Frequently Asked Questions: PhD Admissions

What is the application deadline?

The deadline for applications to our PhD program can be found on the admission page.

How do I apply to the School of Communication’s graduate programs?

Complete details on applying to the MA (Communication) program are located here.

Complete details on applying to the PhD (Communication) program are located here.

What are the requirements for admission?

SFU's minimum requirements for admission to graduate progams are published here.

MA program applicants should normally have completed or be near completion of a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline from an accredited university.

PhD applicants are expected to have or be near the completion of a Master’s degree in a relevant discipline from an accredited university, normally with a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

For all graduate programs, SFU requires a CGPA of at least 3.0/4.33 (B), or a GPA of at least 3.33/4.33 (B+) in last 60 credits of undergraduate courses.

What are the admission requirements for international students?

SFU's minimum requirements for admission to graduate progams are published here. Please use the pull-down menu on the right side of the page to see the normal standards for degrees from the countries in which you have previously studies.

Where applicable, applicants must also meet SFU's English language requirements for foreign-trained applicants. International applicants whose primary language is not English 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. For a list of these countries please click here.

In addition to providing strong evidence of the capability of doing advanced graduate level research (via the applicant’s transcripts, statements, references, and writing samples), it is important that applicants’ statement of proposed research demonstrates a strong fit between their interests and the research and teaching expertise of the School’s faculty members

What if I do not meet SFU's minimum requirements

According to SFU's regulations, "In exceptional circumstances, a student may be admitted with lower formal qualifications when there is significant experience relevant to the proposed area of scholarship."

Do I need to secure a research supervisor before I apply?

Applicants do not need to secure a research supervisor before applying.

However, we strongly encourage applicants – especially PhD applicants – to contact faculty members working in their field of interest. This outreach should include, at minimum, a draft description of the research project the applicant intends to pursue.

Faculty cannot commit to supervising applicants in advance of the admissions process, but it may nevertheless be valuable to seek feedback about the proposed research and to assess potential fit with the research and teaching strengths of our program and faculty.

Please see here for a list of the School’s faculty members

Do I need to submit a result from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)?

No, we do not normally require or consider GRE results in our MA or PhD admissions adjudication.

Do you accept applications to begin the program in Spring (January) or Summer (May)?

No, we do not normally consider applications for Spring or Summer starts. Our annual admissions cycle normally opens in October with deadlines in January (for PhD applicants) and February (for MA applicants) for studies commencing the following September.

What is the adjudication process for admissions?

Graduate Program applications are reviewed by the admissions committee once the deadline has passed, and applicants are normally notified of the outcome by the end of March each year.

When I apply to the program how will I be informed of an offer?

When you apply on-line (see Question 1) you will receive an application number which you can use to log on and review your status. Applicants are normally informed of the outcome by the end of March.

What areas or fields of interest are covered by the School of Communication?

A non-exhaustive list of some of the fields in which the School is prepared to supervise graduate students is available here, and more details are available in the profiles of our faculty.

What are the basic program requirements for MAs and PhDs?

The requirements of our MA (Communication) program are outlined here.

The requirements of our PhD (Communication) program are outlined here.

Is your program full-time or part-time?

SFU classifies all graduate students as full-time students.

How long is your program?

The MA (Communication) program is normally and ideally a two year program, but students have up to three years to complete their degree.

The PhD (Communication) program is normally and ideally a six year program.   

What is the tuition amount for graduate study?

For full-time tuition fees applicable to both domestic and international students please check SFU's Graduate Studies Tuition and Fees page.

What forms of funding are available?

For details on funding for students in the MA and PhD (Communication Program), please see these links for MA applicants, PhD applicants, and for current PhD students.

Is graduate student housing available?

Please see

Are there Child Care facilities on Campus?

Please see

Are there resources for International Students?

Please see