Frequently Asked Questions


General Information

Are there any required prerequisite courses for entrance into the IMS?

No. There are no specific course prerequisites for entrance to the IMS.

A strong background in biological sciences is acceptable. Applicants with majors in other disciplines are also encouraged to apply if they are interested in research in the medical sciences.

My marks are low but I have research experience. Is research experience a criterion for acceptance?

As IMS graduate programs are research intensive, research experience will be taken into account. This is especially true if marks are low and you are more than 5 years out of a completed undergraduate program.

We encourage all interested applicants to apply.

I am first author on a peer-reviewed publication. Are publications a criterion for acceptance?

No, publications are not a criterion for acceptance for a MSc application.

For PhD Direct Entry and PhD applicants, published works are expected as a means to demonstrate academic productivity and research experience and motivation.

Published work may help with the Admission Committee's evaluation of your application package.

Applicants who have published, or who have publications pending are strongly encouraged to include a list of publications in the C.V they upload to their application.

I have a medical degree from an overseas university. Am I eligible for the PhD program?

Applicants holding medical degrees (MD or MBBS) from an overseas institution may or may not be eligible for our PhD program. The Admissions Committee will decide which program you are best suited for, after review of your application

I just missed the application deadline. Can I still apply?

No. Late and incomplete applications will not be considered by the Admissions Committee for that admissions cycle.

When will I be notified of a decision on my application?

It depends. The IMS has rolling admissions. The IMS Admissions Committee meets once per month to review completed applications received through the online application portal. 

September Entry applications are reviewed from February to June. January Entry applications are reviewed in October.

Only completed applications will be sent to the IMS Admissions Committee for review.

After your application has been reviewed by the IMS Admissions Committee, you will be notified via email and through the online application portal. 

I have been admitted into the IMS and have accepted my Letter of Offer. How will I know if all of my admission conditions have been cleared?

Once registration opens and GEMS agreements become available, you can check your registration status on your ACORN account. Newly admitted students whose conditions have been cleared will have their status changed from "Invited" to "Registered" on ACORN.

Please note that it may take 12-24 hours for the system to update and for the change to be reflected on your ACORN account.

Application and Supporting Documents

What sort of information should be included in my Letter of Intent?

Your Letter of Intent is an opportunity to highlight your:

  • Academic and Career goals
  • Past and current research experience
  • List any potential supervisors you have been in contact with
  • Current research interests
  • Other pertinent information (extenuating circumstances for poor grades or gaps in your academic record, etc)
  • PhD and PhD Direct Entry applicants should also include a Research Proposal as part of their Letter of Intent

Are there formatting requirements for the Letter of Intent?

There are no specific formatting requirements. Letters of Intent should follow general formatting guidelines:

  • 8'margins
  • 10-12 font size
  • font type can include Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri
  • single spacing and/or 1.5 spacing

I am a PhD/PhD Direct Entry applicant, do I need to include references in my research proposal?

No, references do not need to be included in the research proposal. Any reference pages included do not count towards the 5-7 page requirement. 

I am a PhD/PhD Direct Entry applicant, can my proposed supervisor assist in writing the research proposal?

No. Research proposals must be written by the applicant. A research proposal is one of the criteria on which the IMS Admissions Committee uses to assess an applicants capabilities.

Where should transcripts be sent?  

Transcripts must come directly from the issuing academic institution to the IMS Office.

Transcripts can be sent electronically to

Transcripts can also be mailed to the IMS Office to:

Institute of Medical Science
Temerty Faculty of Medicine
C. David Naylor Building
6 Queen’s Park Crescent, Suite 119
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H2

I have official copies of my transcripts. Do I need to order new ones to be forwarded directly to IMS?

If your transcripts are from a Canadian institution and are still in the sealed/signed envelope, they will be accepted by IMS as part of your application. Transcripts from overseas (outside Canada) must be sent directly to IMS from the institution.

I am/was a UofT student. Is an official UofT transcript needed?

If you are/were a University of Toronto student, you do not need to provide an official transcript for the application. 

You must upload a copy of your academic record from ROSI/ACORN or the UofT electronic transcript to your online application.

My transcript is not in English. Is a translated copy required?

Yes – an English copy of your transcript must be provided with the original copy in its native language.

I have not yet completed my current degree? What should I do?

If you have not completed your current degree at the time you apply to IMS, applicants should still request transcripts from your university showing the work you have completed to date. Please indicate the date when the final result will be available.

If you are issued an admissions offer based upon your course work to date, all degree requirements must be completed prior to registration and a final transcript must be received from the issuing academic institution to the IMS Office indicating the date of conferral of your degree.

How will I know if the IMS Office received my official transcripts?

Once the IMS Office receives official transcripts directly from the issuing university the transcript requirement on your online application will change from "Received Copy" to "Received"

Who can I use as a required reference?

Required references must be faculty members at a recognized university and must know you well enough to be familiar with your strengths and weaknesses.

At least one referee should be able to attest to your research ability.

Ineligible required references include:

  • Sessional Lecturer
  • Adjunct Professor
  • Post-doc Fellow
  • Teaching Assistant
  • Research Assistant/Associate
  • Manager

I am a MSc applicant, who can I use as a reference?

For a MSc application to be considered, you must have two references from a faculty member (associate professor, assistant professor, or full professor) from a recognized university and at least one of those two references should be able to speak towards your research experience.

