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Submitted by sandra.grills2 on Tue, 03/22/2016 - 2:17pm

Graduate Contact Information

For general inquiries with respect to the Graduate Program, please contact Ines Kubicek, Graduate Program Administrator. For specific admission inquiries, please contact Dr. Fiona Nelson, Graduate Program Director.

Ines Kubicek
Telephone: (403) 220-6501
Fax: (403) 282-9298

Graduate Program Director:
Dr. Fiona Nelson
Telephone: (403) 220-5267
Fax: (403) 282-9298

Our mailing address is:

Department of Sociology
University of Calgary
2500 University Drive N.W.
Calgary , Alberta
T2N 1N4

We are located in the Social Sciences Building on the east side of the University of Calgary campus.


This section describes the funding policy of the Department of Sociology.  More information on each type of support (ie: assistanships and scholarships) is available in the next section.  Funding information is also available in the Graduate Student Handbook

Master's Program

When MA students are first admitted, the Department of Sociology provides an indication of the level of financial support they can expect in their first year and in their second year, if their academic progress in first year is satisfactory.  Not all funding offers are equivalent but it is departmental policy to fund all incoming MA students in some way during the Fall and Winter terms. As a general rule, if funds are limited, the funding provided to second year students is less than the funding provided to first year students.   If the units of funding are limited in any given year, allocation will be made on the basis of academic merit, progress in the program, receipt of external scholarships, and students' qualifications to work as teaching assistants in particular courses.

MA-level funding is subject to satisfactory performance in the program, and is generally organized as follows:

  • In the first year:  During the Fall and Winter terms, funded students can expect to receive either a Graduate Assistantships (currently valued at approximately $8,380 in one term, and a Graduate Research Scholarship (currently valued at approximately $5,000 based on 2013 rates) in the other term, OR a Graduate Assistantship in each of the Fall and Winter terms.  In addition, students whose thesis prospectus has been approved by May 1 will receive, subject to the availability of funds, a Graduate Research Scholarship (GRS) for the Spring/Summer terms, if they are committed to working full time on their thesis project during the course of that GRS. Departmental funding is a minimum of $21,760 for first year MA students.   
  • In the second year:  MA students who make satisfactory progress during their first year of study can count on receiving full or partial Graduate Assistantships or Graduate Research Scholarships during the Fall and Winter terms of the second year.  Departmental funding for second year students will normally be a minimum of 16,760 during the Fall and Winter terms.  Funding is not normally provided for the Spring/Summer of the second year. 

Doctoral Program

When students are first admitted, the Department of Sociology provides an indication of the level of financial support they can expect during their program.  Funding offers do vary on the basis of academic merit, student expertise in teaching, and other factors.  However, subject to the completion of all program requirements on schedule and the demonstration of initiative in locating and securing external funding, financial support to Ph.D students is generally organized as follows:

  • For Years 1 to 3:  During the Fall and Winter terms, funded students can expect to receive either a Graduate Assistantship (currently valued at approximately $8,380 in one term, and a Graduate Research Scholarship (currently valued at approximately $5,000) in the other term OR a Graduate Assistantship in each of the Fall and Winter terms.  In the Spring and Summer terms, students will normally receive either a Graduate Research Scholarship, or a Graduate Assistantship to assist with a faculty member's research.  In summary, PhD students who are successfully completing program requirements on schedule can expect to receive departmental funding at a minimum of 21,760.  Students will not normally receive departmental funding after the 28-month point in their program unless they have successfully completed their candidacy examination.
  • For Year 4:  During the Fall and Winter terms, students who have successfully completed program requirements (including candidacy) will receive a unit of graduate assistantship in one term.  In the other term, they will receive a contract (currently valued at approximately $6,000) to teach a course as a sessional instructor, together with a Graduate Teaching Fellowship (currently valued at $3,000).  In either the Spring or Summer, they will be  given priority to teach a course as a Sessional Instructor.  This contract may be cancelled if there is insufficient enrolment in the course.  In summary, students making satisfactory progress can expect to earn a minimum of approximately $16,760 up to a maximum of approximately $22,760, in the fourth year of their program.  

