PhD in Information

Application Information

Be equipped to take on leadership roles in information and knowledge-based environments, including academia. The doctorate program features advanced scholarly research in the theoretical basis of information studies. In private and public institutions, apply the PhD to professional practice functions such as research, systems analysis and design, and administration.

 Admission requirements to the PhD in Information program

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 Application & deadlines

Entry into the program occurs once a year, in September. The program is delivered in-person on campus.

Application Form & Fee

Application Deadlines for Admission

  • October 1 – online application is available
  • December 1 – online application, application fee and all supporting documents must be submitted: statement of interest, research statement, transcripts, CV/resume, writing sample, academic letters of reference, English proficiency test scores (if applicable). An application with supporting documents submitted after this date, or with missing supporting documents will be considered incomplete, and will not be reviewed by the Admissions Committee.

Missed the PhD Info Night on October 26? Watch the recording HERE! 

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Academic requirements


  • An appropriate Master’s degree from a recognized university is required. The degree may be in any discipline or area of study.
  • If your degree was earned outside of Canada, use the International Degree Equivalency Toolto identify equivalent credentials.


  • A- average (or equivalent).
  • This is the minimum GPA requirement for consideration. Presenting the minimum does not guarantee admission.

While work experience is invaluable personal and professional experience, it cannot be a substitute for academic requirements.

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While it is not required that you secure a supervisor ahead of time, it is highly recommended that you reach out to potential supervisors to inquire if they would be interested in advising you on your topic. Some faculty may not be taking on new students in the upcoming intake cycle. Admission to PhD is based on the availability of a faculty member to support your research. Therefore, the more you can align your research with the faculty member(s) you wish to work with, the better your chances of admission would be. I’d advise you to consider exploring a few different sites to find suitable advisors:
Faculty Profiles This site provides you with links to each member of our Faculty, along with a brief description of their research You may find that some faculty members have links to their own personal sites, and others will also post citations to prior published work You may consider also using Google Scholar on some of our faculty members to see what kind of research they use.
Research clusters: This webpage provides you with a list of the current set research areas in the PhD program. Finally, you can visit the following site to find out which faculty are seeing PhD students:

Supporting documents


Transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended:

  • For applicants currently in the process of completing their final year of study, an interim transcript must be submitted.
  • Current and past University of Toronto students applying to Faculty of Information programs may give permission to the Faculty to download an official UofT transcript by emailing

For the purpose of the application review, unofficial transcripts may be uploaded to the online application form.

  • If an offer of admission is made, official final transcripts must be submitted to the Faculty as part of the offer condition(s).
  • Transcripts are considered official when they have been prepared, sealed in an envelope, and signed over the back flap by an official at the issuing institution. They are to be sent directly to the Faculty of Information:  University of Toronto, 140 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 3G6.

The Admissions Committee may at any time during the application process request that applicants submit official transcripts for all post-secondary institutions attended.

For students whose admitting degree was granted outside of North America, the Faculty of Information will accept transcripts sent directly from World Education Services (WES) as official transcripts.  The Faculty of Information will consider the evaluation report from WES but will make its own evaluation decision.

For admission to the Faculty of Information,  standardized tests (such as GMAT or GRE) are not required or requested, and will not be considered.


Your CV should include: education; relevant personal and work experience, both paid and unpaid; publications; professional activities; awards, honours, grants and fellowships, as applicable.

*Please submit your research statement and statement of interest  as one document through the SGS application site as either a Microsoft Word file or a PDF, under the research statement field.


All applicants should proactively reach out to Faculty members conducting research in the area you are interested in to ensure that your research can be well supported by a faculty member.

Your research statement should be written in essay format and be a maximum of 1,000 words, double-spaced.

A research statement generally outlines: 1) the research you plan to undertake in a PhD; 2) support at the Faculty of Information. We have provided some prompts that may stimulate and guide your thinking:

1. The research or project you plan to undertake in your PhD: What is the research you will conduct at the Faculty of Information? What fields or areas of research is your project in conversation with (demonstrated through a short literature review)? Who are the scholars (including researchers, artists, practitioners, community leaders,  elders, etc.) that have shaped your research interests? What is significant or novel about this research? Explain how your research contributes to intellectual diversity in the Faculty.

