Application process

The application portal opened for the Fall 2023 intake on October 17, 2022 at midnight (PST).

The application deadline is Sunday, January 29, 2023 at 11:59 PM (PST). Admission decisions will be announced in late February/early March.

We recommend you begin your application as early as possible. Please begin your application no later than one week from the closing date to ensure enough time to upload all supporting documents. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Applicants must normally have a bachelor’s degree with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5 from a recognized university, preferably in an arts or social sciences discipline.

Please note: regional concentrations have been suspended indefinitely and are hence unavailable at this time.

*Please access the application portal using Firefox or Google Chrome, errors may occur when using Safari.

Application Procedure

Incomplete and late applications will not be considered.

1. Read the instructions on the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS) website and complete the online application form.

Note: We do not receive your online application until you have paid the application fee. Payment by credit card (MasterCard or Visa) must be made within seven days of submitting the online application form or the application will expire. Graduate Application Fee (non-refundable): $90 CAD (students with Canadian transcripts) or $125 CAD (students with international transcripts).

2. Upload the following supporting documents before the deadline using the Application Checklist/Document Upload link in the online application system. You will be able to upload your supporting documents AFTER the application fee has been processed.

  • Curriculum Vitae (two pages maximum).
  • A one-page letter of intent that explains why you wish to pursue the M.A. in International Studies.
  • A one-page statement of research interest including the topic(s) and geographical region(s) as well as the intended track (thesis or essays).
  • An academic writing sample.
  • Contact information of three referees, at least two of which must be from university faculty members. Your referees will receive an e-mail link via SFU's online application system. Letters uploaded to the system must be on official university letterhead and must contain your referees' contact information.
  • A copy of transcripts from all institutions attended. Do not mail a hard copy of your transcript at this time. (You will be required to send official transcripts by mail only if admitted.)   

It is not possible to acknowledge receipt of applications and supporting documents.  

INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS: please note additional admission requirements.

Proof of English Proficiency

All applicants whose first language is not English and whose undergraduate degrees come from institutions where English is not the primary language of instruction are required to submit English language test scores. 

International applicants 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. Scores are only valid for two years from the date of examination. Normally, we would require the following minimum scores:

  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System) with a minimum score of 7.5 on each Academic Module (listening, speaking, writing, reading); or
  • TOEFL IBT (Test of English as a Foreign Language, internet based test) with an overall score of 102 or better with a minimum score of 25 in each of the four components (listening, speaking, writing, reading); or
  • TOEFL PBT (Test of English as a Foreign Language, paper based test) with a minimum score of 625 including a minimum essay score of 5.5; or
  • CAE (Cambridge English) C2 Proficiency with a minimum score of 220. We will not accept C1 scores.

TOEFL and IELTS test takers should request electronic submission of scores directly from the test centre to SFU (Institution Code: 0999).

Should I email a potential supervisor in advance to ask if they are taking students or if they can work with me?

You are welcome (but in no way required) to contact individual professors to ask about their research interests and to discuss yours before you apply. But you are not admitted to work with a specific professor and you do not need their permission or encouragement to apply. It is best to apply because you want to do research that is aligned with the School’s substantive or regional and methodological strengths. If you do, there will be several good potential supervisors for you. Once you arrive, the Graduate Chair will see who is a good fit for you but all of our supervisors will be able to guide your work.


International students pay the same fees as domestic students. Please note that we are a full-time fee research program.

Important: All fees are subject to change, subject to provincial legislation, and subject to SFU Board of Governors approval.