FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Before applying . . .

Application Process . . .

Academic Assessment . . .

After applying . . .

Accepting an offer . . .

Once I am in the program . . .

Summer co-op placement . . .

Answers to questions

Is this program available full-time only, or is there a part-time option?

The MScSM Progam is a full-time, Monday to Friday, program. There currently is no part-time option.

How do I know if I am eligible to apply?

Please refer to our Admissions Criteria page on our website. Prospective applicants are asked to self-assess. However, if after reading this page you are still not sure, please contact the Program Coordinator via email; mscsm.utm@utoronto.ca

How do I calculate my GPA?

Although we review an applicant's whole transcript - looking for consistency over the years - we only calculate the GPA from the last five full, or ten half credit, senior level courses (third and fourth year courses). For domestic students, please refer to the Undergraduate Grading System Conversion Table.

For international students, please refer to the UofT International Degree Equivalency page.

Please note that we cannot provide a specific assessment of credentials prior to submission of a completed application.

What type of bachelor's degree is required?

An appropriate four-year undergraduate bachelor degree from an accredited university in any area of management science, social science, natural science, and engineering or any management, environment or natural resource driven degree.

I am currently in another master's program, can I transfer into the MScSM Program?

No.

How do I access the online application?

Our online application system will open on October 1, 2016 and close on March 31, 2017. You will be able to access the online application via our website.

The online application system won't let me apply to the program I want - what's wrong?

The most common problems are:

- The program is closed for admission. You are trying to apply outside of our specific online application dates. It is only open from October 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017. It cannot be accessed at any other time. It is not possible for us to accept late applications.

- You have not selected MScSM from the IMI Graduate unit: from the pick list, choose IMI (Institute for Management & Innovation) and then choose Sustainability Management.

I want to apply to several graduate UofT programs, can I?

Yes. However, you need to apply to each program separately as each program has their own admission criteria and different documents that must be submitted for consideration. In addition, you will be required to pay the application fee for each program you apply to.

I applied last year, do I have to re-submit documents?

Yes.

Do I have to pay the application fee?

Yes. You will not be able to submit any documents until you pay the application fee.

How do I pay the application fee?

Via credit card on the online application system - $120 CDN.

Online and paper transcripts - do I really have to provide both?

Yes.

Initially, on the online application system, you need only upload the electronic version of your transcript. However, you will eventually have to arrange for the official hard copy transcript to be delivered directly to the MScSM Program Office for our consideration - before our admission decision. And, if you are a fourth year student when you apply and we extend an offer, you will be required to submit an additional official final transcript that lists your final grades and states that your degree has been conferred upon you - this will be a condition on any offer that we may extend to a fourth year applicant and is a typical condition.

If you are a UofT student, you do need to upload your electronic version of your transcript but do not need to order the official paper copy.

What if I can't obtain official transcripts?

Contact the Program Coordinator. We cannot consider any application file that is not complete and an official transcript is required.

Who should I ask to be my referees?

If you are currently a student - in your fourth year - at least one of the reference letters must be academic. You can eihter submit two academic reference letters or, if you have worked or have volunteered, the second letter can be professional (from a supervisor at your work or volunteer work).

If you have been out of school for several years and cannot provide academic references, then two work or volunteer work reference letters from your supervisors is acceptable.

Whether academic or work reference letters, the referees should provide information on your academic/work habits: can you complete assignments on time etc. Do you have leadership skills or potential. Can you work in a group and on your own. In their opinion, will you succeed in a demanding graduate program that has high expectations.

How do my referees submit their letters of reference?

When you complete your online application form, it will ask for your referees' name/title/contact info/email address/etc. Once you enter the information, the online sytem will automatically send the referee instructions on how to submit their letter of reference. Please note, however, it is ultimately the applicant's responsibility to ensure that their referees submit their letters of reference on time.

The information we are looking for in reference letters is: how do you know the applicant? For how long have you known the applicant? How did the applicant perform in class/at work? Will the applicant be able to succeed in graduate school? Does the applicant have leadership potential? Can the applicant work alone and in a group?

Can I submit more than the two required letters of reference?

No. The online system only accepts two reference letters and we only consider two reference letters.

Must I have completed a statistics course to apply?

Yes. This is an admission requirement. All applicants, by the time they start the program,  must have taken an undergraduate course in statistics, or mathematics, or calculus and achieved a grade of at least B-.

I am an international student - do I have to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score report?

If your primary language is not English and you graduated from a non-Canadian university where the language of instruction was not in English, then you must demonstrate your facility in English by successfully completing an acceptable English Facility Test. This requirement must be met at the time you submit your application.

