Getting Started as a New Student

Julius Haag

I have worked with several community partners to improve the outcomes of racialized and marginalized youth in the GTA.

Julius Haag
PhD Candidate, Criminology & Sociolegal Studies
Full Profile  

Committing to a program in a new city, province, or country can be daunting. This can be especially true in a city as large as Toronto, at a university as large as U of T. We offer many ways for you to adjust to your new school and city.

When you begin your studies at U of T, you’ll become a vital part of a dynamic academic community. Whether you study on the St. George, Scarborough, or Mississauga campus, you’ll find an abundance of academic conferences, student groups, sports, theatre, and music to help you build a supportive network of friends, colleagues, and mentors.

We also recommend that you bookmark the SGS GradHub to consult throughout the year.

Letter of Acceptance

The letter of acceptance from the School of Graduate Studies is your official acceptance letter. It outlines important information about your program, such as your 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 your letter of acceptance 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.

Examples of Admission Conditions:

(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.


Join us for an orientation sessions throughout August and September. You’ll learn about programs and services, academic support, and life on campus and in Toronto. There will be panel discussions on the graduate school experience, the Graduate Professional Skills (GPS) program, financial support, plus campus tours. Visit the Orientation page for more details.

Your graduate unit may also hold a more detailed session for students in your specific program.

Registration & Enrolment

What is the difference between enrolment and registration? Enrolment refers to signing up in specific courses. Registration refers to your achieving status as a full-time or part-time student upon payment or deferral of tuition and fees. More details.


Fees for the 2020-21 academic year will be posted on the Student Accounts website in mid-July. 

In addition to tuition fees, students are required to pay incidental fees. These include campus fees, student society fees and, in some professional programs, a placement fee.

International students must also pay for the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP). Learn more.

For students admitted on a part-time basis, the part-time fee is calculated at approximately 30% of the full-time fee. Only students admitted as part-time students may pay part-time fees; not all programs allow part-time registration. For detailed information on fees, please visit the Student Accounts website.

Late registration fees for the Fall session are assessed for any outstanding fees on September 10, 2021. We therefore recommend that you pay your fees at a Canadian bank or financial institution by August 27, 2021 to allow for processing time.

(1) Yearly fees cover the Fall and Winter sessions and normally cover the Summer session also (see below). Incidental fees are included unless otherwise indicated.

(2) Domestic fees apply to Canadian citizens, permanent residents, status refugees, and exempt international students (see below).

(3) International fees apply to non-exempt international students. They include the UHIP premium, which is mandatory to ensure that international students have health insurance coverage.

Fall & Winter Sessions

Fees for both the Fall and Winter sessions are payable upon registration. You should pay your fees at a Canadian bank or financial institution by August 27, 2021 to avoid late registration fees. 

Summer Session & Early Registration

Fees are not charged for the Summer session except in the following two cases:

(1) part-time students who registered in only one of the preceding Fall or Winter sessions;

(2) students who commenced a program by taking formal courses in the Summer session.

If you’re accepted to begin your program in September, you may commence in the preceding Summer session with the approval of your department. Students approved for early registration and engaged only in research do not pay summer academic fees. Students enrolled in summer courses pay summer academic and incidental fees.

International Student Fee Exemption

In accordance with the recommendations of the Ontario government, certain categories of international students are exempt from paying higher international fees. Instead they pay academic fees equivalent to those for Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and status refugees. Students may qualify for fee exemptions in a number of ways, which are related to their sponsorship and source of financial support. Detailed descriptions of fee exemptions are available on the Student Accounts website.

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 and provided with an annual Funding Letter clearly outlining the value and composition of their package.

Visit our Funding and FAQs 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 webpage to locate various Admission Awards for your program.

Resources for International Students

If you’ve just arrived in Canada, make your first stop at U of T the Centre for International Experience (CIE). Staff and student volunteers can help you find temporary and permanent housing, introduce you to fellow students, get you oriented, and more. They’ll even store your luggage temporarily.

The CIE also offers a number of orientation activities that run from mid-August to mid-September. These include information seminars, workshops, field trips, and cultural events.

The International Portal on the SGS website also provides helpful links to tri-campus services and resources.


Housing Services provides student-friendly listings of off-campus accommodations advertised by landlords and by students seeking roommates. It also serves as a year-round current source of housing information:

Koffler Student Services Centre, Room 150
214 College Street, Toronto, ON M5T 2Z9


If you’re interested in staying at a U of T residence, you should confirm your interest and rank your residences of choice on StarRez as soon as possible.

