About the MScAC Program
If you wish to apply current research in real-world situations, you should consider applying to the Master of Science in Applied Computing (MScAC) degree program. Most MScAC students plan to work in an applied research role within industry after they graduate.
If you wish to produce original research, you should consider applying to the Master of Science (MSc) program. MSc students are more likely to pursue a PhD and a career in academia.
The programs have a similar structure: students in both programs must pass four (4) graduate half-courses as part of the degree.
However, MScAC students must complete an additional two (2) half-courses and an eight-month internship, whereas MSc students must submit a thesis.
The Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto is world renowned for its innovative research and education in computer science. Traditional graduate studies in information technology are typically either course-based studies as found in MEng degrees at other institutions, or research-intensive programs such as our own acclaimed MSc program.
The MScAC is a bold departure from both, and while it may seem simple conceptually to replace the thesis requirement in our MSc with an applied research internship in our MScAC, both the philosophy and the operation of our MScAC require a considerable departure from traditional programs.
For example, the pool of possible applied research internships must be both broad and deep to satisfy the wide range of interests of our students. This requires a large number of companies within a large city to fulfill their needs. Further, managing the large set of activities associated with internships is a complex undertaking.
Few universities anywhere in the world are able to offer a program of the quality, breadth and depth of our MScAC.
We don’t offer a PhD in Applied Computing; however, students can certainly apply for the regular PhD program upon completion of the MScAC.
If you are an MScAC student and wish to apply for the PhD program, you must apply when general admissions open.
While most MScAC students move on to jobs in industry, the MScAC is not a terminal degree and will fulfil the minimum entry requirements for the PhD program. Unlike the MSc program, however, there is no direct transition.
If you are an MScAC student and wish to apply for the PhD program, you must apply when general admissions open.
No. The MScAC is offered on an "attending" basis only.
The MScAC program is a 16-month applied research program, combining eight months of advanced courses in computer science with an eight-month paid internship at a technology company or other organization where there is a technological need (e.g. finance/health care sector).
The first eight months of the MScAC program will be spent studying in the Department of Computer Science. During this time you will complete a minimum of four technical graduate half-courses (two must be from the U of T computer science selection), plus you will complete a mandatory course – Communication for Computer Scientists (CSC2701H). The second eight months of the MScAC program are spent on your internship, with students attending the second mandatory course – Technical Entrepreneurship (CSC2702H) – every other week.
No, the MScAC is offered on a full-time basis only.
The workload in the program is challenging. In addition to taking six courses for credit, you will need to prepare for your internship. In the fall term, this means working on getting acquainted with Toronto, U of T and our Department; preparing a CV; and thinking about topic areas of interest to you for your future career. In the winter term, you will be attending a large number of meetings and interviews with companies. Good time management is extremely important, and is an important life skill. The program is based on a cohort-model, so all students in the program are expected to meet the program milestones at the same time.
Admissions – General
The application deadlines will be finalized and published on the website in September. Usually, MScAC admissions open in mid-October and close in January.
The majority of applications are reviewed once the admissions deadline has passed. The review process involves members of the MScAC Admissions Committee conducting a holistic assessment of all aspects of every application, before deciding whether or not admission should be granted to the MScAC program. We may also request that applicants complete a video interview with a member of MScAC staff to discuss their application, and during this interview an applicant's technical knowledge may be tested. Once all aspects of the process are complete, applicants will be notified by e-mail with a final decision.
No. Currently, we only offer a September-entry round of admission.
Yes. If you have not completed your bachelor’s degree (or master’s degree, if applicable) at the time you apply to the University of Toronto, please request transcripts from your university showing the work you have completed to date. On your application, please indicate the date when your final result will be available.
If you receive an offer of admission based on your coursework to date, you must complete all of your degree requirements before the registration deadline and send us a final transcript, which includes the date your degree was awarded.
Our online application form asks you to upload unofficial electronic scans or summaries of your transcript(s), and that is what we base our decision on. If we make an offer of admission, then we will need official paper copies of the transcripts. We may make you an offer of admission that is conditional on us receiving and authenticating your transcripts.
U of T graduates are not required to purchase an official transcript of their academic record at this institution. A print out from ROSI of your academic record at the University of Toronto serves as an official transcript to satisfy admission requirements of: a) of completing all admitting degree requirements with a grade point average that satisfies SGS minimum admission standards; and b) proof of conferral of degree.
It is certainly possible to apply to our program with a bachelor's degree in a discipline other than computer science. In the past, we have accepted applicants with degrees in related disciplines such as mathematical sciences or computer engineering, whose degrees/additional qualifications contained computation at senior undergraduate level. You may wish to look at the Current Cohort Profile to see which academic backgrounds might be accepted.
