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Admissions

Our students come from diverse social sciences, humanities, media, business, cultural production and fine arts backgrounds, and include mature applicants with experience as industry professionals or entrepreneurs. Our program offers a rich curriculum that supports this diversity.

Admission Requirements

Master of Arts

(full- and part-time)

  • A four-year degree in a related discipline that provides some familiarity with cultural or social theory: social sciences, humanities, fine arts or related applied program such as media production or communication technology.
  • Minimum grade average of B+ or equivalent in your last 2 years of coursework. Subject to competition, applicants may be required to present averages above the minimum.
  • Evidence of a high level of undergraduate-level achievement in writing, and undergraduate training in either research or cultural production.
  • Demonstrated commitment and potential to develop advanced work in communication and culture.
  • Strong English language skills (see Admission Requirements: English-language requirements)
     

Doctor of Philosophy

(full-time)

  • A Master’s degree in communication and cultural studies (or a related discipline) that provided foundational studies in: social sciences, humanities, fine arts or related applied program such as media production or communication technology. Note: applicants without a background in communications and cultural studies may be required to take Master’s level courses in one or both of these fields in addition to their other doctoral courses.
  • Minimum grade average of B+ or equivalent in previous 2 years of coursework. Subject to competition, applicants may be required to present averages above the minimum.
  • Evidence of a high level of achievement in Masters-level writing, and either research or cultural production at the Master’s level.
  • Demonstrated capacity to undertake advanced, independent study in communication and cultural studies.
  •  Strong English language skills (see Admission Requirements: English-language requirements)
     

For information about deadline dates, English language proficiency and the online application, please visit the Future Students / Admissions website.  

How to Apply

At Ryerson, all graduate applications are submitted online.

Step 1 Collect your documents and contact your two referees (for your Letters of Reference)
Step 2 Submit an application through the Ontario Universities' Application Centre (OUAC) website.
Step 3 Within three business days, you will receive your Ryerson Applicant ID number, a my.ryerson.ca login and a password. Login to the Applicant Upload Portal and upload your documents.
Step 4 Once you have successfully uploaded all of your required documents, your application will enter the review process.
Step 5 Monitor the status of your application through your student centre in RAMSS and through the Applicant Upload portal.

Our system is easy-to-use and saves you time. Further, this online system is mandatory; We will not accept any hard copy documents, nor will they be processed.

Once you have successfully uploaded all of your required documents, your application will enter the review process. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. See checklist below.

All eligible applications will be sent to our Graduate Admissions Committee for review.  

For step-by-step application instructions see visit the Graduate Studies Admissions page.

When to Apply

Our program has a Fall (September) term intake only.

Our application period is normally mid-October to mid-January.  Our Priority of Consideration Deadline (and deadline for international applicants) is usually the third week of January. Normally, decisions will be made starting in March and continue until our programs are filled.

We will continue to accept domestic applications until we have filled all available seats.  Once we are closed and are no longer reviewing applications for the current cycle we will post a message on the Application Deadlines page.

We strongly encourage applicants to upload all of their documents before the Priority of Consideration Deadline.

Application Checklist

Incomplete applications will not be reviewed by the Admissions Committee. See Graduate Studies: Required Documents

When you complete the Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC) application, you will get a PDF receipt. Upolad this as your "OUAC Application Form".

This 500-800 word essay should primarily focus on your research interest, its methodology, and academic importance, with reference to how your background or career supports the research plan.

About three quarters of your statement should focus on a clear, concise Research Plan in some detail, and remaining part can describe how your academic or professional background fits the topic and our program.

This essay should demonstrate your understanding of our program and the fit of your topic to our program.  

You may include some citations for other research or academic literature, but a full bibliography is not necessary. Ensure that you have contextualized the topic within the broader field of communications and cultural studies.

We recommend that you have 1-2 other academics or grad students read it for feedback on clarity and academic tone. This should be written similar to an academic assignment or scholarship proposal, especially if it is for a PhD application.

Following the essay, please add the information about stream, faculty and publications etc. 

