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Admission Requirements

Please see the “ (google doc) Guide to Completing the Urban Health PhD Application (external link) ” for complete details on the application process. 

Applicants must meet the following:

  1. Completion of a master’s degree in a health or related discipline (e.g., nursing, social work, urban development, early childhood studies, occupational and public health, disability studies, midwifery, youth and child care, nutrition, medicine, pharmacy, and dentistry). Applicants from other academic programs will be considered on an individual basis. 
  2. Applicants will be required to have a cumulative GPA of at least B+ in courses credited to their master’s degree.
  3. Applicants will be required to submit two letters of recommendation from academic referees who can address the candidate’s intellectual capabilities, capacity to engage in research at a doctoral level and leadership potential. In cases where an applicant has completed a master’s degree more than five years ago, a professional reference can be submitted in place of one of the two academic references. 
  4. Applicants must demonstrate evidence of research potential. This may take the form of a master’s thesis or major research project, dissemination of research contributions through conference presentations or publication in a refereed journal, and/or involvement in research projects as a study co-investigator or research assistant.
  5. Applicants must have demonstrated knowledge of research methods prior to applying, as evidenced in their transcripts. If this knowledge is not evident, applicants must successfully complete a research methods course during their first year of enrollment in the Urban Health PhD program.
  6. A statement of interest that addresses the potential candidate’s reasons for enrolment, research interest(s) and career goals will be required. Specifically, the statement should cover: i) the identification of a supervisor, ii) the applicant’s reasons for graduate study in the PhD program, iii) research interest(s) they may wish to pursue within the field of urban health, iv) how previous studies and experience have prepared them for the program and v) career objectives and how the interdisciplinary Urban Health PhD program relates to them.

Admission to all programs is competitive; meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee acceptance.

Applicants will be evaluated relative to three criteria: academic excellence, research and leadership potential.

When to apply

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Are applications still open?

Find out whether the program is still open on our Graduate Studies Application Dates.

Application Process

Submitting a complete application to the PhD Urban Health program is a three-part process (see the “ (google doc) Guide to Completing the Urban Health PhD Application (external link) ” for complete details):

Step 1 - apply

Apply through the Ontario University Application Center (OUAC)

Step 2 - upload documents

Upload required documents electronically to Toronto Metropolitan University by using the “applicant upload link” found on the graduate admissions page. 

  • A copy of your OUAC Application Submission Summary Form
  • Statement of Interest Form
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation (submitted directly by referee)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Unofficial Transcripts
  • English Proficiency Test Score (if applicable)

Step 3- review process

Once all of your documents have been received by the Urban Health PhD program, the review process will commence. Top-ranked applicants will be asked to participate in an interview process with faculty as a final step in the application process.

Due to the volume of applicants, incomplete applications cannot be considered.


Don’t see your question here? Check the Graduate Studies Admissions FAQ for more information about admissions and the application process.

The information session for this cycle has passed. 

To review the presentation, please see the  (PDF file) Fall 2023 Information Session Slides and Video (external link) .

The PhD degree earned is not a nursing specific degree.  The Urban Health PhD program is housed in and administered by the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing (DCSN), with the support of the Faculty of Community Services (FCS). Faculty members from the DCSN, FCS, and other affiliated faculties will teach, supervise and/or participate in dissertation committees.

The expected length is 4 years of study. 

The program requires continuous enrolment, including payment of applicable fees, in every fall, winter, and spring/summer term of the program until all requirements of the program have been met, unless they have been granted a leave of absence or have withdrawn from the program.

Tuition is calculated on the basis of your program and status (part- or full-time), NOT on the number of courses that you take per term (except for Nursing, Ted Rogers MBA, MEIE and Computer Networks - please visit Fees by Program for more information). Your tuition is an annual charge, which is broken into three equivalent payments for the three terms in a graduate academic calendar.

Detailed fees information by program

At Toronto Metropolitan University, there are a number of funding opportunities available to graduate students. See Graduate Studies: Financing Your Studies. Within this section, also take note of the internal and external scholarships and awards that are available.

New in 2023, both domestic and international applicants can apply for the Bridging Divides entrance stipend at the same time as their graduate program(s) of choice. Deadline February 1, 2024.

The Urban Health PhD program is full-time.

Given the rigor of the doctoral studies, students are advised to limit their paid work hours to 10 hours per week.

  1. Strong and appropriate academic and professional background:  Applicants should demonstrate:
    • an interest in and capacity to undertake advanced independent study in urban health. 
    • a high level of achievement or professional experience in urban health.
  2. Strong research skills:  Applicants should demonstrate a genuine interest in or experience in conducting various phases of research.
  3. Strong recommendation letters: It is important to have two positive letters of recommendation. It is best to ask for letters from professors, mentors and research supervisors who know you well and can give specific examples of your academic aptitude as well as leadership and research potential. Overly brief or generic reference letters will make your application less competitive. The letter should include:
    • Your background preparation, originality, judgement, written and oral skills, teamwork, and professionalism and research skills
    • The merits of your research proposal ideas
    • Scholarly contributions and impact e.g. publications, presentations, arts-informed strategies, innovations, etc.
    • Appropriateness of the program in furthering your academic goals
    • The likelihood of successful completion of the program in the allotted time frame
  4. Good writing skills: Ensure the documents you prepare are free of errors – proofread carefully.