Our department’s minimum academic requirement is a B+ average achieved in the final year of full-time study (the equivalent of 5 full credits). You must also meet the University of Toronto’s minimum academic requirement for admission to a master's program (mid-B average).
However, we consider all aspects of your application, especially industry experience. In exceptional circumstances, we may support a request to the School of Graduate Studies for non-standard consideration.
Our department’s minimum academic requirement is a B+ average, and any flexibility in this entry requirement is at the discretion of the Admissions Committee. In previous years, applicants wishing to strengthen their application will take some senior level undergraduate courses; however, the process for enrolling into these is complex and it is advisable that you email the Undergraduate Program office at firstname.lastname@example.org for advice if this is something you wish to consider doing. Note that your original undergraduate degree (i.e. the qualifying degree) will be the qualification on which we base the final year GPA calculation. We will then look at the grades obtained in the following qualifications.
All students in the MScAC program must complete four (4) graduate half-courses and two mandatory half-courses. You may be able to obtain transfer credit for graduate courses which you completed but did not use towards the requirements of another academic program.
MScAC students can only apply for transfer credits after they arrive. The Associate Chair of Graduate Studies will evaluate your application. We cannot speculate as to whether your application will be approved.
We admit only superior students who are committed to the study of computer science. Your statement of purpose is your opportunity to tell us who you are and why you make an exceptional candidate. You must clearly communicate that you understand what graduate school is about, that you understand the opportunities we offer and that you are a good fit for graduate studies here. It is also your opportunity to show us your commitment to quality and your skills in English. Poorly written, error-filled statements are not successful.
Yes you can. You will be assigned an applicant number and password when you start the SGS online application. If you plan to apply to both, you can add a second application from the payment section of the online application.
You can use the same referees for both applications; however, for the MSc (Research) program, note that a minimum of two of these should be academic, rather than industry based. If you are applying to the MScAC, then a minimum of one should be academic.
Admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis, meaning that there is no fixed date on which decisions are announced. All applicants can usually expect to hear from us by the end of May.
Currently, we admit 10-15% of MScAC program applicants each year.
Our (departmental) application form will accept "free" e-mail addresses such as Hotmail, Gmail, etc. If your referee is using a "free" e-mail address, please include details of their professional profile, such as a faculty/LinkedIn page, in the "Additional Information" section of your application form.
At least one of your references should be an academic reference. However, given the nature of the program, it is entirely appropriate to use referees who have an industry background and have worked with you in a senior capacity.
Yes. We have had several mature students over the last few years be successful in their applications to the MScAC program. We see their experience as an asset within the MScAC cohort.
Admissions – Overseas Applicants
We accept applications from all over the world, and we can accept qualifications gained from overseas institutions in support of your application. For information on degree equivalencies, please use the University's International Degree Equivalencies Tool.
Yes. If you have a three-year Bologna-compliant bachelor’s degree – or a three-year UK degree preceded by the GCE A-levels, which is considered equivalent – we encourage you to apply.
In addition to the University’s minimum admission requirements, there are several factors that we will take into consideration while assessing your degree: requirements for gaining admission to the degree, content of the degree, duration of the degree, and more.
We cannot determine your eligibility until you submit a complete application.
Admissions – Canadian and U.S. Applicants
We cannot determine your eligibility until you submit a complete application, but in general:
- If you are from Quebec, you will qualify with a two-year CEGEP and a three-year degree.
- If you have a three-year degree from a North American university, you likely do not have the depth of knowledge in computer science our program requires. In this case, you will be asked to complete an upgrading year (one full year of senior-level undergraduate courses as specified by the graduate unit).
Maybe. We encourage you to apply so we can evaluate your eligibility.
In addition to the University’s minimum admission requirements, there are several factors that we will take into consideration while assessing your degree: the level ofaffinity between your degree and the program to which you are applying; the academic content of your third- and fourth-year courses; and other indicators that you are adequately prepared for the MScAC program.
Test Scores: GRE
Unless you have (or are about to get) a degree from a Canadian university, then you should submit your GRE test scores. Even though it is not mandatory to do so, we strongly encourage you to send them. Good scores will strengthen your application. We assume that any serious applicant from outside Canada will have taken the GREs and hence will have scores to submit. The average scores based on percentile are about 80% for verbal and 95% for quantitative.
If you submit GRE scores and you receive an offer of admission, it will be conditional on us receiving official verification of GRE scores.
- Institution code: 0982
- Department code: 0402
GRE scores are valid for 5 years, from the date of being issued.
For your application to the MScAC program, we would prefer to see GRE results.
