INS application deadline

Intake: Fall

  • OPEN: October  16
  • CLOSE: January 15

All parts of the application must be uploaded to the online application system by the deadline. The INS Steering Committee will not consider incomplete applications.

Featured Graduate Student

  • Ethan Schmidt is a Individualized Interdisciplinary Studies (History/Humanities) doctoral student in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and a recipient of the Graduate Dean's Entrance Scholarship and the Katevatis Graduate Scholarship in Hellenic Studies.

  • Makhfirat is a Individualized Interdisciplinary Studies doctoral student in the Faculty of Education and a recipient of the University of Central Asia (UCA) and Simon Fraser University (SFU) Scholarship. Three keywords of research: Success Strategies, Academic Achievement, Motivation

  • Robert is a poet, artist, and curator who works with Jewish histories as a medium for a context and site-dependent practice.

  • Niloufar involves mathematics, computer science, and biology in her interdisciplinary studies as a PhD student.

  • Katherine is studying forensic search and recovery methods in residential schools in Canada.

  • Matthew is a PhD student studying the history of small music venues in BC.

  • Alice is a PhD student in Individualized Interdisciplinary Studies in the Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology examining how journalists use preprints - studies that have not yet gone through the peer review process - and what this means for the publics who rely on their reporting. (SSHRC CGS Doctoral Scholarship, Michael Stevenson Grad Scholar)

  • Asura is studying the infrastructure of scholarly communication in the 21st century.

  • Lucy is an Independent Interdisciplinary Studies Doctoral student in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences whose research is on Indigenous museology and Haida museum practice in particular.

Application Process

INS Admission Requirements, Application Process and Forms

Start your application process early to ensure that you give yourself enough time to complete it. You should contact the faculty members relevant to your research and obtain their agreement to act as a supervisory committee member prior to beginning your application. We recommend reading through the process in advance and starting your proposal before opening an online application.

1. Review admission requirements

Program admission requirements

  • Established record of academic excellence:
    • a minimum CGPA at the previous degree level of 3.67
    • demonstrated scholarly achievement in the form of peer-reviewed papers, national or international conference presentations, or equivalent
    • previous awards, fellowships and scholarships
    • for doctoral applicants: successful completion of a master's thesis or equivalent
  • Proposed research that is interdisciplinary and must be pursued in more than one existing program

INS admission requirements are in addition to all SFU Graduate admission requirements.

2. Build your supervisory committee

Before beginning the application process, you must:

  • Make contact with potential supervisors and supervisory committee members by exploring faculty members associated with various SFU graduate programs
  • Identify a supervisor or two co-supervisors willing to support your application and guide your proposed research
    • Identify two additional committee members
    • Supervisor(s) and committee members must be from at least two different SFU academic units
    • Normally your Supervisor's academic unit will be your home department

3. Prepare your application

INS programs are tailored to the individual research interests of each student. Students must work with their supervisor to create a program timeline outlining the courses they will be required to take to complete their degree. Courses must be taken in at least two SFU academic units outside of INS.
  • Complete Supervisory Committee and Resources Form in collaboration with your Supervisor
  • Program requirements
    • Master's Program Applicants
      • Complete the Proposed Master's Program Timeline form
      • Required course work will normally consist of a minimum of six graduate level courses
      • A minimum of two of courses must be taken on-campus in class with other students (i.e. cannot be Directed Readings courses)
      • Courses must be from at least two different SFU academic units
      • Directed Readings courses are all to be taken within INS
    • Doctoral Program Applicants
      • Complete the Proposed Doctoral Program Timeline form
      • Required course work will normally consist of a minimum of four graduate level courses
      • A minimum of two of courses must be taken on-campus in class with other students (i.e. cannot be Directed Readings courses)
      • Courses must be from at least two different SFU academic units
      • Directed Readings courses are all to be taken within INS
  • Research proposal (max. 1000 words)
    You may have already prepared a version of this when making contact with potential supervisory committee members. For application purposes, however, please be sure your research proposal includes the following elements:
    • Outline your proposed program of study (one single-spaced page for MA applicants; two pages for PhD applicants). Identify the question you wish to address, it's significance, your proposed methodology, and how your research will contribute to your fields study.
    • Please indicate how the faculty members and academic units you've selected will provide academic support for your studies.
  • Academic writing sample 
    • The writing sample may be a: research paper, literature reviewposition paper, or other scholarly paper (see SFU Library's resources on avoiding  plagiarism).
    • Written within the last five years and reflect a strong and sustained argument.
    • Minimum 15 pages (excluding references).
    • Must include a title page with date and author’s name. Paper must be sole-authored (no co-authored samples). Identify the original context for the paper (e.x. if it originally submitted elsewhere, as in a course requirement).
    • Should include recent and relevant academic references (minimum 15) cited throughout the paper and listing the references.
    • Submitted in PDF format
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
    • Your CV
    • Two-page resumé for each member of the supervisory committee
  • All post-secondary transcripts
    • Upload copies of your unofficial transcripts with your online application.
    • Official transcripts will be requested prior to an admission offer.


