Frequently Asked Questions – Admissions

General Questions
Admission Requirements
Letters of Reference
Admission Process
Program Transfers

General Questions

What programs of study are offered at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies?
UTIAS offers three graduate degrees, one professional and two research:
1. Master of Engineering (MEng): This degree is a course-based professional master’s degree program. Students take ten courses (one of which may be a project) over one to three years, depending upon the program option selected. This is considered to be excellent preparation for work in the aerospace industry.
2. Master of Applied Science (MASc): This is a research degree based upon four courses and a thesis. The standard length of time of study for the MASc is twenty months, most of which involves the production of the thesis. The MASc is considered preparation for further graduate studies or a research and development position in industry.
3. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD): The PhD is the pinnacle of research-based degrees in the Canadian university system. It is based primarily on the completion of a major thesis containing original scientific discovery over produced four years. The PhD is excellent preparation for a position in academia or a senior position in research in industry.

What are the options for the MEng program?
There are three options for the MEng program, each pertaining to a different length period during which the candidate should complete their degree requirements. In all three cases the total tuition is about the same, but incidental fees must be paid for each year in the program. The full-time MEng program is one year in length, and the student must complete ten courses in that time. The extended full-time MEng program again includes ten courses, but is completed over two years. The part-time MEng program is completed over three to six years. The extended full-time and part-time programs include regulations limiting the maximum number of courses that can be taken in a single session and in an academic year. Details are included in the course selection instructions for MEng students.

What is research?
Research at UTIAS is the production of original scientific knowledge through experiment, computation or analysis. This knowledge will be recorded in a document produced by a research student, called a thesis, which forms a crucial part of the degree requirements. Students undertaking research projects leading to research degrees must be highly motivated and self-directed, and have a strong curiosity about and desire to understand the subject of their research. Research students learn to be independent and to move a research project forward based on their own knowledge, experience and judgment.

What is supervision and how does it work?
Supervision is the process whereby a faculty member takes primary responsibility for assisting a student to learn the craft of research and proceed successfully to the degree. Styles of supervision vary considerably between professors, and can change during the course of a particular student’s research program. For example, regular meetings may be necessary early in a student’s research career, but the student may be more independent, requiring fewer meetings, at a later stage. The School of Graduate Studies provides guidelines on how supervision should be undertaken, and describes the roles of both the student and the supervisor. Every research student must have a supervisor to be admitted to UTIAS.


Does my master’s degree qualify me for admission to the PhD program?
The requirement for admission to the PhD program is a degree equivalent to the MASc degree offered at UTIAS. This degree is research-based. Unless your master’s degree includes a research thesis involving at least one year of full-time work, it will not qualify as adequate preparation for the PhD.

My degree has not yet been awarded. May I still apply?
Yes. If your degree has not been conferred at the time of application and you are accepted into the program, your acceptance would contain conditions requiring a final transcript to confirm your final year average and that your degree has been conferred.

Admission Requirements

What is the minimum average necessary for admission to the MASc or MEng programs?
To qualify for admission to the MASc or MEng programs requires a mid-B average at the undergraduate level. In general, students admitted to the MASc program have an undergraduate average higher than this.

What is the minimum average necessary for admission to the PhD program?
To qualify for admission to the PhD program requires a B+ average at the graduate level. In general, students admitted to the program have an average higher than this.

How do I submit my official transcripts?
Transcripts should be submitted to the UTIAS Graduate Office directly by the issuing institution. The University of Toronto requires an official transcript from each post-secondary institution that you have attended; it is your responsibility to submit transcripts prior to the deadline, unless otherwise noted by the program’s instructions. 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).

Under what conditions do I need to take a test of English proficiency?
Applicants to UTIAS MUST provide evidence of English proficiency unless, prior to starting their studies at UTIAS, they have completed a degree program from a university on one of the following countries: Canada, 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.

An institution’s language of instruction will not be accepted as proof of English language proficiency. English language proficiency scores must not be older than two years at the time of application. Most commonly, applicants present TOEFL or IELTS scores as evidence of English language proficiency. Other tests are also allowed; see the School of Graduate Studies web site for other options.

I received my degree from a foreign institution, but the medium of instruction was English. Can I request an ELP exemption?
No. The medium of instruction in a university in a country not listed above is not sufficient to demonstrate English proficiency

Am I required to take the GRE?

Letters of Reference

Who should write my letters of reference?
The best letters of reference for a research-based degree are written by professors with whom you have had research-related experience, such as a master’s supervisor or your supervisor for a summer research project. Other professors with whom you have interacted are also valuable sources of letters of reference. Industrial and other sources of letters of reference are not highly desirable.

Where do I enter referee information?
Referee information is entered on the UTIAS application system.

How can my letters of reference be submitted?
Letters of reference must be submitted through the UTIAS application system. Do not mail hard copies of letters of reference to UTIAS.

How many letters of reference are required? May I send more?
Two letters of reference are required. They must be submitted by the referee through the UTIAS application system. Any additional letters sent will not be reviewed.

My referee did not get the email with the link to submit a letter for me. How can I resend the email?
To resend the email click the name of the referee on the UTIAS application system; the system will automatically send an email to remind the referee to submit a letter of reference. You may also click the email address of the referee. In this case, use your own email client to write your own email message to remind the referee.

