All full-time graduate students receive scholarship funding from the University, and our offers are highly competitive with those of other major programs in Canada. Moreover, the Department of English & Cultural Studies recognizes the importance of teaching as an integral part of our graduate degree programs. For this reason, all full-time graduate students are also given a teaching assistantship (PhDs are always offered full TA assignments; MA students are offered either a half or a full TA). We do not believe in accepting students without giving them valuable teaching experience, and we are committed to providing TAs with faculty-led supervision and peer advice. Graduate students typically teach first-year undergraduate English and Cultural Studies courses, and we work to offer our doctoral students a range of teaching and research experiences over their four years of study. This may include working as a TA in upper-level English courses, or outside of the department in programs like Drama, Women’s Studies, Peace Studies, or Comparative Literature. Many of our faculty have substantial ongoing research grants from SSHRC which include funding for Research Assistants (RAs) at TA rates, and doctoral students are invited to ballot for these “RAs for TAs” on an annual basis. Finally, the department makes every effort to offer part-time (sessional) English teaching to its recently defended PhDs, so that they may build their teaching dossiers as they enter the job market.
We also see ourselves as supporting the research initiatives of graduate students. We offer guidance in the writing of SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council), CGS (Canadian Graduate Scholarship) and OGS (Ontario Graduate Scholarship) proposals, and our graduate students have had remarkable success in winning these scholarships. In the grants competition for the 2005-06 academic year, for example, our graduate students won 3 new SSHRC awards, 11 new CGSs, and 7 new OGSs. Fifty-five percent of our in-course doctoral students and 22 percent of our MAs hold SSHRC, CGS or OGS awards.