Graduate Program FAQs

*Please also see the FAQs at the School of Graduate Studies.

About the Department

In 2019-2020, the DSR received approximately 70 doctoral applications and 50 MA applications. Approximately half of the doctoral applications are from international students.

Each year, approximately 9 new doctoral students (6 domestic and 3 international) and 8 new MA students join the DSR.


The PhD program is only offered full-time. It is possible to complete our MA program on a part-time basis; however it is not possible to complete program requirements if you are only available in the evening. There are very few evening classes. MA students who enroll part-time may be able to complete degree requirements in one year but will be assessed a “balance of degree fee” prior to convocation.


The MA program is at least one year but most students take 18-24 months.

For the PhD program, the department does everything possible to facilitate completion of the program within five years. Six years is the maximum length permitted, after which students must apply for a formal extension (maximum of four) in order to remain in the program.



Before Applying

We generally begin accepting applications in mid October for the following academic year. The deadline is the middle of December.


Yes, there is an application fee of $125 CDN. No, the application fee cannot be waived.


No, this is not one of our admission requirements.


No, all of our programs begin in September.


Please see the websites of the collaborative programs you are considering and review the application requirements detailed there.


At a minimum, eligible candidates must have achieved the equivalent of a A-  standing in their final year and meet the English language requirements.  Other factors include the quality of the academic references, the research proposal, the interest and availability of supervisors, and evidence of language proficiency.


If you have taken courses that cover those generally found in the religion major or specialist programme (world religions, method and theory, at least one senior seminar, ie. between 12-20 semester-long courses), then we will consider your application. Such a course of study (or its equivalent) gives the student both breadth and depth in the academic study of religion. In order to be admitted to our programme, we would assume roughly this amount of prior study. In addition, we also expect our students to have reading knowledge of at least one language other than English that is relevant to their course of study (either a language of scholarship or a source language)


In such cases, we recommend that you take several 400-level courses offered by the Department for the Study of Religion, as a non-degree student. Succeeding in these courses will demonstrate that you are capable of succeeding in our MA program.


Yes, please feel free to contact DSR faculty to discuss potential topics of research and the possibility of supervision.


Students applying with degrees completed in other countries sometimes have difficulty assessing their credentials. The University of Toronto has an equivalency list, which can help with a basic assessment, available at the SGS Portal.


After Applying

You can check online to see the status of your application. The online admissions system will only show your documents as being "received" once your documents have been manually processed, NOT when they arrive in the mail room. Documents will be processed in the order they are received. If you're concerned about your application being received, please use a tracked system of delivery to send it.

It is not uncommon for outstanding applicants to be refused admission. Admission to our program is very competitive, and meeting or exceeding the admission requirements does not guarantee admission. If you would like feedback on your application, please contact the Graduate Director at after May 1.


Tuition and Fees

See the graduate program fees web page for detailed information about tuition and other expenses.

All doctoral students are offered tuition plus a stipend of at least $18,000 for five years. Sixth-year doctoral students are eligible for the Doctoral Completion Award (values vary from year to year). Unfortunately we are not able to fund MA students. All students are encouraged to apply for external awards (SSHRC, OGS) and the DSR provides extensive resources in support of external award applications. Other potential sources of funding can be found on the graduate scholarships page.

Canadian students should consider applying for OSAP, the Ontario Graduate Scholarship, various SSHRC programs, SGS University Wide Awards and Restricted Departmental Awards. Deadlines are as early as October of the year preceding registration. International students should seek financial support from their home countries and should also apply for the Ontario Graduate Scholarship.


For Registered Students

Our Graduate Director will meet with you and your supervisory committee/supervisor, to discuss your program and course selection, in late August or early September. You may begin to sign up for courses electronically, on the university’s system (known as ROSI), starting mid August or you may wait until after your meeting. Graduate seminars are not normally oversubscribed, so we do not normally face the problem of students being excluded from classes that they wish to take. Students interested in taking graduate courses offered by other Departments will need to complete a Course Add/Drop form.

There are residences on campus dedicated to graduate students generally. Please visit the U of T Housing website to learn about various housing options. You should apply for admission to a graduate residence as early as possible.