    To summarize, the minimum funding for Ph.D students who complete their programs after 44 months of enrolment and work the minimum number of graduate assistantships is $88,040.  However, since most Ph.D. students complete their programs over 48 months of enrolment and work the maximum number of graduate assistantships during that time, the typical minimum funding is $104,800.

Supplementary Awards for Scholarship Holders

Scholarship holders in both the MA and PhD programs are eligible for Graduate Assistantship units. A full or partial Graduate Assistantship may be held in combination with another award provided that it does not violate the terms of the other award. Holders of major external scholarships normally receive a maximum of one Graduate Assistantship assignment per academic year. At the same time, it is departmental policy that external scholarship holders are ineligible to hold a full Graduate Research Scholarship.  Sometimes, however, a partial GRS is awarded to ensure that the external scholarship holder's total funding package in a given term exceeds what s/he would have received exclusively from the department in the absence of the scholarship.

Withdrawal of Funding

An offer of a Graduate Assistantship or a Graduate Research Scholarship may be rescinded if a student fails to complete an academic program requirement within the anticipated time period. Students who are considering withdrawing from a course or postponing the completion of an academic requirement should first consult with the Director of Graduate Studies to determine if this action will affect their eligibility for funding from the Department.

If a student fails, withdraws from or otherwise does not complete an academic program requirement, then the Director of Graduate Studies may stipulate that the student is to complete that academic requirement and possibly complete additional academic work (such as an undergraduate course) within a specified time period in order to be eligible for additional funding from the Department.

Details of Assistantships and Scholarships

Graduate Assistantships - Teaching (T) and Non-Teaching (NT)

A Graduate Assistantship (GA) appointment is made to assist a student to pursue his/her studies toward a graduate degree. Departments appoint Graduate Assistants to perform work directly related to areas of a department's academic discipline and teaching responsibilities. The GA (Teaching/Non-Teaching) position is an apprenticeship for an academic or professional career. Department Heads or equivalents must ensure that GA(T)s and GA(NT)s are trained and supervised for the duties to be performed and develop departmental guidelines to promote these activities. Mandatory training time will be included toward fulfillment of the GA's hours for the term. A Graduate Assistantship is considered partly scholarship and partly employment.

The stipend for a Graduate Assistantship is currently set at approximately $8,380. This rate is subject to annual review by the University. No more than 204 hours of service (an average of 12 hours per week over 17 weeks) may be required of Graduate Assistants.

GA (T) appointments are awarded to students to assist with the instructional responsibilities of the Department. Students are assigned to particular instructors in order to assist with, for example, tutorial or lab sessions, grading, etc.

A Graduate Assistantship (NT) (Non-teaching) is an appointment made to assist departments and/or professors with non-teaching responsibilities. The duties of a GA (NT) may include, for example, collecting research data, interviewing research subjects, bibliographic work, administrative assistance or general research services.

Graduate Assistantships - Trust

A graduate student is appointed to a GA (Trust) position to build academic experience by assisting with a research project, with duties similar to those described for a GA (NT) above. GA (Trust) appointments are funded from the research support accounts held in trust for University staff members who select and recommend graduate students for such appointments. These positions are paid from faculty trust accounts. Academic qualifications and suitability for the research or service duties are the primary criteria, but reference may also be made to financial need, and/or a student's progress in the program. The nature of the appointment will vary according to the terms of the grant. During the tenure of the award, students must be full-time registrants in the Faculty of Graduate Studies in a program of study leading to a Master's or doctoral degree.

