MA Application Information

 To provide support for domestic MA applicants, the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto will be implementing three new initiatives:

1. We will be hosting a workshop on “Applying for the CGSM MA SSHRC Grant” which is open to students from all universities in Canada. Students from religion undergraduate programs as well as cognate fields (e.g. History, Anthropology, Political Science, Indigenous Studies, etc.) are welcome to attend.  This workshop will be run by Professor Amira Mittermaier on Thursday October 29th from 2:00 to 3:00pm

2.  Professor Karen Ruffle (MA SSHRC Faculty Writing Mentor) is available to provide individual feedback to domestic MA SSHRC applicants (both from the University of Toronto and other Canadian universities) on their application research statement.

3. We will provide funding for up to two domestic MA students for 2021-2022. This funding will cover tuition fees and provide a $5000 admission award. 

To RSVP for the workshop on October 29, or to contact Professor Ruffle, please contact Fereshteh Hashemi (religion.grad@utoronto.ca)

See also: MA Program | Fields of StudyGraduate Handbook | SGS Calendar 

The Department admits applicants only in September. The deadline for the receipt of completed applications for the 2021-2022 year is December 8, 2020. Supporting documents must be submitted by December 15, 2020.

Admission to the master’s program is governed by the Department’s ability to match the possible subject interests of applicants with the Department’s resources for graduate supervision.

Please note that admission into the MA program does not entail automatic subsequent admission into the PhD stream; applications for the PhD program are evaluated independently each spring.

Students who are thinking of applying for graduate study in the Department are advised to consider thoroughly the research topics and teaching interests of Department faculty members when formulating their statements of intended study. Consultation of the academic profiles of the Department’s faculty—on the website and published in the Graduate Handbook—is therefore strongly recommended. It may also prove useful to review the list of completed doctoral theses that Department faculty have supervised, which is available on our website. Prospective students are also invited to make direct contact, by email or telephone, with professors whose research interests appear to correspond or overlap with the intended area of inquiry. 

The Department strives to admit the most qualified students, while at the same time securing a manageable distribution of students around a range of topics and areas of specialization. In the past few years, the Department has had incoming classes of between 8-18 new master’s students. The effects of these policies may mean that some highly qualified applicants are not offered admission. Students needing to undertake prerequisite undergraduate work are directed to apply for special student status via the Enrolment Services office, 172 St. George St. ( 416 978-2190.  / admissions.help@utoronto.ca

To be eligible for admission to the MA program, applicants must normally have an appropriate undergraduate degree with specialization in Religion or in cognate subjects, with courses broadly equivalent in number and distribution to the University of Toronto’s Specialist program in Religion. Applicants must also have suitable language preparation and an average of at least A- in the final year, i.e. the courses that constitute the final quarter of a four-year program. In practice, the students admitted tend to have cumulative GPAs in the A- to A range.

Toronto’s B.A. Specialist program in Religion includes the equivalent of ten full-year courses (10 Y), distributed broadly as follows:

  • 1Y - World Religions, or equivalent breadth in the religions of the world
  • 2Y& 3Y - study in at least two religious traditions;
  • 4Y, 5Y, & 6Y - courses using a variety of methods to study religion: e.g., history, sociology of religion, anthropology of religion, psychology of religion, literary criticism, philosophy of religion;
  • 7Y to 10Y - at least four advanced courses in religion.

The Department  interprets equivalency very broadly, and considers courses taken in departments other than the Study of Religion as potentially appropriate, so long as the course content or the student’s work in the course included substantial study of religion.

Students will need to have language preparation that enables them to meet the language requirements of the MA program. Students who are contemplating graduate study in this Department are advised to secure in advance the languages requisite for their areas of scholarly interest.

Students without sufficient breadth or quantity of course work in religion, or without appropriate language preparation, will be asked to take additional work, either before admission or during an extended MA program as stipulated in their admission offer.

View the online application

Please note that the online application for September 2021 admission will be available in early October.  The Department uses a self-administered online application form. Applicants are required to complete the online application form, make their application payment, arrange for 3 reference letters, and upload scanned copies of their transcripts.

A complete application consists of:

1. Scanned copies of all previous post-secondary transcripts.

2. A statement (two pages maximum) of proposed study. For MA applicants, this should be a succinct statement of an intended topic or area of graduate study, a summary of preparatory training in appropriate theories, methods, and languages, and an indication of why the Department for the Study of Religion is a suitable place for the intended area of study. Below are statements from successful past applicants.

PDF iconSample MA Statement 1.pdf

PDF iconSample MA Statement 2.pdf

3. A brief academic CV, with details of education, awards, and other information of academic interest.

4. A sample of written work of under 20 pages.

5. Three reference letters.

6. English Facility Requirement

If your primary language is not English and you graduated from a non-Canadian university where the language of instruction and examination was not English, then you must demonstrate your facility in English using one of the following methods. This requirement should be met at the time you submit your application.

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
  • Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB)
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • The Certificate of Proficiency in English (COPE)
  • U of T School of Continuing Studies Academic Preparation Course

For further details please visit the SGS page on English Language Proficiency Testing.

Please note that it is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all materials are provided by the application deadline.

December 8:  Deadline to begin online application
December 15:  Deadline for all applications (including supporting documents) for September 2021 admission
Mid January-late February: Department reviews files and makes admission decisions
March 1:  First round of offers sent out
March 31: Deadline for response to first round of offers of admission
Early April: Second round of offers sent out
Mid-late April: Deadline for response to second round of offers of admission
April 30: All final admission decisions will be communicated