In recognition of challenges the COVID-19 pandemic may have posed for graduate students striving to complete their studies, Brock University is providing additional Faculty of Graduate Studies fellowship funding for research-based grad students.
This funding will include the Graduate Fellowship, International Fellowship, International PhD Fellowship, and the Dean of Graduate Studies Excellence Scholarship, as appropriate.
Master’s students will receive one additional term of their usual FGS fellowship support, while doctoral students will receive two additional terms. In order to receive the additional funding, students will need to remain registered as full time at Brock and will be responsible to pay usual tuition and fees.
The Faculty of Graduate Studies will apply these fellowships to student accounts as a student reaches the end of their normal funded period and will not graduate in the next term. As usual, students past their funded terms who are on final stage status will not be eligible for this additional fellowship funding.
“In recent weeks, we have heard from many graduate students who are working hard to make progress in their research despite the many challenges the pandemic has created,” said Diane Dupont, Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. “Some students have been unable to access labs, library resources or other specialized facilities. Others are experiencing financial difficulties, including issues with food insecurity.”
Dupont said in every case, students have done their best to persevere and make progress.
“We want to ensure that students can focus on the quality of their thesis or major research paper,” she said. “The additional fellowship support should allow them to do that by providing some additional time for completion.”
This move mirrors that undertaken by the Tri-Council agencies (SSHRC, NSERC and CIHR), which have similarly extended funding for the students they are supporting.
“We want to provide graduate students with every opportunity to focus on the quality of their academic work. These additional funded terms should help them to do that,” said Provost and Vice-President, Academic Greg Finn.
The University also thanks the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) for its involvement with the development of this initiative.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted graduate students, and fundamentally changed the conversation around the needs of our students,” said GSA President Christopher Yendt. “We are pleased to have worked in concert with the University on this accommodation, which reflects the realities students have faced in being unable to access necessary campus infrastructure to progress in their programs. The GSA will continue to work alongside our campus partners to ensure student needs continue to be addressed going forward.”