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Graduate Studies

Parenting grant

Parenting Grants of up to $4,000 will be provided to eligible graduate student parents during an approved leave of one term or more

The grant must be taken in the first term of a parenting leave and cannot be deferred. Birth mothers may be eligible for an additional instalment in the second term of a parenting leave for up to $4000 for parenting leaves of two terms (8 months) or more in duration. The instalment must be taken in the second term of a parenting leave and cannot be deferred. The total amount of the grant will be calculated based on McMaster Graduate Scholarship funds the student is currently receiving for the academic year, divided by twelve and multiplied by four.

Financial Support from the School of Graduate Studies for parenting leave

Eligibility. Students who do not receive McMaster Graduate Scholarship Funds will not be eligible for the grant. They will remain eligible for a parenting leave, in accordance with the policy outlined in the Graduate Calendar.

Students are eligible to receive a Parenting Grant if they meet the following criteria:

  • Completed one term of graduate studies at McMaster
  • In receipt of McMaster Graduate Scholarship Funds
  • Registered full-time in a doctoral program at McMaster and have been approved for a parenting leave of at least one academic session (or 4 months). Birth mothers requesting a second instalment must be approved for at least 8 months of parenting leave
  • Received their regular base graduate scholarship funding package prior to the parenting leave;
  • Provided a medical note for the pregnancy from a licenced Canadian healthcare provider (i.e., the physician, midwife or nurse practitioner that is providing pregnancy care) or an adoption certificate issued from the Canadian government.  Applying for the second instalment of the grant by a birth mother requires submission of a second medical note after the birth.
  • Is the primary caregiver for the duration of the Parenting leave; and
  • Receiving less than $4,000 in pregnancy/parenting leave benefits from external sources for the same child (including multiple births) within the 12 month period after birth or adoption

Please complete the Parenting Leave form (including the section regarding the Parenting Grant) to be considered for the Grant.

Please note:

  • Students receiving Tri-Agency scholarships or research grant stipends are eligible for Tri-Agency Paid Parenting Leave supplements and will receive benefits that normally exceed the value of the Grant; such students are ineligible;
  • Benefits from employment income through the University may be received in addition to the SGS Parenting Grant, and would not impact the student’s eligibility to receive the full Grant value;
  • Grant recipients who return to their program prior to the approved leave of absence end date, may be required to return a portion of the Grant for the incomplete session;
  • Students who do not return to their studies after their leave must repay the Grant in full;
  • Multiple births on the same occasion (e.g., twins) do not increase the duration or the value of the Grant;
  • Students may apply for a Parenting Grant for a birth and/or adoption only twice while at McMaster University (and affiliated institutions).


“McMaster Graduate Scholarship Funds”: The sum total of departmental and graduate scholarships as well as research account support committed to the student. It does not include funding from external sources; funding from employment such as Teaching Assistantships or Research Assistantships in lieu, or most scholarships held in trust.

Combination with other forms of financial support: To maximize flexibility, the financial support available under the Policy can be combined with stipends from sources, excluding those from the Tri-Agencies (noted below) and can be spread over a period of between 4 and 8 months at the discretion of the student. However, in no case will funding for Parenting Leave from the School of Graduate Studies exceed a total of $4,000.

If the parent of the child for whom the Parenting Leave is being taken is eligible to receive parenting support from CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC or another agency that provides parenting support for the leave at any time during the Parenting leave, the parent is not eligible for financial support under McMaster’s Parenting Leave Policy.

Financial support during Parenting Leave for students who are also employees of the university, provided as part of their terms and conditions of employment, are distinct and separate from the financial support available under this policy. Other financial benefits, except as specifically excluded herein, can be taken concurrently with the financial support provided under this policy provided that the individual meets the eligibility requirements for those plans for the duration for which they are accessing financial support under those plans.

The financial support provided under this policy is not considered an approved Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Plan for the purposes of receiving Employment Insurance. Therefore, students wishing to access financial support under this policy in addition to Employment Insurance (“EI”) benefits should be aware that Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (“HRSDC”) may consider financial support under this policy to be earnings and could therefore require repayment of some of all EI benefits received. It is incumbent upon the student accessing financial support under this policy to contact HRSDC if they have questions in this regard.

For questions on the administration of the policy, contact the School of Graduate Studies.