Graduate Studies FAQ

Below are frequently asked questions about our graduate programs. Click on each question to reveal the answer. If your question is not addressed below, please email the Graduate Assistant.

Email the Graduate Assistant


There are two deadlines: The first deadline requires completion of the SGS online application, submission of institutional email address of three (3) referees, and payment; the second deadline requires submission of all supporting documentation and upload of all references. Please refer to the Application Information webpage for more details.

Offers of admission from the Department of Art History will be sent out both electronically through email and physically mailed. Admissions are decided on a rolling basis from the end of February onward.

If you are given a letter of offer, as a condition of admission, you will be required to submit complete official paper transcripts for all post-secondary institutions attended. The University of Toronto requires an official transcript from each post-secondary institution that you have attended. Each institution will have its own procedures for issuing transcripts, and in some cases, this can take weeks or even months. You must consider this timeline when requesting your transcript(s). All non-English language documents must be officially translated into English and submitted to the University of Toronto together with the originals. If you are unable to submit official documents, please contact the Graduate Office directly.

All components of the admission package including letters of reference are submitted online. Due to the high volume of applications, the Department cannot accept admission documents in paper format. The online reference submission process is very straightforward. There is no template. Referees are contacted via their institutional email applicants are required to supply. Referees receive a weblink to take them to a webpage with very detailed instructions. Reference letters can either be typed directly into a text box, or prepared in advance to be inserted. Referees are allowed to save changes, exit and re-enter the system using the same weblink, as necessary. When a reference letter is ready, clicking on "Submit" makes it available to the Department. Do not provide more than three letters of reference.

Due to the high volume of applications, the Department of Art History can only accept reference letters in electronic format (to be uploaded to the application system). If you are unable to enter your referee's email address into the system, contact the Graduate Office for assistance.

The Department of Art History participates in a number of collaborative degree programs. A complete list of collaborative programs will pop up when you click on the tab “collaborative programs” within the School of Graduate Studies online application. If you are applying to a collaborative program, you may be required to submit separate application information directly to the office of your chosen collaborative program, in addition to the information you submit to the Department of Art History. Application deadlines to the collaborative programs could be different from ours. Please contact the administrators of collaborative programs for their application deadlines and detailed program information.

Applicants from universities outside Canada where English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of their application.

No, completion of the Graduate Record Examination is not required.

Newly-Admitted Students

Explore our website! Newly-admitted students will receive a welcome package, which includes the Graduate Student Handbook, in August. The welcome package is filled with useful information, tips, and resources.

Course registration for the fall term typically begins in August. In the summer, we will email you a welcome package that explains the course registration process in detail, including the exact dates of course registration for the upcoming academic year. If you haven’t received this package by the course registration date, please contact the Graduate Office. To register for courses, defer fees, receive funding, and update personal information, graduate students will need to become familiar with ACORN.

The University of Toronto offers a number of resources:

Toronto is a city of neighbourhoods, each with its own character. There are many great areas in which you could live, but our graduate students recommend the following neighbourhoods:

  • The Annex (immediately north and west of the St. George campus)
  • Little Italy (west of the St. George campus along College Street)
  • The Danforth (east of the St. George campus along Danforth near Pape)
  • Church and Wellesley Village (east of the St. George campus)

The University of Toronto provides accommodation for students with disabilities. These include accessible classrooms and labs, extensions on coursework, braille, sign language interpretation, note-taking support, and more. Accessibility Services provides support in helping students assess their disability and receive appropriate accommodations. Strict confidentiality is maintained. Visit the Accessibility Services website for more information.

Programs Requirements, Courses, and Language Exams

You can enrol in a reading course with the permission of the instructor and the Director of Graduate Studies. Once you have obtained permission, complete and submit the SGS Add/Drop Course(s) form to the Graduate Assistant.

The MA degree requires demonstrated reading knowledge of a language other than English for graduation. This will be tested in the first session of the program. Language exams are administered by the Department and consist solely of a two-hour translation exercise of two art history passages from two areas of study; only hard copy print dictionaries may be used.

PhD students are required to pass examinations in two languages if they have not already done so in the MA program. This requirement must be completed before taking the comprehensive exams. The appropriate languages will be set by the interim supervisor in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies.

Yes, you can. However, when enrolled in an undergraduate course, you still need to meet the School of Graduate Studies’ standards. This means you will need to earn a 70 or better to pass the course. Many of our students request to audit undergraduate language courses instead. If you are interested in auditing an undergraduate course, contact the course’s instructor for permission. Note: Undergraduate language courses do not fulfill the Department of Art History’s MA or PhD language requirement(s).

The language exam takes the form of a translation exercise, from another language into English. You will be given two short passages, typically from exhibition catalogues or similar publications. They will be from different fields (e.g., one ancient, one modern), and you have two hours to translate the passages. Print dictionaries (i.e., NOT online versions) are permitted. Faculty members in Art History or cognate departments do the marking. To ensure anonymity, students identify themselves on exam scripts only with their student numbers. There is no need to provide certification for the languages that you have taken, but you must be able to do the translations. A language course does not satisfy the requirement of this language translation exam.

