Criminology Doctor of Philosophy Program


Note: The School of Criminology accepts relatively few new Doctoral students each year. In order to receive an offer of admission, a member of School faculty must agree to supervise the student. Therefore, to maximize the likelihood of admission, prospective applicants should explore with a faculty member the possibility that shared interests might result in a supervisory relationship. A supportive reference from such a faculty member would provide strong support for an application to the program. Applicants lacking such support will likely have a lower probability of admission.

General Admission Information

Our admissions process is based upon a comparison of qualifications among those who apply. We consider a broad range of information about each candidate.  Our objective is to enroll a cohort each year that is both academically accomplished and diverse in interests, background, and experience.

Our primary considerations for admissions are previous academic performance; graduate performance potential and research interests.  Applications include university transcripts, letters of reference and a statement of area of research interest. The cumulative grade point average is a measure of past academic performance and potential performance as a graduate student. Assessments from qualified referees of an applicant's ability to undertake advanced work in criminology is another indicator or future academic performance. The Statement of Interest reflects what an applicant's areas of research interest are and why s/he wants to pursue graduate studies in criminology.

Admission Requirements

From the Academic Calendar:

The minimum admission requirements to this doctor of philosophy (PhD) program are stated in graduate general regulations.

Students admitted to the program without the prerequisite courses (or equivalent), will be required to complete those courses in addition to the PhD degree requirements. The prerequisite courses are: CRIM 800, CRIM 860, CRIM 861, CRIM 862.

Application fees are set by the dean of graduate studies office, and are subject to change each year.  The application system will open from October 1 and close January 10 for a September start.  All application documents must be submitted by January 10.  Applicants will be informed by the end of January about the status of their application.


Admission Process

Applications have two components: completion of a two-step online process and submission of paper documents.

1. The online application process can be accessed here, where, in addition to personal information, the following submissions should be made:

a) Initial step -

  • Information about your research interests: 1) A brief listing (40 words) and 2) A short statement of your interests (400 words).
  • English language test scores if applicable
  • Reference information, including email addresses, for three (3) referees*. Ideally these should be  faculty or people in a related professional field who hold at least a Master's degree. Referees will receive an email with a link to an online form that they can complete, or they will have the option of uploading a letter in the form of a pdf file. If they are unable to use the online system, they may submit a reference via the address below using this form or by writing on their institutional letterhead. General letter format is acceptable.

Note that the initial part of the online application process must be completed and submitted before requests for references are sent out to referees. Allow sufficient time for referees to complete references before the January 10 deadline. Following initial submission of the application, you have seven days to pay the application fee, which will then enable you to upload transcripts and other documents.

b) After payment of application fee, upload as pdf files -

  • A CV including scholarly work.
  • Two (2) academic writing samples authored in English (e.g. research publications or other academic papers).
  • One (1) set of UNOFFICAL transcripts from ALL post-secondary institutions attended.

2. Document(s) to be submitted by mail, which should be sent to the address below:

  • One (1) set of OFFICAL transcripts from ALL post-secondary institutions attended.
  • Documents that cannot be uploaded online.

Graduate Programs Secretary
School of Criminology
Simon Fraser University
Saywell Hall 10128 - 8888 University Drive
Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6 Canada

*Referees should be made aware of the following:

The British Columbia Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act allows an applicant to have access to the information contained in his/her letters of reference where that can be done without disclosing the identities of the referees who supply a reference in confidence. It is understood between Simon Fraser University and yourself that the letter of reference is supplied in confidence unless you state otherwise.

First Nations Students

The School of Criminology actively invites applications from First Nations persons – First Nations persons may self-identify by submitting a letter with the application.

English Language Requirements

English is the language of instruction and communication at the University. Accordingly, an applicant whose primary language is not English must demonstrate command of English sufficient to pursue graduate studies in the chosen field. 

Simon Fraser University Graduate Programs accepts the following tests:

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
  • IELTS Academic (International English Language Testing Systems)

International applicants whose primary language is not English will not be required to complete an English-language test if they have completed a degree at an institution where the language of instruction and examination was in English in a country where English is the primary language. For a list of these countries please click here.

The minimum graduate program admission requirements for test scores:

English Language Test Score
Internet-based TOEFL 93 with minimum of 20 in each category
Paper-based TOEFL 580 and TWE 5
IELTS (academic) overall band score of 7.0 of the academic (NOT general) test with a minimum of 6.5 in each section

All test scores are valid for a period of two years from the date of the test. Some graduate programs may have higher requirements, as indicated in their section of the SFU Calendar.