Admission to Graduate Pharmacology Programs

Admission to the pharmacology graduate program starts with the submission of an application package through the Application Portal. Decisions regarding admission are based on a detailed examination of the complete application package as well as an admissions interview with select candidates.

Our programs receive a large number of applications for admission. This means that we are forced to be very selective in accepting students into our programs. In addition, available positions in thesis-based graduate programs can be limited by grant funding, laboratory space, or other factors. 

We do not confirm the receipt of applications or provide application updates by email. If you wish to know whether an item was received, please log into the application portal to check your status. You are responsible for ensuring that you have read and understood the application requirements, and that you have submitted all the necessary components of your application package prior to the applicable deadline. Only complete applications where application fees have been paid will be reviewed.

Application Deadlines

Fall 2024

Applications for Fall 2024 admissions will be available starting October 1, 2023 and are reviewed on a rolling basis. All application documents (including reference letters) must be received by the respective deadline below. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

International applicants who studied outside of Canada or USA:

  • Application Deadline: January 26, 2024
    • Note: International applicants with incomplete applications (including reference letters) by the deadline above are NOT guaranteed consideration for admission to the program commencing in September 2024.

Domestic applicants AND international applicants studying in Canada or USA:

  • Application Deadline: April 26, 2024

Winter 2025 - Domestic PhD only

Domestic Ph.D. Applicants who wish to be considered for entry in January 2025 may submit an application starting in August. January admission is not available for international applicants or for the M.Sc. programs.

  • Applications Open: August 1, 2024
  • Application Deadline: October 25, 2024

Admissions Requirements

Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies in addition to the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology's admission requirements as stated below.

If your degree was obtained outside of Canada, please consult the International Applicants section below for additional requirements.

General Requirements

In preparation, applicants are normally required to have taken courses in physiology, biochemistry, or related sciences sufficient to form a foundation for their work in pharmacology. We also recommend incorporating a research project into your course timetable before graduation. 

M.Sc. Programs

Applicants to the thesis- and/or course-based M.Sc. programs must have an appropriate bachelor's degree, or its equivalent from a recognized university, with a minimum final year average of at least a B+.

Applicants to the Applied Clinical Pharmacology field may be considered for advanced standing if they can demonstrate significant pharmacology knowledge that overlaps with the curriculum such as a bachelor's degree specializing in pharmacology or biomedical toxicology or an MD degree with coursework in pharmacology.

Ph.D. Program

Applicants to the Ph.D. program must hold an appropriate Master's degree, or its equivalent, from a recognized university, with an average of at least B+ in their graduate degree courses.

All students, once enrolled, will have their research ability and potential for their particular program of study reviewed after completion of one year. The review will also include a recommendation from the Supervisory Committee to the Graduate Education Committee (GEC).

Direct-Entry Ph.D. Program

Highly-qualified applicants who have demonstrated strong research potential may apply directly to the Ph.D. program provided that they hold an appropriate bachelor's degree, or its equivalent, from a recognized university. Applicants must achieve a  final year average of at least an A-.

Once accepted, students will have their research ability and potential for the program reviewed after completion of one year of study. Upon successful completion of the review, these students will be permitted to continue with the Ph.D. program.

Additional Requirements for International Applicants

These requirements apply to all applicants who obtained their degrees outside of Canada, regardless of their citizenship.

Determine Your Eligibility

To assist you in determining your eligibility, qualifications from a number of educational systems around the world are listed on the International Credentials Equivalencies Tool. The grades shown are equivalent to what is considered a mid-B range at the University of Toronto. Please keep in mind that the admission average for Pharmacology graduate programs is a B+ equivalent (or A- for Ph.D. direct entry).  

Exceptional international applicants to the thesis-based M.Sc. and Ph.D. degree programs will be considered for nomination for the Connaught Scholarship. Applicants who wish to be considered for nomination must meet the January application deadline.

English Language Proficiency

If you graduated from a university outside of Canada where English is not the primary language of instruction, you must demonstrate your facility in English by completing an English-language proficiency test. Tests must be less than two years old and this requirement should be met at the time you submit your application.

You are not required to complete an English-language facility test if you are a Canadian citizen who studied at a Canadian university where the language of instruction is French.

If you completed a program of study outside of Canada at a university where the language of instruction and examination has uniformly been in English, the language requirement may be waived. You must submit an official statement from your academic institution confirming the use of English as the language of instruction and examination.

The final decision regarding the need for an English proficiency test is at the discretion of the Department. 

GRE Test

The GRE is NOT required for applicants to the Pharmacology graduate programs.

Visas and Study Permits

If you are not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, you will require a study permit to study in Canada. Students from many countries will also need to obtain an entry visa. These are normally obtained from the Canadian Embassy, consulate or high commission in your home country.

