The Graduate Fellows program supports graduate (and exceptional undergraduate) students from across the University of Toronto who are working on urban-focused research projects. Graduate Fellow positions are open to U of T students who are pursuing a PhD or Masters degree and who have a passion for urban issues. 

Graduate student fellows may work on an independent project or a component of their degree-based project (thesis or dissertation). Candidates are welcomed from across all disciplines – from the fine arts to social sciences to the natural and applied sciences. Because of the School of Cities’ focus on knowledge mobilization, we are keen to assist with projects of an applied, translational, or policy-oriented nature.  Preference is given to students who are at least two years into their graduate work.

Thematic priorities for graduate fellows:

Fellows will meet with a supporting faculty mentor in small working groups of 3-5 students, 3-4 times during the year. Groups will be organized according to the thematic focus of their research, and will engage in a variety of activities, from writing groups to seminar series to producing joint publications.

We encourage students to apply even if their work is not an exact fit with the topics below.

Initial themes include:

  • Creative Communities Commons (CCC) (focus on visual and performing arts (Mentors: Dan Silver, Department of Sociology, UTSC & Nasim Niknafs, Faculty of Music)
  • Urban humanities (Mentor: Stanka Radovic, Department of English)
  • Community development, social movements, and participatory methods (Mentor: Aditi Mehta, Urban Studies Program, Innis College)
  • Racial justice, housing rights, and the city (Mentor: Prentiss Dantzler, Department of Sociology)
  • City and regional governance and economies (Mentor: Karen Chapple, Department of Geography & Planning)
  • Urban natural environments and ecosystems (Mentor: Marc Cadotte, Department of Biological Sciences, UTSC)
  • Urban landscapes and the built environment (Mentor: Fadi Masoud, John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design)

Other likely themes include (to be confirmed once faculty mentors are finalized):

  • Health, data and communities 
  • Infrastructure and mobility 

Proposals that relate to the School of Cities’ inaugural themes are also welcome:

  • climate and justice
  • belonging, migration and thriving
  • inequality, data and democracy

Graduate fellows receive: 

  • $2000 towards their research
  • An extra $1500 for proposing and executing a knowledge mobilization project. This additional piece is optional, and the extra funding is only available to those who successfully apply for it. Examples of a knowledge mobilization project include articles or blog posts; workshops or events; websites or webpages; maps or infographics; policy briefs; podcasts, videos or exhibitions; mobile apps. Think creatively and suggest a knowledge mobilization format that fits your research! (see some examples from last year)
  • Recognition for U of T Co-Curricular Record (CCR) for 3 competencies (upon completion of the Graduate Fellows program)

What we look for:  

  • Demonstrated creativity, impact and knowledge mobilization (as relevant) of the proposed project 
  • Demonstrated viability of the proposed project (i.e., based on research already in progress or connected to an active research team) 
  • Potential to reach broad audiences with implications for motivating public policy, professional practice change, or community action.
  • The rigour of the proposed methodological approach 
  • A connection to equity, diversity, and inclusion 


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