Application Information

Applications will be accepted for the 2021 academic year from October 15, 2020, to January 11, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. This is also the application fee payment deadline; payment must have been received by January 11, 2021.

Applicants who had paid by that deadline may take up to 11:59 p.m. on January 18, 2021 to upload documents. Referee letters may also arrive by January 18, 2021.

Application Process

Apply through the Online Admissions Application system. For admission requirements specific to each program, please see:

Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the Cinema Studies Institute's additional admission requirements stated below.

Successful completion of an appropriate four-year University of Toronto bachelor's degree, or its equivalent from a recognized university.

Minimum B+ standing, demonstrated by an average grade in the final year, or over senior-le​vel courses.

Successful completion of a minimum of 6.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs) in cinema studies, or comparable program preparation.

A letter of intent addressing the academic goals an applicant wishes to pursue in the program.

Three letters of recommendation.

Transcripts from all post-secondary institutions.

An academic writing sample of no more than 3,000 words.

The program requirements are taken from the SGS Course Calendar. In cases of discrepancy, the online Calendar version at the SGS website shall apply.

Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the Cinema Studies Institute's additional admission requirements stated below.

An appropriate master's degree, or in some programs an appropriate bachelor's degree with high academic standing, from a recognized university in a discipline deemed appropriate for the intended field of study.

An average grade equivalent to a B+ or better in a previous master's degree program. Where relevant, demonstrated research competence equivalent to at least a B+ grade will be considered.

Letter of intent outlining the academic ambitions, including possible thesis topic, the applicant aims to pursue in the program.

Three letters of recommendation.

An academic writing sample of no more than 5,000 words

Transcripts from all post-secondary institutions.


How to apply:

The University of Toronto offers a web-based graduate application to make the process quick and simple for potential students. Before beginning the application, we advise applicants to carefully read the application instructions, requirements, and application deadlines. The online application allows applicants to manage and submit biographical and educational information immediately to the University.

A valid e-mail account is required to complete the on-line application. Once you enter your personal and contact information, you will receive your password and applicant number via e-mail. Using that applicant number and password, applicants can edit an in-progress application and check the status of all documents submitted at any time. Note that once you submit and pay for your application, you can edit ONLY your personal information.

Note to applicants to the Ph.D. program: Applicants to the Ph.D. program are not required to, but do have the option of approaching Cinema Studies Institute faculty members about possible future supervision.

  • Visit the application site. You are applying to the Cinema Studies Institute for either the M.A. in Cinema Studies or the Ph.D. in Cinema Studies. All application documents should be submitted electronically through the electronic application.
  • The only document that prospective applicants should mail to the School of Graduate Studies is the offline payment (money order or certified check).
  • Any other materials that cannot be submitted electronically should be sent to the Graduate Program Assistant, Cinema Studies Institute, 2 Sussex Avenue, Toronto, ON, M5S 1J5 Canada.


    Electronic Application checklist

    1. Three Letters of Reference
      These letters should be completed by faculty under whom the applicant has studied. One letter from an employer/professional may be substituted for a reference from academic faculty if the professional can speak to qualities of the candidate directly applicable to the program of study. 

      The system will automatically email an electronic submission request to each referee with a valid email address after a payment method is selected. Although you will provide the referee information before payment, the system will not notify your referees until after you have selected to pay the application online or offline.  Please consult with your referees before you complete the application in order to ensure they are willing and able to provide a reference. 

    2. Payment of the $125 application fee.
      The application fee is non-refundable. This fee is due by the application deadline. Online payment is preferred. Applicants who cannot make an online credit card payment should complete their application and submit their offline payment well in advance of the posted deadline. A mailed payment takes a minimum of two to three weeks to be received and processed. The delay can be much longer for payments mailed internationally. Once you submit your application fee, you will be able to upload your letter of intent to the on-line application.
    3. Academic Transcripts
      Transcripts from all post-secondary institutions (including the legend on the reverse side and any notarized translations) must be scanned and uploaded to the application system. There is an option to use an electronic transcript for Canadian universities. See the online application for detailed instructions.

      Do not mail official transcripts unless they are requested. You will not be required to submit official paper copies of your transcripts until after the admissions committee makes its decision. If admitted, you will be required to submit an official transcript; verification of your paper transcript will be a condition that must be met prior to registration. Scanned transcripts will be verified against official copies, which are requested when an initial offer of admission is made. If discrepancies are found, offers will be withdrawn and future applications to the University refused. 

    4. Letter of Intent

      M.A. applicants should submit a one page, single-spaced letter of intent (500 word maximum) addressing the academic goals the applicant wishes to pursue in the program. Please explain how these ambitions dovetail with the resources available within the Cinema Studies Institute and the wider University community.

      Ph.D. applicants must provide a one page, single-spaced letter of intent (750 word maximum) outlining their research interests, points of intersection with the CSI faculty and curriculum, and career goals. Please also explain how these ambitions dovetail with the resources available within the Cinema Studies Institute and the wider University community. 

    5. Academic Writing Sample
      Please select a representative sample of your academic writing that best reflects your current abilities and interests as a scholar.
      Maximum 3,000 words for M.A. applicants, 5,000 words for Ph.D. applicants.
      *Once you submit your application fee, you will be able to upload your academic writing sample to the on-line application.  
    6. Copy of English Proficiency Test (if applicable)
      Applicants educated at non-Canadian institutions should note that their educational background will be assessed for equivalency with a University of Toronto degree. 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 methods indicated below. This requirement should be met at the time that you submit your application. 

      TOEFLCOPE and IELTS official scores are uploaded electronically directly from the testing services to the University of Toronto. 
      The institutional code for the University of Toronto graduate studies is 0982.

      Other acceptable testing agencies, such as MELABGREGMAT, UofT SCS – Academic Preparation course and Grad IFP, provide official test scores in hard copy issued directly from the testing service/U of T office to either the graduate unit or SGS.

      For up-to-date details on English Language Requirements and minimum scores, please visit SGS English-Language Proficiency Testing for details. 

    7. Curriculum Vitae
      Applicants should submit a Curriculum Vitae. Please see this tip sheet (PDF) for the kind of information to provide.

Technical assistance with online application system : or 416-978-6614

Assistance with procedures and requirements : or 416-978-5809

International Applicants


Collaborative Specializations

It is not necessary to enter a collaborative specialization to study at the Cinema Studies Institute. However, if you are interested in one of the Collaborative Specializations, you must apply separately through the offering department. Please consult the department in question regarding application procedures and deadlines. Collaborative specializations often require coursework in addition to our requirements.