English-Language Proficiency Testing
If you completed a degree (or will have completed a degree by summer of 2017) in which the primary language of instruction and examination was in English, then you are not required to take an English language proficiency exam. If you are admitted to our graduate program, we may ask you to provide an official statement from your university/college that the language of instruction and examination was in English.
Otherwise, you are required to provide proof of English proficiency through an exam such as IELTS or TOEFL. Scores may be added to your application even after the deadline (we'll process your application on the assumption that you can show satisfactory scores), but the university will not allow us to make you an offer – not even a conditional one – until we have the official notice of your scores.
Please note that scores are valid for two years from the test date. Scores must be valid at the time you apply to the university. Scores more than two years old cannot be verified and you will be required to re-take an English-language proficiency test.
You must achieve the English test scores outlined by the School of Graduate Studies (SGS). We do not require a higher minimum score.
- Institution code: 0982
- Department code: 78
TOEFL scores are valid for two years from the test date. Scores must be valid at the time of application for admission to graduate studies. Scores more than two years old cannot be verified and the applicant will be required to re-take an English language proficiency test.
Scores may be added to your application even after the deadline (we'll process your application on the assumption that you can show satisfactory scores), but the university will not allow us to make you an offer, not even a conditional one, until we have the official notice of your scores.
Yes. We look at applications in their entirety, so we also place a great deal of emphasis on your other academic qualifications, statement of purpose, and references, rather than basing a rejection on one element of the application. Therefore, it is up to you whether you submit an application with the TOEFL score you have. All applications are viewed on a case-by-case basis by the Admissions Committee once the application deadline has passed.
Deferrals are granted at the discretion of the Chair of the Admissions Committee, who considers requests on a case-by-case basis. If you are granted a deferral, it will only be permitted once, and will only be valid until the following academic year.
If you are applying to come to Canada and join the MScAC program as an international student, you will need a study permit allowing you to study in Canada for the full 16 months of the program. In order to be eligible for a study permit, you must satisfy certain immigration requirements. These requirements include proof of:
- Acceptance by the University of Toronto to the MScAC program
- Adequate funds for tuition fees, living expenses, etc.
- Medical clearance
As soon as you receive an offer of admission for the MScAC program, it is advisable that you begin the visa application process as process times vary across visa offices.
Details of how to apply for your study permit can be found on the Canadian Immigration and Citizenship website.
Note that MScAC students are also required to be in possession of a work permit that allows them to work full-time during their eight month internship. For further information regarding the study permit and the work permit, please consult U of T's Centre for International Experience website.
In addition to a study permit, you will also need to ensure that you have a separate work permit that will allow you to work full-time during your internship in the second eight months of the program. Note that the study permit is the most important document to have received on arrival in Canada. The work permit will usually be issued at the same time as your study permit; however, if this is not issued at immigration when you arrive, you can made a subsequent application once in Canada.
You are permitted to accept employment either on- or off-campus for a co-op, internship or professional experience.
To be eligible for the internship work permit, you must:
- have a valid study permit and
- obtain a letter from the MScAC program indicating that employment is an integral part of your degree program (this information is contained on page 2 of the offer package you received).
For this type of work permit, the U of T will be listed as the employer and the expiry date should match your study permit. The co-op work permit is fee-exempt, so there will be no processing fee required.
- Download the co-op work permit application package from the Government of Canada
Once you have been granted your study permit, your spouse or common-law partner may apply for a work permit. The work permit will be valid for the same period of time as your study permit, and no job offer is required in order to apply for this. More information on work permits for spouses and common-law partners can be found on the CIC website.
Yes. Both the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) and Department of Computer Science hold orientation events. It is expected that you will make every effort to attend both.
Deciding on which courses to take is not easy. We offer a variety of excellent courses at U of T.
You may consider a T-shaped set of courses in which you strive for some breadth across computer science and some depth in one sub-area that is of particular interest to you, or of likely relevance to your internship and future career.
Breadth is important because you may find new topics that inspire you, or emerging areas of computer science as applied to industry.
The balance of courses is up to you. We suggest you take two regular graduate courses for credit in each of your two academic terms, but if you can, sit in on (audit) more courses to gain a deeper appreciation of computer science. It is possible to take more than two courses in a semester; however, you should take into consideration that the workload in the winter term is higher so a higher courseload should be limited to the fall term if possible.
The four courses you choose should equal 2.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs). In addition to selecting courses from our department, you can take graduate courses from another department (such as Electrical & Computer Engineering, Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, or Statistical Sciences). However, you will need to obtain permission from the Director of Professional Programs. Your courses should all be technical and at the graduate level.
Yes. We provide guidance and support to MScAC students throughout the program, from issues around course selection, to interview training, to facilitating you finding an internship.
