Department of English

University of Toronto

Application Information

Graduate Applications*

Successful and waitlisted applicants to all graduate programs will be notified by the middle of March via email. Unsuccessful applicants will be sent written notification by early May.

(The next Application Cycle will open in early October 2021 for admission in September 2022.)





Please review the English Proficiency Requirement on the School of Graduate Studies website:

Admission to all graduate programs in English is based on the candidate’s undergraduate and graduate record, on the evidence of the academic references, on the writing sample, and on the statement of purpose. Please consult the School of Graduate Studies Calendar for admission requirements and program regulations, including English language facility. Admission is competitive: the minimum qualifications do not ensure acceptance.

Entry into the MA program requires an appropriate bachelor's degree [i.e. a 4-year undergraduate degree] or its equivalent, (preferably in English) with a minimum GPA of 3.3 (B+average). Students also need a minimum of 7 full (full-year) courses or the equivalent of full-year and half-year courses in English. Evidence of first-class work (A) in some English courses and a course (or a half course) in the following major periods would strengthen the student's application:  Medieval, Renaissance non-dramatic, Renaissance dramatic, 18th-century and Romantic (or Victorian). While historical coverage is especially important, a strong grounding in the major literary genres is also an asset, as is study in the varieties of literary writing in English, across national cultures and ethnic/racialized, gendered, and sexually diverse communities.
The Department of English does not require GRE scores for the PhD, PhD Direct Entry, MA, and the MA in the Field of Creative Writing programs.

Current MA students who are planning to apply to PhD programs are strongly encouraged to apply for SSHRC and OGS awards in preparation for first-year doctoral studies.

Students wishing to apply for admission into a collaborative program must apply to (and be accepted into) both the Department of English and the respective collaborative program.

Once all documents are received your application will be reviewed for admission.  It is your responsibility to monitor the status of your documents in the online application and to follow up with your referees if references are not received in advance of the deadline. The Department of English will ONLY accept paper documents for the following admission materials:

The SGS on-line application will close on 10 December (scanned transcripts, Statement of Purpose and Writing Sample must also be uploaded by 10 December). Official transcripts and electronic letters of reference are due 14 January.  This is a STRICT deadline.  LATE APPLICATIONS will not be accepted and incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Fields of Study


The application for graduate study at the University of Toronto is available online. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure all documents are submitted by the deadlines outlined below. It is recommended that documentation be submitted well in advance of the deadlines to avoid any disappointment.

About the Application:

Please follow these instructions carefully. At the end of the instructions there is a link to an online application form but you will need to refer to this page for full application instructions.

Applications to the Graduate Department of English must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) using an online admissions application, which is housed on a secure server in the University of Toronto.

The online application allows applicants to manage and submit biographical and educational information immediately to the University. Applicants can edit an in-progress application and check the status of all documents submitted using a secure password and User id. A valid email account is needed to complete the online application, as the University will correspond with applicants using email.

Applications are considered complete and can be reviewed only after all documentation is received by the Department of English (this includes letters of reference submitted online by referees, a writing sample, a statement of purpose, Curriculum Vitae [optional] and official transcripts sent by mail). Only payment of the non-refundable and non-transferable application fee ($125) will trigger a request sent  to referees for the electronic submission of reference letters.

Supporting documentation (ONLY official transcripts and MA in the Field of Creative Writing applicants' portfolios that are 1 megabyte or larger in size) should be mailed to Graduate Admissions, Department of English, 170 St. George Street, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, M5R 2M8 no later than 10 December.

How to Apply:
  1. Log in to the online application (link below).
  2. Provide the biographical and education information requested.
  3. Be prepared to submit contact information for at least TWO academic referees. Be sure to inform your referees that you are doing this and that the University of Toronto, School of Graduate Studies will be contacting them by email.
  4. Submit your payment (online payment is preferred but mail-in payment is available).
  5. Arrange to submit Official Transcripts from each post-secondary institution that you have attended.
  6. Be aware of the deadline dates for the application and documents.
  7. Check your document status. You will be able to check whether or not your documents have been received by the Department through the online application website.  Please allow at least two weeks after the 14 January deadline until you contact the Department regarding the status of missing documents.  Due to the volume of applications needing to be processed, it takes a few weeks for documents received by the deadline to be indicated online.

