Application Procedures

Get familiar with the general research areas of our Faculty members. Contact a faculty member to discuss your research interests. In addition, you will need to confirm that they have space, financial support available and they must commit to supervising your reseach project before you apply.  

To apply for admission, students should access the on-line application system, indicating the semester for which they seek entry.  In order to use the online application system (see below):

Application Fees for programs starting Spring & Summer 2024 - $90 for applicants with Canadian transcripts, $125 for applicants with international transcripts.

Application Fees for programs starting Fall 2024 or later - $110 for applicants with Canadian transcripts, $150 for applicants with international transcripts.

Must be paid 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. A current copy of your Curriculum Vitae.  Be sure to include any publications you may have.
  2. The names and contact information of a minimum of three professional referees willing to complete a formal letter of reference.  At least two of the referees should be from academic institutions.  E-mail requests will be sent by the system inviting referees to submit the letters of reference electronically.
  3. Electronic copies of your transcript(s).
  4. A short Research Statement defining your interests (500 words max)
  5. *For Ph.D. Students - Scholarly works need to be submitted:
    Evidence of research potential in the form of a scholarly work or portfolio of scholarly works: peer-reviewed journal articles lead-authored by the candidate would be considered stand-alone scholarly works. A portfolio of scholarly works may include, for example, peer-reviewed journal articles coauthored by the candidate or maps accompanied by reports that have been reviewed and published by government agencies. Consideration may also be given to other externally reviewed works such as extended abstracts, conference papers and research reports. Internally reviewed works such as Bachelor's theses may be considered in some cases, but will be given less weight. The onus is on the applicant to demonstrate independent research potential by explaining her/his role in any co-authored works and the significance of works other than scholarly articles accepted or published in peer-reviewed journals.
  6. Applicants from countries where English is not the primary language must take one of the exams listed below:

University minimum requirements for test scores:

Internet-based TOEFL 93 with minimum of 20 in each category. In order to satisfy the requirement, applicants must achieve the scores listed above on a single test date. TOEFL MyBest (super-scored) results will not be used.
Paper-based TOEFL
580 and TWE 5
IELTS (academic) overall band score of 7.0 of the academic (NOT general) test with a minimum of 6.5 in each section
CAEL overall 70; minimum 60 in each section
Pearson Academic (PTE) overall 65; minimum 60 in each section
Cambridge English Qualifications C1 Advanced - minimum score of 193
C2 Proficiency - minimum score of 200
Duolingo English Test (DET) Provisionally through the Fall 2026 admission cycle: Duolingo English Test (DET) 130 overall with a minimum of 120 in each section.

For instructions on how to submit your test scores click here

To qualify for admission, M.Sc. applicants should normally have a B.Sc. degree or equivalent and Ph.D. applicants should normally have a M.Sc. degree or equivalent.  All applicants should have at least a good second class standing (3.0 cumulative grade point average on a 4.0 point system) from a recognized university.  Most applicants will hold degrees in the geosciences (e.g. geology, geological engineering, geophysics, geomorphology, soil science, physical geography).  While there are no fixed internal application deadlines, applicants wishing to commence their programs in the summer or fall semesters should complete their applications by March (*see caveat for "Major Entrance Scholarships" below) of the same year.  Similarly, applications for the spring semester should be completed by the preceding October.

For more detailed admission requirements, refer to the Graduate General Regulations provided in the current SFU Calendar or at the Graduate Studies Office.

Letters of reference

The Earth Sciences Graduate Committee attaches great importance to your letters of reference. You are urged to ensure that your referees are familiar with your academic achievement and/or history of relevant employment. It is your responsibility to contact all three of your referees and request that their confidential references (included with your application form) be completed. Applications will not be considered without these Letters of Reference. Please note that the Confidential Report form provided online, a reference letter (on the referee's letterhead), or a combination of the two, constitute a reference. The online admission system will instruct you on how to request the reference letters..

*Major Entrance Scholarship Competition

SFU has a very limited number of major entrance scholarships for exceptional students.  If you wish to be nominated for an entrance scholarship, you are strongly encouraged to read the Terms of Reference and if you qualify, let your supervisor know.

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 (
Students who are admitted will receive a formal letter of admission to the degree program from the Registrar's 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.