Frequently Asked Questions

For International Students

All Ph.D. students

Domestic MA students

What are the appropriate degree requirements for admission to the program?

M.A. Program: To be considered for admission, applicants must meet the minimum requirement in a four year University of Toronto Bachelor’s degree with a social science background or a law degree, from another recognized university.

The program is designed for students who are interested in theoretical research and teaching. The courses in the program are designed with the expectation that students have a sound understanding of social science methodologies, are capable of writing research and analytical papers, and are conversant with criminological theories.

PH.D. Program: To be considered for admission, applicants must meet the minimum requirement in a University of Toronto M.A. degree in Criminology or an equivalent master’s degree from another recognized university. Students from M.A. program other than the University of Toronto’s M.A. in criminology may be required to take additional courses as part of their doctoral program.

Please check the website for further information on admission to the programs. If you do not meet the program requirements, you should consult the Graduate Coordinator or Graduate Administrator before submitting an application.

How long is the program?

The M.A. program can be completed in one year full-time and two years part-time. Part-time study actually means you can take the program over a two-year period, however, all courses are offered during the day. There is no provision for course instruction in the evening in this program.

The Ph.D. program is normally completed in five years. Candidates for the Ph.D. degree are expected to be in full-time residence for the period of their program. There is no provision for a program of part-time work towards the Ph.D. degree.

How likely am I to be accepted?

M.A. Program:  Each year a large number of applicants apply for the relatively small number of places available in the M.A. program. Although a B+ average is the minimum requirement for admission to M.A. programs at the University of Toronto, successful applicants often have an A- average (80%) or higher over the most recent two or three years of study. Even people with an A- or an A average, however, are not guaranteed admission, since admission decisions are based on a holistic reading of applicant files by a committee of graduate faculty. This includes grades, reference letters, statements of intent, and courses taken.

If you would like to apply to the program, please download a copy of the Criminology Graduate Program Handbook, and the application package. If you have questions regarding the application process, you can contact the Graduate Administrator.

Ph.D. Program: Our Ph.D. program is a very small one (around a dozen students). And although we have a number of cross-appointed faculty, the bulk of the work of Ph.D. supervisions is done by six faculty members with full-time appointments in Criminology. We receive applications from many well-qualified applicants who may well be suited to doing doctoral work but whose particular interests and background are not directly related to ours.

No Ph.D. application will be successful, no matter how well-qualified the applicant, if no member of the faculty is willing to take on (at least initially) the supervision work. Thus, successful Ph.D. applicants are invariably those who are very familiar with the research interests of at least some members of our faculty and who have had preliminary contacts with potential supervisors.

We thus encourage you to review the current research interests of various faculty members, so that you can then decide if you want to approach particular professors. For more information, please download copies of the Criminology Graduate Program Handbook and the SGS admissions application.

Ph.D. applicants who do not establish prior contact with a presumptive supervisor may be successful but this is very unusual.

The Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies assumes that the vast majority of Ph.D. students will be supervised by a core faculty member with their principal appointment in the Centre. Applicants who wish to be supervised by a cross-appointed faculty member must include with their applications a statement explaining why they wish to pursue the Ph.D. in Criminology, rather than in the discipline or department where their preferred supervisor is principally appointed. This might explain why the student wishes to pursue the Ph.D. in an interdisciplinary Centre, or why the other department is inappropriate for the applicant’s range of interests. These applicants should also consult with their potential supervisor about the likely composition of their dissertation committee, since all committees must include core Criminology faculty. Please click here

Where necessary, the Graduate Coordinator can facilitate contact with relevant members of faculty; however, the more information you already have about who we are and what we do here, the smoother the process will be.

When will I hear about my application results?

Since the deadline for applications is January 6, we make the decisions on applications after all of the applications are submitted by the deadline. Decisions on applications are normally finalized by the end of March. If applications are incomplete and require further documentation (e.g., final grades, reference, etc.), a decision may be made at a later date.