Graduate House

Graduate House is an award-winning residence offering apartment-style suite accommodations for 435 full-time graduate and second-entry professional faculty students.

Graduate House
60 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON, M5S 3L1
Fax: 416-946-8887

Massey College

Massey College is an independent residence community of senior academic scholars and full-time graduate students, operating under its own policies and guidelines.

Massey College
4 Devonshire Place, Toronto, ON M5S 2E1

Student Family Housing

Student Family Housing is reserved for U of T full-time degree students with a partner/spouse and/or children. 

If you are interested in family housing at U of T, please visit the Student Family Housing webpage to complete an online application. Note that you do not have to be a student to apply; however, you must be registered to accept an apartment offer. 

For full information please visit our website or contact us directly at 416-978-8049. Immediate vacancies are sometimes available.

Student Family Housing
35 Charles Street West #101, Toronto, ON M4Y 1R6
Phone: 416-978-8049

Off-Campus Housing

Housing Services’ Housing and Roommate Finder service provides students with listings of rooms and apartments for rent, as well as fellow U of T students who are looking for roommates. The service also provides resources such as a sample lease and a review of what tenants need to know about the law. If you’re coming from outside Toronto, you can find temporary housing while searching for more permanent accommodation. Housing Services can provide a list of temporary accommodations, most of which is located within 45 minutes from the St. George campus by public transportation.

Landlords usually advertise units about 60 days ahead of the date of availability. Since private accommodation is not inspected by U of T, quality cannot be guaranteed. Therefore, you should meet potential landlords and inspect the premises before you enter into any agreement.

Student TCard, UTORid, UTmail+

If you’re a new student, get connected to the JOINid, TCard, UTORid and UTmail+.

While the University is closed, TCard Services is offering some services online to assist new students in obtaining their UTORid activation instructions. For more details on all the services they are offering remotely during the University closure, please visit the TCard website.

Further information:

  • The University of Toronto issues a JOINid to applicants so that they can access key online services before coming to campus. You should have received an email with your JOINid and instructions for enabling it If you’ve lost the email or didn’t receive it, please contact
  • Before arrival, you can use your JOINid and existing email address for residence applications and to access your student account on ACORN (
  • Once you pick up your TCard (your U of T student card), your JOINid will become your UTORid, giving you access to further services: ACORN, wireless networks, online library resources, Career Exploration & Education and more. After you activate your UTORid, you’ll be able to set up your U of T email account, where you’ll receive all official email communications from the University.
  • Proof of citizenship and your offer of admission letter are required in order to receive a TCard. For detailed information about the documentation required to get your TCard, visit
  • Before arrival on campus, you can use your JOINid to access your student account on ACORN to update contact information. Upon receipt of your TCard, you will be given a Secret Activation Key to promote your JOINid to a fully valid UTORid.

Using your JOINid to access ACORN

(For students who are unable to obtain their TCard before September)

Every applicant to the University of Toronto is assigned a JOINid. It was provided to you through an email from SGS (

When you begin your studies at U of T, your JOINid will become your UTORid, which will allow you to access a number of services such as email, library resources, and Blackboard. Instructions on how to activate your UTORid are provided to you when you pick up your TCard.

If you are unable to obtain your TCard (and UTORid) before September, you can enable your JOINid to gain access to ACORN.

You must enable your JOINid and create a password if you wish to access ACORN before arriving on campus. This can be done online: You do not have to be here in person.

Your JOINid will not work until you enable it (create a password for it).

If you have trouble locating the email sent to you with your JOINid, please contact

If you lose your JOINid password, you can use the enabling site to change your password. Please note that updates to passwords can take 24 hours to roll over in the system.

If you are unable to reset your password using the enabling site, please call 416-978-HELP, or email to reset your password. Please specify that you have already enabled your JOINid.


Students may have academic accommodation needs based on a physical, sensory, or mental health issue, or learning disability, and disabilities may be permanent, chronic, or temporary. Graduate-specific accommodations are available. Early registration is encouraged. Please refer to Accessibility Services and the Accessibility page on the SGS website for more information.

Health and Wellness

The School of Graduate Studies and Health and Wellness have partnered to offer wellness counselling and wellness workshops just for graduate students.

The Graduate Student Wellness Portal also offers a wealth of information about services and resources on the tri-campus and in the GTA community.