Deadline for Applications:

On-line applications must be complete and supporting documents (with the exception of letters of reference and official transcripts) received in the department by 10 December 2020*.  Letters of reference and official transcripts will be received until 14 January 2021*.  We recommend you allow at least 15 business days for mailing any supporting documents.



    HOW TO APPLY (SGS Online Applications): 
BEFORE proceeding to the SGS application form below, the Department of English strongly recommends that applicants apply for all external funding for which they may be eligible, that is,            

  •  Applicants to the MA and MA CRW programs: SSHRC CGS M and OGS (see links for application information) NB: the SSHRC CGS M has a 1 December deadline, and OGS has an early January deadline;
  •  Applicants to the PhD and PhD U programs: Doctoral (CGS D) SSHRC and OGS (see links for application deadlines); NB: the Doctoral (CGS D) SSHRC application deadline is very early (late September for "quota" students, mid October for outside applicants submitting directly to SSHRC). 





  • Statement of Purpose
  • Writing Sample
  • Two Academic Reference letters
  • Official Transcripts (from each post-secondary institution attended)
  • Curriculum Vitae (Phd Program only)
  • English Language Proficiency Test Scores if applicable (IELTS, TOFEL) - paper copy submitted to the department only if the testing agency did not send directly to the University


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Programs of Study

The Department of English offers three graduate degree programs: MA (including MA in the Field of Creative Writing or MA CRW), PhD and Direct Entry (PhD U), and it also participates in a number of Collaborative Specialization Programs. Students who will have finished their BA, and who have not yet enrolled in any MA program, should, under normal circumstances, apply to the MA program. However, a small number of BA students may be considered for direct entry to the PhD program. Students applying to the MA program who wish to be considered for direct entry should indicate this in their statement of purpose and submit a second application to the Direct Entry program. However, if you are interested only in the Direct Entry program and not the MA, please apply to the Direct Entry Program only.

Collaborative Specializations offered through the Department of English are: Book History and Print Culture (MA and PhD), Diaspora and Transnational Studies (MA and PhD), Editing Medieval Texts (PhD only), Jewish Studies (MA and PhD),  Sexual Diversity Studies (MA and PhD), South Asian Studies (MA and PhD), Women and Gender Studies (MA and PhD), Women's Health (MA and PhD). 

A Combined Program in Law and Literature (MA only) is offered through the Department of English.

Academic Transcripts

The Department requires applicants to submit one electronic or scanned transcript from each post-secondary institution attended to begin the application process.  Applications will not be considered complete and will not be reviewed by the Admissions Committee until official paper transcripts have been received. The deadline for submitting official paper transcripts is 14 January. 

Electronic or Scanned copies of Transcripts:

Scanned copies of transcripts must be up to date and must include the transcript “legend” which is usually printed on the back of the paper transcript. More detailed requirements for scanning and submitting can be found below. The application review process will begin based on this electronic or scanned transcript. Please ensure that the file is complete and readable before submitting.

The following option applies to transcripts from Canadian universities only: In lieu of a scanned copy of a paper transcript, applicants may upload a PDF file of their academic history from their university’s student web service. Printing to pdf directly from your web browser is ideal; if this is not possible you may copy and paste the information into a word processing program and print to pdf from there. Where possible, the file should include the university’s grading legend and your name. Some universities do not include the same information on the student web service as they do on the transcript (e.g., class size or average). If the admissions committee determines that the file is incomplete you may be asked to submit a copy of the transcript instead.

