students Accounts and Cashiers website.

5.1.2 Non-payment of Fees or Charges

Students with outstanding accounts at the end of the academic year will:

  1. not receive academic results, including but not limited to exams, grades, transcripts, diplomas; and
  2. not be permitted to register for the next academic year until the account is settled.

5.1.3 Discounted Fees - Ph.D. Students

Full-time Ph.D. students (Canadian and international), who have reached term 13 or greater of their Ph.D. studies, will be charged tuition at a discounted fee rate.

5.1.4 Change in Residency

Changes in residency that occur when a student becomes either a permanent resident or Canadian citizen will have an impact on fees. These changes can only be accepted at the start of term and cannot be applied retroactively.

5.1.5 Readmission Tuition Charges

Students who do not register and pay tuition fees for any academic session are deemed to have withdrawn. These students and those who have been withdrawn in good standing due to time limit are required to apply for readmission. Master’s or Ph.D. students withdrawn in good standing who are being readmitted to defend their thesis pay fees at the “Readmission to Defend” rate and are not eligible for a refund.

Students who withdrew voluntarily or did not register for an academic session and wish to apply for readmission to their academic program are readmitted at the registration status they were at the time of withdrawal and charged the current calendar rate of tuition and supplemental fees accordingly. Readmissions in this category are not eligible for the part-time rate unless the student was registered in a part-time program at the time of withdrawal.

5.1.6 Refund of Tuition Fees

A student, who completes the degree requirements, withdraws from the program, or takes a leave of absence prior to the end of the academic year will be entitled to a refund, based on the method of payment per section 5.1.1. The refund is based on the schedule set out by Student Accounts and Cashiering ( (Note: a refund does not apply to students who are readmitted to defend.) Mandatory supplemental fees are not refundable.

5.2 Financial Assistance

5.2.1 Financial Support for Graduate Students

McMaster University aims to provide competitive funding offers to highly qualified candidates recommended for admission to our research-based graduate programs. Each program is responsible for determining the level of funding in their offers, although the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) sets a minimum level of funding for full-time doctoral studies for the first four years of full-time enrolment.

Financial support for Doctoral studies will normally be provided for the first four years of full-time enrolment, and will be comprised of funds from the admitting Faculty or graduate program, including departmental scholarships/awards, research scholarship support, and possibly employment (e.g. teaching assistant).  The annual level of financial support will meet or exceed the minimum level of support set by SGS, provided all conditions stated in the Financial Support subsections below are satisfied.

Funding for students enrolled in most research-based Master’s programs will normally be provided for the nominal duration of the program. There is no minimum level of funding stipulated by SGS for Master’s programs.

Teaching Assistantships (TA) (or Research Assistantship-in-lieu under the collective agreement between Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 3906, Unit 1 and McMaster University) and contract employment income are offered to many graduate students registered in full-time programs. TA duties vary according to department but will normally consist of performance in connection with undergraduate teaching, such as leading tutorials, demonstrating labs, and marking assignments. The award of a TA may vary but should not exceed 10 hours per week, plus three hours of training per term. TA funding is contingent on fulfillment of the employment obligations and maintaining satisfactory work performance, as stated in the letter of offer or employment contract. No exceptions of more than 505 hours in a single academic year will be approved (see section 2.5.3). Employment is paid as earned over the period in which the work is performed. Minimum Academic Requirement for Financial Support

Only registered full-time students who maintain regular attendance on campus and meet program conditions for progression towards their degree shall continue to receive the funding outlined in their offer of admissions. Duration of Financial Support

Normal duration for financial support in a research-based Master’s programs varies from two to six terms of full-time registration, depending on the program.

Normal duration for financial support in a Doctoral program is the first twelve terms of full-time registration.

Full-time students transferring from a Master’s program to a Doctoral program are eligible for financial support at the level of their original offer or at the minimum funding level set by SGS, whichever is higher, for an additional twelve consecutive terms from the time of their transfer to PhD.

There is no obligation for continued financial support exists for full-time students transferring from a Doctoral program to a Master’s program. Minimum Level of Financial Support for Doctoral Students

All full-time Doctoral students who meet the stated criteria under Section 5 shall receive financial support corresponding to their offer for the stated financial support duration of the degree which meets or exceeds an annual minimum value equal to full-time tuition plus $13,500.  OSAP is excluded in the calculation of the financial support package.  Examples of situations where the minimum financial support does not apply or ceases to apply are:

A student may decline all or part of the funding offer without prejudice to their admission. Where a newly enrolling student declines part of the funding package, the program must retain a copy of the written statement (either hardcopy or electronic) sent to the student acknowledging the change in financial support, which remains in effect for the length of the program.  The program is not obligated to provide additional funding in compensation for the declined part(s) of the funding package.

In rare cases where a student is terminated from their employment duties (e.g. teaching assistantship), the program bears no obligation to compensate for the lost funding.

Where a successful applicant has been made an offer based on funding external to the university, the support committed to the student (by the university) for the nominal duration of their degree will be the difference between the funding minimum and the external scholarship value.  In cases where an external scholarship ceases to be paid out in whole or in part, the university is not obliged to increase its financial support package.

5.2.2 Financial Payments to Graduate Students 

International students must provide a clear demonstration of their means of financial support in order to obtain a student visa.

The University is required by law to deduct Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance premiums on all employment income and any appropriate union dues and deductions. Income Tax will be assessed on employment income only. Net earnings will be deposited bi-weekly, directly into a Canadian Bank account.  A statement of your earnings is available online after each pay. The direct deposit method of payment is mandatory.

Enquiries about employment should be referred to Human Resource Services ( 905-525-9140 ext. 22247.

If the student withdraws or graduates from the program part way through an academic year, the student is not entitled to any further portion of the award. Note that funding monies owing to McMaster, such as award/scholarship/bursary repayments, will show as an outstanding balance on their student account.