You must arrange for your official TOEFL or IELTS official score report to be sent electronically to UofT School of Graduate Studies or Enrollment Services.

(NOTE: You are not required to complete an English Facility Test if you are a Canadian citizen who has studied at a Canadian university where the language of instruction is French).

Our minimum requirements for IELTS are: at least 7.0 in the overall band and 7.0 in each section (Reading, Speaking, Listening, and Writing).

Our minimum requirements for TOEFL are: at least 100 in the Total and at least 22 in each section.

The average scores of accepted students is often higher than the required minimums.

Please note that meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to our program.

I am an international applicant - are there any additional things I need to know?

Except for IELTS or TOEFL requirement, all the other admission criteria (GPA, four-year degree, references, etc) apply to both domestic and international students. However, international students are responsible for obtaining their visas to study and work in Canada.

In addition, international students must seek funding in their home countries. MScSM does not provide and funding.

Is GMAT or GRE required?

No.

How do I know if I am eligible to apply?

Firstly, although all applicants to our program and graduate programs  at UofT in general must meet minimum admission standards to be considered, each completed application is considered on its individual merits.

As per our website, and the answers above with regards to GPA and education, applicants are expected to self-assess their eligibility but are encouraged to email the MScSM Program Coordinator with any questions. Please note that we cannot provide a specific assessment of credentials prior to submission of a completed application.

What do you mean by an "appropriate" degree or "accredited/recognized" university?

An appropriate admitting degree satisfies the following criteria:

  • issuing institution recognized as having degree granting authority by the appropriate jurisdictional body
  • degree is comparable to the correspnding University of Toronto admitting credential in terms of breadth and depth
  • where appropriate, the degree has the required affinity or programmatic fit to the graduate program to which you are seeking admission - for example, MScSM prefers undergraduate degrees in management science, social science, natural and life sciences, engineering, or any natural resource-driven degree.

What if my undergraduate bachelor degree is only three years?

We require a four-year undergraduate bachelor degree. Students with three-year degrees are required to take qualifying courses to be considered for admission - to be taken before they apply.

What if my GPA does not achieve the minimum standard of 3.0 in the final year (final 5.0 senior level credits)?

Then you must complete a qualifying year (explained below).

What is a qualifying year/course?

Qualifying courses are Post-degree courses undertaken at a university as part of an undergraduate degree program, for the purpose of academic upgrading; for example. qualifying courses can be taken to upgrade a three-year degree or to upgrade a GPA.

Normally, qualifying courses:

  • consist of at least 2.5 full credit courses at the senior level (third and fourth year courses only)
  • consist of academic courses
  • consist of courses that are reasonably relevant to the proposed graduate-level study
  • must be completed at a recognized university
  • must be completed with a grade average equivalent to a UofT B+
  • the minimum GPA is higher for a qualifying year - B+ as opposed to B

Please note that completing the above qualifying courses' minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to our program.

Must my application be complete before it is reviewed?

Yes. We only review completed applications - once all required documents that meet our minimum standards in all sections - are submitted, including reference letters from your referees.

How will I know if all my documents have been received?

You can check the status of your online application at any time. The online system automatically updates your file when a document is submitted. Once all documents are submitted, the MScSM Program staff check your documents and then update your status to "Under Review".

How will my application be reviewed and a decision arrived at?

The process of evaluating your application, once it is complete, has several steps:

  • A preliminary review of all submitted documents is first - to ensure that the documents are compete,
  • Then, transcripts are reviewed for degree suitability and GPA calculated to ensure that applicant meets minimum academic and educational requirements,
  • Official IELTS/TOEFL (if applicable) score reports are checked to ensure international students meet English Language minimum requirements,
  • All other documents are carefully reviewed - resume, letter of intent, and letters of reference.

Your application is typically reviewed by the MScSM Admissions Committee that consists of the Program Coordinator, Placement Officer, and Program Director. All aspects of your application are thoroughly considered, including the academic assessment (applicants must meet academic minimums to be considered any further), letter of intent, resume, and letters of reference. The committee does not rank applications but arrives at a consensus per individual file.

From this point, some application files go forward for interview. Please note that not all applications move foward; only those applications that meet our minimum standards in all sections and other factors (such as quality of letter of intent, reference letters etc) are invited to an interview.

Is an interview required?

As explained above, only those applications that we are considering further are invited to a Skype video/audio interview. This interview is mandatory for those applicants. Applicants who cannot participate in a Skype interview are not considered for admission.

