Frequently Asked Questions about the PhD ProgramTo display the answer to a question, click on the question. Show/hide all answers.
What is the typical profile of a successful PhD applicant?
Successful PhD applicants have qualifications well above our minimum requirements. Most of them have the following characteristics:
- average MA CGPA above A-
- average undergraduate CGPA above the mid-point between B+ and A-
- advanced undergraduate micro and macro theory courses with at least A-
- advanced undergraduate econometrics course(s) with at least A-
- several courses on mathematics (e.g. calculus, linear algebra, real analysis,...) with high marks
- high GRE scores (at least 165 for the quantitative component and 4.0 for the analytical component)
- strong and informative letters of recommendation
- evidence of research ability.
What makes the PhD program attractive?
- The Department of Economics at the University of Toronto is one of the top departments in Canada, and is highly-ranked among departments across the globe.
- The University of Toronto offers outstanding research facilities, including one of the top-rated research libraries in North America.
- The university is located close to the center of Toronto, a vibrant city that is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world.
What is the placement record for graduates of the program?
The placement record for all our graduates since 2002 is given on this page.
How many applications do you receive?
For our PhD program, we receive around 75 applications from domestic students and more than 200 applications from international students. Each year, we typically admit around 15 domestic students and around 4-5 international students
Is funding available for PhD students?
All admitted students are offered funding for the first five years in the program. For details, please see our page on graduate funding.
To be admitted, do I need to have a Masters degree in economics?
No. Students with a Master’s degree in economics or a closely related field (either completed or in progress) should apply through the regular-entry option. Students with only an undergraduate degree should apply through the direct-entry option. The direct-entry option is new for September 2020 admissions.
Can I apply to the PhD program if I have an MA in Finance or an MA in another discripline related to economics?
When deciding on the admission of an applicant, we look at the content of the degrees and courses taken rather than the titles. In particular, if a student has an MA in Finance (or in another discipline related to economics) but has a strong record in core economics courses (microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics) together with other economics courses (including finance), then we consider this student for admission.
What courses should I take to improve my chance of being admitted?
We put most weight on your grades in rigorous courses in economic theory, econometrics (or statistics), and mathematics at the undergraduate and Masters levels. You should have taken advanced (third and fourth year) undergraduate courses in microeconomic and macroeconomic theory and econometrics (or statistics), and advanced mathematics courses. At the Masters level, you should have taken rigorous courses in microeconomic and macroeconomic theory and econometrics (or statistics).
Do I need to demonstrate a research ability to be admitted?
We look for evidence of research ability and certainly value it. We recognize, however, that not all students have had the opportunity to engage in research.
For regular-entry admissions, do my references have to be from instructors of courses I took as a master’s student?
You can choose whoever you wish to write reference letters for you. In particular, all three of your letters can be from instructors of courses you took as an undergraduate student. However, obviously we are interested in knowing about your performance as a master’s student, so it is in your interest to get at least one letter from an instructor who taught you as a master’s student.
Do I need to take the GRE?
If you do not have a degree (undergraduate or graduate) from a Canadian university, you must take the GRE. If you do have a degree from a Canadian university, you are strongly encouraged to take the GRE, especially if your undergraduate degree is not from a university from which we get a large number of applications.
Do I need to take the TOEFL?
Please see our page on English requirements.
Do you ever make exceptions to your rules about the GRE and English Language Tests?
No. We never make any exception to any rule or deadline.
Do you accept late applications?
No, we do not accept late applications, regardless of the reason for the lateness (and in particular, even if the lateness is due to circumstances outside your control). Given that unexpected events can occur (especially when you are trying to meet a deadline!), please set yourself a personal deadline a week or two before ours.
Do I need to submit a Statement of Purpose?
Submission of a Statement of Purpose is optional for admissions purposes, but required if you wish to be considered for certain prestigious scholarships. Within a week of your submitting the university's application form, you will receive an email message with a link to a supplementary application form where you have the option to upload a Statement of Purpose.
Can more than three letters of recommendation be submitted for me?
When I sent my transcripts I forgot to include the information sheet. Is that a problem?
No. We prefer to have the information sheet, but we can make do without it.
When I submitted my application, I mistakenly said that I would pay the application fee offline. What should I do?
You cannot change the payment method once you have chosen it. After checking the box, you have 10 days to get your payment to SGS. It should be sent by courier to Support Services, School of Graduate Studies, Room 103, 63 St. George Street, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 2Z9, Canada. (Tel: 416-946-3420; Fax: 416-946-0992)
When I uploaded my transcript during the application process, I uploaded the wrong file. What should I do?
Please submit a message on our contact page and we will reset your application, so that you can upload a new file.
My referee doesn't have an institutional email address, as required on the application form. What should I do?
Leave the email address field blank on your application form and submit a message on our contact page giving your name, 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.
I didn't ask my referee in advance and now s/he says s/he would rather not submit a reference letter for me. Can I add a new referee?
Submit a message on our contact page giving your name and the name and email address of the new referee. Once you have paid the application fee and your application has the status "Documents Pending", we will enter the new referee for you.
I am a student at U of T. Do I still need to provide you with an official transcript?
If I send you my transcripts, will you be able to tell me whether I will be admitted?
We can determine whether you will be admitted only after you submit a formal application. We cannot make any assessment based on your transcripts or other partial information.
Are applications from international students evaluated in the same way as applications from Canadian students?
Yes, we use the same criteria to evaluate all applications. However, the university gives us quotas for the numbers of international and Canadian students we can admit, and the quota for the number of international students, as a fraction of the number of applications from international students, is tiny compared with the quota for the number of Canadian students as a fraction of the number of applications from Canadian students.
Before I submit an application, should I contact a faculty member to see if they are willing to be my supervisor?
No. If you are admitted to the PhD program and complete the first year, then in your second year you will choose a supervisor for your second-year paper. Subsequently you will choose a thesis supervisor, who may or may not be the same as the supervisor of your second-year paper.
I'm not sure if your program is the right one for me. Can I talk to someone about it?
Your decision about whether our program is the right one for you depends on many factor that we cannot assess in a short conversation. We are very happy to answer specific questions about our program that are submitted on our contact page. If we believe that a phone conversation or a face-to-face meeting would be helpful, we will let you know.