PhD in Sociology/Anthropology

Application Period for Fall 2020 Study, September 1–January 31

Here are some reasons to study with us:

  • We offer a firm disciplinary foundation in sociology and anthropology. 
  • We provide opportunities and support for community-engaged, collaborative research with diverse populations local, nationally and internationally. 
  • We provide outstanding supervision and work collaboratively to tailor the program to our student’s unique goals. 

The work of our students is wide ranging. Our faculty has particular expertise in social theory, research methodologies, social justice and community-based research, gender and sexuality, political economy, and social control. We provide individualized  support for our student’s research interests. Please take a look at the research topics of our recent graduates.

Program overview: schedule, costs and funding





Year 1

SA 840 (S&A) Graduate Seminar

Elective 1

Elective 2

SA 897 (S&A) Qualifying Exams

Year 2

SA 897 (S&A) Qualifying Exams

SA 899 (S&A) Thesis research & writing

SA 899 (S&A) Thesis research & writing

Year 3

SA 899 (S&A) Thesis research & writing

SA 899 (S&A) Thesis research & writing

SA 899 (S&A) Thesis research & writing

Year 4

SA 899 (S&A) Thesis research & writing

SA 899 (S&A) Thesis research & writing

SA 899 (S&A) Thesis research & writing

Year 5

SA 899 (S&A) Thesis research & writing

SA 899 (S&A) Thesis research & writing

SA 899 (S&A) Thesis research & writing

Program Cost

Tuition for PhD students is CA$1,908.76 per term. International graduate students pay the same fees as domestic students.

For further details, refer to Graduate Studies, Tuition and Fees. 


The Department of Sociology and Anthropology has a small budget of funds for entrance awards and to assist students during their time in the program. Within the confines of this budget, the department is committed to providing financial assistance to all PhD and MA students. We also provide scholarships as well as TA/TM positions. For further details, refer to our department specific Funding.

For SFU wide funding, visit Graduate Studies, Scholarships and Awards 

Thinking of applying?

Take a look at SFU’s requirements for Doctoral Programs (1.3.4)

Our specific department’s requirements are:

  • For Doctorate programs you must have a background in the discipline that you are applying to.
  • Research interest related to a faculty who will be willing to supervise you. See below for details.

Are you an international or US student? Visit Graduate Studies, International Applicants to find information regarding English requirements and other topics,.

Before you apply

PhD applicants are strongly encouraged to contact faculty members whose research aligns with your own! 

While you do not have to secure a senior supervisor before you are admitted into the program, there must be a faculty member who has similar research interests and is willing to supervise you as a graduate student.

Faculty Members accepting PhD students for Fall 2020 start

Dr. Wendy Chan is accepting both MA and PhD students. Topics: Feminist and critical criminology; racism, racialization, and criminal justice; racialized practices in immigration enforcement; poverty and social exclusion, welfare fraud; gender, crime and mental health; and violence against women.

Dr. Dara Culhane will consider PhD students under unique circumstances.
Topics: Sensory anthropology, experimental ethnography, transdisciplinary anthropology and voice, performance, film.

Dr. Lindsey Freeman will consider PhD students only if the student is an extremely good fit for their research interests. Topics: culture, the arts, affect, memory, experimental ethnography, and poetics.

Dr. Dany Lacombe is accepting MA and PhD students. Topics: Governmentality; moral panic and moral regulation; social problems.

Dr. Kathleen Millar is accepting both MA and PhD students. See her faculty page for research areas.

Dr. Barbara Mitchell is accepting MA or PhD students.  Topics:  Families over the life course, gender, family relationships/dynamics and cultural diversity, health promotion, and mixed methods.

Dr. Pamela Stern is accepting MA and PhD students.  Topics:  Political and economy anthropology, Indigenous peoples, especially Inuit, employment, citizenship, housing, historical ethnography.

Contacting Potential Supervisors

Once you've identified one or two potential supervisors, you should contact them by email. Here are some items to include in your initial brief contact email.

  • Your name
  • Academic background (your GPA must be over 3.0, or equivalent)
  • Academic awards or highlights
  • Research experience
  • Why you wish to enter graduate studies
  • Why the faculty member's area of research will match with your research goals (cite the faculty member's publications if relevant)
  • Make it clear that you are familiar with their work and how their research interests mesh with your own (if there is a research idea in one of their papers that you would like to explore in your work, explain that briefly)
  • A research proposal, if appropriate
  • Ask them specifically if they are accepting new graduate students for the coming academic year.

Ready to apply?

You will be required to submit these document online and through the mail:

To be uploaded/completed to the application checklist:

  • Under "Information, References"
    • 3 referee’s contact information under "References"
  • Under "Upload Documents"
    Documents must be uploaded by January 31. Payment must be processed before uploading and make take up to 3 days.
    • One (1) writing sample 
    • Statement of interest and prospective research 
    • An academic CV

Submit by mail: 
An official transcript sent from the institution directly to our office:

Graduate Program Assistant
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Simon Fraser University
8888 University Drive, AQ 5054
Burnaby, BC
V5A 1S6


If you have any questions that are not answered by visiting our website, please feel free to contact the Graduate Program Assistant by email: Long distance telephone phone calls cannot be returned.