Be sure to:

  • Rank your choice of research stream: Media and Culture, Politics and Policy, or Technology in Practice (visit Areas of Study);
  • List particular professors in the program with whom you might like to work, and indicate how their work relates to your proposed program (see People);
  • Doctoral applicants are strongly advised to try to contact 2-3 faculty related to your research topic to confirm that this program is a good fit for your topic and obtain potential supervisory committee support; and
  • List any relevant publications, exhibitions or conference presentations, even if mentioned on your resume/CV.

Additional Information

  • If you have studied on a part-time basis, or have interrupted your studies due to illness, disability, employment, family responsibilities, etc., the committee will take into consideration these special circumstances when reviewing your academic record. Include a a sentence or two to provide the context for any significant delays or interruptions to your studies.
  • Applicants for the part-time Master’s program should include a sentence or two to address the challenges of attendance in daytime classes, i.e. your employer’s flexibility, and maintaining your motivation over 3-5 years to complete the program.

Submit one short sample (maximum of 10 pages, double spaced) of your best academic writing on a relevant topic. You might condense or excerpt from a previous course essay that performed a critical analysis of cultural theory, an academic interpretation of policy or a case study, or a strong synthesis of a literature review.  

A Curriculum Vitae is your academic resume that highlights your scholarly accomplishments. (Maximum four pages)

Emphasize your research or cultural production experience, and experiences that depended upon writing and presentation skills. 

List all degrees you hold or are working on, most recent first.

If applicable, be sure to include:

  • Recognitions (scholarships, prizes, awards, academic distinctions)
  • Teaching Experience
  • Research Experience
  • Computer and Technical Skills
  • Professional Experience
  • Relevant Volunteer Work and Internships
  • Publications and Conference Presentations
  • Professional Memberships and Activities
  • Research Interests
  • Teaching Interests
  • Languages
  • Community Service
  • Extra‐Curricular Activities

Do not include a photograph.

Your referees will be contacted by email within three business days of your application submission. Please make sure that their contact information is correct. All reference letters must come directly from the referee. Student submitted copies will not be accepted.

Transcripts are required from every accredited post-secondary institution you have attended. Unofficial transcripts will be accepted for admissions evaluation purposes. Applicants from Ontario universities will have the option of ordering their transcripts while completing the OUAC online application.

If your transcripts/documents are in a language other than English, you must provide a notarized English translation. Please note translations do not replace original documentation, both versions must be submitted.

Please include your institution's grading scale, often located on the back of a transcript. Please ensure to upload both sides of your transcript. If your transcript does not list a grading scale, please ensure you upload a document from the university with the grading scale outlined.

Upon Admittance: If you have been admitted into a Ryerson graduate program and have confirmed your offer, you will be required to request an official final transcript(s) in a sealed envelope be sent directly from the institution(s).

Applicants who have not completed two or more years, full-time, at a Canadian university or a university at which English was the primary language of instruction, or have not completed a graduate degree at a university where English was the primary language of instruction, will be required to provide certification of English language proficiency through one of the accepted examinations listed here.

If you attended a university outside of Canada at which English was the primary language of instruction, your must still upload a note to complete this checklist item.

Features of a Strong Application

Many qualified applicants are not admitted to the program each year, simply because we receive many more applications than we have spots available. Here are some suggestions for increasing your chances of acceptance.

For the Communication and Culture program, the minimum grade average for consideration is a “B+” in your last 2 years of studies. However, an “A-” average (or above) is needed for your application to be considered competitive. The minimum grade requirement for admission to a Ryerson master's program is a “B” or equivalent. For doctoral studies, you must have achieved a minimum of “B+” or equivalent in your master’s program. Applicants whose average falls below the minimum will normally not be considered.

Our applicants come from diverse social sciences, humanities, cultural production and fine arts backgrounds, and include mature applicants with experience as industry professionals or entrepreneurs. Applicants with degrees in cultural and communication studies or who have completed courses from a wide variety of related disciplines are generally preferred.

Relevant coursework could include: Marx, Fanon, Foucault, McLuhan, Gramsci, Adorno, Habermas and topics such as the meaning of culture, subjectivity and identity, constructionism, commodification, the culture industry, hegemony, public sphere, modernity and postmodernity, colonial and post-colonial theories, citizenship and civil societies, and rhetorical, semiotic, phenomenological, cybernetics, semiotics, lingusitics, sociocultural, and critical traditions.

