Admission FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

01. What are the admission requirements?

MSc Program: an appropriate bachelor's degree, or its equivalent, with an average of at least A- in the last two years of study from a recognized university, with courses such as biology, biochemistry, calculus, organic and physical chemistry, general physics and physiology.  Physical stream students from undergraduate programs in physics, mathematics, engineering and other sciences are encouraged to apply to the MSc program.

PhD Program:  an appropriate master's degree, or its equivalent, with an average of at least A- from a recognized university.

03. The online application requires my proposed area of study. What do I enter if I don’t have this information?

If you are not sure of your desired area of study, leave this section blank.  However, your chance of admission will be improved if you can narrow down the preferred area and make a good case for your choices in your autobiographical essay.

04. There are two deadlines for the Fall admissions. What is the difference?

The review process is the same for the 1st round and 2nd round applications.  It is just that applicants will be notified of the admission results in late March or early July respectively.

05. What do you expect in the Autobiographical Essay?

The Autobiographical Essay should be about 1 – 2 pages describing:

  • why you want to do research in Physiology at the University of Toronto.
  • special accomplishments
  • academic interests and future plans
  • summary of strong points in academic and research background
  • a brief explanation of a gap in educational history (i.e. medical reasons, employment, etc.), if applicable.
  • Explanation of your choice of supervisor if you have one.

06. Do I need to submit transcripts for all post-secondary institutions attended?

Yes, transcripts are required from all post-secondary institutions attended, regardless of coursework, even if no credits were received.

07. Who can I use as a reference?

At least two letters of reference are required with an application to the graduate studies program. These letters are preferably from:

  • professors who know the candidate well enough to assess the student's abilities in scholarship and research, indicating the applicant's suitability for graduate work.
  • professors who have taught the students in science courses.

If you are applying to the PhD program, a reference letter from your MSc supervisor must be provided. For applicants who are doing or have finished their MSc in the Department of Physiology applying to the PhD program will require a third reference letter from the Physiology Graduate Coordinator.

08. I have a medical degree from an overseas university. Can I be accepted into the PhD program in Physiology?

Applicants holding medical degrees (MD or MBBS) are generally admitted to the MSc first, not the PhD program, with the potential to transfer into the PhD program under specific circumstances.

09. I am an international applicant. What is the application deadline?

It is recommended that all international applicants apply by the February 15 deadline for Fall admission.

10. I am an international applicant. How do I know if you recognize my degree?

You can check if the degree you have received is considered equivalent to our minimum admission requirements by visiting the SGS International Degree Equivalencies directory.

Please note that we will not review or assess your academic record without an official application to Physiology, including payment of the appropriate application fee. 

11. My previous studies are from outside of Canada. Do I need to take the GRE and/or English Facility Test before submitting my application?

The Department of Physiology does not require GRE scores.  However, if your primary language is not English and you graduated from a non-Canadian university where the language of instruction and examination was not English, then you must demonstrate your facility in English by successfully completing an acceptable English Facility Test (EFT).   Applicants who do not meet the English Language Facility requirement will not be admitted, even if all other requirements have been met.

12. My academic records are in language other than English. Shall I also submit English translations of my documents?

Certified English translations are required for all international documentation written in a language other than English or French.  Both the original documents and translations must be submitted in a signed and sealed envelope.

13. Do I need to have a supervisor before applying?

No, you do not need to have a supervisor before applying.  However, it is recommended that you contact prospective supervisors at the time of application.  If you have a potential supervisor, please ask the professor to write a supporting letter for your application file as well. 

14. Does the Department find students a supervisor?

No, students are responsible for finding supervision. See the Instructions on Finding a Supervisor on our website at

15. I have found a professor who has agreed to be my supervisor. What are my chances of being accepted for graduate studies?

Having found a supervisor does not guarantee acceptance for admission.  The admission decision is based on the overall evaluation of the application, including previous academic performance, letters of reference, autobiographical essay, and assessment of your qualifications.  It is recommended that your potential supervisor write a supporting letter for your application file.  The decision regarding acceptability for admission will be made by the Admissions Committee. 

16. I have found a supervisor, but s/he does not have funding. Can I work with this supervisor?

Supervisors must adhere to the Funding Policy which states that they must be able to guarantee your funding.  You cannot work with a supervisor who is not able to provide the minimum stipend.

17. I have been accepted for admission. What happens if I cannot find a supervisor in time for registration?

You may request admission deferral for a maximum of one year (12 months).  Please notify our Graduate Office in writing.  An official record of any academic study undertaken in the interim must be submitted.