Admission to Graduate Pharmacology Programs

The Pharmacology graduate program receives 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. If you wish to know whether an item was received, please log into the application portal to view. 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.

COVID-19 Update

Ontario’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve. Changes will likely occur as the province and its municipalities adjust to new data about the virus. In these circumstances, please be advised that the manner of delivery of courses, co-curricular opportunities, programs, and services is subject to change, in accordance with university policies. The University thanks its students, faculty, and staff for their flexibility during these challenging times as we work together to maintain the standards of excellence that are the hallmark of the University.

Despite these ongoing changes, please rest assured that the online application process remains unchanged, and applications are continuing to be received and reviewed. 


Application Deadlines

Fall 2022

Applications for Fall 2022 admissions will be available starting October 1, 2021 and are reviewed on a rolling basis.

International applicants who studied outside of Canada or USA:
  • Application Deadline: January 14, 2022
  • Referee Deadline: January 28, 2022

International applicants who are studying outside of Canada or the US whose studies are still in progress at the time of their application will not be considered. Please do not apply if you have not completed your degree.  

Domestic applicants AND international applicants studying in Canada or USA:

  • Application Deadline: April 15, 2022
  • Referee Deadline: April 29, 2022

Winter 2022 - Domestic PhD only

Domestic Ph.D. Applicants who wish to be considered for entry in January 2022 may submit an application starting in August. January admission is not available for international applicants or for the M.Sc. programs.

  • Applications Open: August 2, 2021
  • Application Deadline: October 29, 2021

General Admission Requirements

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

In preparation, applicants are normally required to have taken courses in physiology, biochemistry, or allied sciences sufficient to form a foundation for their work in pharmacology. We also recommend that all potential graduate students should seriously consider incorporating a research project into their course timetables before graduation. Admission will be based on the complete application package as well as an admission interview.

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

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 a B+, based on a full year of senior-level courses.

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.  In the case of Ph.D. students, 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- (80-84%), based on a full year of relevant senior-level courses, where at least 80% of the course load is composed of 3rd- or 4th-year level courses.

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.

Direct entry applicants who are not admitted to the Ph.D. program can email the program and request consideration for admission to the M.Sc. program.

Additional Requirements for International Applicants

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

International applicants are eligible to apply after their degree has been conferred unless they are in the process of completing degrees at institutions in Canada or the US.

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

See "What Happens After My Application is Received?"


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).  


If your primary language is not English and you graduated from a non-Canadian university where the language of instruction is not English, then you must demonstrate your facility in English by completing an English-language proficiency test. Test scores 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 largely 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-language facility test is at the discretion of the Department. 


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


All international students require an entry visa and student authorization to study in Canada. This is normally obtained from the Canadian Embassy or Consulate in the applicant's home country.


Visit the SGS International Graduate Student Portal for additional resources.

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.

The online application system allows applicants to manage and submit biographical and educational information as well as upload specific documents. Applicants can edit an "in-progress" application and check the status of all documents submitted using a secure sign-in.

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.

Application Fee Payment

You are required to pay the online processing fee via credit card. If you are unable to pay online, you must contact the School of Graduate Studies to arrange offline payment. Keep in mind that mailed-in payment must reach the School of Graduate Studies in time for the payment to be processed and posted by the deadline. Application fees are non-refundable.

Programs of Study in Pharmacology

  • MSC-Pharmacology - thesis-based Master's program
  • MSc-Pharmacology (Applied Pharmacology) - two-year, course-based Applied Clinical Pharmacology field
  • MSc-Pharmacology (Applied Pharmacology) Advanced Standing Option - one-year, course-based Applied Clinical Pharmacology field for applicants who demonstrate significant pharmacology knowledge
  • PHD (direct entry) - for applicants who have completed (or are in the process of completing) an undergraduate degree
  • PHD-Pharmacology - for applicants who have completed (or are in the process of completing) a graduate degree


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 May since the default date is always May.  

Once you have submitted the contact information of your referees, the system will use this information to contact them through e-mail, 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 for the Ph.D. degree 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 and to follow up with your referees well in advance of deadlines to ensure that the references have been uploaded.


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).

Please note that ALL applicants recommended for conditional acceptance will be contacted regarding the submission of official transcripts. The University of Toronto requires an official hardcopy 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. 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. OR
  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.


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.


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.