University of Toronto, Department of Molecular Genetics

Grad School Finances

Grad School Finances


Stipend, top-ups and tuition

Living on a grad school budget can be hard! Your first pay checks (during your rotation) will come from U of T, after which you will be paid according to your node. For questions about payroll, it is best to contact HR or the Trainee coordinators in your node. 

Everyone in the Faculty of Medicine (regardless of department) is guaranteed the same base student stipend, which is supposed to cover your living expenses and your tuition. Keep in mind – you can defer your fall tuition payment until May, at which point you must pay your full tuition (~$8000), which is before you get your summer paychecks. Don’t let this surprise you – try to save up your tuition throughout the year so you aren’t stuck in a tight spot.

If you get a scholarship, you can get a ‘top-up’ which increases your student stipend. There are two levels of top-up:

  • If all your awards for that year total $15000 or less (ex. most OSOTFs, OGS, etc.) you will get a top-up of $2000
  • If all your awards for that year total more than $15000 (ex. CIHR, NSERC) you will get a top-up of $4000

Award payments can function differently than normal paychecks- many awards are given to you as lump sums at the start of each semester. Make sure you are aware of how your finds are coming in so you can budget appropriately!


The best way to keep up with scholarships to to keep a close eye on your email and watch for award announcements. There may also be additional awards specific to your field- try doing some Googling for foundations or funding agencies that support your research and check if they have graduate awards.  Also, remember that it doesn’t hurt to apply! Even if it seems like a long shot, the likelihood you will get an award you apply for is always higher than if you didn’t submit at all.  Finally- make sure you ask your references for their letters well ahead of time! It is courtesy to give your references at least 3 weeks notice, with a reminder 1 week prior to the deadline. 

If you want help with your writing, there are workshops offered yearly by the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) on writing a proposal for CIHR or NSERC. You can also schedule an appointment with the writing center for help with your application. 

Scholarship schedule


  • Vanier Award
  • Doctoral CIHR and NSERC awards (CGS-D)
  • University of Toronto OSOTF


  • Master’s CIHR and NSERC awards (CGS-M)


  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship

Government Financial Aid

OSAP: Depending on your income and living situation, you may still qualify for grants from OSAP. OSAP offers both grants and repayable loans, but you can opt out of the loan portion if you don’t need it.

Ontario Energy Support: Low-income households may qualify for the Ontario Energy Support Program which can help subsidize your energy bill.

Grocery and Retailer Student Discounts

Metro (425 Bloor St W)
– 10% student discount Tuesday and Wednesday
Metro (89 Gould St)
– 10% student discount Tuesday
Metro (444 Yonge St)
– 10% student discount Wednesday
Sobeys (various locations)
– 10% student discount everyday with an Air Miles card
Loblaws Bloor Street Market (55 Bloor St W)
– 10% student discount on Tuesdays
Bulk Barn (various locations)
– 10% student discount on Wednesday
Arisu (584 Bloor St W)
– 10% student discount
Art Square Cafe (334 Dundas St W)
– 13% student discount
FIKA Cafe (28 Kensington Ave)
– 15% student discount
Fresh (various locations)
– 15% student discount
Insomnia (563 Bloor St W)
– 20% student discount except during weekend and holiday brunches
Salad King (340 Yonge St)
– 20% student discount from 2 – 5pm
Signs (558 Yonge St)
– 10% student discount
Spring Rolls (40 Dundas St W)
– 15% student discount
Toby’s Pub (411 College St)
– 15% student discount Sunday through Thursday
Club Monaco (157 Bloor St W, 2610 Yonge St)
– 20% student discount on full-price and sale merchandise in stores and online
Curry’s Art Store (various locations)
– 10% discount on regular priced items
Henry’s (various locations)
– 10% student discount on selected merchandise
– 20% student discount on rentals
Rexall (various locations)
– 20% off regularly priced Rexall brand products (Be Better, KIT, Nosh & Co., Rose & Robin, and Savvy Home) with UTGSU health plan Rexall Exclusive Savings Card and your student ID
– 10% off prescription drugs costs (up to a max of $40) with UTGSU health plan Pay-Direct Card
Roots (various locations)
– 20% student discount on regular priced items
– 10% student discount on sales items
Shoppers Drug Mart (236 Bloor St W)
– 10% student discount Thursdays
The Fashion District (553 Queen St W)
– 10% student discount
Topshop and Topman (176 Yonge St inside The Bay)
– 10% student discount on regular priced items

Student discounts on Toronto attractions

AGO (317 Dundas St W)
– Free admission to Permanent collection from 6 -9 pm Wednesdays
– $11 student tickets
Bata Shoe Museum (327 Bloor St W)
– $8 with student ID
Black Creek Pioneer Village (1000 Murray Ross Parkway)
– $12 with student ID
Canadian Opera Company (145 Queen St W)
– $22 tickets if you’re under 30 years old
Imagine Cinemas (formerly Rainbow, 20 Carlton St and 80 Front St E)
– $5 tickets Tuesday
– $7 student tickets everyday
Ontario Science Centre (770 Don Mills Rd)
– $16 with student ID
ROM (100 Queen’s Park)
– Free admission all day on Tuesdays with student ID
– $13 tickets for Friday Night Live (September 30 to November 25)
Textiles Museum of Canada (55 Center Ave)
– $6 student tickets
Toronto Symphony Orchestra (212 King St W)
– $16 tickets if you’re between 15 and 35 years of age

Other Tips

– With a Toronto Public Library card, you can get free passes to a number of different museums and the zoo
– The UTSU offers of entertainment tickets at discounted rates (CNE, Wonderland, Raptors, Absolute Comedy etc)
– The UTGSU offers free International Student Identity Cards (ISIC) which are good for a variety of student discounts on travel, merchandise, and services throughout the world
– Cheap groceries and produce in Chinatown (on Spadina between College and Queen) and at the Lucky Moose Food Mart (Dundas and Beverley)
– Check your node for work-perks (available for Mount Sinai Hospital employees) or similar employee promotions.