Information for Applicants

Application Deadlines

SFU operates on the trimester system; that is, the academic year is divided into three semesters. These commence at the beginning of January (Spring), May (Summer) and September (Fall). New students may begin their programs at the start of any semester. Deadlines for receipt of completed applications, with required supporting documents, by the Departmental Graduate Studies Committee are:

    1 October (for Spring Semester);
    1 February (for Summer Semester);
    1 June (for Fall Semester).

The Master of Environmental Toxicology (MET) application deadline is:

    1 February (for Fall Semester).

Application Procedures

It is recommended that students contact faculty members directly to discuss their research interests, programs and to confirm the availability of a position within their group as well as ability to provide you with financial support.

To apply for admission, students should access the on-line application system, indicating the semester for which they seek entry.  Please note:  It is your responsibilty to ensure that your application is complete.
In order to use the online application system, you will need to pay an application fee of $90CAN (students with Canadian transcripts) or $125CAN (students with International transcripts)  by credit card (Master Card or Visa).  After you have paid the application fee, upload the following supporting documents through the online application system:

  1. Electronic copies of your transcript(s).
  2. An up-to-date curriculum vitae.
  3. Evidence of research accomplishment (reprints, manuscripts, thesis abstracts, etc.). Please give careful attention to indicating current research interests on the application.
  4. Applicants must request a confidential evaluation and letters of reference from three referees who are familiar and competent to judge the applicant's academic potential. The contact information for three referees will need to be provided to the online system.  E-mail requests will be sent by the system inviting referees to submit the letters of reference electroncially.
  5. Applicants applying to the Master of Environmental Toxicology Program need to submit a letter of intent (why they want to join the MET program).
  6. 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 TOEFL 580 and TWE 5 (paper-based TOEFL), TOEFL iBT 100 (internet based test) with a minimum score of 20 in each section, and I.E.L.T.S. overall band score of 7.0 of the academic test with a minimum of 6.5 in each section.
    TOEFL:  The Institution Code is 0999 - Our Department Code is 35.

In addition, we require:

  1. Official copies of all academic transcripts in envelopes sealed and endorsed by the issuing instituition. International applicants must provide both the original language transcripts and degree certificate, and certified English translations. This may take time so arrange for this early.  These should be sent to:
                        Chair, Departmental Graduate Studies Comittee
                        Department of Biological Sciences
                        Simon Fraser University
                        8888 University Drive
                        Burnaby, BC, Canada V5A 1S

Entrance Scholarship Competition

SFU has a very limited number of major entrance scholarships for exceptional students, valued at $18,000 for a one-year period. If you wish to be nominated for an entrance scholarship, you are strongly encouraged to submit your application for admission to the Department of Biological Sciences by mid-January.  (Check the Dean of Graduate Studies website for the exact date.)  Failure to submit your application for admission by the deadline will decrease your chances for consideration in the annual Entrance Scholarship Competition to be held in February.

The PhD Program

Students wishing to enter the PhD program must either 1) have a 3.5 GPA in a bachelor's degree program and evidence of research ability, or 2) have completed a MSc degree or its equivalent from a recognized university. All PhD students must also have a research supervisor prior to admission. The PhD program is expected to be completed in less than five years and students will be directed by a supervisory committee of at least two faculty including the research supervisor. The PhD thesis must contain original publishable work of significance and must be defended publicly.

Coursework

The PhD program in Biological Sciences requires a minimum of two courses totalling not less than six semester hours of course work beyond the Master's degree. Of these all must be graduate courses. Students accepted to the PhD program who have not completed a Master's degree must complete 12 credit hours of graduate coursework beyond the baccalaureate. Of these all must be graduate courses. It is at the discretion of the supervisory committee to ask a student to complete additional coursework.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Upon completion of this degree, the student will have made a significant contribution to knowledge in their field of research and will be able to perform as an independent scientist. The student will have the ability to interpret data, communicate his/her findings orally and written to a scientific audience and will be familiar with the scientific publication process. The thesis will meet the standards of the field and will embody the results of original investigations and analyses. The thesis will normally include 2-5 empirical or theory-based chapters, as approved by the student’s supervisory committee. It will normally be expected that at least 1 of these chapters will have been submitted to a peer-reviewed journal by the time of thesis submission to the examining committee.i