Technical Requirements:

Please scan your transcript in grayscale at the lowest dots per inch (dpi) setting that results in a legible document. We recommend 72 dpi whenever possible.

Official (Paper) Transcripts:

No newly admitted student may register in graduate studies at the University of Toronto without submitting an official transcript that confirms the information provided on the scanned transcript submitted with the application.

Although the committee will begin the admission process based on the scanned transcript, an official paper transcript is still required at the time of application (please ensure that these are received by the 14 January deadline).  Your application will not be considered complete and will not move to the next stage of the admission selection process to be reviewed by the Admissions Committee until your official transcripts have been received and the information on the scanned transcript verified.

One complete set of official academic transcripts from each post-secondary institution that you have attended should be sent in support of each application that you submit. This includes official transcripts from all institutions for which transfer credits appear on any your transcripts.  They must remain in the registrar sealed envelopes, as issued by the institution.  The issuing institution can send transcripts directly to Graduate Admissions, Department of English, 170 St. George St., University of Toronto, Toronto ON M5R 2M8 (Attn. Tanuja Persaud, Room 605).  NOTE: This year we have had a number of issues with Transcripts being sent to us via the DHL courier.  This courier has delivered transcripts sent to the above address to other buildings on our street, and/or, has claimed to deliver transcripts to us but we have never received them. Please be aware of these issues when choosing your courier service.  

Ordering transcripts:

The University of Toronto requires an official transcript from each post-secondary institution that you have attended; it is your responsibility to submit transcripts PRIOR to the deadline. Applicants who attended universities outside North America will be asked to provide notarized English translations to accompany all foreign documentation not written in English. 

Each institution will have its own procedures for issuing transcripts, and in some cases this may take weeks or even months. You must consider this timeline when requesting your transcript(s).

You may submit official transcripts in one of two ways:

  1. Instruct your institution(s) to mail an official transcript directly to the Graduate Admissions, Department of English.  Documents must be sealed in the original envelope from the issuing institution, with a signature across the seal.
  2. Obtain an official, “issued to student” transcript from your institution and mail it to Graduate Admissions, Department of English.  Documents must be sealed in the original envelope from the issuing institution, with a signature across the seal.

In either case, photocopies, faxes, or documents arriving in previously opened envelopes will not be considered official. All non-English language documents must be officially translated into English and submitted to the University of Toronto together with the originals. If you are unable to submit official documents, please contact the Graduate Administrator, Department of English.

Applicants who apply while their most recent program is still in progress may be required to provide an additional final official transcript indicating the completion of that program including degree conferral. If this is the case the requirement will be indicated on the offer of admission.


During the pandemic, many universities are having difficulties providing official transcripts in paper format.

As outlined above, always the preference is for hard-copy Official Transcripts to be mailed in sealed envelopes directly from the Registrars' offices to our Graduate Administrator.  However, as a response to these difficulties, during this pandemic it is possible for applicants to order digital versions of official transcripts to be sent directly to our Department via email.  These transcripts cannot come via the student/applicant or they are considered "unofficial". In order for digital transcripts to be considered official, the digital version of the official transcripts must be emailed directly from the university registrar's office or transcript office to our Graduate Administrator, Tanuja Persaud. Her mailing information is:

Tanuja Persaud -
Graduate Administrator
Department of English
Rm 605, 170 St. George Street
University of Toronto
Toronto, ON M5R 2M8

Please also note that all transcripts must include legends. These are necessary for interpretation and adjudication, and without these applications will not be considered complete.  Applicants should therefore request that transcript legends also be provided by the registrar or transcript office and emailed directly to Ms Persaud. This protocol applies to any documentation that may be sent from a university registrar in support of applications.

Please also note that as soon as paper hard-copies of Official Transcripts again become available, these may be required by the Graduate Administrator, in addition to any digital versions of Official Transcripts that may have been submitted. 

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Letters of Reference

Two academic letters of reference are required. As soon as you have entered all the referee’s contact information and paid the application fee, the system will send an invitation to the referee to submit an appraisal electronically (using a link to a form). Please allow 15 days for the submission of appraisals. Letters of reference must be submitted electronically.  Paper copies will not be accepted. 

For MA CRW applicants: Two academic letters of reference submitted online by referees, each addressing your performance in university English and/or Creative Writing coursework. At least one letter must discuss your performance in English coursework. Do not use editors, publishers, or fellow writers as referees.

Curriculum Vitae

PhD and PhD Direct Entry applicants are required to upload a CV (of no more than 3 pages) with their SGS on-line application. This is a mandatory requirement. 

MA and MA CRW applicants can choose to upload a CV (of no more than 3 pages) with their SGS on-line application. 

Please do not send a hardcopy of your CV to the Department of English.

Statement of Academic Purpose

You should submit a statement of purpose outlining the particular strengths and interests you would bring to us. Discuss the areas of literary history and the literary forms that your work has engaged and is likely to engage in future, as well as the theoretical approaches that inform that work.  (If you are a PhD applicant you should, in addition, outline in detail the kind of dissertation you might ideally write). You should also consult our web site and mention faculty members whose work is particularly relevant to your proposed studies and research. The statement should be limited to 500 words.

Writing Sample

PhD and Direct Entry PhD applicants should upload a writing sample (with their SGS on-line application) of not more than 5,000 words (15-20pp), inclusive of footnotes and endnotes.  The bibliography is not part of the required word count.  

MA applicants should upload a writing sample (with their SGS online application) a maximum of 12 to 15 double-spaced pages (inclusive of footnotes and bibliography).  Portfolio submission requirements for the MA in the Field of Creative Writing are different, see below for details.  The writing sample should be an accomplished piece of the applicant’s own academic writing, such as an advanced undergraduate seminar paper. Preference is for essays focused on literary studies and criticism.  Applicants from other academic backgrounds should submit a sample that demonstrates their skills in close reading and analysis.

NOTE: MA, MA in English in the Field of Creative Writing & PhD Applicants
Multiple writing samples or portfolios will not be considered, so please choose the one that best exemplifies your skills as a scholar.
Writing samples must be less than 1 megabyte in size in order to be uploaded to the SGS online application. 

Portfolio (for applicants to the MA in English in the Field of Creative Writing only)

Please submit a portfolio consisting of 20-25 pages of prose (drama, fiction, or creative non-fiction), and/or poetry. Manuscripts cannot exceed the maximum of 25 double-spaced pages of prose or 25 pages of poetry (double-spacing not necessary) or a combination of double-spaced prose and poetry (not to exceed 25 pages).

Collaborative Specializations

If you wish to be considered for admission to a collaborative specialization program, please follow the instructions in Step 4 of the online Program Application. You should also contact the specific Collaborative Specialization Program Office to determine the admissions deadlines and to see if they require any additional documentation.

Proposed Area of Study

If you have identified an area of particular research, please note this in the section on Program Selection of  the Program Application. If not, please leave the section blank. Applicants to the MA in the Field of Creative Writing should specify Creative Writing.

Dual Applications

Applicants applying to the MA in English in the Field of Creative Writing and who would like to be considered for entry into the regular MA in English (or vice versa) MUST complete an SGS on-line application and submit the required supporting documentation for each program.

English Language Proficiency testing (updated Sept 2020)

English Language Proficiency is a requirement of the School of Graduate Studies. Please see our Admission FAQ webpage. Detailed and specific information about accepted tests, minimum required scores, procedure for submission of the scores to the University of Toronto, and exemption procedures is available from the SGS website here:

Mailing Instructions

Please send supporting materials (official transcripts/Attestation letters) and English Language Test scores (unless specified only to be sent electronically) to:


Tanuja Persaud
Graduate Admissions
Department of English
Rm 605, 170 St. George Street
University of Toronto
Toronto, ON M5R 2M8



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