Application Procedures

Department of Political Science

University of Toronto

PhD and MA Program Application Instructions

Eligibility Criteria: Admission Requirements
Application Deadlines (1 annual admission cycle only- September start):
  • January 8, 2024 for PhD and PhD Direct-Entry
  • January 15, 2024 for MA Program
  • January 15, 2024 for Non-Degree Studies
Application form
  • Login to the application site after reading through the application instructions.
  • If you are a first-time applicant, click the link to Create an Account to begin your application. You will receive a verification code via email as part of the account creation process. After entering your verification code, you will create a password for your account.
  • You may save and return to the application at any point in the process.
  • You will need to provide all biographical and academic information requested in the form
  • You will be required to indicate each post-secondary institution you have attended. The information you enter here will be reflected in the document upload portion of the application (after the application form is submitted).
  • You will be required to enter information for referees (4 referees for PhD applicants and 2 for MA applicants). Please read supporting document description below for referee requirements before entering referee details. Your referees will automatically receive a notification email that they have been requested to complete a reference for your application (as soon as you click “send to recommender”), along with instructions to submit their reference letter in the application system. We will not consider reference letters submitted without institutional email addresses unless you complete this form prior to the application deadline. If you need to change your referees, please get in touch with the Graduate Secretary in the Department of Political Science, Louis Tentsos ( If you need to send a reminder email to your existing referees, you can do so through your applicant portal after submitting your application. Please do not exceed the required number of referees required for your application.
  • To view the status of your application, including outstanding requirements, please log in to your account to view your applicant status portal.
  • You will need to pay your application fee and upload supporting documents including unofficial transcripts, statements of intent, writing samples, and more, through your applicant status portal after submitting your application.
  • Applications are considered complete and can be reviewed only after the fee is paid and all documentation is received by the Department of Political Science (this includes letters of reference submitted online by referees). All documentation must be received by the application deadline (see above).
  • When you submit the application form portion of your application, you will be directed to the supporting documentation and fee payment page of the application. Here you will be prompted to upload required documents.

Supporting Documents

Writing Sample (upload in Word or PDF format)

  • (PDF or Word): at least 10 and no more than 30 pages of your best writing, preferably in political science or a related topic (i.e. an essay submitted for a course, up to 30 pages of a thesis written in support of your most recent degree, or an analytical policy document). It is helpful but not required that your paper is related to your anticipated research interests. Avoid autobiographical details.

Letter of Intent/Statement of Interest (upload in Word or PDF format)

  • Describe the analytical question or problem you would most like to pursue in our graduate program. For PhD applicants: Please indicate the question/problem that you foresee as the most likely candidate for the subject of your thesis. You may wish to indicate what theoretical approaches are shaping your thinking on this topic, and why our Department is an appropriate academic environment for engaging in that work. Please do not make this an autobiography. Some background information may be relevant, but what we really want to know is what interests you analytically. The statement must be no more than 500 words. If you are applying as a Direct Entry PhD make it clear to us in your statement that you wish to be considered initially for the PhD program. Indicate at the end of the statement the names of 2 faculty members you would be interested in working with.
  • Note – be sure to select “Letter of Intent/Statement of Interest in the drop-down menu.

Resume or C.V. (upload in Word or PDF format)

  • Include a resume or c.v. of up to one page that includes information not available elsewhere in your application package, including work experience relevant to your scholarly interests, academic awards, conference presentations, and publications.

Transcripts (upload PDFs)

  • All applicants are required to submit scanned copies of official documents (i.e., not PDFs of unofficial transcripts from a student web service) including all post-secondary studies identified in your application form. The copies must be up-to-date displaying degrees conferred if applicable. If the language of the transcript is other than English or French, certified translations must be included with the submission. Official transcripts are those issued from the university and not printed from a student portal.

Academic Letters of Reference (submitted electronically independently by referees)

  • PhD applicants require 4 letters; MA applicants require 2 letters
  • You will be required to enter information for each of your referees. Your referees will automatically receive a notification email when you enter their information and click “Send to Recommender”. The email will inform them that they have been requested to complete a reference for your application, along with instructions to submit their reference letter in the application system.
  • If you need to change your referees, please get in touch with the graduate secretary, Louis Tentsos (
  • If you need to send a reminder email to your existing referees, you can do so through your applicant portal after submitting your application.
  • The admission committee prefers letters from tenure track faculty who have taught or supervised you and who are familiar with you academically. If you need to substitute one letter as described above with a non-academic letter, it is recommended that you provide a letter from someone who can assess your academic ability in some way.
  • If you are applying from a degree program it is normal that you will provide at least two letters from the program you are currently enrolled in if possible (unless you have just started the program this year).
  • Please use your referee’s institutional email address whenever possible. This will be of benefit to you as generic email addresses (i.e., Hotmail or Gmail) are difficult to track and verify and can be problematic. If you are submitting a referee with a non-institutional email address (such as Gmail or Hotmail) you must complete a Referee Verification Form in order for the letter to be considered.
  • If you have been away from school for many years and have difficulty acquiring reference letters from tenure track faculty who have taught or supervised you, it is possible to use employers who can speak to your academic ability or the equivalent. Just as a caution, it will be difficult for the admissions committee to review your eligibility reviewing a letter from someone who cannot assess your academic ability.
  • If, in the rare case your referee does not have email, you should still enter their information in the Referee section of the online application form. Please then have your referee fill in a hard copy of the form available here. The form must be received by the Graduate Office (see address below) in a sealed envelope with a signature over the seal. The letter should come directly from the referee to this address: Graduate Office/The Department of Political Science/University of Toronto/100 St. George Street, Rm. 3025/Toronto, Ontario/M5S 3G3/Canada

Proof of English Language Proficiency (if required-see below)

  • If your primary language is not English (except Canadian citizens whose primary language is French) or if you have not graduated from a university whose primary instruction is English, you must submit proof of English language proficiency. Check the SGS page for the various recognized English tests. Students must arrange for their score to be reported electronically to the University of Toronto (Enrolment Services) by the testing agency. The institution code for U of T is 0982. There is no need to specify a department.

Collaborative Program Application

  • If you are applying to an interdisciplinary (Collaborative) program, please visit the appropriate website to review the application procedures and any special admission requirements of that program. For reference, many of our students complete collaborative programs and complete degree and collaborative program requirements simultaneously

Monitoring Application for Completeness

  • It is an applicant’s obligation to monitor the status of documents in the online application and to follow up with referees if references are not received in advance of Applicants must ensure applications are complete by the deadline.


  • For the purposes of the application, we do not require hardcopies (referring to mailed in paper copies) of any application materials or documents. All documents must be submitted electronically. Official hardcopies of transcripts are required only from applicants who are accepting an offer of admission.

Funding Opportunities

  • If you are in the process of applying AND you have an A minus average, then, if eligible, you should seriously consider applying to scholarship programs such as the Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council masters or doctoral fellowships (SSHRC) Doctoral, or Masters.
  • For more information on applicant funding opportunities though U of T visit this page: School of Graduate Studies Awards & Funding Info (enter “admission” in search bar). Please note that Connaught and Trillium scholarships are not applications you can apply for. They are adjudicated based on application material of PhD applicants through the admissions process.

Proceed to application after reading through the application instructions above thoroughly: