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Master's SSHRC and Working?


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I'm currently in a one-year MA program. I am also receiving a Master's SSHRC. I have the option to take a summer job, which is full-time. According to SSHRC:

"You may not hold full-time employment during any period of time in which you hold the SSHRC award."

Here's my question: Do I do the job and inform SSHRC? Do I quit the job, take SSHRC and concentrate on school? Has anyone here ever done both, and what were the results?


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I STRONGLY urge you to not take both. I actually know someone who did this and someone at the university ratted them out to the gov and he had to pay a portion of it back! This was 3 years ago so who knows with all the budget cuts whether they have the people power to look. Also, not to sound too judgemental, but you are really privileged to have received this money. There are many other studentts who don't have "great seasonal summer jobs." By not taking the money, you may be giving another student the opportunity to receive a scholarship.

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In other threads, I've been against agreements between a department and a student that state students cannot work at all if they are receiving a stipend. But this case is a little bit different -- firstly, this is an agreement that you have with the fellowship sponsor (SSHRC) directly, not the department. In addition, SSHRC awards allow students to work part-time, up to 10 hours a week.

So some questions for you:

1. Why is this summer job so important to you? I'm not sure what your career goals are, but if you want a full time job in your chosen field, you will have to give up this summer job eventually. That is, are you thinking that you will be at this summer job in 2013 as well?

2. How much more money does the job pay compare to 1/3 of SSHRC (which is just under $6000 at MA level). The point of a SSHRC is to provide you with money to pay for tuition and living expenses so that you don't have to worry about full-time work so you would be taking unfair advantage of the SSHRC program to be working full time instead of your studies.

3. Will you still finish your MA on time if you only have a few hours a day to work on your courses? If you end up taking an extra semester, will the additional cost outweigh any extra income from the summer?

If you are not sure about continuing in academia and want to keep your recall rights, which is very reasonable, you should take the full time job in the summer. But, I think the right thing to do is to decline the last installment of SSHRC (I'm not sure how you would do this, but probably notify your school's financial award office that you will be no longer eligible for SSHRC because you took a full time position).

If you want to commit to academia, then you will probably have to give up this job. But maybe you can work at this job part time (under 10 hrs/week)? As I said above, if you want a career in your field, you should be trying to find work in that field anyways. Easier said than done, I know!

If you know for sure you don't want to go to academia, then you can probably risk getting caught and getting blacklisted from SSHRC. You will probably have to pay the summer portion back but it sounds like the summer job pays more than SSHRC so you should be okay financially. Of course, many people will consider this an unethical thing to do, and I would agree with them. But, realistically, you can probably keep it a secret* and the real question is whether your conscience is okay with it.

(*I mean that if you get caught, and you leave academia, you can probably keep the fact that your SSHRC was revoked a secret from future employers etc. I don't know how easy it would be to keep the fact that you're working FT a secret.)

My point is that whatever decision you make will have consequences and you will have to pick which consequences/risks you are willing to live with.

Edited by TakeruK
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