The MSc Program

Students wishing to enter the MSc program must have completed a Bachelor's degree at a recognized university with a graduation average of B or better (cumulative grade point average 3.0 on all post-secondary coursework), have a research supervisor prior to admission, and provide evidence of ability to carry out advanced studies. The MSc program is expected to be completed in less than three years. It is an excellent choice for those seeking a thorough preparation prior to embarking on a PhD degree at SFU or elsewhere.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Upon completion of this degree, the student will have demonstrated the ability to undertake original research. The thesis will include one or more empirical or theory-based chapters that are of such quality that they merit publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Publication is strongly encouraged but is not a requirement for graduation.

The Master of Pest Management (MPM) Program

Admission requirements to the MPM program are similar to the MSc program. The requirements normally include a Bachelor's degree in biological sciences, agriculture, forestry or other related discipline from a recognized university with a cumulative grade point average of B (3.0) or better.
 
To apply for admission, students should complete and return the Application for Admission to Graduate Studies form, indicating the semester for which they seek entry, together with official copies of all academic transcripts. In addition, applicants should provide an up-to-date curriculum vitae giving details of any work or professional experience, especially if related to pest control and pest management. Copies of publications and reports written by the applicant may also be helpful to the admissions committee. It is useful, but not required by the admissions committee, for applicants to indicate the reasons for applying to the MPM program and any long-term professional goals. Applicants should request a confidential evaluation from three referees who are familiar with and are competent to judge the applicant's academic potential or professional experience. The details of the MPM program are on the MPM website.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Upon completion of this degree, the student will have demonstrated the ability to undertake original research. The thesis will include one or more empirical or theory-based chapters that are of such quality that they merit publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Publication is strongly encouraged but is not a requirement for graduation.

The Master of Environmental Toxicology (MET) Program

Before entering the Master of Environmental Toxicology program, students should have completed the following courses or their equivalents.  These prerequisites may be waived by the Departmental Graduate Studies Committee under special circumstances, on recommendation from the Director of the program:
    BISC 313-3 Environmental Toxicology: A Mechanistic Perspective
    CHEM 250-3 Organic Chemistry
    MBB 231-3 Cellular Biology and Biochemistry
 
Admission requirements to the MET program are similar to the MSc program, but a research supervisor does not have to be identified prior to admission.  The requirements normally include a Bachelor's degree in biological sciences or related discipline from a recognized university, with a cumulative grade point average of B (3.0) or better. Applicants must also provide an up-to-date curriculum vitae giving details of any work or professional experience, especially if related to environmental toxicology. Copies of publications and reports written by the applicant may also be helpful to the admissions committee. Applicants should also request a confidential evaluation from three referees who are familiar with and are competent to judge the applicant's academic potential or professional experience.  

Transferring from MSc/MPM to PhD

Students in a MSc, MPM, or MET program who have achieved an overall grade point average of 3.5, completed 9 graduate credit hours (3 courses) and demonstrated research ability, may, on the recommendation of their Supervisory Committee, be considered for transfer to the PhD program without completing the Master's degree.

Qualifying Program

In some circumstances, a student who does not meet the minimum requirements for admission to a Master program may be admitted as a Qualifying Student when it is expected that the admission requirements can be met by satisfactorily completing a number of senior undergraduate courses. Successful students may then apply for regular admission to graduate studies in the usual way.

International Students

Immigration and Customs

International students considering graduate studies at Simon Fraser University should obtain current immigration requirements from a Canadian Embassy or Consulate (www.cic.gc.ca).
 
Students who are admitted will receive a formal letter of admission to the degree program from the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office. They will also receive from the Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee a letter specifying the annual stipend from research funds and teaching assistantships.

SFU International

SFU International at Simon Fraser University provides initial and on-going support services and programs for international students on campus. International students coming to study at SFU should visit the SFU International website.