Frequently Asked Questions

Can I apply for January admission?

No. We only accept applications to start the program in September of each year.

Is there a different application deadline for international applicants?

No. The posted deadline applies to all applicants.

My current degree is in progress – can I apply for admission prior to completing my current program?

Yes. The committee will assess your eligibility based on grades available to date. Your transcript must show grades from the fall session prior to the application deadline. If you are offered admission, it will be on the condition that you have completed your degree program with the minimum required GPA prior to the start of your graduate program (September).

My previous degree is not in geography, but is in a related discipline. Can I still apply?

Yes. Many of our students have degrees in related disciplines such as environmental studies, international development studies, earth sciences, civil engineering or urban studies, anthropology, etc. If you have not completed a geography program, the admissions committee will consider whether the courses you have taken in other related disciplines have adequately prepared you for the research you propose to do as a geography student. In other words, if your previous degree has provided you with the foundation to pursue the proposed research in geography your application will be competitive.

Can I apply to both the geography and planning programs?

Students considering studies at the master’s level may apply to both programs.
Students considering studies at the PhD level may apply to both programs but are not encouraged to do so. PhD applicants should review the program details and available courses in the Geography and Planning program handbooks, and should also consult with their potential supervisors, before deciding which PhD program to apply to.

Do I need to mail copies of my transcripts to the department as part of the application process?

For the purposes of the application a scanned copy of the official transcript must be uploaded to the online application by the applicant. A printed official transcript is not required for the application review. Official transcripts will be requested only for those who accept offers of admission – in which case instructions will be provided within an admission offer letter.

Am I required to submit transcripts from post-secondary programs I have not completed or which are in different disciplines?

Yes. Transcripts are required for all post-secondary institutions attended, including non-degree or certificate programs, even if programs were not completed or are in progress.

Can I provide more than three reference letters?

No. We will only accept three reference letters from referees listed on your online application. Additional letters will not be reviewed.

Can I provide additional materials (copies of publications, etc.)?

No. The admissions committee will only review the application documents outlined in the instructions. We will not review any additional materials.

Are there reference letter forms?

Letters of reference are completed using a web-based form. Instructions will be provided to the referee by email. If your reference is unable to use the online form and will be mailing a letter the letter should include a) a description of how they know you, b) how long they have known you and c) descriptive comments that will assist in providing a complete picture of your abilities and potential as a graduate student, focusing on research experience, capabilities and/or potential.

My reference did not receive an email from the university with instructions on completing their letter online. What should I do?

Applicants can resend the email to their references through the online system. Advise the recipient to check their junk mail folder as sometimes the email can be mislabeled as spam.

How can I change one of my references?

Referee information can be changed in the online application.

I have previously submitted an application/I have applied to more than one program – can the department reuse previously submitted reference letters or other supporting documents toward my current application?

No. Applicants must submit new supporting documents, including reference letters, for each application. Application materials are not transferable between programs or to subsequent applications.

My first language is not English, but I am currently completing a degree at a university where language of instruction and testing is uniformly in English. Do I need to submit an English language facility test score?

If you have (or will have) completed a degree program in English you are not required to submit an English language facility test score with your application. For example, international students studying in Canada, USA, UK, Australia, Ireland, etc. where the official language is English are exempted from submitting a test score. Applicants from other countries/regions may also be exempted provided that their transcript confirms that the language of instruction and testing for the program they completed is uniformly English. See the SGS website for further information.

If I do not meet the minimum requirements for English language facility can I be admitted on condition of improving those scores?

No. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements for English language facility, including overall score and individual component scores, prior to the application deadline. If your score falls below the minimum requirements or your score is not provided by the deadline, the admissions committee will not consider your application. There are no exceptions to this policy.

Do you require GRE scores?

No. GRE scores are not required or reviewed if submitted.

When will I receive a decision on my application?

The review process is described in the application instructions. The admissions committee meets on a rolling basis throughout February and March. Applicants will be contacted by email when a decision has been made and decision letters will be uploaded to the online application. All decisions are expected to be available by mid or late-April.

I have been offered admission, can I defer registration until next year?

No. Because funding and supervisor availability varies each year we do not approve requests to defer admission to a subsequent year.

Do I have to submit a separate application to receive the base funding package?

No. All applicants admitted to geography programs will automatically receive a base funding package. We also encourage applicants to apply for scholarships/awards to support their studies.

Other questions?

For answers to other frequently asked questions about the application process, please see the School of Graduate Studies’ FAQ page for Prospective Applicants or contact us by email at