Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What are the admission requirements?
A. For Master’s Programs and Full-Time Special Students, an appropriate bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent, with a final year average of at least mid-B from a recognized university.
For Doctoral Programs, an appropriate master’s degree, or its equivalent, with an average of at least B+ or demonstrated comparable research competence.
Many graduate units have higher minimum requirements than the minimum SGS requirements. As we receive many more applications each year from excellent candidates than we have placements available, meeting the minimum admissions requirement does not necessarily guarantee admission.
The minimum admissions requirements set by SGS can also be found on the Admissions page.
Q. What is an appropriate bachelor’s degree?
A. An appropriate admitting degree is one that satisfies the following criteria:
a) the issuing institution must be recognized as having degree granting authority by the appropriate jurisdictional authorities (e.g., Provincial / Territorial government or regional quality assurance body);
b) the degree must be the standard first entry degree which gives access to advanced research-based graduate programs in the country of origin (e.g., This is typically four years in North America or three-year Bologna compliant degrees. Please consult the SGS International Equivalencies Database for more information.); and
c) where appropriate, have the required affinity or programmatic fit to the graduate program to which you are seeking admission.
All admission decisions are made on a case-by-case basis and are based on a composite of information which may include previous academic performance, comments from referees, relevant professional activities, proposed research statements, correspondence between research interests and available faculty expertise, and, in some programs, standardized test scores. Eligibility cannot be determined until a complete application is submitted.
Q. Are three-year Bologna compliant degrees acceptable?
A. Qualified applicants with three-year Bologna-compliant bachelor’s degrees (except three-year UK degrees preceded by the GCE A-levels which are considered equivalent) are considered admissible and are encouraged to apply. In addition to the SGS minimum admission requirements, there are several factors that will be taken into consideration while assessing these degrees: requirements for gaining admission to the degree; content of the degree and duration of the degree, among others. Eligibility cannot be determined until a complete application is submitted.
Q. I have a four-year Bachelor’s degree from a community college. Will it be acceptable?
A. Applications to graduate studies at U of T from graduates of four-year community college bachelor’s programs are considered admissible and are encouraged to apply. In addition to the SGS minimum admission requirements, there are several factors that will be taken into consideration while assessing these degrees: the degree of affinity between the applied degree and the program to which the applicant is seeking admission; the academic content of the third and fourth year courses; and other indicators that the applicant is adequately prepared for independent research which is a distinctive characteristic of every graduate degree. The degree program should be normally comprised of at least 75% liberal arts and science content. Eligibility cannot be determined until a complete application is submitted.
Q. Can I apply to a PhD program directly from a bachelor’s degree?
A. Some graduate units will allow direct entry to a PhD program from a bachelor’s degree for exceptional applicants. Such applicants require an appropriate Bachelor’s degree, or equivalent, with an average of at least A–.
For more information, contact the department to which you are applying.
Q. I am an international applicant. How do I know if you recognize my degree?
A. Please consult our International Degree Equivalencies directory. If your degree is not listed there, you may wish to contact us for confirmation.
Note that we will not review or assess your academic record without an official application to a graduate degree program at the University of Toronto, including payment of the appropriate application fee. Prior to application, we are able to confirm if the degree you have received is considered equivalent to our minimum admission requirements. If you do need to email us to inquire about your specific degree, please be sure to include the country and university in which it was earned, and the full official name of the credential awarded, with date of award and length of study period.
Q. When should I apply?
A. Application deadlines vary from program to program. Please visit the program’s admission requirements page or contact the graduate unit for the exact date.
Q. I might miss the application deadline; can I have an extension?
A. All applications should be received by the application deadlines which are set by individual programs. Please contact the program you wish to apply to for approval to apply after the deadline.
If you have missed the application deadline, you cannot submit an online application until you have received approval from the specific program.
Q. I would like to apply to a graduate program at the University of Toronto. Where should I get the application form?
A. To apply to a graduate program, you must complete the online admissions application form available from the program’s admission requirements page. Please carefully read the instructions, requirements and deadlines provided by the program’s website as the application fee is non-refundable.
