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


I. Admission Deadlines for the 2024-2025 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 8, 2023 (10:00am EST)

Round 1:

  • Application deadline: January 9, 2024 (11:59pm EST)
  • Decision deadline: February 12, 2024

Round 2:

  • Application Deadline: March 15, 2024 (11:59pm EST)
  • Decision deadline: May 1, 2024

Late applications or submissions will not be accepted.



II. 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. 

Please note that as a result of its competitive entry, the SJD program does not admit applicants who do not meet minimum admission requirements. 

1) Academic Requirements

a) 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 their LLM.

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

b) 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. 

c) 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..

2) English Proficiency Requirements

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

International applicants must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application (see exceptions below). Tests must have been written within the 24 months preceding the date of application to the SJD program.  

a) Testing Services:

Several English language testing services are acceptable. 

  • TOEFL (including TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition): 600 with a TWE of 5 on the paper-based scale; 100 on the internet-based test with at least 24 in each section.
  • IELTS Academic: 7.5 overall with at least 7.0 in each component 
  • CAEL: 70 overall with at least 70 in each section 
  • COPE: 86 overall with at least 22 in both Listening and Reading, 40 in Writing, and 7 in TOP (speaking, if applicable) 
  • Cambridge English Qualifications: 191 overall with at least 185 for each section
  • U of T Academic Prep Course: Grade of A in Level 60 

Language requirements must be met at the time an application is submitted. The Faculty of Law does not extend offers of admission that are conditional on successful completion of an English language proficiency test.

b) Exemptions:

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

  1. Native language is English (language first learned and still used on a daily basis).
  2. A Canadian citizen who studied at a Canadian university where the language of instruction is French.
  3. 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.
    • Any applicant who wishes to be exempt from the English language proficiency requirement on the third ground above, must provide an official academic transcript that confirms that the language of instruction and examination in the program completed by the applicant is English. 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 confirming the use of English as the primary language of instruction and examination. 
  4. 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
    • 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.


III. Admission Process

Please review the information below for more information about the application process.

Step by step application instructions can downloaded here(PDF).

The application process is all done online. All application documents must be submitted via the SGS Application Management 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. 

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. 

1) Create an Application

In order to create an application, you must complete the following steps: 
Step 1  Program Selection:
  • graduate Unit = Faculty of Law
  • program of study = Doctor of Juridical Science
Step 2 – Personal Information 
Step 3 – Academic History 
Step 4 – Employment Status 
Step 5 – Check your English Language Proficiency requirement 
Step 6 – Additional information (legal status and awards) 
Step 7 – Faculty Questions
Step 8 – Referees Information 
  • DO NOT ADD MORE THAN 2 REFEREES – If more than 2 referees are added only the first two reference letters submitted will be considered, any additional letters will not be reviewed.
  • DO NOT ENTER NON-INSTITUTIONAL EMAIL ADDRESSES FOR REFEREES (i.e. gmail, yahoo, hotmailetc…) – reference letters submitted via a non-institutional email address are not admissible and the application will be considered incomplete.  
See the Letters of Reference section below for more information. 
Step 9 – Optional Surveys
Step 10 – Signature
Step 11 – Review – Click "Continue" to submit your application and access the webpage to pay the application fee and upload the required documentsPlease note that the Admissions Committee will only consider and review applications once all documents have been uploaded and the application fee has been paid.

2) Pay the 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 additional information about the application fee on the School of Graduate Studies Frequently Asked Question  webpage.

3) Upload Supporting Documents

The documents which must be submitted in support of an application to the SJD program are listed below. The document list below is exhaustive, applicants should not add any additional documents! Please note that the Admissions Committee will not consider any unsolicited documents, and all such documents will be deleted from the admission system in order to ensure equity between applicants. If multiple versions of one document are uploaded to the admission system, the most recent version will be considered, and earlier versions deleted.

a) Transcripts

All applicants must upload electronic versions of their transcripts from each university attended.  Secondary school transcripts, Bar results, or other certificates are not necessary and won’t be considered as part of the application.

If a transcript includes a grading scheme legend, please also include the legend with the scanned transcript.  Please note that transcripts must be as complete as possible.  Do not omit information about any year of study/courses completed. 

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.

b) 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 scores on the 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.

c) 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.

d) Personal Statement

Applicants must submit a personal statement (2 pages maximum) in which they discuss their academic accomplishments, indicate why they wish to pursue an SJD, and why they are applying to the University of Toronto.

- 1 to 2 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.

e) 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. 

f) Sample of Writing 

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

  • the 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
  • a paper that satisfied a writing requirement for a course, which is based on the applicant's own research with endnotes/citations.

The writing sample must be in English.

g) International (Educational) Credential Evaluation (Optional)

Applicants who have an International (Educational) Credential Evaluation (for example: WES Evaluation ReportECA from the School of Continuing Studies or other) are encouraged to submit the report/assessment with their application. 

Please note that submission of a report/assessment is optional.  A failure to upload a report/assessment will not result in your application being considered incomplete.

4) Letters of Reference

Two academic letters of reference are required. Do not add more than 2 referees (if more than 2 referees are added only the first two reference letters submitted will be considered, any additional letters will not be reviewed.)  

Applicants will need to provide the name of the people from whom they wish to solicit reference letters and an institutional email address (for example: or at which each person can be contacted. Please note that personal email addressesi.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 link to an official institutional webpage that confirms that the proposed writer is employed by the institution and confirms that the personal email address provided is, in fact, official.  If that is not an option either, the referee will have to send a hard copy reference letter on official letterhead to the Graduate Program directly, the letters must be received by the document deadline. Reference letters submitted via a non-institutional email addresses which have not been verified by the Graduate Program are not admissible and the application will be considered incomplete.

If an applicant cannot obtain academic references, and will be submitting professional references instead, they should explain why briefly in their personal statement. 

The system will automatically email an electronic submission request to each referee once their information is entered on the system. It is highly recommended that applicants contact their referees ahead of time to ensure that they are willing to provide a reference letter by the document deadline. 

Reference Letter 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, if applicable 
  • 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 address; and 
  • Whether they have reviewed the applicant's research proposal (if applicable) 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 


IV. 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.


V. 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.


VI. Results

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

Admission to the program is extremely competitive, and meeting or exceeding the admission requirements does not guarantee admission.  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 

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. 

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