Application Process

The application for graduate study at the University of Toronto is available online. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure all documents are submitted by the posted deadlines. We recommend that documentation be submitted several weeks in advance of the deadlines to avoid any disappointment.

Applications will be processed only after all documentation is received by the graduate unit. Admission deferrals are not permitted and late applications will not be considered.

Visit the Application Portal

Application Fees

There is a $125 CDN application fee. This fee is non-refundable and non-transferable.


The Department of Pharmacology requires three letters of reference for each application. It is recommended that you confirm your referees' availability prior to submitting their contact details. You are also responsible for informing them of your particular reference deadline: i.e., January or April.  

Once you have submitted the contact information of your referees, the system will use this information to contact them through email, requesting references using a link that is provided in the body of the e-mailed request. ***Note that non-institutional e-mail addresses such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc. are NOT accepted.***

Applicants should not use family and friends as referees. The best referees would be faculty members who have known you in an academic setting. If you have been employed (or are currently employed), a reference from your direct supervisor/employer would be acceptable; however, the best referees are those who are able to comment on the following areas: academic preparation; originality; skill at research; work ethic; intellectual capacity; potential for graduate studies; and overall ability.

All applicants to the Ph.D. program who have completed a Masters degree MUST include a reference from their M.Sc. program supervisor.

It is recommended that you monitor the status of your documents in the online application portal and to follow up with your referees well in advance of deadlines to ensure that the references have been submitted.


You are required to upload scanned official transcript(s) including the transcript legend for each post-secondary institution attended. Applicants from Canadian universities may upload a PDF of their academic history from their university's student web service. If you have transcripts from multiple institutions, please ensure that they are in reverse chronological order (i.e., most recent first).

All applicants recommended for conditional acceptance will be contacted regarding the submission of official transcripts. The University of Toronto requires an official transcript from each post-secondary institution that you have attended and you are responsible to arrange for them to be sent by your academic institution directly to the Department. Each institution will have its own procedures for issuing transcripts, and in some cases, this can take weeks or even months. It is recommended that you consider this timeline when requesting your transcript(s). All documents submitted become the property of the University of Toronto and will not be returned.

You may submit official transcripts in one of two ways:

  1. Arrange to have official transcript(s) issued directly to the University of Toronto and mailed to the Pharmacology Graduate Office  or by email to if the institution issues official electronic transcripts. Hardcopy documents must be sealed in a signed envelope by the issuing institution. Photocopies, faxes, or documents arriving in previously opened envelopes are not considered official. 
  2. Arrange to have an official transcript "Issued to Student", that you then submit directly (unopened and in the original sealed envelope) to the Department. Documents must be sealed in a signed envelope by the issuing institution. Photocopies, faxes, or documents arriving in previously opened envelopes are not considered official.

Applicants who attended universities outside North America should ensure that notarized English translations accompany all foreign documentation not written in English (Both the foreign transcript and the English translation should be submitted in their sealed envelopes).

WES Evaluations

World Education Services (WES) transcript evaluations will not be used as the basis of admission to a graduate program in the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology. Applicants are free to submit copies of WES reports if they wish; however, all applicants who completed their degrees outside Canada must arrange for official transcripts from their educational institutions to be received by the Department before a final admission decision will be made.

Statement of Interest

Thesis-Based Streams

Thesis-based M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in pharmacology require you to work under the close supervision of a thesis research supervisor. It is important that you identify your major research interests early on to determine whether you are making the right choice in terms of program and research area.

Applicants to the thesis-based program should submit a statement outlining your proposed area(s) of study and identify three (3) potential supervisors. For each potential supervisor, you should include a brief paragraph describing why you are interested in their research. 

You are not required to contact supervisors before submitting your application and do not need their permission to list them as a potential supervisor.

Naming potential supervisors does not disqualify you from approaching other graduate faculty members. In the event that none of the 3 potential supervisors you named are able to accept you into their laboratory, you are free to approach other faculty.

Applied Clinical Pharmacology Stream

For applicants to the Applied Clinical Pharmacology (ACP) program, your statement should briefly outline why you are interested in pharmacology and the ACP field of study, your career aspirations, and any relevant background and/or personal qualities that make you a suitable candidate for ACP. This letter will generally be 1-2 pages long, and should not exceed 1,000 words.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

For thesis-based Master's and Ph.D. applications, submission of a Curriculum Vitae is highly recommended, particularly if you have publications and/or other relevant experience.

For applicants to the Applied Clinical Pharmacology MSc program, submission of a Curriculum Vitae is mandatory.

See our FAQs page for answers to common admissions questions.

Send us an email if you have additional questions.