Admission to the Doctoral Program

Candidates for admission to the Ph.D. Program normally have an M.A. degree in Criminology or an equivalent master’s degree. Applicants must have at minimum an A- standing (or equivalent) in their M.A. degree program. Students from M.A. programs other than the University of Toronto’s M.A. in criminology may be required to take additional courses as part of their doctoral program. If you do not meet the program requirements, you should consult the Graduate Coordinator or Graduate Administrator before submitting an application.

For further information on applying to the program, please see How to Apply.

Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee acceptance. Our Ph.D. program is a very small one (around a dozen students) and only a very small number of students are accepted into the doctoral program in any year.

In addition to excellent performance at the Masters level, each student accepted into the doctoral program must have a presumptive Ph.D. dissertation supervisor. 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.

In applying, therefore, it is important to indicate which member or members of the faculty would be appropriate supervisors for your doctoral research interests. Communicating with faculty members prior to submitting an application is strongly advised. 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.

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

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. CrimSL 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.

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.

Applications to the Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) through the online application which is housed on a secure server at the University of Toronto. The Centre will consider your application only after you have entered your personal and academic information in the online application, paid the application fee, and submitted the supporting documents by the deadline date.

Once you access the SGS online admissions 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. At that point you can return to check on the status of this application including whether we have received your supporting documents.