Program Overview + Eligibility

Program overview

The Graduate Program in Urban Studies offers two credentials: the Graduate Diploma in Urban Studies (GDUS) and the Master of Urban Studies (MURB). Both of these can be completed part-time or full-time. Part-time study typically involves taking one 4-unit seminar course per term and full-time study typically involves taking two seminar courses per term, for a total of six (6) or more units. Most of our courses are held once a week for four hours in the evenings at SFU’s Vancouver campus. You can view the courses taught recently along with their schedules on our course offerings page.

GDUS students earn their diploma by successfully completing 24 units of seminar courses in a variety of topics. There are no required courses. 

MURB students earn their degree by successfully completing 32 units, which include:

  • 20 units of elective seminar courses (Most Urban Studies seminar courses are worth 4 units each)
  • 12 units of required courses:
    • URB 670: Urban Research Methods (4 units)
    • URB 696: Seminar in Urban Studies (4 units)
    • URB 697: Research Project (4 units)

Am I eligible?

We welcome applications from prospective students with a wide variety of academic and professional backgrounds. While many of our students hold an undergraduate degree in the social sciences, our student body also includes those with academic backgrounds in the humanities, sciences, engineering, architecture and fine arts. If you do not have a social science background, you should ensure that you demonstrate your readiness and understanding of the master of urban studies program in your application materials.

To be admitted to our master’s program:

  • You must have a bachelor’s degree from a recognized post-secondary institution with a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of at least 3.0

To be admitted to our Diploma program:

  • You must have a bachelor’s degree from a recognized post-secondary institution with a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of at least 2.5.

Admission to both our master's and diploma programs is competitive. In both cases, successful applicants often CGPAs that are substantially higher than these minimums. However, competition for admission to the diploma program is less intense. In addition to grades, when evaluating applications we also consider each applicant’s statement of interest, and their urban-related academic, professional and community experience.

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

Transferring from GDUS to MURB

Diploma students can apply for transfer to the MURB program when they have completed a minimum of two terms in the GDUS program, received A-level grades, and secured a letter of support from a prospective supervisor of their proposed research project. Applications to transfer from diploma to the master’s program are evaluated through the same process, and on the same application deadlines, as those from external applicants. This is a competitive process and we do not guarantee that all transfer applicants who meet the above criteria will be granted permission to transfer. We recommend that diploma applicants who hope to transfer to the MURB read the section on transfer applications in the Urban Studies Student Handbook for more information, and once admitted, seek advice about the process from the program manager in their first term.

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 4-6 weeks after the application deadline. We are not able to respond to individual requests for updates on the status of your application before then.