Applicants should, in their own interest, make every effort to submit their applications prior to the January 6th deadline.

What if I don’t get in?

If you are not accepted into the program, you must re-apply and submit a new application to the Centre. If your transcripts are up-to-date within a year of your application, you will need to submit only the following: two new academic references, a new statement of interest and any information that you think would be useful in support of your application.

Is it possible to take courses in other departments?

See the degree requirements on the MA Program page under the “Course Option” heading.

Are there research facilities?

In addition to the main Robarts Library collection, there is also a separate collection housed within the Centre specializing in the discipline of criminology, and such related fields as public and private policing, violence, young offenders, penology, deviance and social control, and criminal law.

The Criminology Library houses the leading Canadian research collection of criminological material, consisting of more than 25,000 books, journals, government reports, statistics and other documents, which can be accessed in person or electronically via the World Wide Web.

What about forensic studies?

The Centre does not offer a program in forensic studies. There is an undergraduate forensic science program at the University of Toronto at Mississauga. You may learn more about this program by contacting the office at: 905-828-3726, or by visiting their website.

I’m an international student. May I apply to your Ph.D program?

International students are those who do not hold Canadian citizenship or permanent residence.  We welcome applications by such students.  However, there are certain rules governing admission of international doctoral students that you should note.  In particular, there are two categories of international student.  If you are the spouse of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, but you do not currently hold permanent residence, you are considered an “exempt” international student.  This means that you may apply to our doctoral program without any restriction, and you are eligible for the same basic financial aid package that Canadian resident students receive.  Please disregard the rest of this section.

If you are not in this “exempt” category, you are considered a “visa student.”  To our regret, certain policies of the provincial government and the university itself strictly limit the number of visa students our Centre can admit with funding.  This numeric limitation is known as our international student “quota.”  At the same time, the university’s policies also do not permit doctoral students to be “self-funded.”  This means that all students who are admitted must either be funded by the university or by some other institution; you may not take out loans, use your own savings, or work off campus to pay your tuition.  Academic units of the university are responsible for providing minimum funding to anyone they admit who does not have support from the university or another institutional source.

At the moment, our doctoral program in Criminology and Sociolegal Studies is already over our international doctoral student quota; in other words, we are now funding some of our international students from the Centre’s main budget.  As a result, in most cases, prospective international applicants can now only be admitted if they bring their own “external” funding.  Such funding could be a fellowship you were awarded in your own country.  In addition, there are also three Canadian fellowships for international students, and you may be able apply for one of them with our sponsorship.  These three fellowships are the Ontario Trillium Scholarship, the Vanier Doctoral Scholarship, and the Trudeau Doctoral Scholarship.  For further details, please see the following URL:


Thus, for now, you are welcome to apply to our doctoral program, and we will evaluate you on your merits, but we will not be able to admit you unless you can provide your own external funding, or we can secure one of these fellowships for you.  Any such fellowship must be guaranteed for at least five years, and must provide funding of at least $30,000 (Canadian) per year.

I completed all or some of my higher education outside Canada.  Are my international degrees recognized for purposes of admission to your graduate programs?

Not all international degrees are recognized for admissions purposes.  First, please note that different degree requirements may apply to you if you completed some of your education outside of Canada.  Second, not all international institutions are recognized for this purpose.  Further details on eligibility rules for students from other countries, including a list of eligible international institutions broken down by countries, are available on the following website:


Also please note that if your university does not appear on this list, or you do not have the correct degrees, but you still wish to apply, you should contact Jessica Chlebowski, graduate administrator, at crim.grad@utoronto.ca.  It may be possible to admit you by petitioning to the School of Graduate Studies.

I’m an international student and I would like to study in your master’s program.  What fees will be charged to me?  What opportunities will I have for fellowships or other financial aid?

