The Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) fosters excellence in graduate education and postdoctoral research at York University. FGS is committed to supporting and advocating for graduate student and postdoctoral scholar success, intensifying research, delivering innovative and accountable services, and providing oversight to ensure high quality graduate programming, teaching and learning.
FGS has continued to strengthen its reputation as a pan university Faculty that strives to foster research and teaching excellence in 2016-17. As the university moves towards the implementation of an activity-based budgeting model, FGS has partnered with anchor Faculties and other units to realize York’s academic priorities as outlined in the 2015-20 UAP.
Through engaging, innovative, and cutting edge research, our diverse body of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows made a profound impact on scholarship that benefits the broader society. As one of the largest graduate communities in Canada, York students made concerted efforts to produce new knowledge by pushing the frontiers of research. PhD students Aytak Akbari-Dibavar, Gerard Kennedy and Jesse Thistle, for instance, were awarded the Trudeau Doctoral Scholarship, a prestigious award presented by the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation. It is the first time since 2008 that a York graduate student has been chosen for the scholarship, and only 15 students from across Canada are selected each year.
FGS has offered strong support to graduate programs in order to uphold a culture of student success. We introduced a new framework of funding that has already begun to positively shape graduate research and the student experience at York. By providing students greater opportunities to focus on their academic successes, the York Fellowship model alleviated the burden for many to secure and perform employment-related duties to secure their funds.
We established a Working Group on Graduate Supervision in February 2017 to review and propose enhancements to university guidelines and practices on graduate supervision. Based on the recommendations of the Working Group, FGS has adopted a revised policy on supervision, and undertaken activities to qualitatively improve supervisory practice and experiences on campus.
A particular emphasis of 2016-17 was to offer services and programs that support graduate student wellness and accommodation requirements. FGS created a new position of Manager, Graduate Student Wellness Services. The Manager will lead the development and management of wellness services for graduate students and to identify opportunities to collaborate and create wellness-related programs and services to support the needs of graduate students.
The Senate Policy on Postdoctoral Research at York University was approved on April 27, 2017, creating a shared understanding of the value of postdocs at the university, terms of reference for their roles, as well as the university’s obligation to postdoctoral scholars as part of our research community.
By bringing together a number of key actors from different administrative units, FGS established the Strategic Graduate Enrollment Management (SGEM) Working Group to systematically coordinate all graduate enrollment-related activities at the institutional level. One of its key objectives is to provide insight and feedback on institutional graduate enrollment efforts and initiatives. SGEM's broad representation is expected to both determine and leverage linkages to ongoing/existing institutional initiatives that profoundly affect the graduate student experience.
Our continued endeavours to be a centre of service excellence were recognized this year by the University when we were awarded the Harriet Lewis Team Award for Service Excellence.
Donna Hewison’s Voice of York award was also a testimony to our relentless effort to provide robust service to the larger community.
We look forward to further strengthening our partnership with anchor Faculties and administrative units in the post-budgetary phase, and remain committed to providing leadership in graduate education and research intensification.
Faculty of Graduate Studies
Student Body & Activity
Total Graduate Students 5,802
Master's thesis completed
PhD dissertation completed
research ethics protocols processed
Major Initiatives and Successes
New Graduate Funding
With the introduction of the York Fellowship, the new graduate funding model prioritizes financial support for student research and the completion of degree requirements. It provides students greater opportunities to focus on their academic progress, and alleviates the burden for many to secure and perform employment-related duties to secure their funds. Principally, it ensures the capacity for students from all backgrounds to come to York and succeed.
- The Fellowship helps graduate students plan their finances more effectively, as students now receive Fellowship funds in equal installments each term.
- All fulltime research-based master’s students now have access to extended health care benefits. The Health Care Graduate Bursary universalizes support for extended health care benefits and is a significant investment by the university in promoting accessibility. We are the only university in Ontario covering the costs of extended health care benefits for all full-time students in research-based degrees (note: based on internal research).
Strategic Graduate Enrollment
Management (SGEM) Committee
Formed in FGS
SGEM is a comprehensive approach to managing the graduate student lifecycle from initial awareness to alumna/alumnus by integrating the core functions associated with the enrollment and support of a graduate student.
