Department of English

University of Toronto

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions - Graduate Programs

Q: What time does the system close on the application deadline date?
A: A time of 9:00 AM and 11:59 PM EST is assumed for opening and closing dates, respectively, but we recommend that applicants try to meet the deadline by 5:00 pm because staff are not available beyond this time.

Q: Can you mail me an application form?
A: Applications can only be made on-line. In cases of extreme difficulty accessing the site, please e-mail us at deptofenglish.graduate@utoronto.ca.

Q: Do I upload my supporting documents before I pay the application fee?
A: NO. You cannot upload documents until after you have completed the application on-line and paid the non-refundable and non-transferable application fee of $120.00. This also applies to letters of recommendation. Your referees will receive an electronic invitation to submit an academic reference in support of your application once the application fee has been paid.

Q: Can I make changes to my application before the deadline but after it has been submitted on-line? What should I do if I have made an error in a document that I have uploaded to my  application? What if I decide not to continue with my application?
A: Once the application fee has been paid, you cannot make any changes to your application. Once documents have been submitted on-line you cannot make any changes to these documents. If you have discovered an error in the document that you have uploaded, please contact deptofenglish.graduate@utoronto.ca.
If you decide not to continue with your application, please send a brief email to deptofenglish.graduate@utoronto.ca  as it is very helpful to know if you have withdrawn your application.

Q: How can I be sure my application is complete?
A: You can check the status of your on-line application yourself.  Completed applications will have an “Under Review” status.

Q: Why does my online application still show that I have documents pending? I submitted my documents weeks ago.
A: Due to mailing and processing time, it may be several weeks before we can indicate that a document has been received. Please check your online application regularly for updates. We will not confirm receipt of documents by phone, fax, email or mail. Please Note: The University will be closed for the winter holidays from 5:00 pm December 21, 2017 to January 2, 2018 inclusive and will reopen at 8:45 am January 3, 2018. Online references for the MA and Phd Programs can be submitted during this time; however, technical assistance will be unavailable and application statuses will not be updated. The Department of English will begin to respond to inquiries that were submitted over the break on January 3, 2018.

Q: What are the entry requirements for the MA Program?
A: Entry into the MA program requires an appropriate bachelor's degree, or its equivalent, (preferably in English) with a minimum GPA of 3.3 (B+ average). You also need a minimum of 7 full (1 year) courses or the equivalent of full year and half year courses in English. In addition, evidence of first-class work (A) in some English courses and a course (or a half course) in the following major periods and genres - Medieval, Renaissance non-dramatic, Renaissance dramatic, 18th-century and Romantic (or Victorian) - would strengthen your application.

Q: Does the Department of English require GRE scores?
A: No, the Department of English does not require GRE scores to be submitted with your application for  the PhD, PhD Direct Entry, MA, and the MA in the Field of Creative Writing programs. These results will not be considered with your Master's or Doctoral application.

Q: Does the Department of English require writing samples?
A: Yes, a writing sample is required for the PhD, PhD Direct Entry, MA, and the MA in the Field of Creative Writing programs. You can find more details on our Application Information page.

Q: Is reading knowledge of French required for entry into your graduate programs?
A: No. Students in the PhD program will need to show proficiency in French by the 3rd year of their PhD, but it is not an entry requirement for either the MA or the PhD degree.

Q: Can I submit more than 2 reference letters?
A: Only in extenuating circumstances will we accept one more reference letter.

Q: When should I mail in my supporting materials (writing sample, transcripts etc)?
A: Writing samples for the PhD, PhD U, MA, and the MA in the Field of Creative Writing programs must be uploaded to the SGS on-line application (do not send paper copies to the Department). The only exception is if an MA in the Field of Creative Writing applicant's writing sample includes large photos/illustrations; in this case ONLY, the writing sample should be mailed to the Department of English, Graduate Admissions, by December 12. All official transcripts should be requested as soon as possible to ensure that they arrive no later than 19 January. Letters of reference can no longer be mailed; instead they will be transmitted to us electronically by the referee. However, the university will only contact your referees upon payment of the application fee, so please make this fee transaction as soon as possible (and no later than December 12). We will accept electronic letters of reference and (hard copy) transcripts until 19 January.

Q: Do I require records from all of the post-secondary institutions attended?
A: YES, a history is required from each post-secondary institution attended. Applicants who attended universities outside North America must provide notarized English translations to accompany all foreign documentation not written in English.
If academic records are interim, pending completion of studies in progress, official final academic records indicating that the degree has been conferred must be submitted to the graduate office as soon as possible and before admission can be finalized.

Q: Can I begin my program in January?
A: No, all programs commence in September.

Q: I have completed my degree at a university outside Canada. Coursework was conducted in English. Do I still need to take the TOEFL test?
A: No.  If your first language is not English but you have completed your undergraduate degree at a University where English is the primary language of instruction, you do not require other evidence of language proficiency.  Otherwise TOEFL (or equivalent) scores must be supplied.  Overall TOEFL scores must be 100 or higher with minimum scores of 22 in both writing and speaking sections. We also accept IELTS and MELAB.

Q: I have been out of an academic environment for many years and I’m not sure if faculty members will remember me. Should I send in non-academic letters of reference?
A: Letters of reference must be academic ones. Faculty usually keep records for a considerable time, so choose instructors that knew you best and contact them.

Q: If I am applying for the MA in English in the field of Creative Writing, will my application also be considered for the general MA degree?
A: No. If you wish to be considered for both programs, you must complete an SGS on-line application and submit the necessary supporting documents for each program.

Q: Is it possible to take an MA degree part-time?
A: Yes, but we have a very limited number of places for part-time MA students. Part-time students have 6 years to complete the degree and can take a maximum of 2.5 full courses per annum and a minimum of .5. The cost is the same as a full-time MA, but it is spread over 6 years. If you wish to apply for the part-time M.A., you must indicate this on the application form.

Q: I am applying to your PhD program and am wondering if I should also apply for any external fellowship awards.
A: Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents should apply for the OGS (Ontario Graduate Scholarship) award and, if appropriate, the SSHRC fellowship: http://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/currentstudents/Pages/Scholarships-and-Awards.aspx. International students may only apply for the OGS award. If you are not successful with either of these awards, PhD candidates will receive a University of Toronto Fellowship upon registration in the program.

Q: I am wondering how to fund my MA program other than through OSAP. Are there any scholarships RAships or TAships available to MA students?
A: Unfortunately there are very few departmental admission scholarships for incoming MA’s, and Research Assistantships/Teaching Assistantships are reserved for students registered in a program lasting more than 3 sessions (MA in the field of Creative Writing and PhD). However, Ontario Graduate Scholarships and SSHRC CGS M are available to MA students. Financial information can be found at http://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/currentstudents/Pages/Financing-Your-Graduate-Education.aspx.

Q: If my BA degree is from another discipline, can I still apply to the MA program in English? Should I take some extra courses in English?
A: You must have a minimum of 7 full (year long) courses in English for admission into the MA. However, it is possible to enrol in undergraduate courses as a Special Student (admission enquiries should be addressed to ask@adm.utoronto.ca) and these credits would be considered equivalent to your degree credits.

Q: My university will only send my transcripts directly to an institution. Will this be acceptable and how will I know when they (and referees’ appraisals) have been received?
A: You will be able to track receipt of documents through the online application. Transcripts may be mailed to us directly from the issuing institution, or you may mail them directly to the department.

Q: When can I expect to hear if my application has been successful?
A: We expect to notify PhD applicants about admission decisions in early March. We contact MA applicants at the end of March/early April.

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