International students are those who do not hold Canadian citizenship or permanent residence.  We welcome applications by such students.  However, there are different fees for Canadian and some international master’s students.  Note that there are two categories of international student.  If you are the spouse of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, but you do not currently hold permanent residence, you are considered an “exempt” international student.  This means that you may apply to our master’s program without any restriction, and you will be charged the Canadian resident tuition and fees of $8,491.00.  You are also eligible for financial aid from the Centre on the same basis as Canadian students.

If you are not in this “exempt” category, you are considered a “visa student.”  As such, you would be charged tuition and fees of $22,603.00.  In addition, you are not eligible for most financial aid from the Centre.  However, we occasionally do provide some funding for exceptionally qualified international MA students.  You are also eligible to work as a teaching assistant in of our undergraduate courses, or as a research assistant for a professor.  However, we cannot guarantee that such opportunities will be available, and they will not be included in any offer of admission that we may make to you.

Do I need to find a supervisor before applying to your Ph.D. program?

Unlike some larger programs that admit students for doctoral studies without a supervisor, because of our small faculty complement, in making admissions decisions, we seek to ensure that every student who is admitted can be matched with a supervisor who is a good fit with the student’s scholarly interests.  Therefore, in planning your application, we strongly encourage you to identify one or more possible supervisors, as well as possible dissertation committee members.  You should also approach such faculty members to ascertain whether they might be interested in supervising you.  Although a firm commitment from a prospective supervisor is not essential, when you write your application, you should indicate whether you have made contact with a possible supervisor.

Which professors may supervise me?

Not all faculty members who are shown on our website are eligible to serve as a doctoral student’s main supervisor.  Only the professors whose names appear below are eligible:

Bisaillon, Laura – BA, MA, PhD
Chen, Li – BA, MA, AM, JD, PhD
Chiao, Vincent – BA, PhD, JD
Contreras, Randol – BA, MA, PhD
Dubber, Markus – AB, JD
Gartner, Rosemary – BA, AA, MS, PhD
Goodman, Phil – BA, MA, PhD
Hannah-Moffat, Kelly – BA, MA, PhD
Jauregui, Beatrice – BA, MA, PhD
Kruttschnitt, Candace – BA, MA, MPH, PhD
Levi, Ron – BCL, LLB, LLM, SJD
Light, Matthew – BA, MA, JD, PhD
Macklin, Audrey – BSc, LLB, LLM
Maurutto, Paula – DPhil
Peterson-Badali, Michele – BA, MA, PhD
Phillips, James – LLB, MA, PhD
Roach, Kent – BA, LLB, LLM
Tanner, Julian – DipEd, BSc, MA, PhD
Valverde, Mariana – BA, MA, PhD, FRSC
Wortley, N. Scot – BA, MA, PhD

For further details about our professors’ research interests, please refer to: http://criminology.utoronto.ca/facultyandstaff/faculty-2/faculty/.

Do you offer any financial aid to domestic master’s students?

Yes.  We have a small annual financial aid budget for admitted master’s students.  Offers of financial aid are made at the time of admission on the basis of the student’s academic record, as reflected in the application.  However, please note that our funds are limited, and in recent years, most admitted students have not received a financial aid offer.

Do you also offer teaching assistantships and research assistantships to MA students?

Sometimes we do make teaching assistantships available to MA students.  All available postings of TA positions are forwarded to the incoming MA cohort over the summer, and we welcome your applications.  However, as the number of such positions varies from year to year, we do not offer TA positions at the time of admission, and we cannot guarantee that there will be any available during your master’s studies.

Likewise, some professors may need research assistance from MA students during your studies here, and will advertise those positions directly.  Again, we do not offer research assistantships at the time of admission.

What kinds of careers will be open to me when I graduate from your master’s program?

Our graduates go on to work in a variety of occupations.  Many seek employment in the public sector in positions connected to criminal justice.  Others go on to legal or doctoral studies.  And some go into the private sector.  Our MA graduates are highly sought after by employers.

Unlike some MA programs, we do not organize structured internships as part of our curriculum.  However, we do organize career workshops and networking opportunities for our MA students.