On your Statement of Interest, list the professors in the program with whom you might like to work, and indicate how their work relates to your proposed research. PhD applicants, in particular, are strongly advised to try to contact two or three faculty related to your research topic to confirm that this program is a good fit for your topic and obtain potential supervisory committee support.

A genuine interest or passion for conducting independent critical research is important. In our program, you will learn a wide range of methods and approaches, including research design (qualitative and quantitative), survey research, content analysis, textual analysis, discourse analysis, historiography, legal and documentary research, ethnographic techniques, cultural studies approaches and others.

It is important for applicants to have two positive letters of recommendation. The more details and examples provided in the letters, the better. Therefore, it is usually best to ask for letters from professors, mentors, and research supervisors who know you well.

Detailed, supportive reference letters are expected and a poorly composed, overly brief, or merely generic reference letter will make your application less competitive.

For Master's students, the letter should address:

  • Academic Excellence, as demonstrated by past results, transcripts, awards & distinctions
  • Research Potential, as demonstrated by your research history, interest in discovery, the proposed research, its potential contribution to the field, and any anticipated outcomes
  • Personal Characteristics and Interpersonal Skills, as demonstrated by past professional and relevant extracurricular activities  and collaborations

For PhD students, in addition to the above, the letter should address:

  • your background preparation, originality, judgement, written and oral skills, and skill at research;
  • the merits of you as a candidate and of your research proposal's theoretical framework, its relation to the field, and its methodology;
  • the impact of the journals in which you have published and/or your prospects for publication;
  • the appropriateness of this joint graduate program in Communication and Culture in furthering your academic goals

Your reference letters need to address your aptitude for research and communication skills; they also need to assess the contribution of the proposed research, and the likelihood you will succeed to complete the degree in timely fashion.

Being able to write well is an important skill for success in graduate school.  Make sure that your Writing Sample, Statement of Interest and CV have been carefully proofread!

Admissions: Frequently Asked Questions

Applications for next Fall will be accepted starting in mid-October. Our Priority of Consideration Deadline is usually the third week of January.

Eligible and completed applications will be given first consideration by the program’s Graduate Admissions Committee. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

If you have missed the Priority of Consideration date, we still welcome your application. Our Graduate Admissions Office continues to accept applications until all available spaces have been filled. A list of closed programs is on the Application Deadlines page and is updated throughout the Spring and Summer.

Normally, decisions will be made starting in March and continue until the programs are filled.

At Ryerson, full-time domestic* applicants who submit a complete application by the Priority of Consideration deadline are automatically considered for internal scholarships, awards, fellowships, Graduate Assistantships, and the Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS). If eligible for these awards, applicants will be contacted in the summer with a detailed funding offer. See also Graduate Studies: Financial Matters

Domestic applicants with a Cumulative Grade Points Average (CGPA) equivalent to an "A-" or above are strongly encouraged to apply for funding through Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Talent Program, external link as well.  

Unfortunately, we do not currently provide funding to International Students at Ryerson. You must secure funding from your home country. For York applicants, graduate fellowships for international students may be available. Contact York for details.

* Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents of Canada

4th year PhDs are not funded using internal funding such as Ryerson Graduate Fellowship (RGF) or the Ryerson Graduate Development Award (RGDA). If eligible, 4th years PhD students are strongly encouraged to apply for the Doctoral Completion Award, Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) - Doctoral Awards (PGS or CGS). Workshops are provided each fall.

Our Priority of Consideration Deadline is usually the third week of January.

Eligible and completed applications received by this date will be given first consideration by the program’s Graduate Admissions Committee.

If you have missed the Priority of Consideration date, we still welcome your application. Our Graduate Admissions Office continues to accept applications until all available spaces have been filled. A list of closed programs is on the Application Deadlines page and is updated throughout the Spring and Summer.

Two letters of recommendation are required as part the application. The Graduate Admissions Committee prefers academic letters as you are applying to an academic program of study, but professional references may be substituted. Please ensure that they can attest to your writing, research and other academic skills. See "Features of a Strong Application" above.

