Frequently Asked Questions (MEnvSc)

Instructor answering questions

This is a list of frequently asked questions about the MEnvSc application process.

For many more questions and answers, the School of Graduate Studies has a very comprehensive FAQ section for applicants which we encourage you to visit. To ask a question not covered in any of the FAQ pages, please contact us.



1) I am applying to the Biophysical Interactions in Terrestrial and Aquatic Systems or Climate Change Impact Assessment field of study, but I have not taken 1.0 FCE each of undergraduate calculus, physics, chemistry, and biology. Am I still eligible for the program?

Although it is recommended for an applicant to have completed 1.0 FCE (two half-courses or one full course equivalent) in each of those subjects, minor deficiencies can be compensated for with a strong application package that includes competitive grades and supportive letters of recommendation.

2) Is it acceptable to have taken some of my upper-year undergraduate courses on a credit/no credit (CR/NCR) basis?

We strongly discourage applicants who are thinking about graduate or professional school from taking courses voluntarily on a credit/no credit basis. This applies especially to environmental science courses and other science courses.

However, in light of the extraordinary current COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided not to penalize any applicant who opts for a credit/no credit course(s) in the winter of 2020. Please contact us for advice if you are uncertain.


3) Do I really need to select a program option and/or field of study before registration? 

The selection of the field of study/program option is required when you apply online. The selection of the field of study/program option is required when you apply online. Successful applicants will receive an offer package that reflects a program/enrollment option as well as a specific field of study (FOS), the latter of which may differ from the FOS indicated in your application. Although there may be an oppurtunity to switch fields and/or program/enrollment options early in the program, any request must be approved by the department. To better decide the program option/field of study that best suits you, we suggest that you determine what your academic and/or professional goals are and see how each program/field can help you meet those goals. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

4) I’m having problems with the online application – help! 

There are different sources of assistance:

  • For technical issues (e.g. access interrupted/denied, error message, field not functional) contact the University of Toronto - School of Graduate Studies (, 416-978-6614).
  • For questions about information requested in the online application system, refer to the system’s “Help” feature.
  • For questions regarding the application process (requirements, deadlines and/or financial assistance/funding) refer to our website or contact us directly.
5) I was in a rush to submit my application by the deadline and I opted to pay offline instead of online.  Can I switch to credit card payment now so I don't have to get a certified cheque and wait for the mail to arrive at SGS?

At this point we are unable to make the switch between payment types.  Several processes including the creation of document requirements and the email communication to referees is triggered by the move to payment.  Switching types has implications in those processes.

6) I applied last year; do I have to re-submit documents? 

Yes, you must complete a new application and submit all necessary documentation.


7) Do I require transcripts from all of the post-secondary institutions attended? Are English translations required?

The application review process will begin with your scanned transcripts alone. Please upload ALL scanned transcripts for each post-secondary program completed, attempted, or in progress.

You may be asked to send us official paper transcripts before an admissions decision is finalized. This can be done by arranging with the issuing institution(s) your official transcripts to Alanna Biason

If academic records are interim (pending completion of studies in progress) official final academic records indicating that the degree has been conferred, must be submitted to the graduate office as soon as possible, and before admission can be finalized.

Applicants who attended university(ies) outside North America must provide English translations to accompany all foreign documentation not written in English or French. If asked to submit original transcripts, academic records must be sent to Alanna Biason by the issuing institution(s), enclosed in a sealed envelope. These may be provided directly from the institution or through the applicant (DO NOT OPEN transcripts issued to applicant). An English translation from your university(ies) or a certified translator must be submitted with all official foreign documentation not written in English or French. Faxed records are not considered official. Documents will not be returned to the applicant.

8) Do I send in my official transcripts once I have completed my application?

No, you do not need to submit an official copy of your transcript(s) unless the department makes the request.

9) Oops. I need to load a new version of the document/transcript (I made a mistake on ...; I failed to include a degree/institution).