Manager, Graduate Student
Wellness Services Position Created
The Manager’s primary objective is to lead the development and management of wellness services for graduate students and to identify opportunities to collaborate and create wellness-related programs to support the needs of graduate students.
They will be responsible for creating and managing services and programs that support graduate student wellness and accommodations.
Working Group on Graduate
Supervision Finalizes Report
The Working Group on Graduate Supervision was entrusted with the task of reviewing and enhancing FGS policy and guidelines, informed by wide consultation with the university community. The Working Group herein makes policy recommendations to support our students, faculty, and programs, making sure that we provide a safe and positive environment for successful academic collaborations between graduate students and their supervisors.
Standard Procedure Developed
to Determine a Workplace or
These procedures relate to the steps and responsibilities of FGS, Graduate Program Directors and Faculty Relations when considering an accommodation for a graduate student.
Consolidated scholarship information management and communications procedures for efficient and consistent funds disbursement notifications to students, faculty and staff.
Council and Governance
- 33 program changes approved
- 1 new graduate program approved, 3 new degrees (Digital Media [MA, MSc and PhD])
- 971 faculty appointments processed
- 178 ethics protocols processed
- 186 course change approvals
- 101 new graduate courses approved
- 5 major policy enhancements approved by FGS Council
Research & Funding Support
2016 Scholars Reception
Close to 100 students, postdocs, faculty, and staff in attendance
Dean’s Initiative Fund
30 student events supported by the Dean's Initiative Fund
- over $30,000 distributed to support these events
Major Graduate Scholarship Competitions
|Scholarship Program||York Recipients||Funds Awarded|
|Trudeau Doctoral Scholarship||3||$180,000.00|
|CIHR Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship||2||$100,000.00|
|CIHR Doctoral Frederick Banting & Charles Best CGS||16||$461,666.68|
|CIHR Master's Frederick Banting & Charles Best CGS||7||$105,000.33|
|NSERC Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship||1||$50,000.00|
|NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship CGS-D||7||$245,001.00|
|NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Post Graduate Scholarship PGS-D||11||$175,000.00|
|NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Graduate Scholarship CGS-M||6||$75,834.00|
|SSHRC Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship||10||$466,665.00|
|Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Doctoral Scholarship||76||$2,683,331.60|
|SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship||60||$1,059,998.00|
|Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Master's Scholarship||79||$1,055,846.00|
|Ontario Trillium Scholarship Program||25||$626,651.00|
|Ontario Graduate Scholarship||234||$3,273,338.00|
|QEII Graduate Scholarship in Science & Technology||10||$150,000.00|
Major Postdoctoral Fellowship Competitions
|Scholarship Program||York Recipients||Funds Awarded|
|Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship||1||$70,000.00|
|NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship||3||$135,000.00|
|SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship||7||$283,500.00|
Postdocs are a vital part of York University’s research community and are critical to the achievement of York’s strategic priorities and the goal of research intensification. York University continues to increase supports and services for the postdoc community and to develop the policy infrastructure necessary to enhance postdoctoral research.
- The Senate Policy on Postdoctoral Research at York University was approved on April 27, 2017, creating a shared understanding of the value of postdocs at the university, terms of reference for their roles, as well as the university’s obligation to postdoctoral scholars as part of our research community
- The FGS professional skills program was renamed Graduate & Postdoctoral Professional Skills (GPPS) Program to officially recognize the role postdocs play in the program
Postdoctoral Scholars at York
Recognition from York
The Voice of York Award is given to an individual who is a first-line-of-contact person at York University. The most important voice of York is the one who makes the first contact with a visitor or a community member. Compassion and professionalism, particularly in handling difficult or sensitive situations, is essential to our work at York University. Donna has been with FGS since 1997 and celebrates her 20th anniversary this year.
This award recognizes a team’s excellence in service and support to students, faculty, staff and/or other service users and its promotion of the York spirit in terms of imagination, creativity, innovation and redefining the possible in service to York’s community (internal or external). FGS is the largest group to every receive this distinction.