2. Support at the Faculty of Information: Why do you want to undertake this research at the Faculty of Information? Which faculty members do you propose to supervise your research and serve on your dissertation committee, and why? Have you met with these faculty members? Which courses and programs of study (including potential optional collaborative programs) will support your research? Are there research centres, institutions, or communities that can support your research?


  • Be specific
  • Include citations and a bibliography
  • Include a short title for your research project
  • Include specific details about achievements (academic, professional, or community)
  • Write in clear, jargon-free language for an interdisciplinary committee



Your statement of interest should be written in essay format and be a maximum of 500 words, double-spaced. Your statement of interest generally outlines your background. We have provided some prompts that may stimulate and guide your thinking:

Your background: How did you become interested in this research? What led you to this proposed research? What background (academic, personal or professional) do you have that prepares you to pursue this project or area of research, and how do you need to grow? You should be specific about courses, essays, theses, research-creation, community organizing, activism and/or lived experiences that have prepared you to undertake the proposed research.



In the online application, you will be able to upload your writing sample to the portal at the end – during the “review” stage.

The writing sample is a piece of original academic work, around 3,000-8,000 words (double-spaced if not in published format).

It could be one of:

  • a course paper
  • an excerpt from your thesis or major research paper
  • an article submitted for publication
  • a chapter from a book or other similar publication

The writing sample is used to evaluate your writing skills, which are an important component of the PhD. This is easiest to do if the sample is single-authored. If you submit a collaboratively authored sample, please include a statement of contributions that explains your role.


Three acadmemic letters are required. If you graduated more than five years ago, you may substitute professional letters of reference. Work-related referees should be direct supervisors who can comment on your skills that are useful in the academic environment.

In the online application, you will be asked to provide the contact information for your referees. Once you have paid the application fee your referees will be emailed by the School of Graduate Studies with instructions directing them to a secure website where they will submit electronically:

  • a candidate assessment in a fillable confidential report form
  • a reference letter

Suggested guidelines for reference letters:

  • Letters should be 1-2 pages maximum
  • Include how long you have known the applicant and in what capacity
  • Outline the applicant’s strengths as a student/researcher, ideally with specific examples
  • Avoid gendered language
  • Include details such as: how would you describe the applicant’s intellectual characteristics? Their ability to carry out independent and collaborative research? What has prepared the applicant to undertake a PhD? How do you assess the applicant’s communication, research, and writing skills? Does the applicant possess personal qualities that will help them succeed in a PhD? Is there anything else we should know about the applicant that they may not have included in their research statement?
References from Traditional Knowledge Keepers and Elders
The Faculty of Information is committed to implementing recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada; specifically those concerned with eliminating educational gaps for Aboriginal students, improving education attainment levels and success rates, and developing culturally appropriate curricula.
We recognize that one of the most destructive and enduring artifacts of Canada’s colonial history involves the devaluation of traditional knowledge and cultural practice, and the disenfranchisement of knowledge keepers and elders. As such, and where requested by the applicant, letters of achievement, recognition, and support from community knowledge keepers and elders will be accepted by the admissions committee, and weighted equally to formal academic references.



Applicants whose first language is not English will need to submit an English proficiency test result.

Applicants whose first language is not English but who completed an Undergraduate or Graduate degree from an institution where English is used as the medium of instruction and examination may not require an English proficiency test. However, applicants will be required to provide a letter from their previous institution to verify that English is indeed used as the medium of instruction. This letter should be sent directly to the Faculty of Information on official institution letterhead and email.

The Admissions Committee reserves the right to require applicants to provide an English proficiency test result during the application process.

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After applying


You may log in to your profile on the application website to confirm the receipt of your supporting documents or amend your current contact information. Your application will be marked “Under Review” when it has gone to the Admission Committee for consideration.


The Admissions Committee takes a holistic approach in reviewing candidates. Emphasis is not placed on any specific area but on the overall application. Meeting the minimum requirements of the Faculty of Information and the School of Graduate Studies does not guarantee admission.

Applicants may be contacted for an interview during the application review process.

Admission is based on the availability of a faculty member to support your research. It is important to us that our admitted PhD students are well supported in their area of research by their supervisors. Therefore, you should proactively reach out to Faculty members who are conducting research in the area you are interested in ahead of time to ensure that you will have a supervisor who has the expertise to support your research.


Decisions will be communicated on the application website and via email. Decisions are made as soon as it is possible to do so, rather than by a specific date. By the end of the current admission cycle (typically in May) the outcomes of all applications should be communicated.

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