Guidelines for Five-Year PhD Direct-Entry Programs

< back to Policies & Guidelines 

revised March 18, 2014  


The School of Graduate Studies allows admission directly into a PhD program on the basis of an appropriate University of Toronto bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent from a recognized university, when the five-year PhD program is approved through University governance and offered by the graduate unit. Applicants are expected to be of exceptional promise and demonstrate superior academic performance.

1. Admission Requirements

Where a graduate unit allows direct entry from a bachelor’s degree to a PhD program, the academic requirements for admission will be as follows:

a. an appropriate U of T bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent from a recognized university, with at least an A-minus average in courses in the relevant discipline;

b. demonstration that the applicant is capable of independent research at an advanced level in the subject matter of the relevant program;

c. at least two strong supporting letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant’s research potential; and

d. other qualifications as may be specified by the graduate unit.

To be admitted as a candidate for the degree, the applicant must be accepted by the Admission Committee of the relevant graduate unit. A candidate accepted on the basis of a bachelor’s degree will be admitted to a five-year PhD program with a seven-year time limit for completion of all requirements for the degree.

Note: In certain circumstances, an applicant with a master’s degree might be admitted to a five-year program, as well: If the applicant has a master’s degree in a different field of study, or if the applicant hasa master’s degree in the same field of study but is judged to require significant additional preparation, he or she would normally be admitted to a five-year program.

2. Program Requirements

When a graduate unit allows direct entry from a bachelor’s degree to a PhD program, the graduate unit will specify the program requirements for such students. The program requirements for a PhD candidate who enters the PhD program on the basis of a bachelor's degree should include a substantial portion of the requirements for a master's degree in the relevant discipline (about two sessions of master's degree level program requirements), together with the program requirements for a PhD candidate who enters the PhD program on the basis of a master's degree. A graduate unit may require certain direct entry students to complete additional requirements beyond the normal ones when the graduate unit assesses their backgrounds as deficient in some area.

Graduate units will closely monitor the progress of direct entry students during the first year of the PhD program. They should, in particular, specify a minimum number of courses to be completed during the first year of the program, together with an acceptable minimum grade or average for those courses, in order for those students to maintain good academic standing and to be eligible to continue in the PhD program.

Note: Transfers from the Five-Year PhD Program to the Master’s Program

Students registered in the five-year PhD program are eligible to transfer to the master’s program under certain circumstances. See section 2 of “Transfers” (“PhD to Masters”), under the Degree Regulations for the Doctor of Philosophy, in the SGS Calendar.