Frequently Asked Questions

What amount of funding will I receive for my graduate studies?

While we cannot guarantee a set amount of funding, we do make every effort to ensure that our graduate students are successful in obtaining support from such resources as scholarships (entrance and continuing ones are listed at:; and graduate fellowships, which are distributed by us from the Graduate Studies Office), tutorial assistance and tutorial marker positions (available to both Master's and Doctoral students), sessional positions (available to Doctoral students once they pass their comprehensive examinations), research assistanceships (generally, related to grants held by faculty members), and Social Science and Humanities Research Council and Canadian Institute for Health Research scholarships.

Some students find employment outside the Department, either within the university (e.g., as a TA or RA in another department), or outside (e.g., a part-time job either related or not to their studies - such as the Master's program connection to Co-operative Education, or a scholarship program connected to employment with the provincial government).

How much does it cost for a year of graduate study?

Tuition charges are $1629.00 per semester, for the first 6 semesters of the Master's, and for the first 8 semesters of the Doctoral programs (after that, these tuition fees are reduced by half). Rental of apartments is about $800.00.and other living expenses are comparable to the rest of Canada (a study in Nova Scotia suggested an estimated $550 per month for a single person, for food in keeping with the Canada food guide).

Where can I, as an international student, get information about medical insurance, employment possibilities, visa requirements and so on?

Simon Fraser University International ( is the centre for obtaining advice on such matters, or for referrals to other sources.

What do I need to do or have, to be admitted into graduate studies?

The university requirement for admission to graduate studies is a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or better (and consideration

for the larger scholarships is generally given for students with a CGPA of around 4.00 or better).

English is the language of instruction and communication in the University. Accordingly, an applicant whose primary language is not English or whose previous education has been conducted in another language must demonstrate command of English sufficient to pursue graduate studies in the chosen field. Applicants normally will be required to achieve a satisfactory score on a standardized English test acceptable to the University. This test must include a writing component. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) including reading, writing, speaking, and listening components, is acceptable for this purpose. The IELTS (International English Language Testing Systems) is also acceptable. The minimum university requirements for test scores is TOEFL 88 with a minimum of 20 in each category (internet based exam), or TOEFL 570 and TWE 5 (paper based), or TOEFL 230 (computer based), and IELTS overall band score of 7.0; some graduate programs have higher requirements, as described elsewhere in this Calendar. Some graduate programs have higher requirements.

For those graduate options which involve research or advanced original scholarship (e.g., the thesis option in the Master's and Doctoral programs), admission is limited to those students for whom a Departmental faculty member (full, cross or associate) agrees to be senior supervisor. The proposal which you provide with your application provides the basis for this decision. For the course-intensive Master's option, the Graduate Chair is the senior supervisor.

From whom should I get letters of reference?

These letters are intended to give the admissions committee an evaluation of the likelihood that you can do well in graduate studies (e.g., self-directed learner, capable of original and advanced scholarship and research). Letters from people (particularly educators in post-secondary institutes) who are familiar with your recent academic performance, or with your work in an area related to your proposed study, are most applicable.

Do I have to contact a professor about being my supervisor before I apply?

No, you do not have to contact a professor about being your supervisor in advance but you can contact professors that you might be interested studying under to see if they are accepting students at your level and your topic area.

What do I need to include in my thesis proposal?

Your thesis proposal should be in the form of an abstract which should include a title. The proposal should reflect the size, scope and focus of the proposed research.

How many students are accepted / how many international students?

There are no quotas, the number of students accepted varies from year to year and is based upon the number of faculty that are accepting students and the area of study of the students applying to the program.

When will I hear?

No decisions are made until after the application deadline, when the faculty members meet.