How To Apply

Ready to get started?  Here's what to do next.

Step 1

Get familiar with the general research areas of our Faculty members. Contact the Geography faculty member(s) you hope to study with. Please note that only Assistant Professors, Associate Professors and Professors can be supervisors. Find out whether they are interested in supervising your project and are currently taking new students.  Discuss your research interests and potential funding opportunities.

For your application to be successful, a faculty member must commit to supervising your research project before you apply.  You will need to indicate the preferred supervisor in your application.

Do NOT skip this step! 


Find Three Academic References 

Reference letters must be specific to the application and should preferably be from an academic source. Referees are to indicate the applicant's ability to undertake advanced study in the area of interest they are applying for.

Ensure your referees include the following:

  • A frank appraisal of the applicant's ability to undertake a rigorous program of graduate study.
  • Reference to the applicant’s scholarly competence and academic ability to undertake advanced studies in graduate studies.
  • Personal qualities deemed relevant to the applicant’s ability to engage in graduate work.
  • Length of time and the context in which the referee has known the applicant.
  • Addressed to SFU on referee's institutional/professional letterhead.

Step 3

Submit the goGRAD application form, indicating the semester you plan to start your studies and your preferred potential supervisor(s).

Application requires a fee of $110 CDN (students with Canadian transcripts) or $150 CDN (students with international transcripts), paid by credit card (Master Card or Visa).

Applications are reviewed only after this fee has been paid. 

Application Fee Waivers: The Department of Geography will consider waiving the application fees for applicants from some Global South countries, as well as applicants from countries affected by crisis, who have a strong likelihood of being admitted. If you wish to be considered for a need-based fee waiver, please reach out to your potential supervisor to nominate you to be considered for one. Please note that a limited number of waivers is available and they will be adjudicated on a first come, first serve basis. 


Funding for Master's and PhD students is normally provided through a combination of Teaching and/or Research Assistantships and Scholarships. As funding amounts vary, you will need to contact your proposed supervisor(s) directly to determine the level of support available to you.

SFU and the Department of Geography offer scholarships to incoming and current students who self-identify as belonging historically underrepresented groups in Canadian universities: defined as Black, Indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC), LGBTQ people, people from the Global South, women, people with disabilities, and people with refugee backgrounds. Please note, the above examples are not exhaustive.

If you feel that you are part of any of the above equity categories, please explain briefly why within the Entrance Scholarships text box of your application. Your potential supervisor can also assist you in determining your eligibility if you are unsure.

This decision is in line with the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Principles and Commitments of the Department (for full details please see the department webpage here). 

Please refer to the Graduate Studies website for awards and scholarship listings.


Ensure you have submitted/requested all required materials, including:

  • Transcripts
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Proof of English Proficiency
  • Research Statement 
  • Additional materials (e.g. writing samples, copies of publications, or other evidence of research accomplishment) may be requested by individual supervisors.


Digital transcripts, either unofficial digital copies or scans from each post secondary institution you have attended, should be uploaded to the online application system. If you receive an offer of admission you will be required to supply official copies of academic transcripts before you can enroll in the program. Official transcripts must be in envelopes sealed and endorsed by the issuing institution. Photocopies, scans, etc. will not be accepted. International applicants must provide both original language transcripts and degree certificate, and certified English translations.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

An up-to-date curriculum vita must be uploaded to the online application form

Proof of English Proficiency

Applicants from countries where English is not the primary language must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The minimum requirement for test scores is:

  • Paper-based TOEFL: 580 and TWE 5
  •  Internet-based TOEFL: 93, minimum of 20 in each category
  •  IELTS (academic): overall band score of 7.0, minimum of 6.5 in all sections
  • PTE Academic: 63 overall, minimum 65 in speaking & writing
Please visit the SFU Grad Studies website for comprehensive details on the language requirements.

Research Statement 

Upload your research statement (maximum 500 words) which explains in your own words why you wish to pursue graduate work in the area you are applying. Detail your educational background, relevant research experience and training, and your research interests and goals. Be sure to include your full name, and your intended supervisor.

Need assistance with the application process?  Contact the Geography Graduate Assistant. 

Application Deadline

  • Applications open on October 22nd and will close on Janurary 22nd for a September start in 2024.

Past the deadline? Check to see whether your intended supervisor is still accepting applications.

Most graduate students enter the program in the Fall term (September), however Spring (January) entry to the PhD program is possible under special circumstances. Late applications may be accepted as space permits, but access to funding (scholarships, teaching assistant positions, etc.) may be limited or unavailable for late applicants.

International Students

Immigration and Customs

International students considering graduate studies at Simon Fraser University should check with the Canadian Embassy or Consulate [] for information on current immigration requirements.

If you are accepted to the Geography graduate program, you will receive a formal letter of admission from the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office, specifying the annual stipend from research funds and teaching assistantships. You will also receive a letter from the Chair of the Department of Geography's Graduate Studies Committee.

SFU International Services for Students

SFU International Services for Students (ISS) provides initial and on-going support services and programs for international students on campus. Visit the ISS website for details.