Western University SociologyFaculty of Social Science

New Students' FAQs

Welcome to your graduate program!

You will hear from us, around mid-summer, to confirm your Teaching or Research Assistant assignment.  To ensure that you receive correspondence from us, please email me if any of your contact information changes from that listed on your application form.  In the meantime, I hope the answers to most frequently asked questions, below, will be helpful.  Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any other questions.

Denise Statham
Graduate Program Assistant
Email:  statham@uwo.ca
Phone:  (519) 661-2111 extension 85144

Dates to keep in mind

TA Training Program (TATP) sessions begin in June (see below for more information)

September 1 - The graduate term officially begins. International students should have a landing date of no later than September 1 to avoid complications with Western's Payroll Department.

The following information is also provided on the New Student Information (see left side bar)

Tuesday, September 5 - Orientation (Part 1) - Attendance is required. For PhD students, this will begin at 10am and end at about 12noon. For MA students, this will begin at 11am and end at about 1pm. Students should come to this session prepared to make their course selections for the fall term. Sessions will be held in room 5220 Social Science Centre. Click here for campus and building maps. Light refreshments will be provided.

Wednesday, September 6 - Graduate Student Conference on Teaching (TA Day) (9am-4pm) – This a condensed version of the TATP (see below for more information)

Thursday, September 7 - School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies' Graduate Student Orientation (9am-1pm) - Attendance is optional. Click here for a schedule of events and to register.

Monday, September 11 - Classes begin - All classes will be on the fifth floor of the Social Science Centre. Click here for the schedule.

Friday, September 15 - Orientation (Part 2) - Attendance is required (1-3pm in room 5220 Social Science Centre).

Friday, September 15 - Welcome New Students! - Following Orientation, there will be an informal get-together to welcome you to the program! This event provides an opportunity for you to mingle with faculty members, continuing students, and staff from our department. 3pm in room 3036 Social Science Centre.

A graduate student proceeding to a degree must maintain continuous registration in each successive term (Fall/Winter/Summer) from initial registration until all requirements for the degree are completed. Exception: A leave of absence may be granted on medical or compassionate grounds. If a leave of absence is taken during a period when a student is eligible for funding, the period of funding eligibility is extended by the duration of the period of the leave.

How do I complete my offer of admission?  Western's School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies' web site will prompt you through the steps required to activate your Western email account and access Western's online Student Center (where you will complete your offer of admission).

How do I ensure that the conditions on my offer of admission are met? Please see details in the New Student Information April 2017 in the left sidebar.

Information on Housing. Click here for on- and off-campus housing information. Note that on-campus housing is limited so we recommend applying as soon as you receive your offer of admission.

What is the cost of fees/tuition for each term?
Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents - based on 2016/17 (check for updated schedules on the Registrar's web site)
Fall 2016 - $3,150 (This included health plan fees for the September 2016 through August 2017 time period. Students may choose to opt out of the health plan)
Winter 2017, Summer 2017 - $2,630
International Students  - based on 2016/17 (check for updated schedules on the Registrar's web site)
Fall 2016 - $6,885 (this included health plan fees for the September 2016 through August 2017 time period)
Winter 2017, Summer 2017 - $6,365

Fee schedules by term are available on the Registrar's website. Fee schedules provide first and second installment due dates.

When and how will I receive my funding?  Your scholarship funding will appear in your Student Center account as 'pending financial aid' each term and will be applied to your tuition and fees before the payment due date each term (this serves as your 'first installment').  Fees not covered by scholarships must be paid by the 'second installment' deadline. If your scholarship is more than the amount of your tuition and fees, you will receive the balance, by direct deposit in your bank account, by about the middle of the first month of each term. Teaching or research assistantship funding is paid monthly, by direct deposit, on the second last banking day of the month. Your first TA or RA pay will be deposited in your bank account on September 28, 2017. You will be hearing from us again (about mid-summer) to confirm your Teaching Assistant or Research Assistant assignment. More information regarding the direct deposit process will be provided.

In the event that you are awarded an External Scholarship (i.e., OGS, SSHRC) , please inform the Graduate Program Assistant. Recipients of External Scholarships will receive their payments in equal lump sums at the beginning of each term.  Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the Terms and Conditions of their award.

How many courses am I expected to take? Students normally take three courses in the Fall term and three courses in the Winter term, with the exception of MA students in the research paper (three-term) stream, who will take four courses (including the MA sociological research course) in the Winter term.
Click here for MA program details.
Click here for PhD program details.

How do I register for courses? Visit our Course Information website for course offerings, outlines, and start dates.  Online registration, through the Student Center - student.uwo.ca - is available about three weeks prior to the start of each term.

Teaching Assistant duties will be communicated to you in a letter from us mid-summer. 

TA Training. The Teaching Support Centre offers 2 1/2 day Teaching Assistant Training Program (TATP) sessions during June, August, and September, as well as a one-day workshop (TA Day) early in September. Although this training is optional, we recommend that teaching assistants attend at least one of these options, especially those who have not held a Teaching Assistantship in the past.  Visit each respective web site for further information and to register.

The Teaching Assistantship is offered in the Fall and Winter Terms only. Teaching Assistants are paid in monthly installments, by direct deposit, on the second last banking day of each of the months of: September, October, November, December, January, February, March, April. The value of a full Teaching Assistantship is $12,699 (including vacation pay). This corresponds to 280 hours of work (approximately 10 hours per week) commencing on September 1 of the academic year and terminating on April 30 of the academic year. The work assignment may on occasion exceed 10 hours in any one week. Duties are assigned by the Department Chair and may include: conducting one-hour tutorials; holding office hours; marking assignments, essays, and examinations; assisting with teaching aids (i.e., setting up of audio-visual equipment); assisting with preparation of exams; assisting with compilation and recording of grades; proctoring of examinations; conducting teaching evaluations. Under an agreement between the University and the Society of Graduate Students, MA students in the thesis stream are guaranteed continued TA funding (or equivalent funding) in the second year of their MA program, provided the 78% average is maintained and program requirements are met.

Health Insurance while attending Western. Students from outside Canada are required to join the University Health Insurance Plan. International students should make arrangements in their home country for health insurance coverage while travelling to Canada. Canadian students from outside Ontario covered by a provincial plan should contact their plan to advise them of enrolment at Western. Extended health insurance benefits are offered automatically for full-time graduate students through the Society of Graduate Students (SOGS), provided the student is covered by his/her provincial health plan or has an OHIP-equivalent plan (e.g., UHIP). The annual fee for the health plan is included in fall term fees. Students may opt out of this plan if they wish. The Graduate Teaching Assistants' Union also offers extended health coverage to graduate students employed as Graduate Teaching Assistants.

Additional notes for international students. To avoid complications with our Payroll department, your study permit must list a landing date of no later than September 1. It is advisable to arrive at least one week before classes begin. This will allow time to take care of administrative details and to settle in before classes start. Monday, September 1 is a holiday in Canada (Labour Day); therefore, the University and many businesses in London will be closed.

We encourage you to visit Western's International Student Centre web site.  Click here to view an estimate of the cost of living in London.