Q. Will you accept my application and supporting documents prepared and submitted by an agent or consultant?
A. The University of Toronto does not have any financial arrangements or special relationship with any agents who assist in the preparation and submission of a graduate application for a fee. You are required to complete and submit your own application and must provide your own personal details. All of the information necessary to complete an application to any graduate program is available on the program‘s admission requirements website.
Q. I don’t have access to the Internet; can I get a paper application form?
A. If you do not have access to the Internet, please contact the graduate unit for an alternative method of applying.
Q. Do I have to list all the schools and institutions I have attended?
A. Yes. It is required that you list all post-secondary institutions you have attended. You do not need to submit any information or documents related to high school education.
Q. I want to apply to more than one program; do I have to submit more than one application?
A. You will be assigned an applicant number and password when you start the SGS online application. If you wish to apply to more than one program, you can add a new application from the program selection section of the online application.
Q. My application status says ‘documents received, excl. official transcripts’. What does this mean?
A. Documents Received, excl. official transcripts is the status you will see on your application when all online supporting documents have been received. Some graduate units require that official transcripts be sent as part of the initial application, while others only ask for official transcripts from shortlisted candidates. Please review the instructions on your graduate unit’s website.
Q. I recently became a Canadian Permanent Resident. How can I update my legal status on my application?
A. Legal Status updates can be made by e-mailing the School of Graduate Studies notarized copies of your documents. Strict university regulations mean that we can only update your citizenship status if we are presented with original legal documents or notarized copies.
Q. Can I make changes to my application after I paid the application fee?
A. Application Changes must be handled by the program you have applied to. Please contact the graduate unit if you need to make any changes to your application.
Q. How much is the application fee?
A. A $125 CDN application fee is required. This fee is non-refundable and non-transferable. A supplementary application fee may be assessed depending upon the program to which you are applying. The supplementary application fee can be found on the program’s website or at the payment step of the online application.
Q. How should I pay the application fee?
A. Payment is made at the time of application online using a credit card (only a Visa or Mastercard credit card is accepted). Debit cards issued by Visa or Mastercard will not be accepted. If you do not have a credit card issued by one of these two service providers, you can purchase a pre-paid card. Applications will not be processed unless the application fee is received.
Q. Can my application fee be waived?
Q. I changed my mind and do not want to go to graduate school anymore; can I get a refund of the application fee?
A. There is no refund, waiver, or deferral of the application fee.
Academic Records & Transcripts
Q. How should my academic transcripts be submitted?
A. Applicants should ask each university attended to send their academic transcripts directly to the department (graduate unit) to which they are applying in a sealed and, preferably signed envelope. The envelope should be signed and stamped by the registrar or by an authorized official of your school/college/university.
Do not send transcripts to the School of Graduate Studies.
My institution will release transcripts to me but not to the institution to which I am applying. Will you accept transcripts submitted by me?
A. If the institution will only release the verification to you, please request that they are sent in a sealed envelope so that you can forward that envelope directly to the graduate unit. Do not open the envelope as that will void the verification. The documents must be received in the original sealed envelope to be considered official.
Q. My transcript does not include course title or grades. What should I do?
A. You should provide the graduate unit with course descriptions and/or an official statement of academic standing from an appropriate academic officer of the institution concerned.
Q. What do I do if my educational institution has closed?
A. If the school(s) you attended is no longer in existence, or if it is impossible to obtain official documents from any school(s), you should ask the Ministry of Education in the country in which the credential was awarded to furnish an official statement testifying to the impossibility of obtaining records. The Ministry should also be requested to supply the graduate unit at the University of Toronto with a list of courses taken and grades received by the applicant in that school or university.
Q. I have not completed my current degree yet; what should I do?
A. If you have not completed your bachelor’s degree (or master’s degree if applicable) at the time you apply to the University of Toronto, please request transcripts from your university showing the work you have completed to date. Please indicate the date when the final result will be available. If you are issued an admissions offer based upon your course work to date, all degree requirements must be completed prior to registration and a final transcript must be received by your graduate unit indicating the date of conferral of your degree.
Q. My name in my official transcripts is different from my passport/other transcripts; shall I provide a document explaining the discrepancy?
A. Yes. In case the names differ, you must provide original documentation of your name change, such as marriage certificate or a notarized name change certificate to SGS Student Services.
