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MA and PhD Programs

Application information and instructions

These instructions are for applicants to the Department of Economics (MA) Master of Arts (General and Doctoral Stream) and (PhD) Doctoral Programs.


  1. Applications for admission in September 2018 will open in November. (There is NO January admission for any economics graduate program.)
  2. It is highly recommended that you complete your SGS online application by December 15, 2017 and make arrangements for all documents to reach us by January 17, 2018.
  3. The final date you will have access to complete your application and make your application payment is January 17, 2018. The final deadline for all supporting documents to be received is January 24, 2018. These final deadlines are strict. We do not accept late applications regardless of the reasons for their lateness. To take into account unexpected delays, which may be beyond your control, you should plan to submit your application by December 15, 2017 (as mentioned above). Similarly, you should plan that all documents reach us by January 17, 2018.

The document deadline applies to the following documents documents: transcripts (to be scanned and uploaded following the SGS online application instructions), GRE and English Language Facility test scores (if applicable), all references, and the departmental supplementary application (for which you will receive an access link from Economics via email within a week of your completion and payment of your application). Please, recommend your referees to upload their online reference form by January 17, 2018 (referees will be able to upload their references until the final deadline of January 24, 2018).

Processing times

During peak times we process a large volume of application documents, and it takes us some time to note the receipt of documents in the online system. We review and assess application documents only after all personal and academic information has been entered in the online application, the application fee has been paid, and our supplementary application form has been completed. Please allow a minimum of four weeks (excluding holidays) after you have completed all these steps for the online status of your application to change from "Documents Pending" to "Under Review".

Before you start your online application, please read ...

  • the relevant pages on this website, regarding admission, GRE, and English Language Facility requirements, and the FAQ for the relevant program (MA FAQ, PhD FAQ)
  • the following instructions.


Please start submitting requests for all required official documents (transcripts and GRE and TOEFL test scores if applicable) well in advance of December 15, 2017. Note that we do not send requests to your referees to complete a reference form until the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) has received your application fee. Note also that official English translations must accompany all foreign documents (e.g., transcripts) not written in English. Your obtaining translations may take time, so plan ahead in order to meet our deadline of January 24, 2018 for the receipt of all documents.

After you access the SGS admission application and enter your contact information, an applicant identification number and a password will be emailed to you. You can leave and return to your application at any point until you move to the payment stage. Once the payment is made you will be able to check on the status of your application. You may check the online application system periodically to confirm the receipt of documents and your application status.

As you progress through the SGS online application, you will notice links to "instructions". Click on these links to access instruction details and links to important resources you need to help complete your application correctly. Please ensure that you read carefully all such instructions and follow them.

Note: If the first and last name on the English Language Facility Test or GRE are not the same as the first and last name you enter in the online application, considerable time can be lost in processing your application because your test scores will not be matched to your application. Make sure that the names match exactly! (If you make a mistake and the names do not match, notify the Economics Graduate Office of any differences and provide us with your applicant number and the program to which you are applying.)

Important note to applicants for MA programs

We have two streams in our MA program, the "general stream" and the "doctoral stream" (see our MA program page). You will not be asked to select which of these streams you are applying for on the SGS online application form (see Step 1 below). Instead, you will be asked to make this selection on the department's supplementary application form (see Step 7 below).

