SAR Application Process and Forms

The SAR application process is longer than most graduate applications. You are urged to contact the faculty members relevant to your research prior to beginning the application process and obtaining their agreement to act as a supervisory committee member. We suggest reading through the process well in advance and starting your proposal before opening an online application.

SAR application dates

Intake: Summer and Fall  (please note that there is no intake for Spring)

  • OPEN:  October 24
  • CLOSE: February 15

1. Review the SAR admission requirements

The admission requirements for the SAR program are listed here

Please note that the SAR admission requirements are in addition to all SFU Graduate admission requirements.

2. Build your SAR supervisory committee

  • Before beginning the application process, make contact with potential senior supervisors and supervisory committee members. 
  • Obtain the informal agreement of all committee members to act as your supervisory committee. 

3. Prepare your proposal

As part of your SAR application you will need to prepare the following components:

  • Supervisory Committee and Resources (SAR Supervisory & Committee Resources form)
    • Includes financial and resource support from proposed senior supervisor
    • Includes Home department designation
  • Research proposal (up to four pages)
    • You may have already prepared a version of this when making contact with potential supervisory committee members. For application purposes, however, please be sure your research proposal includes the following elements:
  1. Describe the field you will be researching.
  2. Tell us why this field is important.
  3. Describe the current (and relevant) "hot topics" in the field.
  4. Describe the specific area you will be researching in the field.
  5. Tell us how your research will add to the field (explain why your work is important - does it address any unanswered questions in this field?)
  6. Summarize the current research base in your specific area of interest and highlight any gaps in the research that you plan to address with your research.
  • Writing sample (five or more pages of your academic writing)
  • Program description (SAR Proposed Program Timeline form)
    • Required course work for a SAR doctoral program will normally consist of a minimum of four graduate level courses. 
    • A minimum of two of courses must be taken on-campus in class with other students (cannot be Directed Readings courses). 
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
    • Your CV
    • One page CV summaries of all members of the supervisory committee
  • All post-secondary transcripts
    • Copies of your unofficial transcripts will be uploaded as part of your online application.
    • Official transcripts will be requested prior to an admission offer.

4. Complete the online application

  • Complete the online application using the Graduate Studies Application System
  • You will need to submit the basic online application prior to moving on to the next step.
  • Academic references
    • You will be asked to provide the name and contact details for three referees through the online application. Once you have submitted your application they will be sent an automated email prompting them to complete their reference online.
    • One reference must be in the form of a letter of support from your proposed senior supervisor.
  • Please note that an application that has not been submitted within 28 days or by the application deadline - whichever comes first - will be cancelled.  

5. Pay the application fee

  • All applicants must pay a non-refundable application fee by credit card* (Visa or MasterCard):
    • $90 CAN - applicants with Canadian transcripts
    • $125 CAN - applicants with international transcripts**
  • The full application fee is due within seven (7) days after your application has been submitted. Your application will not be considered until the full payment has been received. 
  • You must have the 'pop-up blocker' on your web browser turned off (disabled) in order to make a payment.

*If you are unable to pay the application fee by credit card, see How to Pay Your Fees for alternative payment methods. If you would like to pay in person, go to Student Services at the Burnaby campus. Please specify that your payment is for your application fee (otherwise it may end up in your student account).

**Please note that the application fee is not assessed based on your citizenship, place of residence, or immigration status. It is a fee to evaluate transcripts from countries other than Canada. This means that even if you are a Canadian citizen, if you hold a transcript from a country other than Canada (an international transcript), you will be required to pay the international application fee.

6. Upload supporting documents

  • Please upload the following documents listed in Step 2 (click here for a printable checklist):

The SAR steering committee may request changes to your proposal after the application period has ended. Your proposed senior supervisor will contact you if revisions are required.  

SFU Surrey