Graduate Teaching Fellowships (GTF)

A Graduate Teaching Fellowship is an award of merit to a senior PhD student. Before beginning a fellowship, doctoral students must have completed the Faculty of Graduate Studies Candidacy Examination. The Graduate Teaching Fellow is Instructor of Record for a course, paid as a sessional instructor, and subject to the rights, privileges and restrictions of the Collective Agreement. As an award of merit, the Graduate Teaching Fellowship will be recognized on the student's transcript. The current value of the GTF is $3,000; it is paid on top of the normal pay for a sessional instructor. It is the responsibility of the Head of the Department to ensure that the Teaching Fellow is adequately qualified to teach the required course, and (in consultation with the supervisors concerned) that all GTF appointments take students' academic progress into account. Doctoral students normally receive one GTF during their program.

Primary selection criteria in the case of Assistantships include: 1) academic qualifications (which may include overall GPA and for incoming students, reference letters and writing sample; and 2) suitability for the teaching or research duties (including past performance).

Graduate Research Scholarships (GRS)

Graduate Research Scholarships are awarded to students for research tasks directly related to their own research.  No teaching or service duties are required. To be eligible for a GRS, students must be registered as full-time students. GRSs are awarded competitively, based on meritorious performance and progress in the program.

Other Department Funding

Each year, the Department has a limited amount of funding that is often used for recruitment purposes.  Many instructors also have small amounts of 'reader money' assigned to them (during regular and/or Spring/Summer Sessions) to hire students on an hourly basis to provide limited assistance such as grading papers.

Faculty members with funded research projects are encouraged to hire student research assistance whenever possible.  The total amount of remuneration varies iwth the funds available to the researchers, ranging from a full Graduate Assistantship (as described under Funding Policy) to payment for work done on an hourly basis. 

The Department also hires a limited number of students to work as teaching assistants on spring and summer courses.  The rate of pay for this work is about one-third the rate for a Graduate Assistantships.  Sociology graduate students without other sources of departmental funding have the first priority for these hirings. 

Special scholarships and bursaries are also available for international students (see details under International Students).

Financial support for student research

The University's Research Services Office provices Thesis Research Grants to cover student research expenses (up to $1,000 for M.A. students and $1,500 for Ph.D. students) and Graduate Student Travel Grants ($750 North American destinations, or $1500 for oversease destinations) to students presenting their thesis or dissertation work at major conferences.  Preference for Conference Grants is given to MA students in the final year of their program, or to Ph.D. students who have not received a prior grant during their current degree program.  The deadlines for these grants are October 1 and April 1.  more information about these grants is available from the Research Services website at

The Department supplements these grants as follows:

Research grants:

1.   In each year's budget, the Department of Sociology sets aside a portion of its budget to support graduate student research.

2.   There are two application deadlines each year: June 1 and December 1.

3.   Students must submit a formal application for a departmental research grant to the Graduate Administrator.

4.   Applications should be submitted on the same form used by Research Services for the Thesis Research Grants program.  A project budget and a supporting letter from the student's supervisor are required.

5.   At the time of application, applicants must have an approved thesis or dissertation prospectus on file in SS 956, and must have already exhausted the funding available from the Research Services Office through its Thesis Research Grants program.

6.   The maximum grants are $1000 for MA students and $1500 for Ph.D students.

7.   Adjudication will be by the Graduate Director and two faculty members of the Graduate Studies Committee.

8.   Grants will be awarded on the basis of merit with consideration of the number of applicants.   Any individual may receive only one award in the course of a degree program.

9.   The decision of the adjucation committee is final and is not subject to appeal.

Support for Graduate Student Presentations at Scholarly Conferences

1.   In each year's budget, the Department of Sociology may set aside a portion of its budget to support graduate student presentations at scholarly conferences.

2.   Only students who are presenting a paper they have authored or co-authored, or students presenting a poster, will be considered for this support.

3.   The maximum grant for a conference is $750.  No more than one grant will be awarded to a student in any budget year (April 1 to March 31).

4.   A written application should be made to the Department Administrator as soon as possible after a paper has been accepted for presentation, and no later than two weeks prior to the conference.

5.   Applications will be processed on a first come, first served basis beginning on April 1 of a budget year.  Grants are subject to the availability of funds.

6.   A completed paper along with a copy of the conference program must be submitted along with the travel expense claim.