Simon Fraser University Admission Requirements For International Students

Last Updated on December 14, 2022 by

University Overview

Founded in 1965, Simon Fraser University is a non-profit public higher-education institution located in the urban setting of the small city of Burnaby (population range of 50,000-249,999 inhabitants), British Columbia. This institution also has branch campuses in the following locations: Vancouver, Surrey. Officially recognized by the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills & Training of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University (SFU) is a very large (uniRank enrollment range: 30,000-34,999 students) coeducational Canadian higher education institution. Simon Fraser University (SFU) offers courses and programs leading to officially recognized higher education degrees such as pre-bachelor degrees (i.e. certificates, diplomas, associate or foundation), bachelor degrees, master degrees, doctorate degrees in several areas of study. See the uniRank degree levels and areas of study matrix below for further details. This 55 years old Canadian higher-education institution has a selective admission policy based on entrance examinations and students’ past academic record and grades. The admission rate range is 80-90% making this Canadian higher education organization a least selective institution. International students are welcome to apply for enrollment. SFU also provides several academic and non-academic facilities and services to students including a library, housing, sports facilities, financial aids and/or scholarships, study abroad and exchange programs, online courses and distance learning opportunities, as well as administrative services.

Applicants meeting the minimum University requirements for admission are not assured admission into any graduate program. Most graduate programs have admission requirements in addition to the minimum which can be found on their program website. In addition, programs must restrict admission to students whose interests are compatible with available resources and faculty expertise.

This page includes information about the following:

  • Minimum university admission requirements
  • References
  • Transcripts
  • Supervisors and Supervision
  • Options if you do not meet minimum requirements – Qualifying and Conditional admission

English Language Requirements

English not your primary language? You may need to complete an English-language test.

Minimum University admission requirements

Click to learn about admission requirements ↓

Graduate Certificate or Diploma

Master’s Program

Doctoral Program

International Admission Requirements

If you attended a post-secondary institution outside of Canada, the majority of programs will not require a credential evaluation service to be used.  A guideline of international credential requirements by country can be found using the drop down list.

Most three-year, Bologna-compliant degrees from research intensive universities are acceptable as a basis of admission to graduate diplomas, certificates and master’s programs at Simon Fraser University.International Admission Requirements


All applicants are required to submit a list of qualified referees who will submit references for their application. When entering your referees’ information, you should submit their professional or institutional email address as their point of contact.

If a referee will be acting as a reference for you for more than one application, they must submit each reference separately.

If you are not certain who to include as a reference (professional references, academic/research references, volunteer references, etc.), please contact your program of application for assistance. Referees should be able to make a recommendation regarding your potential performance in your graduate program of application.

Once you submit your application, each of your referees will be sent an email with full instructions to complete the reference. Ensure you have entered their correct email addresses. If they do not see the email from Simon Fraser University, ask them to check their junk/spam folder. Reference letters should be submitted on professional or institutional letterhead with a signature from the referee.

Updating referee information in your application

During the application process, you may find you need to change one or more of your referees. Or, perhaps you entered their email address or other information incorrectly. To update this information within your application, follow these steps:

  1. In your Application Portal, under Step 3, click the red Upload Documents button
  2. Find the References heading
  3. Find the referee you wish to change or update, and click the ‘Edit’ button on the right-hand side next to that referee
  4. Update all necessary fields, and then click ‘Save’

Note: Once a reference has been submitted by your referee, it is not permitted to be modified or removed.


Your application must include the names of all post-secondary institutions you have attended.

You must upload an unofficial transcript (scanned, saved, etc.) for each post-secondary institution you have attended when you are uploading documents to your application (Step 3, in your Application Portal). You cannot upload these documents until your application has been submitted, and your application fee has been paid and processed onto your account.

If you receive an offer of admission, you will be required to submit an official transcript for each post-secondary institution. If you have a degree in progress, your offer of admission letter will confirm if that degree must be awarded before you begin your studies at SFU. If the degree must be completed, do not send your official transcript from that institution until your degree is awarded and appearing on your transcript.