You can include a third reference from a non-faculty member that can speak to your strengths and weaknesses (work ethic, leadership, research, collaborative, or interpersonal skills, etc.). A third reference is optional and not required for your application to be complete and considered by the Admissions Committee.

Examples of an optional third reference include varsity sports coach, music instructor, research assistant, lab manger, job manager, post-doc fellow. Friends and family members are not eligible optional third references.

I am a MSc applicant, will my application be considered if I have one faculty reference, and one non-faculty reference?


Your application must have at least two references from faculty members (assistant professor, associate professor, full-professor) for it to be complete and for it to be considered by the Admissions Committee.

Should my referees send their reference directly to the IMS? Can I collect them and drop them off?

Referees will be instructed by the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) on how to submit their references directly to IMS online through the online application portal.

I am a domestic Master's applicant and there is a red 'x' next to the Supervisory Letter on my online application. What does this mean?

Domestic Master's applicants are not required to have supervisor in place for their application to be considered.

This red x will be waived by the IMS Office and your application will be considered.

If you have secured a supervisor already, the IMS Office highly recommends you upload a Supervisory Letter to your online application.


Does the IMS find students a supervisor?

No, students are responsible for finding their own supervisor.

Do I need to have a supervisor before applying?

  • Domestic Master's applicants are not required to have a supervisor in place at the time of application. However, we strongly suggest they contact prospective supervisors early in the application process
    • Applicants should list potential supervisors they have been in contact with in their Letter of Intent
  • PhD and PhD Direct entry applicants must have a supervisor in place. They also must upload a Supervisory Letter indicating acceptance of supervision and funding commitment
  • All International applicants must a supervisor in place. They also must upload a Supervisory Letter indicating acceptance of supervision and funding commitment

Does having a supervisor before applying guarantee acceptance into the IMS?

No, having a supervisor does not guarantee acceptance, but it may help with the Admission Committee's evaluation of your application package.

I have a Letter of Supervision from a proposed supervisor. Now what?

If you have secured a proposed supervisor, you will need to upload the Letter of Supervision to your online application.

You will need to ensure that you have paid the SGS application fee (refer to the How to Apply page) for the additional documents options to be made available.

Upload the Letter of Supervision under either the Letter of Supervision, Supervisor & Funding or Supervisory Letter option on the online application.

I am having difficulty finding a supervisor. What should I do?

Visit our Faculty Directory for a listing of all IMS faculty and try searching by research area. Consult the list of faculty actively recruiting for September 2024.

What should be included in a Supervisory Letter?

Letters of supervisor must come from your proposed supervisor. The letter should contain confirmation that the IMS faculty member is willing and able to supervise and fund you from the length of the degree (Master's 2 years, PhD 5 years, and PhD Direct Entry 6 years). It should also include the funding sources.

Any additional information the faculty member may wish to include.

I am currently working with my proposed supervisor. Can I continue to work in the lab when I am an IMS graduate student?

No. Per IMS policy, students are not permitted to be employed in the same lab, or under the same supervisor while they are a registered IMS graduate student completing an IMS graduate research project. This is considered a conflict of interest.

If you are currently employed (as a lab manager, research assistant, etc.) you must resign from that position before you become a registered graduate student and start working on your graduate research project.


What is 'full funding'?

The university mandates that all doctoral-stream graduate students receive full funding. Please review the Fees & Funding for more information.

I have found a supervisor, but they do 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.

How will I receive my funding?

It depends on the source of funding. Awards and research stipends (payments from your supervisor’s operating grants) are paid through different processes. You should discuss stipend payment with your supervisor.

Am I eligible for an IMS Entrance Award?

It depends.

There is a limited number of Entrance Awards.  Applicants who maintained an annual GPA of  A- throughout their degree program(s) might be eligible to receive an Entrance award.

You do not need to apply for an Entrance Award. You will receive an email from the IMS Office notifying you that you are the recipient of an award.

Can my supervisor use the IMS Entrance Award toward my minimum stipend amount?

No. Entrance Awards cannot be used towards a student stipend. Nor are they included in your stipend top-up.

Do I wait until I'm accepted to the program before seeking funding?

We recommend that applicants begin applying for awards, especially major awards (like the CGS, OSG, Vanier, etc.) prior to your acceptance into the program, if possible.

Am I able to Self-Fund?

No. Students at the University of Toronto in a fully-funded graduate program are not permitted to self-fund.

All IMS graduate programs (MSc, PhD, PhD Direct Entry) are considered to be fully-funded graduate programs.


Who is an international applicant?

According to the School of Graduate Studies (SGS), an international applicant is a person who does not have Canadian citizenship or permanent residency status at the time of the application.

An international applicant is a person under a Study Permit, Work Permit, Visitor Status, Refugee Status, or Other at the time of the application.

I am an international applicant already in Canada. Does the international application deadline still apply to me?

Yes. International applicants already in Canada must still follow the IMS international application deadlines.

I have applied for Permanent Residency. Which application requirements and deadlines applies to me?

If you have applied for, but are still awaiting Permanent Residency status, the international application requirements and deadlines apply to you.

Application deadline and requirements are tied to the legal status of an applicant at the time of the application, not any anticipated legal status.

I am an international applicant, do I have to take an English Language Proficiency Test?

Applicants from universities outside Canada where English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application.

Please note tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of their application.

Minimum Score Requirements can be found on the SGS website.

For test scores to be considered official, test results must be sent from the testing centre directly to the University of Toronto, School of Graduate Studies.