Q. My academic records are in a language other than English. Shall I also submit English translations of my documents?
A. Certified English translations are required for all international documentation written in a language other than English or French. SGS does not recommend translators but the translator must be certified. Translations do not replace original documentation. Both the original documents and translations must be submitted.
Q. My transcripts are in French. Shall I submit English translations?
A. French and English are both official languages of Canada. We therefore do not request English translations of transcripts written in French.
Q. Can I get my transcripts back?
A. Once supporting documents are submitted they become the property of the University of Toronto and cannot be returned.
Q. How many reference letters are required for admission?
A. SGS requires two letters of reference; however, you should review your program-specific list of admission requirements to determine if additional letters of reference are required.
Q. What is the process for referees?
A. Applicants will need to enter referees’ names and (institutional) email addresses into their
online application. The system will automatically email an electronic submission request to each referee when the application fee is paid. Although you will provide the referee information before payment, the system will not notify your referees until after you have paid the application fee. It is highly recommended that applicants contact their referees ahead of time to check their availability.
Q. My referee did not receive the email from the School of Graduate Studies. Could you please resend it?
A. Referees are advised to check their junk mail folder. If they still do not have the letter, you can resend the request email from the supporting documents section of your application. If you have entered your referee’s address incorrectly, please contact the graduate unit you are applying to for help making the correction.
Q. Is the recommendation deadline the same as the application deadline?
A. Some graduate units have separate deadlines for applicants and referees. Referees should submit their recommendations by the deadline specified in the reference request email they receive from the School of Graduate Studies.
Q. The contact information of my referee has changed. As I have already submitted the online application how can I edit the referee’s contact information?
A. As you have already submitted your online application and paid the appropriate application fee, you cannot make any changes to your application, except your own contact information (address). Therefore, if you need to update the contact information of your referee, you should contact the graduate unit and provide them with the required information.
Additional Supporting Documents
Q. How do I know when the graduate unit received my supplemental materials?
A. Applicants may monitor the status of their application by logging into the online application. Once you have mailed your supporting documents, please allow two to three weeks from the time you submit your application for your account to reflect receipt of these materials.
Q. Where do I send my application supporting documents?
A. Applicants should make sure that all supporting documents are sent to the graduate units they are applying to.
Name Mismatch Error
Q. I received an email that there is a name mismatch error. What does this mean?
A. Name Mismatch Errors occur when we have different names for you in one or more of our records systems. This is usually because of middle names or initials that are in one system, but not the other. This will not affect your application, and you can verify your name by emailing us should you be made an offer of admission.
Q. Do I need to take the GRE exam?
A. Although most of our graduate units do not require a GRE exam, there are some that do. Other departments encourage international applicants, in particular, to consider taking the GRE as this assists them in making a fair assessment of your preparation for graduate study. Please check the graduate unit’s instructions to see if the GRE is required in your case.
Q. English is not my first language. Do I need to take the TOEFL exam?
A. If your primary language is not English and you graduated from a non-Canadian university where the language of instruction and examination was not English, then you must demonstrate your facility in English by successfully completing an acceptable English language proficiency test. This requirement should be met at the time you submit your application, and must be met before registration is allowed. The TOEFL is just one of the m any tests that we accept. For more information, including minimum required scores, please see the English-language proficiency testing page.
Q. How do I apply for financial aid?
A. The university expects all graduate students to have a solid financial plan in place before pursuing their program of study. Both Domestic and International students are encouraged to explore the SGS financial aid and advising web pages to find information about accessing and applying for government student loans, grants, and student lines of credit. Students may also search for admission awards on the Graduate Awards Office web page or through their home graduate unit.
Funding for Research-Stream Students
Q. Will my graduate unit offer me a funding package?
A. Students accepted into most research-stream Master’s and PhD programs will receive funding from their graduate unit — in other words, from their department and/or Faculty. Funding typically covers one year of master’s study and four to five years of doctoral study. The unit will provide an annual Funding Letter clearly outlining the value and composition of each student’s package.
Visit our funding and FAQ pages to learn more about Base Funding and the average Actual Income received by full-time, active graduate students in their respective programs.
