The admission standards and the application process for the Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) program are described below. Please read thoroughly.

  1. Admissions Deadlines
  2. Admissions Standards
  3. Admission Process
  4. Funding
  5. Collaborative Programs
  6. Application Management
  7. Results


1. Admission Deadlines for the 2021-2022 Academic Year

SJD and SJD Direct-Entry applications are considered in two rounds.  The application deadlines set out in Rounds 1 and 2 below are intended to provide surety in the timing of the release of results.  Applicants are encouraged to apply at their earliest opportunity. The reasons why early applications are advantageous include the fact that fewer spots are available later in the admission process, and in the event of a successful result, the process of obtaining appropriate immigration documentation can be lengthy.

Please note that applications will only be considered complete once ALL documents have been received, including all reference letters. The Admissions Committee will not review ANY incomplete applications. Applications that are not completed by the Round 2 application deadline will not be considered. 

Application System opens:  September 4, 2020 (10:00am EST)

Round 1:

  • Application deadline: January 4, 2021 (11:59pm EST)
  • Decision deadline: February 8, 2021

Round 2:

  • Application Deadline (application system closes)*: March 1, 2021 (11:59pm EST)
  • Document deadline: March 15, 2021 (11:59pm EST)
  • Decision deadline: April 30, 2021

*March 1, 2021 is the deadline to pay the application fee. The deadline to upload all documents to the Online Admissions Application system is March 15, 2021. Therefore, applicants who pay the application fee by March 1, 2021, will still have until March 15, 2021, to upload all the necessary documents to complete their application.


2. Admission Standards

The admission standards listed below are minimum requirements. Admission to our SJD program is incredibly competitive and meeting admission requirements does not guarantee admission. 

The SJD program does not admit applicants that do not meet minimum admission requirements.

a) Academic Requirements

i) SJD program:

Applicants to the SJD program must hold a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) or Juris Doctor (JD) and a Master of Laws (LLM) from recognized universities with an excellent academic record, applicants must have achieved the equivalent of a University of Toronto B+ standing in their Master of Laws. Applicants must also demonstrate, through substantive writing, their ability to engage in and generate high-level thought and quality research. 

If an applicant is still in the process of completing their LLM at the time of application, the grades from the final year of their LLB or JD will be averaged along with the grades available for the final year.

Please note: Grades from other degrees obtained will be reviewed, but the admitting grades for the SJD program are those obtained during the LLM. 

ii) SJD Direct-Entry Program:

Applicants to the SJD Direct-Entry program who have achieved a minimum A- average in their Bachelor of Laws (LLB) or Juris Doctor (JD), and have demonstrated, through substantive writing, their ability to engage in and generate high-level thought and quality research, may be considered for Direct-Entry into the SJD program (i.e., admission to the SJD program without having completed a LLM degree).

Please note: Grades from other degrees obtained will be reviewed, but the admitting grades for the SJD Direct-Entry program are those obtained during the LLB or JD. 

iii) International Equivalencies:

International applicants should compare their grades to the University of Toronto’s standard using the School of Graduate Studies’ International Degree Equivalencies Tool, which lists qualifications from a number of educational systems around the world.  The academic standings listed within this tool are normally accepted as equivalent to a University of Toronto mid-B grade average, if the degree obtained was awarded from a recognized university.

b) English Proficiency Requirements

​​​​​​As English is the primary language of instruction and communication at the University of Toronto, applicants must demonstrate an adequate level of proficiency in English.

International applicants must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application (see exceptions below). Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of their application.

i) Testing Services:

Several English language testing services are acceptable. The most common tests are the TOEFL or IELTS.

For the TOEFL the TWE (Test of Written Language) is compulsory. The minimum TOEFL score requirement is 600 with a TWE of 5 on the paper-based scale; and 100 (out of 120) on the internet-based test with a 24 (out of 30) in each component. 

The IELTS test is available in two test formats: Academic or General Training. The Academic version of IELTS measures English language proficiency needed for an academic, higher learning environment. This is the format that is required for an application to the University of Toronto. The minimum IELTS score required is an overall score of 7.5, with at least 7 in each component. 

Language requirements must be met at the time an application is submitted. Offers of admission conditional upon successful completion of an English language test cannot be made.

ii) Exemptions:

If an applicant meets any one of the following conditions, they are not required to submit proof of proficiency in English:

  • Native language is English (language first learned and still used on a daily basis).
  • A Canadian citizen who studied at a Canadian university where the language of instruction is French.
  • Has obtained their admitting degree from an institution recognized by the University of Toronto and where the language of instruction and examination is uniformly English.

