How to Apply - PhD

Document Checklist

  • Graduate Application Form
  • Official sealed transcripts from every post-secondary institution attended
  • Supplemental Program Information Form
  • Referee Information Form (3 Referees)
  • Statement of academic interest
  • Curriculum vitae or resume
  • Sample of written work
  • Acceptable language test score (If applicable)

Additional documentation (such as the GRE or other standardized tests) is not required.

Please be advised that all materials submitted become the property of the University and will not be returned.

Application Process

1. Complete the Graduate Application Form and pay the $100 application fee.

Your application cannot be processed until payment is received. No documents will be reviewed prior to the submission of the Graduate Application Form.

2. Access your MyFile account

Within 4 business days after you have applied, you will receive a confirmation email from York University with your 9 digit student reference number which you will need to access our online system, MyFile.

Your MyFile will indicate the status of your application and any documents that you are required to submit.  It is important to check your MyFile regularly for any updates to your file.

3. Submit transcripts from every post-secondary institution attended

Please note this includes any exchange programs or programs for which you did not receive a degree.

For assessment purposes, you may upload unofficial copies of your transcripts to your MyFile under the link for “Supporting Documents". Your transcript must include the following:

  • Your full name
  • The name of the institution
  • The name of each course
  • The grade you received

Transcripts written in a language other than English or French will require official translations and must accompany the initial transcripts.

You do not need to submit transcripts for studies at York University.

If your Master’s degree is still in progress, you must submit your in-progress transcripts.  If you receive an offer of admission, you must submit your final, official transcripts showing all grades received and degrees conferred to finalize this offer.

To be considered official, transcripts must be received by York University in sealed envelopes. Transcripts may be sent directly from the issuing institution or from you, as long as the issuing institution’s seal remains unbroken.  Photocopied, faxed, or verified true copies are not considered official documents. Review the official York University Transcript Statement.

In countries where degree certificates are issued separately, official copies must be submitted.

4. Complete the online Supplemental Program Information Form

Access this form in your MyFile under the link for “Supplementary Information Forms”.

Please keep in mind that you will only have 30 minutes to complete this form.  You may copy and paste your answers into this form.

Question 1: Awards Information.  Please indicate any external awards you have applied for including SSHRC and OGS.

Question 2: Language Skill. The PhD program does not require facility in a language other than English. Your chances of admission are not decreased if you do not know another language.

Question 3: Areas of Specialization. The PhD program does not have areas of specialization, in part because students design their own Program Plan.

Question 4: Professors you hope to work with. You must identify 3 professors within the Faculty of Environmental Studies. We encourage you to review our full time faculty members profiles and research interests.

Please note that you do not need to secure a supervisor prior to applying.  However, we do recommend that you connect with one of our faculty members whose area of interest aligns closely with yours and who you think could be a potential supervisor.

Question 5: Other information You may use this space to provide any other information that you feel would be relevant for your application.  If you are re-applying to the PhD, please indicate it here.

Please do not repeat any information that is already contained in any other part of your application.

5. Complete the online Referee Information Form

Access this form in your MyFile under the link for “Supplementary Information Forms”.

Please provide us with the names and email addresses of your 3 referees who we will contact on your behalf.  Your referees will have 2 weeks to complete their letter of recommendation form.

Please keep in mind that academic references are strongly preferred to professional references.  The Committee needs to know about your critical thinking skills and how adept you are at dealing with theoretical concepts. It is possible to use professional referees if necessary, as long as they address these issues in their letter.

6. Submit your statement of academic interest

Upload this document in your MyFile under the link for “Supporting Documents”.

You must include the following three sections:

Part A:  A title summarizing your research interests (20 words or less)
Part B: Five key concepts that best relate to your research interests
Part C: Describe your intended doctoral research (Approximately 1000 words):

  • Situate your research interests and proposed work in relevant general academic fields and literature
  • Describe your current plan for the dissertation (including preliminary research questions, theoretical frameworks, methodology, and anticipated contributions)
  • Provide details of your background preparation (previous degrees, courses, research or professional experience, community work, etc) supporting your proposed research
  • After reviewing our full time faculty members profiles and research interests, describe how your interests relate to those of the faculty members you identify in your Supplemental Program Information form (Step 4 above)

7. Submit your Curriculum Vitae or Resume

Upload this document in your MyFile under the link for “Supporting Documents”.

You may wish to include the following information in your resume (where applicable):

  • Academic honours (scholarships, fellowships, awards, etc.)
  • Academic/professional qualifications and memberships
  • Publications and professional commissions or reports (if any are joint-authored, please provide a separate note describing your contribution)
  • Works in progress
  • Conference presentations

8. Submit a sample of your written work

Upload this document in your MyFile under the link for “Supporting Documents”.

Please submit a thesis chapter, article, etc. up to 50 pages maximum.

9. Submit an English language test score (if applicable)

If your first language is not English, you must submit evidence of an acceptable level of English language proficiency to be considered for admission.

Minimum required scores:

  • TOEFL: Paper-based: 600; Computer-based: 250; iBT: 100
  • IELTS: Overall band score: 7.5; or
  • York English Language Test (YELT): Band 1

For more details, please see York University’s English language proficiency information.

York University reserves the right to request a successful English language proficiency test result.

Re-Applying to our PhD Program

If your initial application is unsuccessful, or you are admitted but do not accept your offer of admission, you will need to re-apply for future entry in the program.

  1. Complete a new Graduate Application Form and pay the $100 application fee.
  2. Email the FES Recruitment and Admissions team at informing them that you are re-applying to the PhD program.

Please include your first and last name and your 9-digit York student reference number.

We may still have your documents from your previous application.  Please confirm with us which documents you intend to re-use.

  1. Ensure all required documents as outlined above are submitted so that your application is complete.

Please keep in mind that you must submit the following:

  • Transcripts from any post-secondary institutions you have attended since you last applied
  • Updated Supplemental Program Information Form
    • For Question 5 you must clearly indicate that you are re-applying to the program and the year that you applied.
  • Updated CV/Resume