How to apply

  1. Read through the following instructions.
  2. Contact people who are willing to complete online reference forms for you. If you are applying to the MA program, you need two references; if you are applying to the PhD program, you need three references. If a referee doesn't have an institutional email address as required on the application form, leave the email address field blank on the form and submit a message on our contact page giving your name, the program you have applied to, your application number, your referee's name, and your referee's email address. Once you have paid the application fee and your application has the status "Documents Pending", we will enter the email address for you and an invitation will be sent to the email address you provide.
  3. Go to the SGS Online Admissions Application page. For each question, there is a link to instructions. Click on each link and read the instructions carefully before answering the question.
  4. Provide the biographical and education information requested.
  5. Submit contact information for your referees. Once you have completed the application and paid the application fee, the referees will be contacted by email, with a link to our reference form. Note that we do NOT accept hard copy letters of recommendation or letters of recommendation sent by email. You MUST supply an email address for each of your referees when you complete your application (even though the system does not require you to do so).
  6. Submit your payment (online payment is preferred but mail-in payment is possible). You should make this payment by December 15, 2017 (final deadline: January 17, 2018).
  7. Once your payment is received, within 10 days you will receive an email message from the Department of Economics with a link to a supplemental form.
  8. Upload your scanned transcript(s) (Official English translations must accompany all foreign documents not written in English), institutional grading scale(s), and scans of your GRE results (if applicable) and English Language Facility test scores (if applicable), following the SGS online applications instructions. These scans must be in a single pdf file. We should receive these scans by January 17, 2018 (final deadline: January 24, 2018).
  9. Ensure that official GRE scores (if applicable) are submitted. When requesting that scores be reported, make sure you include our department code (see our GRE scores page) as well as the institution code.
  10. Ensure acceptable official English Language Facility test scores (if applicable) are submitted.
  11. When you have completed the SGS online form and the department's supplementary form and have paid the application fee, and all official transcripts and test scores have been received, we will start evaluating your application.
  12. After the application deadline, you can email the Graduate Assistant updated information about your grades (scan oficial transcripts). These updates will be used in a best effort basis.
  13. NOTE: Transcripts from post-secondary institutions are to be scanned and uploaded following the SGS online applications instructions. Successful applicants will be asked to arrange to have one OFFICIAL copy of your transcripts (in the original language) from each post-secondary institution your have attended sent to the department. Official English translations must accompany all foreign documents not written in English. Transcripts must be enclosed in an envelope provided by the issuing institution(s) and sealed or signed across the back of the envelope by an official of the issuing office. See the SGS web page on transcripts for additional information.
  14. NOTE: Do not mail us any additional documents (e.g. research papers, theses, statement of purpose, c.v.). They will be discarded.

Applying to the Law and Economics combined program

If you are applying to the Law and Economics combined program, you must read the instructions on this page and in addition review the application procedures of the Faculty of Law and ensure that all required documents have been received by the Department of Economics and the Faculty of Law. Note that the application deadlines of the Faculty of Law may differ from ours.

Applying to be a Special Non-degree Student

In some circumstances, an applicant with a graduate degree may wish to apply to be a non-degree student to take Economics graduate courses (part-time or full-time). For example, if you have a master's degree in engineering, are thinking of pursuing economics at the MA or PhD level, and lack key required core courses such as microeconomics and macroeconomics, you may wish to take Economics graduate courses. Before completing an application, contact the Graduate Administratror if you have an interest in applying to be a such a special non-degree student.

Special Non-degree Students are not registered in a program of study that may lead to a degree. Students wishing to take one or two graduate courses not for degree credit should apply to be admitted as a part-time special student and those wishing to take more than two courses not for degree credit should apply to be admitted as a full-time special student.

A student applying to be a non-degree student must meet the minimum requirements of SGS, as well as our minimum requirements. Please check carefully the admission requirements on our website to ensure that you meet our minimum requirements before contacting the Graduate Administrator in Economics. Please note that meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee an offer of admission, since the number of qualified applicants far exceeds the number of places available. As a result, many well-qualified applicants cannot be accommodated.

If, after having been a non-degree special student, you are subsequently admitted to one of our graduate programs, then, on our recommendation, and with the approval of SGS, graduate courses you took as a special non-degree student may count for up to one full-course equivalent (two semester courses) or 25% of the course requirements for the degree, whichever is greater, provided that they have not already been credited towards another degree, diploma, certificate, or any other qualification. The process customarily occurs as follows: after completing the courses as a Special Non-degree student, a student complete a request for transfer credit form and submits it to the Economics Graduate Office; if the request is approved by both the department and SGS, the course(s) are applied to the program requirements.

Any tuition fees paid as a special student cannot be transferred to a subsequent degree program.

Contact information

For information or assistance on applying and the online application please contact:

Graduate Assistant, MA and PhD Programs
Telephone: 416-978-4544
Please see our contact page for email information.

The application assessment process

Each applicant who meets the minimum requirements and who submits all required test scores and transcipts by the deadline will have his/her file reviewed by the Admissions Committee. Note: The meeting of these requirements is only a necessary condition, not a sufficient condition, for acceptance into the program. The Admissions Committee will start round one offers for September admission in late March and early April and will continue with subsequent rounds of offers until June. All applicants will be notified either with an offer of admission or rejection of their application by the end of June.

School of Graduate Studies (SGS)

For further information, see the university's pages on graduate housing, fee information, fee schedules, sessional dates, and the Centre for International Experience. The website of the School of Graduate Studies, http://www.sgs.utoronto.ca may also be of interest.