What are the admission requirements?
The IVGS program is open to students who are currently enrolled in a graduate degree program; students are required to maintain registration at their home university for the duration of their study period at the University of Toronto. The program is not open to undergraduate students, students on leave from their degree program, or anyone not currently enrolled in a graduate degree program.
What is the application process? The application process is simple, but can take time. The U of T faculty member who has agreed to act as a supervisor should send a letter of invitation (as described in the IVGS agreement) to the visiting student's home supervisor. The letter and the application form need to be signed by:
The U of T supervisor
The chair of the U of T graduate unit
The visiting student's home supervisor
The chair or head of the student's home department
The signed letter and form are then sent to the School of Graduate Studies for final approval. If the visit is approved, SGS will issue a formal offer of admission.
How do I find a supervisor?
It is the visiting student's responsibility to find a willing and qualified supervisor. Please review the faculty listings in the U of T graduate unit or units most closely related to your research interests. Some students find it helpful to review our list of programs to help them find a suitable graduate unit.
How do I pay fees?
Most students visiting for more than a couple of months choose to open a Canadian bank account, often before coming to Canada. If you do so, you can register the University of Toronto as a bill to be paid, much as you would your telephone bill. Students who do not wish to open a Canadian bank account have the option of paying their fees by credit card, on arrival. Please note that this option entails a 1.75% service charge.
Is there financial support?
Usually, there is no financial support available to visiting graduate students. In a small number of cases, an individual supervisor may have discretionary research funding that will allow him or her to provide some support for a visiting student. If a prospective supervisor wishes to offer a stipend or cover some of the costs of a visit, he or she should contact one of the
Admissions and International Student Advisors at the School of Graduate Studies for information before issuing the letter of invitation.
What kind of visa or permit do I need?
A visa is a document allowing a person to enter the country. Citizens of many countries need to
apply for a visa before travelling. Students from
visa-exempt countries will need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). A permit is a document authorizing certain restricted activities, such as study or work, during a visit to Canada. Students visiting Canada for the purpose of conducting research are not well defined under current regulations. We encourage visiting students who have received their formal offers of admission to seek advice from the nearest Canadian consulate, embassy, or High Commission on what travel documents they may need to secure. Please note that any student receiving a study stipend from a Canadian source will need a social insurance number (SIN). If a SIN is required, you will need a study permit or work permit.
I've been told to apply for a work permit. What next?
If advised that you need to apply for a work permit, contact the Admissions and International Student Advisors at the School of Graduate Studies. If possible, SGS will issue the required supporting documentation.
Can I work while visiting?
If a work opportunity arises in the graduate unit you are visiting, you will only be able to accept that opportunity if you have the correct permit. Many study permits will specifically authorize work, under certain restrictions. If you hold a study permit, check the restrictions to confirm that you qualify. If you have entered the country with a work permit, you will not be able to undertake any work other than the research described in your letter of invitation. The work permit will have been issued on the basis of that very specific description of duties; to take on extra work would violate the terms of the permit.
You will only be allowed to accept employment if you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, if you hold a study permit with the appropriate restrictions, or if you have a work permit appropriate to the employment offered.
Can I take courses?
IVGS students are not allowed to register in formal graduate courses. Depending on the permission of your graduate unit and of the individual instructor, you may be allowed to audit courses.
Do I have to pay UHIP fees?
You will need to purchase coverage under UHIP unless you hold existing coverage under the health plans of a Canadian province. This is true even of students whose health insurance from home extends to provide coverage in Canada.
I have travel health insurance. Do I need to buy into the UTGSU supplementary health and dental plans?
Students who can demonstrate that they hold coverage comparable to — or greater than — the UTGSU supplementary health and dental plans have a narrow window in which they can apply to opt out. To determine whether you are eligible to opt out, compare your existing coverage as it applies in Canada with the benefits outlined in the
UTGSU health benefits booklet. If your existing coverage has significant gaps when compared to the UTGSU plan, then your request to opt out will not be approved. If your benefit coverage is comparable, please see
https://www.utgsu.ca/opt-out-info/ for instructions for how to opt out online. The deadline to opt out of Fall session coverage is usually the end of September. The deadline to opt out of Winter session coverage is usually the end of January. These deadlines are strictly enforced.
What will my campus be?
Students visiting a specific laboratory will usually base themselves on the campus where the lab is located, but you should discuss this with your host supervisor. With a few exceptions, most graduate units teach their graduate courses at the downtown St. George campus, but faculty members in the sciences may have their labs at either U of T Scarborough (UTSC) or U of T Mississauga (UTM). Most students in the humanities and social sciences opt to stay at or near the St. George campus, where the main library resources are housed, regardless of where their supervisor holds their undergraduate teaching appointment. Campus fees at the St. George and Scarborough campuses are roughly comparable. UTM student fees are higher, as UTM students have access to the free shuttle bus that runs between the St. George and UTM campuses. The difference in student fees for UTM students is significantly lower than the transit costs involved in travelling between the campuses.
Can my family come with me?
Visiting students are sometimes accompanied by family members. While the University can assist you in securing health insurance for your family members, we cannot provide significant support on immigration issues. Services covered by incidental fees are for the student only. Some services, such as athletic facilities, may have community membership options. If you are considering bringing family members, please allow more time to plan your visit, and inform the
Admissions and International Student Advisors at the School of Graduate Studies as early as possible.