We are now accepting applications for September 2019 and January 2020

Incoming graduate students to the Department of Biochemistry will participate in rotations during the first term of their studies.  Students will undertake 3 rotations, each lasting 5 weeks. At the end of the third rotation, students will decide in which lab (in agreement with the PI) they will conduct their studies.

The rotation system will improve the fit of the incoming student, with their prospective PI and the laboratory.

International applicants who are accepted will need to secure a sponsor as a condition of admission.  A sponsor is a Faculty member who provides a commitment of placement in the event that you are not able to secure a placement in a different lab after the rotation process. The deadline for securing your sponsor for September admissions is May 31st (for applicants in the first review), and July 31st (for applicants in the final review).  January applicants will have until December 1st.

Applicants should ensure they have read all of the instructions and admission requirements below before submitting an online application.

Technician working in the Mars2 laboratories

Requirements for Admission

Applicants from Canadian Universities

We consider applications from students who have achieved at least a B+ average in their last two years of study in an honours or specialist B.Sc. program in biochemistry, molecular biology, or cell biology, as well as students with strong academic credentials in honours/specialist programs in related disciplines, including physics, chemistry, and computer science. Applications from students with M.Sc. degrees in these areas will also be considered for admission. Applications from outstanding students in other programs or subject areas will also be considered. Applications that do not meet the minimum requirements will not be considered.

Applicants from Universities Outside Canada

Applicants educated outside of Canada require a degree equivalent to that of a Canadian Honours/Specialist degree (i.e. a four-year degree) as described above. In some cases this may be an M.Sc. degree. It should be in biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, or in a related subject area before being considered for entry into our graduate program.

A GRE General Test score is also required. A minimum score of 80% is required in BOTH Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning.   GRE scores are valid for 5 years after the testing year in which you tested (July 1 – June 30).

 English Language Proficiency (TOEFL Test)

If the language of instruction at your university is not English*, we require an English language test.  Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application. Minimum acceptable scores for TOEFL or an equivalent English-language facility test are as follows:

  • Minimum paper-based score: Overall score 580 / TWE 5
  • Minimum computer-based score: Overall score 237 / Essay rating 5
  • Internet-based test and writing and speaking sections: Overall score 93 / Writing score 22 / Speaking score 22

Normally, if applicants meet any one of the following conditions, they are not required to submit proof of proficiency in English.

  • Native language is English (language first learned and still used on a daily basis)
  • A Canadian citizen who studied at a Canadian university where the language of instruction is French
  • Has obtained an undergraduate or graduate degree from an institution recognized by the University of Toronto and where the language of instruction and examination is uniformly English  (if your transcript does not state this, applicants should make arrangements for an official statement to be sent from their institution confirming the use of English as the language of instruction and examination.) 
  • Completed a degree in one of the following countries: Australia, Barbados, Botswana, Ghana, Guyana, Hong Kong*, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Malta, Namibia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa**, Swaziland, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States of America***, Zambia, and Zimbabwe

* Applicants from the Chinese University of Hong Kong are required to provide proof of English proficiency.
** Some applicants from South Africa may be required to provide proof of English proficiency as not all universities teach in English.
*** While textbooks and research materials used at universities in Puerto Rico are often in English, Spanish is the language of instruction in some universities.

Analyzing mutations in fruit flies

Application Process

  1. Online application (submitted electronically)
  2. Letter of Intent (submitted electronically) 1 – 2 pages
  3. Curriculum Vitae (submitted electronically) 1 – 3 pages
  4. Three letters of reference (submitted electronically)
  5. Official transcripts from ALL university programs attended (submitted electronically)

 Additionally, applicants from Universities outside Canada must submit directly to the University:

  1. TOEFL exam (University of Toronto code: 0982)
  2. GRE General Test (University of Toronto code: 0982)

**GRE General and TOEFL (or IELTS) scores will be manually uploaded to your application by the Department once they have been received.  It is your responsibility to ensure you allow sufficient time for scores to be sent from the testing agency and received by the University of Toronto before the application deadline.  In the event that your test score(s) are not reflected on your application one week prior to the deadline, you may send a PDF of your copy of the test results to the Graduate Program Administrator.  Scores will not be accepted after the application deadline.
Receipt of the official scores by the University of Toronto will still be required as a condition of admission for any accepted applications.

Please note that we are only accepting International students for Ph.D. or Direct-entry PhD.  We are unable to accept International students for the MSc program at this time.

Direct Entry into the Ph.D. Program

Applicants with exceptionally strong undergraduate records may request direct entry into the Ph.D. program.

Applicants with a M.Sc. degree are not eligible for Direct-entry PhD.

For additional information, please contact:

Carrie Harber
Graduate Program Administrator


Online Application

All applications to graduate school at the University of Toronto are made online through the School of Graduate Studies (SGS). Get Application: SGS Online Application

Letter of Intent

What drives your passion for research? Please submit a 1 to 2 page Letter of Intent. In the letter of intent, please indicate specific areas of research that are of interest to you, and if possible, specify PIs whose research aligns well with your interests.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

1 to 3 pages.

Letters of Reference

We require three letters of reference from people familiar with the applicant’s academic/research capabilities. To do this, you must submit an email address for each reference at the time of filling out the online application form.

Applicants should use institutional email addresses for their referees (gmail, Yahoo, hotmail etc. will be prohibited).

It is also very important that the applicant enters the correct referee email addresses as revisions cannot be made once the application has been submitted. After the method of payment has been selected, an email will be automatically sent to each of the referees with a link to the reference form and instructions on how to submit it online.

 **Important Notes:
Applicants applying for the January 15th deadline must advise their references the correct document deadline as the system will automatically indicate the April 30th deadline in the instructions they receive.

Official Transcripts

All applicants are required to upload a scanned copy of their Official transcripts (including transcript legends) from ALL post-secondary institutions attended.  Accepted applicants will be required to send official paper copies of your transcript(s) as a condition of admission.

It is important that your uploaded transcripts are legible.  Scanning in “gray scale” or black and white may produce the best results.  Preview your PDF for image quality and completeness prior to uploading.  Ensure your transcripts are note password protected.   If you are unable to upload a legible document, you will need to have an official transcript mailed to the Biochemistry Graduate Office.