Incoming students are strongly encouraged to apply for external awards for which they may be eligible well in advance of applying for admission. Visit the SGS awards and funding web page to located various admission awards for your program.
Waiting for Decisions After You Apply
Q. Where can I get information on the status of my application?
A. You can log in to the online application system for information on the status of your application. You will need to use your Applicant Number and password assigned to you by the School of Graduate Studies.
Q. When will I hear a decision on my application?
A. This varies by graduate unit, and is affected by the volume of applications received. Some early offers of admission are sent out in January or February; however, the majority of offers normally come in March. SGS generally advises applicants to expect a response by April, although decisions continue to be made after this point.
Q. I sent my application but I have not heard back from the graduate unit. How do I know my application and supporting documents have been received?
A. Graduate units do not normally confirm the receipt of applications. You are responsible for ensuring that you have read and understood the application requirements for that graduate unit, and that you have gathered all the necessary components of your application package. You can check the receipt status of your documents by logging in to the online application and viewing the details of your application. A delay can be expected between the time of receipt and when the status is updated.
Q. The status of my online application is indicated as “Documents pending”; however, I am sure that all my supporting documents have been submitted.
A. Every document submitted by mail by an applicant has to be entered onto the system by a graduate administrator. There is necessarily a time lag between the receipt of documents and the uploading of that information onto the Online Application system. However, an applicant needs to contact the department where s/he has mailed the documents directly and inquire if all documents have been received.
Q. Will the School of Graduate Studies provide feedback for students who have been rejected?
A. The School of Graduate Studies oversees the graduate admissions process and sets minimum admission requirements for all graduate programs at the University of Toronto, however, admission decisions are made locally at the departmental level.
Due to the large number of applications graduate units receive each year, we unfortunately cannot accommodate requests for personalized feedback on your application. Admission to University of Toronto is very competitive and students who meet, and even exceed, our minimum requirements may not necessarily receive an offer.
Offer of Admission
Q. What is an Offer of Admission?
A. The offer of admission from the School of Graduate Studies is your official acceptance letter which outlines important information about your program (e.g., start date, graduate unit, program, and degree). Very often there are conditions on the offer, which must be satisfied before registration is permitted. Below are details on how to clear some of the most common conditions. If a condition in the offer letter is not included in the examples below, and you’re unsure how to clear it, please contact your graduate unit. The term “graduate unit” is used to refer to the department, Faculty, school, or institute offering your graduate program.
(1) Completion of your current program with a specific average and confirmation of degree conferred. This condition has two elements that must be satisfied:
- proof that you have obtained the specified average and
- proof that you have received your degree.
You must arrange to have a transcript of your final official academic record forwarded to your home graduate unit once you have completed your coursework and received your degree. If your transcript is forwarded before it has been updated to indicate conferral of degree, the second part of the condition will not be cleared. To save time and expense, ensure that your academic transcript includes the confirmation of degree conferred.
If you satisfy your requirements during the summer but will not receive your degree until after your graduate program commences, then you must arrange to have the following two documents forwarded to your graduate unit:
- an official transcript of your academic record which indicates final standing, and
- an official statement from your registrar which confirms that the degree requirements have been satisfied and indicates the expected date of degree conferral.
(2) Authentication of self-reported grades: This condition requires you to authenticate self-reported grades by providing your graduate unit with official transcript(s) of your academic record, directly from the issuing institution(s) by the specified date.
(3) Certified English translation of academic record or diploma: If your transcript or degree is not in English, you must arrange to have the document translated by an authorized translation service or your embassy or consulate.
After Being Admitted
Q. I have been admitted; however, I have a few questions before I make the final decision. Who do I need to contact?
A. You should contact the graduate unit from which you have got your acceptance letter. The graduate administrator of your program will be able to answer your questions.
Q. May I defer admission to the University of Toronto?
A. With departmental approval, you could defer admission for up to 12 months. Admitted applicants who accept an offer of admission are expected to enrol in the term for which they applied and were admitted.
More Questions About Grad Studies at U of T?
As graduate programs and degree requirements vary widely across the University of Toronto, if you have a program-specific question, your best point of contact will be the graduate administrator for the unit offering the program you wish to apply to.