Hosting an International Visiting Graduate Student

People in a lab




The International Visiting Graduate Student program (IVGS) allows graduate students enrolled in research-based programs at international universities to undertake some of their research under the supervision of a University of Toronto faculty member.








The program ensures that visiting students have a defined legal relationship with the University, and secures them access to Student Life programs and services, University resources (libraries and information technology) and health coverage under both the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) for international students and the University of Toronto Graduate Student Union’s supplementary health and dental plans. Students do not pay tuition but are required to pay the incidental fees required of all graduate students, as well as insurance premiums in the UHIP.

Please note that:

  • Any U of T faculty member with a graduate faculty appointment (or associate graduate faculty appointment) at the School of Graduate Studies can invite an IVGS student. Faculty members who do not hold a graduate appointment can co-supervise a visiting student, but not act as primary supervisor.
  • While there are no formal requirements for documents in support of an application, it is the supervisor’s responsibility to assess the student’s suitability for the proposed research project. You should feel free to request a curriculum vitae, research proposal, transcripts, and/or recommendation from a prospective student’s supervisor.
  • Detailed guidelines of the supervisor's responsibilities are available on the IVGS section of the SGS website;
  • If you have a graduate faculty appointment or cross-appointment with Physical & Environmental Sciences, it is preferred that the student be hosted at UTSC rather than through a St. George graduate department.

Admissions Procedures - Guidelines for Faculty Member

Steps to Secure Admission into the IVGS Program:

1) If a student has approached you to participate in the IVGS program and you are willing to commit time and energy to supervise the student, make sure that:

  • you and the student plan the visit with a clear understanding of the timelines required for institutional approval and immigration issues. Please review Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada’s processing times to gauge whether you are planning far enough in advance (university approvals and immigration process can take up to four months).
  • you and the student have ensured that plans for the visit are clear. What is the scope of the student's project? How much of it does the student plan to accomplish while at the University of Toronto? What University resources will the student need? What support the supervisor can provide?
  • the student understands the costs of the visit and has the means to cover them, and that financial arrangement between you and the student have been discussed and confirmed. 

2) Draft a letter of invitation that clearly lays out the agreed terms of the visit. An invitation letter template is available on the International Visiting Graduate Student (IVGS) study abroad agreement.

Please note that the letter of invitation must:

  • be on graduate unit letterhead
  • identify the student's level of study
  • refer to their registering as full-time IVGS student
  • clarify any financial arrangements between supervisor and student - if no financial support is offered, the letter should make this clear.

3) Send the draft letter for pre-review to the UTSC Campus Graduate Administrator.

4) After the letter has been reviewed and, if necessary, revisions have been made, forward a signed copy to the student along with a blank International Visiting Graduate Student (IVGS) study abroad agreement.

5) Once documents have been signed by all parties, submit signed letter of invitation and IVGS Study Abroad Agreement to the Campus Graduate Administrator.

Next steps:

  • The Graduate Administrator will forward the documentation to the School of Graduate Studies for final approval. If the School of Graduate Studies approves the visit, the student will be issued an official offer of admission to the School of Graduate Studies as a full-time visiting graduate student.
  • Once official letter of admission has been issued, the student should use it aside with the invitation letter from the U of T supervisor to arrange and secure appropriate travel documents (visa, study, or work permit).

Local Support at UTSC

For any matters related to the IVGS program at UTSC, the UTSC Campus Graduate Administrator, provides local support for IVGS Students, especially if:

  • you would like to host a Visiting Graduate Student at UTSC;
  • you need assistance with the structure of the invitation letter and obtaining signatures;
  • you would like to cover the tuition and fees for a Visiting Graduate Student.

Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP)

The Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP) scholarships provide students and researchers from Latin America and the Caribbean with short-term exchange opportunities for study or research at the college, undergraduate and graduate levels. Information and application process can be found on the U of T's Inbound Visiting website. It is recommended that to apply for ELAP and the International Visiting Graduate Student (IVGS) program at the same time.

If you have a Visiting Graduate Student who will be applying for and ELAP scholarship, please contact the Campus Graduate Administrator in advance.