International Applicants

Urban Studies has a vibrant international student population.

International applicants should ensure that their degree meets the university's minimum equivalency with regard to qualifications and academic standing. Country-specific information on these requirements can be found here

Proof of English proficiency

International applicants whose post-secondary degree(s) have been awarded in a nation where English is not an official language must meet or exceed the minimum satisfactory score on a standardized English test acceptable to the University. This requirement applies irrespective of the language(s) used in instruction at the applicant's university. You will need to provide proof, by the application deadline, that you've met the SFU's minimum English language requirement when submitting your application. We do not allow exceptions because we want students to succeed in their studies with us. You should request that your testing agency submits your test results electronically.

International applicants who have completed a degree at an institution where the language of instruction and examination was English, in a country where English is the primary language do not have to submit an English-language profiency test. That list of countries is here.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the tuition for international graduate students?

SFU Urban Studies charges international graduate students the same tuition as domestic students. Most fees are the same for domestic and international students as well. However, the costs of the medical and dental insurance that is mandatory for all SFU graduate students are somewhat different for international students

See our main FAQ page for information on tuition and fees.

2. What funding is available to me as an international graduate student?

Many of SFU’s scholarships and awards are open to applications from international graduate students. Most of this funding is competitive and merit-based. Need-based financial aid in the form of bursaries is also available to international students. As with domestic students, eligibility for most merit-based and need-based funding is restricted to students who are enrolled full-time in the master’s program, though some funding is available for full-time diploma students as well.

However, as with domestic applicants, international applicants should be aware that the Urban Studies Program does not offer successful applicants a standard package of financial assistance. It is therefore prudent to plan on paying for most of the costs of your studies yourself.

If you’re hoping to obtain financial support through loans or grants from your country of origin, we recommend that you make these arrangements at the earliest possible opportunity – well ahead of the start of your program. Organizations that provide grants and loans from outside Canada can take considerable time to assess whether the Urban Studies Program meets their funding criteria.

3. What if I am below just one of the band scores on my English language test?

To be admitted, applicants must meet (and preferably exceed) the minimum English language requirements in each reported category. These minimum requirements should be met before you submit your application. We do not allow exceptions because we want students to succeed in their studies with us.

If you can’t submit the results of one of SFU’s accepted English proficiency tests before our application deadline or your scores are below the minimums, we recommend that you test again if needed and/or wait for the next application deadline to apply. We have two admissions intakes per year with these deadlines: February 15 (to start the following fall) and June 15 (to start the following January).

4. Will I be allowed to work while studying?

On campus: Yes, if you hold a valid study permit and are enrolled full-time, subject to some restrictions and availability of work. Please see more information of these restrictions on the website of SFU’s International Services for Students Office.

Off-campus: Please see here for information about eligibility to work off-campus

5. Does completing a master’s degree or a graduate diploma in urban studies qualify me for a post-graduation work permit?

If you have been enrolled full-time, typically yes, but subject to various conditions. Please see the information provided by SFU’s International Services for Students office.

6. Can I take a break from my studies?

As an international student, you are eligible for different types of leaves, but taking leaves may have implications for your ability to work while you’re studying and once you complete your SFU studies. International students should check with SFU’s Office of International Student Advising about the implications of taking various types of leave.

Note: both our graduate diploma and master’s are per-unit fee programs.

7. I have other immigration-related related questions about my application or life at SFU as an international graduate student. Who can I go to for more information?

Ready to learn?

Next admissions intake: Our online application system will open November 1, 2022.

- On Nov. 1, 2022, we will begin to accept applications to start your studies in the fall 2023 term.

- We will be accepting applications to both our master’s and graduate diploma then, with an application deadline of Feb. 15, 2023

- We will notify all applicants about the outcome of their application 6-8 weeks after the application deadline. We are not able to respond to individual requests for updates on the status of your application before then.

- Housing research funding alert! The top application(s) proposing research related to our Community Housing Canada project will be considered for a dedicated Graduate Fellowship.