Applicants should provide an official academic transcript with a note confirming the use of English as the language of instruction and examination. If the official academic transcript does not have this note, applicants should make arrangements for an official statement to be sent from their institution directly to the graduate unit confirming the use of English as the primary language of instruction and examination. 

  • Completed their admitting degree in one of the following countries/regions: Australia, the Bahamas, 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

Note: Some applicants from the above mentioned countries/regions may be required to provide proof of English proficiency as English is not the sole language of instruction at all universities.


3. Admission Process

The application process is all done online. All application documents must be submitted on the Online Admissions Application system. General application instructions may also be found on the School of Graduate Studies’ “How to Apply” webpage.

Hardcopy documents will only be accepted by the Faculty on an exceptional basis. If admitted applicants will need to submit hardcopies of their transcripts.

STEP 1: SGS Online Application Form

Applicants must complete the SGS Application Form online, including providing the requested biographical information and identifying the program to which you wish to apply.  

STEP 2: Application Fee

There is a $125 (CAD) application fee which must be paid in order to proceed with your application.  Please ensure you are applying to the correct program before submitting your payment. 

This application fee is non-refundable, non-transferable, and cannot be waived.

Payment must be made online using a Visa or Mastercard.  Debit payments will not be accepted.  You can find more details about the application fee on the School of Graduate Studies Frequently Asked Question webpage.

Once the application fee is paid, applicants will be permitted to upload the supporting documents required to complete their application.

STEP 3: Upload Supporting Documents

The documents which must be submitted in support of an application to the SJD program are listed below.  Any forms which must be completed are available through the application system for download and completion. 

To download PDF files, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. To download Word documents, you will need Microsoft Word or a compatible word processor installed on your computer.

i) Transcripts

All applicants must upload electronic versions of their transcripts from each university attended using the SGS Online Admissions Application system.  Secondary school transcripts, Bar results, or other certificates are not accepted.  

All foreign language transcripts must be translated into English through an official translator. Exception: French is an official language of Canada and we therefore do not require English translations of transcripts in French.

ii) Application Supplement form

The form is available for download on the Online Admissions Application system.

Please note that applicants are not encouraged to contact potential faculty supervisors before applying.  All applications are reviewed by the Admissions Committee and then forwarded to potential supervisors. 

iii) C.V. 

Applicants should submit a Curriculum Vitae (C.V.) of five pages maximum. It should include the applicant’s education, scholarships and awards received, scholarly publications, work experience and relevant extra curricular activities.

iv) English Language Score (if applicable)

Applicants who are required to provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application will need to upload an official scan of their English Language Proficiency test score on the Online Admissions Application system. All scores must be uploaded by the document deadline.

In addition, applicants must also arrange for the testing agency to submit their official test score directly to the University of Toronto (Enrolment Services office).

    • The TOEFL institution code for U of T is 0982. There is no need to specify a department.
    • For IELTS, you should select “University of Toronto (Undergraduate and Graduate programs)” from the list of options. The University of Toronto (Undergraduate and Graduate Programs) is an IELTS “STED RO”. This means that we subscribe to the electronic score-sending service and do not accept paper results. You may wish to advise your test centre, specifically, that U of T is an STED RO when you make your request to have your scores sent to us. You do not need to notify U of T once you have ordered your test results. U of T receives IELTS results on an ongoing basis.

If this requirement is not applicable to you, it will be waived when your online application is reviewed. There is no need to contact SGS or the faculty of law to get this requirement waived.

v) Sample of Writing

The sample of writing must demonstrate the applicant's ability to engage in, and generate, substantive thought and research. Examples of acceptable samples include:

    • introduction, first chapter and conclusion of an LLM thesis (or a portion of it, if it is still in progress) with endnotes/citations
    • a publication in a journal with endnotes/citations
    • paper that satisfied a writing requirement for a course, which is based on the applicant's own research with endnotes/citations.

Note: The sample of writing must be in English.

vi) Personal Statement

Applicants must submit a personal statement (1 page maximum) indicating why they wish to pursue an SJD, and why they are applying to the University of Toronto.

- 1 page: page size should be 8 1/2″ x 11″ (21.5 cm x 28 cm) and margins should be 1 inch (25.4 mm) all around
- double spaced,
- Times New Roman font, 12 points.

vii) Thesis Proposal 

Applicants must submit a 5 to 10 pages thesis proposal indicating what issues they plan to examine in their thesis, why them think it is worth studying, and what approach they expect to take in their analysis.