If I am offered admission, can I defer to next year?

No. We do not grant deferments. You can be re-considered for admission the following year however, you must re-apply in competition with all other applicants for admission to a future academic year.

Is there a wait list?

No.

I was refused admission - can I appeal?

No. The official results and admission committee deliberations pertaining to an application are final and confidential. Per University of Toronto and School of Graduate Studies policy, decisions related to admission to an academic program, including admission for master's students, are not subject to appeal. If you wish to be re-considered for admission you must re-apply in competition with all other applicants for admission to a future academic year.

How can I determine why I was refused and how can I strengthen my application for a future year?

Our admission process is competitive and we receive many more applications that we have available spaces. Unfortunately, many applicants are disappointed.

A Notification of Refusal letter means that your application is not sufficiently strong to be awarded an admission space. Other applications may be stronger because of academic standing, degree appropriateness, letters of reference, statement of intent, professional development, leadership ability, and more.

If you think your academic preparation (for example, appropriate bachelor's degree with mid B average) does not achieve our minimum requirements, you can contact our office for general and comprehensive feedback/suggestions.

If you're confident that you have met our minimum admission requirements, our program office may provide some general comments. However, please be aware that  in-depth feedback cannot be provided because deliberations of the Admission Committee are confidential.

How do I accept an offer?

About one week (or less) after your interview, we will send an informal email advising you of our admission decision. If we will be extending an offer of admission to you, it will arrive via email approximately one week after that.

The offer of admission package will contain several documents and letters, including a Deposit Form that you must sign, date, and submit back to our MScSM Program Office within two weeks.

How do I decline an offer?

Same way - and within two weeks.

Once I accept the offer, what's next?

You must also submit a deposit, currently in the amount of $500 CDN, to secure your space in the program. Once we have confirmed payment of deposit, we will forward emails related to the Next Steps involved in being a graduate student at UofT and in the MScSM Program (financial information, start dates, timetables, TA opportunities, and so on).

How do I register for courses?

You do not register for core courses. As most of our MScSM courses are core courses (meaning they are required courses that you must take), the Program Coordinator registers you in these courses. You only need register separately for elective courses, after your first semester.

How do I register for electives?

the MScSM Program does have some electives but many of your electives will be outside the MScSM Program, how to register for these courses - in other departments, possibly on other campuses - is dependent on that other department. Paper work such as an ADD Course form, usually needs to be completed and signed by both the student, the MScSM program administrator, and the host program department administrator. The MScSM program will assist students with the paperwork however, it is the student's responsibility to research the electives for appropriateness, availability, and permission from MScSM.

How do I pay my tuition fees?

Once you become a UofT/MScSM student, you will have online access to your tuition account and will be able to pay fees via online banking, money order, or certified cheque. Updated information on tuition and incidental fee costs and payment deadlines are available late spring each year.

When do I choose my concentration - management or science?

By the start of the second academic year.

How and when do I find my supervisor for my research paper?

In the spring and summer before the second academic year. The MScSM Program will provide some strategies and deadlines for finding your supervisor in spring of your first year.

Is the summer co-op/internship placement mandatory?

Yes and it is tied to the professional development workshops every Tuesday (or Wednesday) afternoon. Attendance to these workshops is also mandatory. The grade assigned is Pass or Fail - dependent on the workshop attendance and on the successful completion of the co-op placement position.

Most co-op/internship placements are paid and minimally ten weeks (from May to August).

To date, we have 100% placement rate for summer co-op/internships.

How do I obtain my co-op/internship placement?

Although the MScSM Program has a Placement and Employer Relations Officer, the expectation is that students play a very large part in securing their own placements. Every student is different with different skill sets and goals: some students are only interested in field work or technical work or working for a non-profit, or working for the government or large coporation.There is no one-size-fits-all approach to summer placements, which is why students must be involved in their search for a position.

What are the typical summer co-op/internship placement positions?

Students placement positions are as varied as the individual and unique interests of the student (students are very involved in searching for their own placements). For example, positions this summer are from field work to coporate work; from soil sampling in the field, to corporate social responsibility on the 30th floor of a downtown building; from complex technical work, to reporting, to marketing, to NGO work.

What type of jobs do alumni have?

As sustainability looks different to each company in each sector, 30 alumni will have 30 different jobs in 30 different industry sectors: all levels of government (municipal, provincial, federal), NGO's, large, medium and small companies, startups, etc. Alumni work in technical roles, reporting roles, marketing, consultancy, and many others.