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Application steps

Step 3: Prepare supporting documents

A complete application must include the following supporting documents:

  • transcript from every post-secondary institution attended    
  • letter of reference – academic
  • letter of reference – professional  
  • résumé
  • statement of intent

Some programs require additional supporting documents, such as:

  • an additional letter of reference 
  • sample of written work
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (suspended for Fall 2021)

Guidelines from programs

Most programs share information about supporting documents particular to them and what they're looking for. Useful resources to review are: program websites, the School of Graduate Studies Calendar and the OISE Bulletin. Some examples:

  • The Master of Teaching program poses questions to be answered within your statement of intent, and requires you to complete an "experience chart" (learn more).

  • The Master of Arts in Child Study and Education program wants you to give your referees guidelines on writing their reference letter, and requires you to complete an "experience summary form" (learn more).

  • The Counselling and Clinical Psychology program requires you to communicate specific items to your referees to be addressed in their reference letter (learn more about the Master of Arts guidelines and the PhD guidelines).


Applicants are required to include one transcript from each and every post-secondary institution attended. Post-secondary study includes:

  • degree programs
  • pre-degree courses (e.g., CEGEP in the province of Quebec)
  • post-degree courses (even for one single course)
  • professional development (e.g., Additional Qualification courses for educators)

For in-progress study, including courses without final grades, a transcript must still be submitted. If an updated transcript is subsequently required, it will be requested.

If you are applying to a doctoral program, transcripts pertaining to both bachelor’s and master’s degrees must be submitted. 

Transcripts in two formats 

Transcripts must be submitted in two different formats. For Fall 2021, only online transcripts are required at the time of application:


  1. Online: Online transcripts are unofficial electronic records uploaded via the online admissions application. It is your responsibility to ensure the record is clearly legible, complete, and accurate as possible. An illegible or incomplete record may cause delays to our review of your application.
  2. Official: Official transcripts are: 
    • paper records received by the Office of the Registrar and Student Services in a sealed envelope, signed/stamped by the issuing institution. Transcripts received in an unsealed envelope, as faxed transcripts, or informal grade reports are not official.
    • secure electronic records sent by the issuing institution either directly from their own institutional website or through authorized/licensed third party providers to OISE ( Electronic records sent by you are not official.  

For information about submitting your transcripts, see Step 5: Submit supporting documents

Did you study outside of Canada?

A certified English translation of all international documentation written in a language other than English or French must be submitted. A translation must include a copy of the document on which the translation is based. When submitting an online transcript, an English translation must be uploaded with or instead of a copy in the original language.  When submitting an official transcript, the certified official translation must be received by the Office of the Registrar and Student Services in a sealed envelope, signed/stamped by an accredited Translation Service.


Occasionally, international applicants experience difficulty obtaining official transcripts. If an easier pathway for you is World Education Services (WES), we will accept an academic record from WES provided it:

  • is the International Credential Advantage Package (ICAP) (so it includes a copy of the academic record received directly from the educational institution and verified by WES);
  • if written in a language other than English or French, includes a certified English language translation completed by an accredited Translation Service (not WES).


To be official, your academic record from WES can be sent one of two ways:  you can order an ICAP to be sent electronically and designate “Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto” as a user recipient,  or a paper copy must be received by the Office of the Registrar and Student Services in a sealed envelope, signed/stamped by WES.

Did you study at the University of Toronto? 

You’re not required to submit official transcripts of study undertaken from Fall 1998 to present at the University of Toronto. However, online electronic transcripts must be provided.

For sessions prior to Fall 1998, an official transcript must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar and Student Services.


Because the record is not accessible to us, there are exceptions where an official transcript is required. Official transcripts must be ordered and submitted by you for the following University of Toronto study programs: 

Most transcripts are produced by the University of Toronto Transcript Centre.

Frequently asked questions

Online and paper? Do I really have to provide my transcripts two ways?

What if I can’t get an official transcript?

I can give OISE an original transcript – is that okay?

My current transcript shows courses in-progress. Should I submit another transcript when new grades become available?

My degree includes transfer credit/exchange study, is a transcript for that needed?


Letters of reference

Two letters of reference are required – one academic and one professional. The academic reference should be from a university instructor with whom you have studied. The professional reference should be from a referee who is familiar with your professional work and promise.

The online admissions application facilitates submission of reference letters. After you have paid the application fee, the system will automatically e-mail your designated referees an invitation to submit a letter of reference, along with instructions.

Be prepared to provide contact information for your referees. A valid institutional/organizational e-mail address is necessary for a referee to upload their letter. E-mail addresses that are shared, generic or not linked to an institution, organization or business are not acceptable (e.g., Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo Mail).

It is imperative that you contact your prospective referees before submitting your application to: 

  • ensure they are willing and able to provide a timely letter of reference;
  • confirm their current contact information; and 
  • alert them to expect an e-mail invitation to submit a letter of reference.

For information about submitting your letters of reference, see Step 5: Submit supporting documents

Frequently asked questions 

What if it’s really difficult for me to get an academic (or professional) letter of reference?

A referee I want doesn't have an institutional or organizational e-mail address. What should I do?

Can I submit more than two letters of reference?


Your up-to-date résumé or curriculum vitae should detail:

  • education history (both academic and professional);
  • employment history, including names of employers, job titles, position responsibilities, dates employed and whether full- or part-time;
  • awards;
  • business and professional achievements;
  • community activities; and
  • any special skills.

For information about submitting your résumé, see Step 5: Submit supporting documents

Statement of intent

A statement of intent (also known as a plan of study or letter of intent) should outline your study and/or research interests, career goals, and reasons for seeking admission.

It’s helpful to begin with a list of about five key words or phrases that relate to your proposed study. You may also wish to identify OISE faculty with whom you’re interested in working. 

The length of a statement of intent should be 1,000 – 1,500 words.

If you’re applying to more than one program, clearly identify sections within your statement specifically directed to each program.

For information about submitting your statement of intent, see Step 5: Submit supporting documents

Sample of written work

A sample of written work is generally not required. However, some programs want a sample of your scholarly/academic writing for consideration in their evaluation process. 

You must provide a sample of written work if you’re applying to one of the following programs:

  • Adult Education and Community Development (PhD)
  • Curriculum and Pedagogy (PhD)
  • Educational Leadership and Policy (EdD, PhD)
  • Higher Education (MA, PhD)
  • Language and Literacies Education (PhD)
  • Social Justice Education (all degrees)

A typical sample is about 5,000 words (for example an excerpt from a master’s thesis or major research paper). Most programs share specific information about what they're looking for, and useful resources to review are: program websites, the School of Graduate Studies Calendar and the OISE Bulletin.

For information about submitting your sample of written work, see Step 5: Submit supporting documents


Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores

Master of Arts (MA) in Counselling and Clinical Psychology is the only OISE program that requires Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores (General and Psychology Subject). 

Criteria for competitive scores are determined by means of comparison to other applicant scores in any given year. Test scores are valid for two years from the date of testing.

For the 2021-22 year, the GRE requirement has been suspended. 

For information about submitting your scores, see Step 5: Submit supporting documents