- 5-10 pages: page size should be 8 1/2″ x 11″ (21.5 cm x 28 cm) and margins should be 1 inch (25.4 mm) all around
- double-spaced, 
- Times New Roman font, 12 points.

viii) 2 Letters of Reference

Referee’s contact information:

Two academic letters of reference are required. Applicants will need to enter referees’ names and institutional email addresses into their SGS Online Application Form (see STEP 1). Please note that personal email addresses, i.e,,, etc. are not accepted.

If a referee does not have an institutional email address, the applicant will need to email the Graduate Program and provide links to their University’s faculty page that lists the referee’s personal email address as part of their official contact information.  If that is not an option either, the referee will have to sent a hard copy reference letter on official letterhead to the Graduate Program directly, the letters must be received by the document deadline.

The system will automatically email an electronic submission request to each referee when the application fee is paid. Although applicants will provide the referees' information before payment, the system will not notify the referees until after the application fee is paid. It is highly recommended that applicants contact their referees ahead of time to check their availability. The system-generated email lists the Round 3 application deadline as the referees' deadline for submission of their letter of reference. It is the applicant's responsibility to communicate to their referees the specific deadlines of the round for which the applicant wants to be considered.

Letters' content:

Referees are not provided with a template letter to complete.  The system-generated request will ask them to provide the following information:

    • Their academic rank or position;
    • How long they have known the applicant (months or years) and in what capacity;
    • The name and address of their institution, telephone number and email contact; and
    • Whether they have reviewed the applicant's research proposal and, if so, their comments on the proposal and the applicant's ability to undertake the proposed research project.

Referees will also be asked to speak to the applicant's academic abilities within their letter and to comment on the applicant's ability to:

    • Conduct independent research (searching for and organizing relevant material);
    • Analyze and criticize the positions of others;
    • Develop their own arguments;
    • Produce original work 


4. Funding

The Faculty offers financial support (academic tuition plus living stipend) each year for the first three years of study to all doctoral students who have not secured external or university-wide awards (e.g. SSHRC, OGS, Vanier).

Applicants do not need to apply for funding, as financial support is offered to all admitted students. 

For more information regarding fees and financing, please visit our Graduate Program Fees and Financing webpage.


5. Collaborative Programs

Applicants to the Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) program can include an interdisciplinary perspective by applying to participate in one of the Faculty of Law’s graduate collaborative programs.

Interest in a given collaborative program may be indicated within an applicant’s Online Admissions Application. However, admission to a collaborative program is a separate process and must be approved by both the home faculty as well as the collaborative program unit.  A collaborative program can only admit an applicant until after the home faculty has communicated their admission. 

Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to review the admissions procedures on the graduate collaborative program’s website.


5. Application Management

Once the application fee is paid, applicants can monitor the status of their application through their account on the Online Admissions Application system, it will reflect the most up-to-date information.  Staff at neither the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) nor the Faculty of Law will be able to provide applicants with additional information.   

The application system will display one of the following descriptions: 

Draft - Incomplete

Some application information has been entered and you have been sent an applicant number and password. You are currently able to change any information in your application.

Draft - Complete

All required information has been entered but payment has not yet been submitted. You are currently able to change any information in your application. 

Before submitting your payment, please confirm that all of the information you have entered is correct (including your contact information and the email addresses of your referees).

Payment Pending

Your application has been submitted but will not be reviewed until payment and all supporting documents have been received. 

Documents Pending

The payment has been received and the referees have been invited (via email) to submit their letters of reference. Applicants may only modify their personal contact information and upload the required Supporting Documents

Once all supporting documents and references have been uploaded to the Online Admissions Application system, the status will be manually updated to "Under Review".

Please note: If hardcopy materials are submitted, the system will only show documents as being "received" once they have been received and manually uploaded to the application. Due to the large volume of mail, there is often a delay between the mail arriving at the Law School and the documents being processed. 

Under Review

The application is being reviewed by the Admissions Committee..

Decision Made

A decision has been reached on your application. All applicants will be informed by email.


6. Results

Admission decisions will be sent on the decision deadline for each round.

We are unable to provide individual admission feedback to applicants. We have very few places in the program for the number of applications we receive, and as a result, even outstanding applicants may be refused admission. Admission to the program is extremely competitive, and meeting or exceeding the admission requirements does not guarantee admission. 

Applicants being offered admission to the SJD program are given two weeks to reply to an offer of admission. 

Should an applicant accept our offer of admission, they will need to pay a $500 tuition deposit and submit original and final transcripts from each of the institutions from which they have been awarded a degree before the start of the academic year. For transcripts to be considered original they need to be in a sealed envelop, and signed/stamped by the registrar or by an authorized official of the university. 

Under no circumstances will application materials be released to applicants, regardless of the final decision.