The Doctoral Completion Award (DCA) aims to provide financial assistance support to full-time PhD students who are beyond the funded cohort and within the time limit for their degree. The DCA may be competitive. 

Students who have experienced a delay in their program due to unfortunate personal circumstances should refer to the OISE Bursary Program

The information on this webpage is for the 2024-2025 academic year and will be updated for 2025-2026 in the winter of 2025.  

Completion Award Value

Each graduate unit determines the DCA value, which may differ for every award holder. Students must be registered to receive award payments and will not receive any payments once degree requirements are completed. A student who withdraws mid-session is expected to return any award funds received in that session. The award is applied to tuition/outstanding fees first. 

Award Eligibility Requirements (Minimum)

For each session the award is held, recipients of the DCA must be:

  • Registered as a full-time PhD student (EdD and Flexible-time PhD students are ineligible).
  • Beyond the funded cohort: You are entering Year 5 or 6 during the 2024-2025 academic year.
  • Within the time limit for the degree. The average time limit is six years.  Students who are on approved program extensions are ineligible. Learn more about time limits in Graduate Studies
  • In good academic standing (i.e. achieved candidacy) and making satisfactory progress toward completing their degree requirements. Students with an approved extension to achieve candidacy are ineligible for DCA awards.  Students must comply with the general regulations for the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) and the degree regulations for their program and make satisfactory progress toward completing their degree to be in good academic standing. Learn more about educational requirements in Graduate Studies.

Please Note: Students who will defend, before or on the September 2024 deadline, PhD final oral examinations to graduate at Fall convocation are ineligible. The date is subject to change for each term. 

Application Procedure (All Departments)

The following items should be included in your application and submitted using your departmental submission form. Please have all components of the DCA application package ready to upload before proceeding to Step 7. 

Submission Deadline: The DCA application submission deadline for 2024-2025 school year is June 3, 2024.

3. Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Three-page maximum. 

4. ROSI/ACORN Unofficial Transcript

No official transcript is required.

5. Additional Supporting Documents

Supporting documents are department-specific. 

  • Applied Psychology & Human Development
    • Copy of your most recent Annual Review Form.
  • Leadership, Higher & Adult Education
    • Copy of your 2023/24 recent Doctoral Progress Form.

6. SGS Financial Need Assessment Form (OSOTF)

Completed and signed form.  If you have questions about how to fill out this form, please contact the School of Graduate Studies Financial Aid & Advising Office:

Phone: 416-978-2839

7. Doctoral Completion Award Submission

Gather all required documents from steps one through six of the DCA Application Procedure (All Departments), and submit the content using your respective departments' DCA Submission Form by June 3, 2024; UTORID and password are required. Note: Late applications will not be accepted. 

Application Evaluation Criteria

Please ensure all components of the DCA application package are ready for upload before proceeding. Detailed information about the DCA application package for each OISE department is included.

The DCA adjudication process will consider the following protocols and priorities.  Award recipients will be notified in late summer. 

  1. The DCA award amount generally considered will be the value of tuition but may vary depending on the number of DCA applicants. Additional funds will be provided based on need and depending on the relative ranking of merit of the student being considered.
  2. The maximum amount of funding awarded will be, at most, the value of tuition plus the value of a regular GA.
  3. Students with major external awards can receive a DCA award if they can demonstrate good progress on their thesis and financial need even with the external funding.
  4. One critical DCA criterion is that students devote 50% of their time to their thesis. Accordingly, students completing full-time internships are generally not eligible. However, students who have defended or submitted a complete thesis draft to their committee - by the time of the award decisions at the end of August - are eligible for the DCA as the criteria of devoting 50% of their time to their thesis are not applicable. Students who have defended their thesis and are on internship will still need to demonstrate financial need.
  5. The application form will require the student to note if a full-time internship is scheduled.
  6. International students are eligible for the DCA.
  7. Students can apply for the DCA twice. Preference will be given to students applying to the DCA for the first time. Students who have previously received this award will be required to demonstrate their progress over the period of the last award.

Additional Notes
  1. It is essential to be clear about the order of authorship and whether or not publications/presentations are refereed. The committee will assume that material is not refereed without specific indication.
  2. In evaluating the quality of research, emphasis will be placed on the thesis's contribution to theory and/or policy and/or practice. The supervisor's letter must elaborate on this point for you.
  3. The committee notes the level of enthusiasm reflected in the letter.
  4. In the past, the Awards Committee has interpreted the purpose of this award as being to support students who are only part way through the thesis process. It is not meant to help students very close to scheduling the oral exam, except in cases where the student will be going on an internship.

The Awards Committee will be evaluating the applications based on the following criteria:

  1. Academic merit and supervisor’s evaluation.
  2. Financial resources available to support the student: preference should be given to students at risk of unduly delaying graduation because of lack of funding. We will look at other sources of income, other financial responsibilities (e.g. dependents) and if they have attempted to secure additional funding (without success/pending).  Note: Personal financial emergencies should not usually carry much weight since these may be eligible for the OISE Bursary Program
  3. Expected time to complete the degree, including any unusual requirements of the research that needed extended time or unforeseen events in the research program that caused a delay, may be taken into account.  Obstacles might include difficulties obtaining ethics approval from external agencies, sudden unexpected changes to the subject pool, problems with supervisory access (change or illness or death of supervisor) etc.

Additional Notes

Approximately 15% of the DCA funds are OSOTF-restricted and must be awarded to students who demonstrate financial need.

Although the financial need form is not a requirement for international students, we ask that it be completed by all applicants to allow the department to determine the financial need of all applicants.

The CTL Award Committee members will not see your detailed financial need assessment forms but are provided with a score representing the level of financial need indicated by the applicant.

Students may hold a DCA for two successive years if they remain eligible. An application must be submitted each year to be included in the competition. Please note a subsequent application should demonstrate progress from the previous year.

  1. Academic merit (including academic standing) and supervisor's evaluation
  2. Financial need - All sources of income will be considered, including awards and graduate assistantships, as well as the resources available and the applicant’s attempts to secure funding through these channels (with or without success). Although preference is given to students at risk of unduly delaying graduation due to lack of funding, the DCA is not intended for extenuating personal circumstances (e.g. financial emergencies), which may be eligible for Emergency Grant support. The financial needs assessment form and supporting documents are not shared with the Committee.
  3. Expected time to complete the degree. Any unusual research requirements that needed extended time or unforeseen events in the research program that caused a delay may be considered and should be included in the application. Obstacles might include difficulties obtaining ethics approval from external agencies; sudden unexpected changes to the subject pool; problems with supervisory access (change or illness or death of supervisor; etc.)

Additional Note:

Preference will be given to students applying to the DCA for the first time.  Students who have previously received this award may be considered (pending availability of funds) but will be required to demonstrate their progress over the time period of the last award.

Please confirm in your application that you have completed all pre-thesis requirements (completion of coursework, comprehensive exam, research proposal and thesis committee approval) by June 3, 2024, and that at least one chapter of the doctoral thesis has been written and approved by the supervisor by June 3, 2024.

Please note that students who have previously received this award will be required to demonstrate their progress over the time period of the last award.