Graduate Application Information

The Application system will open October 15, 2021.The application deadline for 2022-2023 academic year will be January 7, 2022.

General Admission Requirements

Admission to our graduate programs is highly competitive. Successful applicants typically have qualifications higher than the minimums listed below. Applicants are expected to have some existing background in languages appropriate to their area of study. Potential supervisors can offer more specific advice about requirements in specific fields.

English-Language Requirements

If your native language is not English and you graduated from a non-Canadian university where the language of instruction was not English, you must submit your English-language test score no later than February 3 (PhD applicants) and March 3(MA applicants).

The minimum test scores our department accepts are:

  • Paper-based TOEFL score: 600 overall, with a TWE score of 5.0;
  • Internet-based TOEFL score: 100 overall, with a 22 in Writing and Speaking
  • IELTS: 7.0

For further details, including exemptions and test-result submission instructions, see the School of Graduate Studies policy on English-language proficiency.

Minimum Requirements

MA Program

  • An appropriate bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent, with a final-year average of at least mid-B from a recognized university
  • Must have attained a B+ standing (GPA of 3.3) or its equivalent in the final 5.0 full credits of the BA
  • Must have successfully completed at least 6.0 full credits in history with a B+ average

Part-time MA applicants must meet the same admission standards as full-time applicants.

These are minimum requirements and do not, in themselves, guarantee admission.

PhD Program

  • Must hold an MA degree in history or its equivalent
  • Must have attained at least an A- (3.7 GPA) standing in the MA
  • Must satisfy the department of their ability to do independent research at an advanced level

Exceptional students will be admitted directly to the PhD program with a BA. These applicants must have attained at least an A- (3.7 GPA) in their undergrad program.

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

Application Procedures

All application instructions and materials for both the School of Graduate Studies and the Department of History are only available online. Before you apply, please read the graduate applications and admissions FAQ.

Preparing Your Application

In order to apply for graduate studies in history, you will need to prepare the following:

  • Field of study and area of historical investigation:
    • You will be asked to provide up to three fields of study at a couple of points in the application process. See: Choosing Your Fields of Study below.
  • Statement of interest:
    • In 500 words, describe your general area of historical investigation and your specific research interests. An ideal proposal will outline an original topic, and describe how you have or will obtain the training to carry it out. Many applicants also describe how their research interests intersect with those of faculty at U of T. When reading these statements, the Admissions Committee will look for originality, imaginativeness of approach, awareness of theoretical issues, quality of writing. You need to articulate a feasible program of study with the understanding that it may evolve as you progress through the program. Many of our students end up working on a thesis topic different from the originally proposed one.
  • Writing sample:
    • You will be asked to upload a sample of academic writing: maximum 3,000 words for MA applicants and maximum 6,000 words for PhD applicants, including footnotes, bibliography, etc. The writing sample should be applicant's very best paper. The ideal is to submit an essay that would demonstrate one's potential as an emerging historian. DO NOT EXCEED THE MAXIMUM WORD LIMIT. It is acceptable to provide an excerpt of a paper including a short paragraph to explain the assignment and what was cut for length.
  • 1-2 page CV:
    • Include such information as education; awards, scholarships and distinctions; conference presentations; professional and/or work experience; and/or volunteer experience)
  • Three referees:
    • Be prepared to submit their institutional email addresses. Be sure to inform your referees that you are doing this and that the University of Toronto’s School of Graduate Studies will contact them by email. Note that due to high volume of applications, the department cannot accept references in paper format. The online submission process is described in the Frequently Asked Questions section. If referees do not have/use an institutional email address, an alternate email may be accepted. Contact the Graduate Office for instructions.
  • Transcript:
    • You will be required to upload one electronic or scanned transcript from each post-secondary institution you attended. 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. If you attended a Canadian university, you may upload a PDF copy of your academic history from your 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.

Note: We highly recommend that you look at our list of graduate faculty and email potential supervisors in advance, indicating your interest in coming to work with them. 

How to Apply

Please read Preparing Your Application above before continuing.

  1. Log in to the School of Graduate Studies application.
  2. Provide the biographical and education information requested.
  3. Provide contact information for three referees (institutional email address is required).
  4. Pay your application fee online as instructed. Applications are not processed until your payment is received. Direct payment-related questions/concerns to the School of Graduate Studies.
  5. Once you pay the SGS application fee, you will be able to access the Application Information Form. Fill this out and submit it online.
  6. Submit your electronic or scanned transcript (See: Preparing Your Application above). The admissions committee will make its decision about your application based on this scanned transcript. Please ensure the file is complete and readable before submitting.
  7. Submit your statement of interest.
  8. Submit your writing sample.
  9. Upload your CV.
  10. Arrange to submit English-language test scores, if applicable. (See: English-Language Requirements above.)
  11. Be aware of the application due date. Note that all documents including references must be submitted by the deadline. Be sure to allow sufficient time for your referees to provide a letter of recommendation. Follow up with your referees ahead of the deadline to ensure references are submitted on time. The application system is set to close on January 8, 2020. Incomplete applications will NOT be considered.

Choosing Your Fields of Study

As you work through the Program Selection section of the application, you will be asked to indicate at least one, and as many as three, fields of study.

You will also need to enter these fields in the Applicant Information Form’s supplementary documents section. (This form will be available after you pay the application fee).

Under "Proposed Area of Study, max. 250 characters," applicants are expected to provide a brief summary of their research interests or proposed topic. For example, if "American Foreign Policy under Ronald Reagan" is your research interest, enter "American" and "International Relations" as a field/concentration. The Proposed Area of Study field can be used to elaborate on it (ex. "American foreign policy under Reagan" or "American policy toward China under Reagan," if your research interest is more specific).

This is not an either/or choice or a ranked ballot. We are asking you to indicate the different field(s) or cluster(s) into which your research program or topic (as laid out in detail in your statement of interest) fits.

Many of our applicants indicate one geographic and one thematic field. We find that the option of more than one field provides a richer sense of a student’s interests and research proposal.

No matter how many fields of study you enter, your application will be judged according to academic merit.


  1. A student proposing to study political activism among indigenous peoples of the Caribbean could select Caribbean and Latin American History as the first field and Empire, Colonialism, and Indigeneity as the second field.
  2. A student proposing a study of American empire through the prism of food could select History of the United States as the first field and indicate thematic interest in food and in empire as the second and third fields.
  3. A student proposing a transnational study of sex workers moving between Europe and Africa could select: Gender, Sex, and Sexuality; European History; and African History.
  4. A student proposing a study of the Catholic Church’s approach to poverty in early modern Italy could choose to select only two fields: European History and the History of Religion and Society.

Admissions Process

Applications are judged by an admissions committee drawn from different historical fields, with input from all members of the graduate faculty. Academic merit and fit with the program are the key criteria. There are no quotas for specific fields.

More Information

If you have difficulty accessing the forms or need further information about application procedures, please contact our graduate assistant.