Department of English

University of Toronto

Application Information

The application cycle for admission in September 2023 (2023-2024) will open on October 1, 2022.

We expect to notify PhD applicants about admission decisions in early March. We contact MA applicants at the end of March/early April.

Online Application Deadline

December 19, 2022 (11:59 pm Eastern Standard Time) - By this date, applicants must have completed their online application and paid the non-refundable and non-transferable application fee.

Application Documents Deadline

January 6, 2023 (11:59 pm Eastern StandardTime) - By this date, all supporting documents (Statement of Academic Purpose, Writing Sample, MACRW Portfolio, CV, ELP test scores if applicable) including letters of reference and official transcripts, must be submitted.

These are STRICT deadlines. LATE APPLICATIONS will not be accepted regardless of the reasons for their lateness, and incomplete applications will not be reviewed.




Admission to all graduate programs in English is based on the candidate's undergraduate and graduate record (transcripts), on the evidence of the two(2) academic references(recommenders), on the writing sample, and on the statement of purpose. Do not submit any materials in addition to those listed. Additional materials will be rejected/deleted from your application review. For admission requirements and program regulations, including English language facility, please consult the School of Graduate Studies ADMISSIONS landing page for more information:

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.

Entry into the MA program in English in the Field of Creative Writing must meet the same minimum requirements and submit a portfolio. It is not necessary to have an English major, so long as you have the seven undergraduate English courses.

Candidates for admission to the PhD program must complete an MA in English at this or another university with a standing of A- or better, and must satisfy the Department that they are capable of independent research at an advanced level.

Applicants with an unusual profile (e.g., students who have been admitted from undergraduate studies to a PhD or equivalent in another country or who have a master's degree related to but not specifically in English) may be considered for admission into the PhD U (direct entry) program. If in doubt about your eligibility, please contact the Associate Director, PhD before applying.

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.

Once all documents are received, completed applications (including payment of the non-refundable and non-transferable application fee) will be reviewed for admission by the Graduate Admission Committees. The Admission Committees meet on a rolling basis throughout February and March to make final decisions and send out admission offers. All decisions are expected to be available by late April.

It is the applicants' responsibility to monitor the status of their application(s) to ensure all required documents are submitted by the applicable deadlines, and to contact references to submit outstanding letters. We will not contact applicants or referees for missing documents. The Department will ONLY review complete applications.

Please ensure that you have read and understood the application requirements, paid the application fee, and submitted all the necessary components of your application package.


Fields of Study

(Applicable to PhD and PhD U applications only)



The Department of English accepts applications for September admission only. There is no January admission.

Before starting your application, we strongly encourage you to review the information below.

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 submitted documents. 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 will be reviewed only after the non-refundable and non-transferable application fee has been paid and 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 and official transcripts sent by mail).

How to Apply:

Deadline for Applications:

The Online Application Deadline is December 19, 2022 (11:59 pm Eastern Time). By this date, applicants must have initiated their online application and paid the non-refundable and non-transferable application fee. This is a STRICT deadline.

The Application Documents Deadline is January 6, 2023 (11:59 pm Eastern Time). By this date, all supporting documents, including letters of reference and official transcripts, must be submitted. This is a STRICT deadline.


Apply for SSHRC and OGS:

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. A transcript legend/grade scale/guide must be included attached to each transcript submitted. 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 6 January 2023. 

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 transcripts in grayscale (preferably) or low colour saturation, at the lowest dots per inch (dpi) setting that results in a legible document. We recommend 200 - 300 dpi whenever possible.

Official (Paper) Transcripts:

One complete set of official academic transcripts from each post-secondary institution (this includes bachelor's, master's, PhD, certificate programs, nondegree or special student studies) 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.

You must list all institutions attended, even if a degree was not granted. Transcripts should meet the following criteria:

Transcripts that are in a language other than English or French MUST be accompanied by an official English translation. The translation must be completed by the issuing university or by a certified translator. Both the original and translation copy must be provided.

We recommend you allow at least 15 business days for mailing any supporting documents. The issuing institution must 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).

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.

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Letters of Reference

TWO academic letters of reference are required. Only submit names for two references. If additional references are listed, they will not be reviewed. The system will prompt you to enter information for your referees. Your referees will automatically receive a notification email that they have been requested to complete a reference for your application, along with instructions to submit their reference letter in the application system. Please advise your referees to check their SPAM or JUNK folders for their notification emails as these are often redirected by email servers. All reference letters must be received by the application document deadline.

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.

ONLY institutional email addresses are acceptable for referees. References from free email providers (such as,, etc.) or personal email providers will NOT be accepted.

If you need to change your referees or if you do not have institutional email addresses for one or both of your referees, please email

Letters of reference must be submitted thorough the online application.  

We do not accept reference letters by email.

The university will not follow up when letters are outstanding, it is the applicant's responsibility to monitor the status of their references online and to contact referees if letters are outstanding.

The online application allows applicants to resend the email notification to their references and to change referee information.

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 document should outline your education, relevant personal and work experience (paid and unpaid), publications, professional activities, awards, honours, grants and fellowships (as applicable). 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 (research statement)

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.

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

Please follow the instructions on the SGS online application, if you wish to be considered for admission to a Collaborative Specialization program. Students applying for admission into a Collaborative Specialization program must apply to (and be accepted into) both the Department of English and the respective collaborative program.

Interested students should contact the specific Collaborative Specialization Program 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

English Language Proficiency (ELP) is a requirement of the School of Graduate Studies. Applications with missing test scores, or scores which do not meet the minimum requirements will not be assessed. There is no exception to the English language facility requirements.

Please see our Admissions' 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.

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

Mailing Instructions

We recommend that you allow at least 15 days for mailing any supporting documents.  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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