PhD Programs

PhD Program in Sociology or Anthropology

Simon Fraser University offers an excellent environment for research and graduate studies. The institution is home to a variety of world-class research facilities, innovative programs, and world-renowned scholars.

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 from 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 student’s research interests. Please take a look at the research topics of our current graduate students.

The majority of our PhD graduates have gone on to full-time employment in academia, including tenure-track positions at University of Ottawa, University of Alberta and University of Glasgow, and full-time teaching positions at Douglas College and Capilano University. Learn more about our alumni here.

Visit the general SFU Graduate Studies page for more information.

Department Requirements

Take a look at SFU’s requirements for Doctoral Programs (1.3.7a)

Our specific departmental requirements are:

  • For PhD 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.

Program Overview


  Fall Spring Summer
Year 1 SA 840 Graduate Seminar
Elective 1
Elective 2 SA 897
Qualifying Exams
Year 2 SA 897
Qualifying Exams
SA 899
Thesis Research & Writing
SA 899
Thesis Research & Writing
Year 3-5 SA 899
Thesis Research & Writing
SA 899
Thesis Research & Writing
SA 899
Thesis Research & Writing
Year 6
SA 899
Thesis Research & Writing
SA 899
Thesis Research & Writing
SA 899
Thesis Preparation & Defence


Tuition for PhD students is CA$1,946.94 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.

Finding a Supervisor

PhD applicants are strongly encouraged to contact faculty members whose research aligns with your own. While you do not have to secure a 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 available to supervise Fall 2022 graduate cohort:

Accepting PhD and MA students. Topics include: autotheory, autoethnography, and other experimental forms of writing for sociology and anthropology; affect studies; art; memory; nuclear culture; poetics; or sports and practices.

Accepting one (1) MA or one (1) PhD student. Topics include: decolonizing biology; multispecies ethnography; and global Indigenous connections (with a focus on the Pacific Rim).

Accepting both MA and PhD students. Topics include: questions of the human condition that emerge in experiences of work, economy, and urban life in Latin America.

Accepting both MA and PhD students.  Topics include: families over the life course; gender; family relationships/dynamics and cultural diversity; health promotion; mixed methods.

Accepting one MA or one PhD student only. Topics include: feminist political economy; labour; social reproduction; migration; precarity.

Accepting both MA and PhD students. Topics should focus on transgender issues. 

Contacting a Potential Supervisor

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.

Application Deadline

The deadline to apply for the Fall 2022 intake of a graduate program in sociology or anthropology is January 30, 2022.

Ready to Apply?

You will be asked to submit these documents online.

To be uploaded/completed to the application checklist:

  • Under "Information, References"
    • Contact information for three (3) referees under "References"
  • Under "Upload Documents"
    Documents must be uploaded by the application deadline of January 30. Payment must be processed before uploading and make take up to three (3) days.
    • One (1) writing sample 
    • Statement of interest and prospective research 
    • An academic CV


  • Please note that we are unable to provide information as to the “chances” of any potential applicant receiving an offer of admission in the absence of a complete application submitted through the proper channels.
  • All applications are assessed individually and offers of admission are based on the strength of each application, faculty expertise and availability, and departmental resources.
  • Applicants must meet both the minimum University admissions requirements as well as the admissions requirements for the Sociology & Anthropology department, and submit a complete application (including payment of the application fee) to the online application portal by the deadline to be considered for admission. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered. Please note that payment of the application fee does not guarantee an offer of admission.

Upon receiving an offer of admission: 

If you receive an offer of admission, you will be required to submit any official academic transcripts sent directly from the institution to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, either by mail or email.

By mail:

c/o Central Stores Mail Room, for
Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Maggie Benston Student Services Centre 1100
Simon Fraser University
8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia
Canada V5A 1S6

By email:

SFU's email address for receipt of electronic transcripts is


If you have any questions that are not answered on our website, please contact the Program Assistant by email at Long distance phone calls will not be returned.