Official transcripts (one per institution):

  • must be official documents, sealed by the institution of issue, and sent directly to Simon Fraser University. Our address can be found on our Contact page – OR –
  • may alternatively be sent electronically via a secure delivery service, such as Parchment, directly from official institutional email addresses (your institution of study must have such a service in place for this to be possible). SFU’s email address for receipt of electronic transcripts is [email protected] – OR –
  • may also be submitted in an institution-sealed envelope by the applicant, as long as the seal and all official notations/seals/signatures remain untouched and intact on the institution’s original envelope. (Do not open the envelope – if you open it, it is no longer official).

Unsealed (open/loose) transcripts will not be accepted as official, even if they are on institutional paper. Transcripts received by email without secure delivery or sent by an applicant will not be accepted as official. Each transcript is subject to review prior to acceptance. 

Parchments/Degree Certificates

We do not require the submission of degree parchments or certificates. A parchment would only be required if your official transcript does not show the awarding (date and title) of your credential. 

Transcripts that are not issued in English or French

Transcripts must be in English and/or French, or must be fully bilingual including one of these languages (all words and notations must be in French or English, in addition to any other language). If not, an official translation must be supplied.

  • An official translator must include, as part of their translation, a declaration that they received an official, sealed copy of the transcripts that they then proceeded to translate.

Supervisors and Supervision

Due to the program-specific nature of supervision, you should contact your program of interest with any supervision-related inquiries. Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is unable to answer these questions, and does not assist with the process of identifying or contacting prospective supervisors.

All graduate students at SFU have some form of faculty supervisor, but there are large variations in supervision from program to program, due to the diverse nature of approaches to graduate study. In some programs, a supervisor is assigned to you. In many other programs, you are responsible for identifying and approaching prospective supervisors.

It is not required by university regulations that a supervisor be in place prior to starting a program. However, some programs do require that a supervisor is identified as part of the application process. Most programs provide lists of faculty members/potential supervisors and their research interests on their websites

The following academic units require that applicants have identified one or more supervisors who are willing to supervise their research prior to completing their application. You should have written confirmation from any faculty members you list on these applications:

  • Biology (including the Master of Pest Management program)
  • Chemistry
  • Geography (PhD)
  • Gerontology (PhD)
  • Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
  • Political Science
  • Sustainable Energy Engineering

Many other programs give you the option to provide names of desired supervisors, or of supervisors you may have already communicated with who have indicated they may be willing to supervise your research.

When investigating prospective supervisors, here are some tips to follow:

  • Review Faculty members on your program of application’s website
  • Email them. Include your familiarity with their work, your own research interests and how they align with their experience, your intention to apply, and whether they might be interested in supervising your research.
  • Include information about your background and research experience. 

Not meeting the minimum requirements?

If after reviewing the university and program minimum requirements, you do not meet the minimum requirements it may be possible to be admitted as a qualifying student or as a conditional admission. Please contact your program of interest to discuss these options further.

Conditional Admission

An applicant may be offered admission to a graduate program, conditional on the completion of certain requirements. Sometimes this may be used for technical purposes (for example, for an international student who needs extra time to have transcripts sent from an overseas institution).

If an applicant does not meet university or program minimum requirements, it is possible that additional graduate course work is required, or the student may be asked to achieve certain results in the first few terms. These conditions and deadlines will be included in an offer of admission.

If these requirements are met, the condition is lifted, and the student remains in their graduate program. If these requirements are not met the student is not able to enroll in future terms and is normally required to withdraw from the university.

Qualifying Admission

Qualifying admission may be offered to applicants who are deemed not yet ready to begin their graduate work. The applicant normally will have completed a bachelor’s degree but may have a cumulative grade point average well below the University minimum admission requirements, or may have substantial deficiencies in their academic preparation for direct admission to the program.

Qualifying students will typically be working to make up deficiencies in their background to begin graduate work in their area of interest. An offer of qualifying admission must be accompanied by a set of expected requirements to be completed within one year. The requirements will consist of between 12 and 30 units of specified undergraduate courses to be taken at SFU and will include the required grade for each course.

If these requirements are met within the stipulated time-frame then the qualifying student will be admitted to the degree program for which the qualifying offer of admission was given. If the student fails to complete the specified courses or to achieve the required grades, either additional courses will be required or admission to the graduate program will be denied.

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