The email address I provided for one of my referees is incorrect. How can I change it?
Please send the new email address to the Graduate Office. Please remember to include your name and applicant number.

I need to change one of my referees. How can I do this?
Please send an email to the Graduate Office with the following information:
Referee first name
Referee last name
Referee email address
Referee title
Organization which referee is affiliated
Referee phone number
Referee web URL
Please include your name and applicant number.


May I contact the professors with whom I am interested in working?
Yes. It is recommended that you contact professors with whom you would like to do graduate research to understand their research programs and expectations. However it is not necessary to make contact with professors. Professors are very busy, and if they do
not respond to your inquiries, this does not mean that you will not be admitted to their research group.

Do I need to secure a supervisor before applying to the MASc or PhD programs?
No, you do not need to secure a supervisor before applying. During the admission process, you may be interviewed by professors considering offering you a funded position. A key facet of admission is that a supervisor agrees to support your graduate research.

Can I be admitted to the MASc and PhD programs without a supervisor?
No. In order to gain admission to the research-based programs, you must have the support of a supervisor.

Do MEng students require a supervisor?
No. MEng students do not require a supervisor. The Associate Director, Graduate Studies acts as a faculty mentor.



Is there funding available for the MASc and PhD programs? How does the funding work?
Yes, all research programs are funded, including tuition, fees and a stipend for living expenses. For the MASc, students are guaranteed twenty months of funding, while for the PhD program students are guaranteed four years of funding. Support is paid three times per year, in September, January and May. The funding is sufficient to pay tuition and fees, either domestic or international, and also includes a stipend to support living expenses. For 2017-2018, the stipend is $15500 for students in the MASc program and $17000 for students in the PhD program. This funding is provided by the professor supervising the student’s research and is usually connected to a particular funded research project being undertaken by the professor.

Is there funding available for the MEng program?

Admission Process

What is the difference between the SGS Fee Payment Deadline and the UTIAS Application Form Deadline?

The SGS Fee Payment Deadline is the deadline to pay the application fee on the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) web site for the program you are applying for, and to get an Applicant Number. If you do not pay the SGS application fee before the deadline, you cannot submit an application on the UTIAS Application System.

The UTIAS Application Form Deadline is the deadline to complete your graduate school application on the UTIAS application system All documents must be submitted – including reference letters – by this UTIAS Application form deadline date. Your official transcripts should also be received by the UTIAS Graduate Office by the UTIAS Application Form Deadline date.

I have sent in my transcripts, ELP scores, etc; have you received them? My SGS application still says Documents Pending.
Applicants should not monitor their application status on the SGS application web site. The application status will remain as “Documents Pending” during the application process. Due to the volume of documents received we cannot confirm receipt of transcripts or English proficiency scores on the SGS system. The UTIAS Graduate Office will contact applicants regarding missing documents if necessary. Also, please do not email the SGS Admissions office for updates on your application.

How should I monitor the progress of my application?
Applicants should monitor their application on the UTIAS application website. A completed application will have an Application Status of “application received”. An application will remain as “application received” while it is under review. For many applicants the application status will continue to read “application received” until an admission decision has been made.

I have submitted my UTIAS application on the UTIAS system and I just noticed an error. Can I fix it?
Following submission of your application, it cannot be changed. You may enter additional information by adding a comment to your application. To add a comment use the “Add comments after submission” option in “My Tasks”.

When are applications reviewed?
Applications for research-based degrees (MASc and PhD) are reviewed following the application deadline, which is in the middle of January. Applications are not typically reviewed prior to this time. This enables all applicants to be reviewed fairly. Applications for the MEng program are reviewed periodically beginning in January until shortly after the deadline in April.

When will I hear about whether or not I have been admitted?
The first letters offering admission will be sent in early March. There are several rounds of offer letters sent out, so if you do not get an offer of admission in early March, you may still get one later in the process. However, if you have not been interviewed by the end of April, it is likely that you will not be offered a position in the MASc or PhD programs. Final decision letters will be sent in early June.

Can I get admission in January or May?
The large majority of admissions occur in September. It is rare for research positions to be open in January or May. In the uncommon circumstance that a research position is open in January, the professor funding the position must contact the Graduate Office to request that a particular student be able to apply for a January start. In this case, the professor should already have determined that they wish to accept a specific student in January. Some students who are admitted for a September start may elect, with the support of their supervising professor, to begin their studies in May.

I have applied for the MASc program and was not accepted. How can I be considered for the MEng program?
Unless you notify us otherwise, you will automatically be considered for the MEng program.

Program Transfers

Can I transfer from the MEng program to the MASc program?
It is possible to transfer from the MEng program to the MASc program, provided a student can secure a professor to provide financial support and a commitment to act as a supervisor. Students in the MEng program wishing to transfer to the MASc program are advised to contact possible professors to express their interest, and to undertake an MEng project (AER 1810) under the supervision of a professor.

Can I transfer from the MASc program to the PhD program?
After eight months in the MASc program, outstanding students are offered the opportunity to transfer directly to the PhD program. Should they accept this opportunity, the transfer would take effect after twelve months in the MASc program. Following the transfer, the student would have four years of guaranteed funding in the PhD program.