No. The minimum requirement for admission consideration to a master's program is a four year undergraduate (or equivalent) bachelor's degree. For the PhD, you will need a master’s degree (or equivalent) and demonstrated research capabilities. See Graduate Studies: Admissions Requirements.  Meeting the minimum academic requirement does not guarantee admission into the program. All applications will be considered on an individual basis and subject to competition.

Normally, decisions will be made starting in March and continue until the programs are filled. In the meantime, many strong applicants are put on a waiting list and are notified by email of their status.

No, the Admissions Committee does not normally interview applicants.

The Admissions Committee will review all qualified MA or PhD applications (ie. those that met the minimum qualifications) but gives more serious consideration to those with four qualities:

  1. a high CGPA,
  2. two detailed and supportive reference letters,
  3. an excellent statement of research that fits in our program mandate, and
  4. an excellent writing sample.

See "Features of a Strong Application" above.

No. We do not need GRE or GMAT scores.

When assessing your application, we will consider your Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) and the equivalent of your last two years of study. We do not include any college or CEGEP grades in our calculations. See Graduate Studies: Calculating your GPA.

If you have completed more than one degree, we will calculate each degree separately.

If you are currently enrolled in, or have completed courses after your degree has been conferred, we will not include these courses in your final GPA calculation, however, they will be included in the overall assessment of your application.

Applicants whose average falls below the minimum will normally not be considered.

Because of the large number of applications, we do not provide feedback to applicants. The admissions process is a competitive process. The task of the Admissions Committee is to make recommendations to the Dean. Admission Committee members are not asked to provide detailed written appraisals of individual applications.

Please review the criteria stated above, as well as "Features of a Strong Application" above.

The number of spaces available for each admission cycle varies. On the Ryerson side, the number is determined by the Yeates School of Graduate Studies before the start of each admission cycle. Recently, the Comcult program has admitted between 12 and 20 full-time MAs, one or two part-time MAs and six to eight PhDs.

Ryerson's University Planning Office provides statistics concerning admission and graduation rates.

No, this is not an option. You would need to reapply the following year to be considered for admissions to the program.

This average grade varies with each applicant pool for any given admission cycle. 

If your CGPA meets the published minimum requirement for admission consideration ("B+"), your application will be forwarded to the Program Admissions Committee.

Due to the competitive nature of our programs, it is not possible to offer admission to everyone who applies that meets the minimum entrance requirements for the program.  All applications will be considered on an individual basis and subject to competition.

Applicants whose average falls below the minimum will normally not be considered.

Communication and Culture is a joint program, you apply for admission to either York or Ryerson (but not both). Your "home base" will be based at either York or Ryerson, but you are likely to have classes on both campuses.

If you are interested in a residence-style option, in which you live close to Ryerson campus among many other Ryerson students, your first step is to apply for Ryerson residence by June 1st. There is limited space available for graduate students. Visit the Housing & Residence Life website for more information.

Most Ryerson students live off-campus. For support and resources, visit the Off-Campus Housing Office website.

For information about moving to Toronto see the City of Toronto's Moving to Toronto website, external link.

There are many books and websites that can give you advice about writing effective personal statements. Here are a few examples:

How to write the perfect personal statement - Fourth edition. Peterson's, a Nelnet Company, ISBN: 9780768936735 (electronic bk.) 2012.

Asher, Donald. Graduate Admissions Essays: Write Your Way into the Graduate School of Your Choice. Ten Speed Press, 2012.

Get into Graduate School: a Strategic Approach for Masters and Doctoral Candidates. Kaplan Pub., 2011.

Writing the Statement of Purpose., external link” Berkeley Graduate Division

How to Write a Statement of Purpose., external link” Student Life Survey Press Release | The Princeton Review

Advice for Writing a Strong Statement of Purpose, external link.” Department of History, College of Arts & Sciences at The University of Alabama

“How to Write a Statement of Purpose (SoP): Strategies, Tips & Examples, external link” on LinkedIn

“Top 10 Tips for Writing a PhD Statement of Purpose, external link” Drexel University's LeBow College of Business

“Writing Your Statement of Purpose, external link” Cornell University Graduate School