You can start courses in the summer; however, if you are a new MScAC student and are not due to register until the fall session, there may be an additional charge for summer courses as the preceding semester is not included in the cost of tuition and fees.
Your choice of courses and internship will depend on your own personal interests and strengths – usually the two will be related. If your aim is to gain an internship in a particular area, then it is advisable that you take courses related to this. Remember: most companies have many types of projects going on at a given time. Game development companies have software engineering problems, companies doing machine learning research have database management projects. If you are joining us as a new MScAC student and attending the Applied Research Internship Expo (ARIE), make sure to ask the companies present if they have projects in an area you are interested in, even if they don’t mention it in their project description.
The MScAC is a full-time program and the number of hours per week during the first eight months is comparable with other graduate programs. Note that study time can vary based on course selection and personal study habits. The internship is usually full-time employment, so you will be working at the internship 35 – 40 hours a week, depending on the company.
Costs: Tuition, Living Expenses, Housing
You can pay your tuition fees at a Canadian bank using your student account number. You can find detailed payment instructions on the Student Accounts website, and on the School of Graduate Studies website.
The deadline to pay/defer your fees for the 2017-18 fall/winter session is August 30, 2017.
U of T's Costs of University page is a great source for details about living costs.
U of T Housing Services offers information, resources and support with all housing-related issues, both for on-and off-campus accommodation.
Scholarships and Financial Aid
MScAC students are not eligible for department funding or provincial or federal research-based awards. However, MScAC students are eligible for a number of University of Toronto scholarships. For a detailed list, please visit our MScAC Scholarships and Awards page.
We cannot guarantee remuneration for your internship, but to date we have successfully placed students in paid internships that more than offset their tuition and fees.
If you are a domestic student, you can apply for to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP).
If you are an international student, you may be eligible to apply for scholarships offered by your home government.
Upon accepting an internship offer from a company, you are expected to find two supervisors:
- an industry supervisor who is appointed by the company, to whom you will report routinely;
- an academic supervisor with whom you will collaborate to address the intellectual challenges of the research to be performed over the internship.
It is beneficial, but not required, for your academic and industry supervisors to meet to establish an effective way to guide your work.
Once you have secured an internship, you will be encouraged to reach out to potential supervisors that you think might be a good match in supervising your project, typically a faculty member doing research in the related field. The Program Director can help advise you in selecting your supervisor.
The internship is a mandatory requirement of the MScAC program. To date, we have achieved a 100% placement rate, with an average total salary of $50,000 per eight-month internship. We cannot guarantee remuneration, but this is a reasonable expectation based on our experience. During the second semester, we hold a three-day Applied Research Internship Expo (ARIE), which facilitates a lot of opportunities to interact with companies looking for MScAC students. As it is ultimately your responsibility to secure an internship, we encourage you to use this event to your advantage and to reach out to companies directly if you are interested in the opportunities they are offering.
Most students find internships through the companies that we have already recruited for the program. However, you are welcome to do your own search for companies that may be interested in employing you.
You must make the director of the program aware of your search, so we can inform the company (or companies) how the MScAC program works. This is very important, since some companies may not fully appreciate the difference between an applied research internship and a co-op programming job.
During the second semester, we hold a three day Applied Research Internship Expo (ARIE), which facilitates a lot of opportunities to interact with companies looking for MScAC students. Companies may contact you, or you may contact companies for further information and interviews. Sometime between February and April, you will hopefully receive internship offers with an effective start date of early May.
We cannot guarantee remuneration for your internship, but to date we have successfully placed students in paid internships that more than offset their tuition and fees (an average total salary of $50,000 per eight-month internship).
Our expectation is that, over the course of their internships, our students will exploit their graduate academic training and past experience to engage in applied research in the service of the company. Interns will explore new initiatives, improvements in process or product, or new designs that could potentially impact to the company. This imposes a higher standard of creative or intellectual exploration than would normally be encountered in a co-operative work term.
Historically, almost all MScAC graduates have either continued at their internship company or moved to another company directly after finishing their internship.
Students progress onto a variety of jobs within the technology industry. Initially, many of the students have continued on in a development role at their internship company. Other students have progressed on to more technical/leadership oriented roles, some go on to management or consultancy, and others have started their own companies.
After completing the MScAC program, you will become eligible for the Post-Graduate Work Permit Program (PGWPP), which will allow you to stay and gain further work experience in Canada, even if you do not have a job offer. The PGWPP will usually be issued for the length of the study program, meaning that all MScAC students are eligible for a PGWPP that is at least 16 months in length.
If you wish to stay in Canada for longer than 16 months and apply for permanent residency, there are also a number of other immigration programs that you may be eligible for.