To help prepare for the language exam, find suitable passages in exhibition catalogues or similar texts (e.g., essays, etc.) and practice reading, with an eye to understanding the meaning of the passage and conveying this in English rather than translating literally word for word. The Louvre Museum's website has a list of passages that may be helpful for practicing. When you find a passage you would like to practice with, click the red "Select language" dropdown menu in the top right corner to see the passage in another language.

MA students must complete their language exams by late February/early March. PhD students must complete their language requirements before beginning comprehensive exams.

Research, Supervisors, and Committees

The student-supervisor relationship is a key factor in determining a successful and satisfying graduate experience. Please refer to the School of Graduate Studies Supervision Guidelines.

No. Your supervisor has to be a graduate faculty member within the Department of Art History.

Many students change focus over the course of their academic experience. You should talk to your supervisor about it. You can also talk to the Director of Graduate Studies.

First, it is recommended that the student and supervisor have a discussion early on about appropriate ways for raising problems. This process can form part of a general establishing of "ground rules" at the outset, which might cover the frequency of meetings (monthly?), timing and nature of feedback on drafts, the nature and timing of committee input and advice, etc. Just as student and supervisor share responsibility for the success of the relationship generally, so they share responsibility for preventing and resolving conflict.

Second, if problems do arise that seem to go beyond what can be resolved solely between student and supervisor, then the recommended course of action is to consult outwards step by step. Initially, the student should seek advice from their committee members, as they are the faculty members most likely to understand the situation in detail. If then still unresolved, the student should consult with the graduate coordinator, and then the graduate chair. Other faculty members may appear to be in a position to offer advice, but we strongly recommend this sequence of consultation, as it reflects the expanding levels of responsibility for oversight of your graduate studies.

If this sequence of consultation still is unable to resolve problems that arise, the student may make an appeal to our Graduate Department Academic Appeals Committee (GDAAC). This committee will have five members: four graduate faculty members and one graduate student. The graduate committee members will normally be drawn from the Departmental Graduate Committee. Neither the Chair nor the Graduate Coordinator of the Department should typically be a member of the GDAAC. The graduate student will normally be one of the GUStA executive or nominated by GUStA. The Chair of the Committee will be appointed by the Department Chair. Further aspects of the procedure can be found on the SGS GDAAC page.

Appeals, Extensions, and Other Policies

Please send in a completed Extension to Complete Coursework Form PDF, and contact the Graduate Office to discuss the possibility of an extension.

If you would like to appeal a grade, your first point of contact should be the professor who assigned the grade. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of that discussion, you can submit a formal appeal to the Department of Art History Graduate Appeals Committee. Contact the Graduate Office for more information.

You can request an extension by completing the appropriate form from the School of Graduate Studies and submitting it to our Graduate Office:



You can request an extension by completing the appropriate form from the School of Graduate Studies and submitting it to the Graduate Office:



Tuition, Funding, and Awards

Tuition and ancillary fees vary by your program of study, citizenship, enrolment status (part-time or full-time), and campus. Visit the Planning and Budget Office website for a list of current tuition fees.

The School of Graduate Studies website provides an overview of base funding for graduate students. Only PhD candidates are eligible for base funding; Master’s candidates are not eligible.

If you are a doctoral candidate in years one through five of your program, you are eligible for the Faculty of Arts & Science’s base funding package, as long as you remain in good standing and apply each year for major external awards.

In A&S, graduate students are expected to fund their graduate studies by applying for major internal and external scholarships and seeking out Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant opportunities. If you were to receive such a major external fellowship, then your funding package would be adjusted appropriately for the period of the external grant. This policy ensures that funding is distributed as equitably as possible for all of our graduate students. If income from these sources is lower than the A&S base funding package, students receive additional funds in the form of University of Toronto Fellowships (UTF). Visit the Faculty of Arts & Science How Graduate Funding Works in A&S webpage for more information.

Teaching Assistant (TA) and Course Instructor (CI) Positions

A teaching assistantship is one part of the base funding package for PhD students. MA students do not normally hold a teaching assistantship.

Normally, you must accept a TA position if it is offered as part of your guaranteed funding package. You may request a one-time deferral or you may decline—see below.

You may request a one-time deferral from the Department. Deferring your appointment means that while you do not forfeit your subsequent appointment, you DO forfeit the portion of funding for that year. Subsequent deferral requests will be considered at the discretion of the Department and are not guaranteed.

If you decline a TA position, you will have one fewer remaining appointments and you will forfeit that portion of your funding package for that year.

Yes, there is. In fact, all students who are new teaching assistants or course instructors must attend at least four hours or six hours of paid training respectively. You can access training, programming, and resources through the University’s Teaching Assistants’ Training Program or the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation.

Consult with the course instructor and use the Description of Duties and Allocation of Hours (DDAH) form to confirm your hour breakdown. As a teaching assistant, you are a member of CUPE 3902 Unit 1. Your hours of work and other aspects of your employment are governed by the CUPE 3902 Unit 1 collective agreement.

The course instructor is your first point of contact when there is a problem in your TA assistantships. The Undergraduate Assistant and the Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies will be able to provide additional guidance. The Teaching Assistants’ Training Program (TATP) also offers support for both course instructors and teaching assistants.

Staying Connected after Graduation

Stay connect and keep us posted on your success. Email us and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For more ways to get involved, visit our Alumni & Friends section of the website.

Alumni & Friends