In most programs the onus is on the student to find a faculty member who agrees to supervise the graduate research work; a process that often takes place prior to an offer of admission. The selection of a supervisor is a critical decision that impacts the quality of a student’s graduate experience and influences a student’s career path. Academic competence is of course important, but the supervisor must also be willing to provide advice, guidance, and mentorship. A healthy student-supervisor relationship is one in which there is open and effective communication and expectations are clearly laid out. 

Students are advised to obtain information about potential supervisors and the environment in which they will be working. Program websites generally provide profiles of faculty members and descriptions of ongoing research and research facilities. It is important that whenever possible the student meet with the potential supervisor of their graduate research to determine compatibility and have an opportunity to discuss issues such as expectations, research project support, identifying a research topic and scope, student funding, and strategies to ensure timely completion and quality work. (Source: YSGS - Graduate Supervision Guidelines)

Suggested reading

Phillips, E., Johnson, C., & Pugh, D. (2015). How to Get a PhD : A Handbook for Students and Their Supervisors.  Maidenhead : McGraw-Hill Education.

Suggested websites

Huynh, N. & Ssiegemeyer. M. (November, 2017). How to find the right supervisor? University Affairs (external link) .

Connecting with a Supervisor: How to find and connect with potential supervisors (external link) 

Admission to our programs is highly competitive. 

Applicants will be required to have a cumulative GPA of at least B+ in courses credited to their master’s degree. 

Please note that meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.


International applicants are required to meet the same admission requirements and deadlines as all other applicants. If your graduate degree is not from a Canadian institution, your educational background will be assessed for equivalency to the program-specific requirements. 

For more information, visit: International Applicants - Graduate

English Language Proficiency Requirement: International applicants must submit a copy of their English proficiency test scores. If your primary language is not English and you graduated from a non-Canadian university where the language of instruction and examination was not English, then you must demonstrate your facility in English. If an English Proficiency Test is required, the application will not be assessed for admission without a test result that meets the program minimum. For exemption from this requirement, applicants may be required to provide an official statement from their institution confirming the use of English as the language of instruction and examination. English proficiency test scores are to be submitted electronically along with all other Supporting Documentation.

 Please note that once an Offer of Admission is received and confirmed by the Applicant, the Applicant will be required to submit an official hardcopy of their English proficiency test scores.

Please be advised that we do not offer any pre-assessments of documents or provide counseling services. Any documents submitted via e-mail/mail will not be accepted and will be securely destroyed.

More information about minimum admission requirements are available on our Graduate website.

If you submit your complete application by the first consideration deadline, selected applicants will be invited to proceed to the next step (the interview) by approximately September 30.  Interviews will be completed by October 15 and applicants  will be notified within 2 weeks  after the interview. All applicants will be notified by November 1 (approximately).  Applicants  must confirm their offer of admission by November by 15.

Admission decision notifications for applications submitted after the first consideration deadline are on a rolling basis from the date of submission.

You can monitor the status of your application through your student centre in MyServiceHub and through the applicant upload portal.

We normally do not allow any changes to the documents (the volume is unmanageable, especially during peak.  Should there be extenuating circumstances please contact

Ideally an applicant will be finished their Masters degree before applying. Offers of admission will be contingent upon completion of a Masters degree in a health or related discipline.

This is not advised due to the range of activities involved in doctoral studies.  Beyond coursework, students are expected to prepare grant and scholarship applications, publish, present, and attend conferences. Preparation of the research proposal and completion of the dissertation require focused time and attention. Some internal and/or external grants that you could receive often require a declaration that you will not work more than 10 hours per week.

While there is not a required course on teaching, there are many opportunities to develop your teaching skill set. Opportunities in the program include presentations at conferences or working as a Graduate Assistant (GA). The Yeates School of Graduate Studies (YSGS) offers two free programs for this purpose – Future Smart and Graduate Teaching Development Program.  There is also the Ontario Extend (external link)  program offered through eCampusOntario (external link) .


There are several resources available to PhD in Urban Health students. Research Assistant roles may or may not be posted in the Careers section of the Toronto Metropolitan University website. Consult with your supervisor or committee members for these opportunities that may arise at any point in the academic year. Graduate Assistant roles are usually posted just prior to or at the beginning of each term and postings will be found in the Careers section. You can also review the Student Research section of the Office of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation (OVPRI).

Each case will be different so we recommend that you consult with the Graduate Program Director or Administrator before completing your application.