The Graduate Unit can reset the document received status for you which will allow you to reload the document. Contact Alanna Biason or Julie Quenneville.

10) If my language of instruction was in English, do I still need to provide English language Facility test scores?

Applicants whose first language is not English and who have completed a program of study where the language of instruction and examination is not English, must pass an acceptable English Language Facility Test.

If your education took place in any of the following countries (Australia, Barbados, Botswana, Ghana, Guyana, Hong Kong (not Chinese University of Hong Kong graduates), 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, Zimbabwe), you are exempted from the English Language Facility Test. If the language of instruction at your institution was English but it took place in a country that is NOT on that list, you must submit the results of an acceptable English Language Facility Test.


11) Should I contact a research supervisor before submitting my application? 

You do not need to contact a potential research supervisor during the application period. Once you start the program it is advisable that you search for one. For more information about the department’s research activities please visit our research area or refer to the list of our faculty members.

12) How do I select my references?

Newly graduated applicants are recommended to include mainly academic references related to their field of study. Industry/professional references may supplement academic references, particularly for applicants who are not recent graduates.

Once you have identified/qualified the most suitable referees, advise them to comment on your ability to successfully complete this 12-month course based professional Master's program.

13) How many references can I include in the Admissions Application for the MEnvSc Program?

The minimum number of references is 3 and the maximum number is 5.  Please provide institutional email addresses only.  If your referees do not have an institutional email, please contact Alanna Biason or Julie Quenneville.

14) My referee doesn't have an institutional email address. What should I do?

Leave the *email address box* blank for any referee that does not have an institutional email address and continue the application. Once the application has been completed and you have paid the application fee, contact Alanna Biason or Julie Quenneville  with the referee's email address.

15) I didn't ask my referee in advance and s/he would rather not submit a reference. Can I add a new referee?

It is recommended that you qualify all referees first. However, if you need to change, add or delete a reference, please contact the Graduate Unit - Alanna Biason or Julie Quenneville.

16) Are there reference letter forms?

The Master of Environmental Science Program does not have special reference forms. Once you have confirmed your application information and proceeded past the application payment stage (application fee is $120), the system will email your referees and ask them to provide a reference letter on your behalf.  Your referees will be asked to submit an electronic copy of the reference as a Word document or PDF. Once they have submitted their letter, they will receive a confirmation email from the University of Toronto, School of Graduate Studies.


17) When will I know the results of my application?

Applicants will receive notification of results starting as early as March (for those who submit complete applications by the early deadline) until as late as June (final deadline).

18) If I am offered admission can I delay the start of my program?

New students are expected to begin their program in September (Fall Session) as specified on the offer of admission. Applicants unable to attend the session for which they have been accepted must normally re-apply and compete with all other applicants for admission to the subsequent session.

In exceptional circumstances, the department may accept a deferral of admission for a maximum of twelve months (i.e. to the following September). Requests for deferral should be submitted in writing to the Graduate Unit, as soon as possible (prior to the start of the academic year). Requests are subject to approval.

19) I was offered admission to one enrollment option/field of study. Can I transfer to another option/field? 

It is possible to switch between the Climate Change and the Biophysical Interactions streams as both fields have similar admission requirements. If considering transferring to Conservation and Biodiversity, students must meet the specific admission requirements for this field. This change MUST happen prior to the beginning of the program.

Students can also change program options (research/internship; full-time/part-time) early in the program. See question #1 for more information.

20) When can I expect to hear back regarding the status of my application?

Pending review, applicants will be notified in writing between March and June.


21) What should I expect from the interview?

Some applications that move forward in the admission process may be selected for a mandatory interview either in person or remotely (e.g. Skype). Applicants who cannot participate in this interview will not be considered for admission.

The interview, which will be part of the selection process, will consist of a conversation between the applicant and a MEnvSc representative. A possible admission decision may take some time after the interview occurs. Applicants will not receive any feedback on this interview.