Common questions


How do I obtain an academic transcript?

The University of Toronto Archives DOES NOT provide academic transcripts.

You may order a copy of your academic transcript from the University of Toronto Transcript Centre.

To verify a University of Toronto degree, please contact the University of Toronto confirmation of degree website.

How do I verify if my relative attended the University of Toronto?

There are multiple archival resources for this type of genealogical enquiry. Here are some initial resources available online:

Convocation programmes are also available in our Reading Room.

If you are still unsure after consulting these sources, please contact us.

How do I find a university thesis?

The Archives holds Masters theses from 1897 to 1989 and Doctoral theses from 1900 to 1985. These can be found by searching the UTL catalogue.

NOTE: Most theses are held off-site and require 2-3 business days to retrieve.

Please contact us ahead of your visit to arrange for the theses' retrieval.

More recent theses (1992–) can be accessed through the University of Toronto’s research repository, T-Space.

How do I find your Reading Room?

We are located on the 4th floor of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.

Please see our Visit Us page for information on how to locate the Reading Room and directions to the Library and the University of Toronto St. George campus.

What other Archives are on campus?

There is also the UTSC Archives and Special Collections at the University of Toronto Scarborough campus.

What is the oldest building on campus?

The oldest building on campus is Odette Hall at St. Michael’s College and the adjoining St. Basil’s Church.  The cornerstone for them was laid on 15 September 1855, and Odette Hall was ready for the arrival of students in the fall of 1856.

The second oldest building is University College (1858) – the Louis B. Stewart Building does not count because, although the original Observatory building was completed in 1855, it was taken down in 1909 and rebuilt to a somewhat different configuration.

The third oldest building is the Daniels Building (the old Knox College part), completed in 1875.

The fourth oldest building is the house originally at 46 St. George Street and now incorporated into the Bahen Centre (44 St. George St.), built for Edward Chadwick in 1878.

What is a fonds?

The term fonds, originating in French archival practice, can be defined as a body of records that was made and received by a person, family, or organization, public or private, in the conduct of their everyday affairs. These records were accumulated over time and kept for their enduring value as a future reference resource and/or as evidence of the functions and responsibilities of their creator. The key characteristics of a fonds are provenance (records are created by one individual or organization) and original order (the way the records were originally ordered by their creators can be significant in interpreting their meaning).

For further information, please see this great blog post by our colleagues at the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives (PAMA) describing how archivists describe collections.

Why isn’t everything digitized and available online?

Again, our colleagues at PAMA have summed it up quite nicely in this blog post.

Please see the what's online section of our website for a listing of our digitized content available online.

How do I cite archival material?

Please see the section on our website about how to cite archival records.

Can you help me read cursive?

Please see this Research Guide on Reading Old Handwriting prepared by Vanderbilt University.

The National Archives (UK) has a good online tutorial on palaeography, the study of old handwriting.

If you have any difficulty deciphering a record’s handwriting, our reading room staff will gladly assist you.