4. Complete the online application

  • Complete the online application using the Graduate Studies Application System
  • You will need to submit the basic online application prior to moving on to the next step.
  • Academic references
    • You will be asked to provide the name and contact details for three referees through the online application.
    • One reference must be from your proposed supervisor.
    • The additional two references should be written by referees who are able to comment on your academic competence and to make an informed judgment about your likelihood of success in graduate study.
    • All references should include the following in their references (please send these to your referees):
      • How long the've known the candidate and in what capacity.
      • An appraisal of the applicant’s ability to undertake graduate studies in their proposed field(s).
      • A discussion of any additional qualities relevant to the candidate’s ability to engage in graduate work.
    • Once you submit your application, referees will be sent an automated email prompting them to complete their reference online.

5. Pay the application fee

While completing your application, you can pause and return at any time before the application deadline. You must complete and submit the application yourself.

Once you complete and submit your application information:

  • Your referees will be automatically emailed and sent instructions for providing their reference online.
  • You will need to pay the non-refundable application fee of $110 CAN (students with Canadian transcripts only) or $150 CAN (students with one or more international transcripts) by credit card (Mastercard or Visa).

Once your application fee has been paid and processed, you will be able to upload the required documents to complete your application.

Learn more about the Application Process →

Watch a video demonstrating the application process 

6. Upload supporting documents

Please upload the following documents listed in Step 3 before the deadline:

The INS steering committee may request changes to your proposal after the application period has ended. Your proposed supervisor will contact you if revisions are required.

Tuition and Fees

The INS program is classified as a research program. The SFU calendar provides more details on the tuition fees for Graduate Research Programs.  

Learn about budgeting for your studies at SFU →

Financial Support

Acceptance into the Individualized Interdisciplinary Studies program carries no commitment of financial support on the part of the Graduate Studies, however, your supervisory committee must provide a minimum funding offer of $12,000 per year (2 years for master's, 4 years for doctoral) through TA and RAships. 

Individualized Interdisciplinary Studies students are eligible to apply for a limited number of graduate fellowships and international funding through Graduate Studies.

Note: International students in this academic unit pay the same graduate fees as domestic students. 

Tuition for research-based programs the 2023-2024 Academic Year

  • Regular Full-time Fee Tuition: 
    $2,066.11 per term
  • Regular Continuing Fee Tuition:
    $1,033.06 per term

*Note: Tuition and fees are subject to change, subject to provincial legislation, and subject to board of governors approval.

Ancillary Fees for the 2022-2023 Academic Year

In addition to tuition fees payable for each term of enrollment, students pay ancillary fees

Graduation Fee

  • $12 is charged the first three terms of enrollment for all programs
  • When convocating, the only additional charge you will be responsible for is for your regalia

Student Services Fee

  • $50.99 per term for students enrolled in full-time or part-time studies or any combination of co-op and credit courses

Graduate Student Activity Fee

Recreation-Athletics Fee

  • $84.94 per term: students in per term fee programs, or unit fee programs and enrolled in more than 6 units of on-campus courses
  • $42.48 per term: students in unit-fee programs enrolled in less than 6 units of courses, or are enrolled a co-op through Work Integrated Learning

Universal Transit Pass BC

  • $180.40 per term: graduate students enrolled in a per term fee program or per unit fee program with at least one course on-campus
  • The U-Pass BC program provides unlimited, all zone access to public transit in Metro Vancouver including TransLink Bus, SkyTrain, and SeaBus services and a discount on West Coast Express Train fares.
  • U-Pass BC eligibility is determined the day after enrollment. If the eligibility requirements are met, then the U-Pass BC term fee is assessed the next business day after course enrollment.

Learn more about the U-Pass BC

Medical Insurance

Graduate Health and Dental

  • Students are automatically enrolled in an Extended Health and Dental plan.
  • Students may opt-out during designated opt-out periods if they have comparable extended health and/or dental plans.

Learn more about Student Care

International Medical Insurance

  • $281: new international students will be charged a mandatory primary medical insurance for the first term through
  • All students are required to have adequate hospital and medical insurance coverage. Adequate medical and hospital insurance is that which is provided under the Medical Services Plan of BC (MSP), or any other plan, government or private, which provides coverage equivalent to that offered under the Medical Services Plan of BC.
  • You are expected to apply for BC MSP (MSP health fee: $75/month) when you arrive in British Columbia.

Learn more about medical insurance