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 on-campus

Application Form & Fee

Application Deadlines for Admission

  • October 1 – online application is available
  • November 16 – online application, application fee and research statement must be submitted. Please note an online application completed beyond this date will not be reviewed by the Faculty. The application fee is also non-refundable.
  • November 30 – all other supporting documents must be submitted (transcripts, CV/resume, writing sample, academic letters of reference, English proficiency (if applicable). Please note an application with supporting documents submitted beyond this date will be considered as incomplete, and will not be reviewed by the Admissions Committee.

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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 then use the International Degree Equivalency Toolto identify equivalent credentials.


  • A- equivalent for consideration
  • This is the minimum GPA requirement for consideration. Presenting the minimum does not guarantee admissions.

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

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Supporting documents


Transcript(s) from all post-secondary institution in attendance and attended:

  • For applicants currently in the process of completing their final year of study, an interim transcript needs to 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 U of T 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 needs to be received at 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 applicants to submit official transcripts for all post-secondary institutions attended. For admission to the Faculty of Information  standardized tests (such as GMAT or GRE) are not required or requested, and will not be considered.

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 in consideration for admission.  The Faculty of Information will consider the evaluation report from WES but will make its own evaluation decision.


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


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 1,500 words, double spaced.

A research statement generally outlines: 1) the research you plan to undertake in a PhD; 2) your background; 3) 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 research/project in conversation with (demonstrated through a short literature review)? Who are the scholars (including researchers, artists/practitioners, community leaders, and/or elders) 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.   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, and/or other research, research-creation, community, organizing, activist and/or lived experiences that have prepared you to undertake the proposed research.

3.   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? Have you met with these faculty members? Why do you propose to work with those 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


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

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

On 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 on a fillable Confidential Report form
  • a reference letter

Suggested guidelines for reference letters:

  • Letters should be 1-2 pages (max)
  • 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
  • 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 (avoid gendered language)? Is there anything else we should know about the applicant that they may not have included in their research statement?


For applicants where English is not their first language, an English proficiency test result will need to be submitted.

For applicants where English is not their first language but completed an Undergraduate or Graduate degree from an institution where English is used as the medium of instruction and examination, then an English proficiency test result may not be required. 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 admission committee does reserve the right to request for applicants to provide an English Proficiency Test result during the application process.

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After you apply


You may log in to your profile on the application website to confirm the receipt of your supporting documents at the university 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 in any specific area but 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 that are conducting research in the area you are interested in ahead of time to ensure that you will have a supervisor that 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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