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How to Apply

** PLEASE BE ADVISED that the SPTH office will be closed during the December holiday season (Dec 20th to Jan 4th inclusive). We are unable to respond to any inquiries during the closure. Should you have an inquiry we will be happy to respond before or after this time. **

Advise to the applicant: The SPTH admissions committee will be starting to read files as soon as the majority of the documents are in (perhaps as soon as Jan 9th), therefore it is advisable to go on-line and complete the application form, and submit your referee information a.s.a.p. to allow adequate time for your referees to prepare and submit their letters.  Once you have the on-line applcation, you can upload your other documents to complete your file.  Thank you.


SPTH Deadline for applications:  January 7, 2015

For SPTH MA students seeking advancement into SPTH PHD, the deadline will be January 21, 2015.


Who applies to Social and Political Thought?

Applicants interested in an interdisciplinary field of study to support research and coursework we encourage applicants to establish a background in interdisciplinary work and critical theory. Applicants tend to have a very clear direction in regards to their research project prior to entering the program, and frequently initiate contact with specific faculty members prior to applying to the program. Applicants identify themselves as being primarily in one of the three strands within SPTH. These strands, (or fields) are:

1) History of Social and Political Thought,

2) Society and Economy and

3) Consciousness and Society.

Where can I find an application?

Applications are generally available through the Admissions office in late September or early October for the following September admissions process. The Admissions office provides applicants with an on-line application (for additional information, please refer to the York Admissions web site:  or applicants who do not have access to the internet, may request a hard copy application form by contacting the Admissions office at (416) 736-5000. (The Social and Political Thought program office does not keep application packages for distribution.)

When should I apply?

Admissions for both the MA and the PhD program is always for a Fall (September) start date. This program does not admit students for a Winter or Summer start date.

The deadline for a Fall (September) start is January 7th, though applicants are encouraged to submit their applications early, and ensure that all required documents are submitted by either sending the documents or confirming with Admissions that the documents have arrived.  Please note:  if the admissions deadline falls on a weekend in any given year, then the application and documents may be submitted on the monday following the deadline.

**Please note - For this upcoming admissions cycle (for students seeking admissions for Sept 2015).  We strongly recommend that you submit your application prior to that date to ensure you get your application number emailed to you before the holiday break.  Please note: 

Due to the limited number of places in the program, applicants are advised that a strong application package is essential. Incomplete applications may be reviewed by the Admissions committee, but naturally, will be at a disadvantage because incomplete applications will not be able to provide as much information to the Admissions committee as needed to compete with other, complete applications.  In addition, the Admissions committee has the right to decline reading incomplete files if they wish.

NEW information:  As of the fall 2013, Admissions has enabled applicants to upload and submit documents electonically.  Students who submit documents including written work, statement of information, etc. electonically need only submit in that format.  Hard copy submission will not be required.  If you are unable to submit electronically, you may still send hard copy documents in.

What else do I need to know?

The application form itself is straightforward. Any questions may be directed to the Admission office (416) 736-5000.

In addition, applicants will need to have official transcripts submitted from all the post secondary institutions you have attended. Applicants are urged to request transcripts early, and have all transcripts sent from your institutions directly to the Admissions office, where they will be matched with your application.

Please enter your name on the top corner of every document you submit, ie. CV, Statement of interest, writing sample, etc.

Can you give me information regarding the various supporting documents?

Written Work Sample

The written work sample - we suggest an essay that you have submitted recently that exhibits your work in an interdisciplinary nature. Where possible the paper should be pertinent to the interests the student wishes to pursue in the program. Most essays submitted are between 15 and 50 pages. If you are not sure which sample of your work would be best suited for the program, you may want to discuss your work samples with your references. Be sure to also provide the  referees with information on the Social and Political Thought program, so that they may be able to have a point of reference for your discussion. Applicants are asked to note that the submission of the written work is not only essential, but that the written work sample is often a decisive factor for the Admissions committee in selecting the candidates for the program.

Statement of interest

The statement of interest should outline information about your academic background and the nature of your studies that will support your application, the future direction of your research, (and if there are SPTH faculty members you would like to study with, or specific courses that are of interest to you), as well as any information you feel would support and strengthen your application. The Statement of interest should provide evidence of a mature academic outlook, displaying a strong sense of where the applicant wants to go. The statement may be as brief as one page, or as long as 4 pages.  The committee is not focused on the length of the statement as much as the content of the statement.

Additional information

SPTH recommends that students submit a resume or curriculum vitae. Although the Admissions committee does not require this information, the program office finds it invaluable when we begin working with the files of the applicants we have admitted. The CV or resume can help the program match you with areas for either your Graduate Assistantship (for Masters students), or Teaching Assistantships (generally for PHD students. although once we have sent out offers of admissions to applicant. (We send out the Graduate Assistantship and Teaching Assistantship applications once students are admitted, but the early information can be invaluable when trying to place students with unique skills.


Applicants are encouraged to discuss the program and your academic goals with references as early as possible. Please let your referees know that York University now uses an on-line format for all graduate references and that an email will come to them directly from the Admissions office requesting the reference.   The reference will them be returned directly to the Admissions office by the referee.

If a referee needs to use an alternative format, Admissions or the program office can arrange for the referee to be sent a PDF form by email.  If the referee returns the letters to you, the letters must remain in the sealed envelope with the referee's signature on the back of the envelope. The referee may also send the reference directly to the Admissions office if they wish. All letters received will be matched to your application and forwarded to the program office.

When I fill in my application, where do I list the referees names and contact information?

Once your MyFile is set up, you go into MyFile and add the names and email addresses of your referees. An automatically generated letter with then go to each of the referees requesting the reference and with the relevant details (your full name, identifying number, etc. to when the faculty members submit the reference, it will be automatically linked to your file.

Please note: If you apply over a weekend, or during the december holidays, your application will be held in cue but can only be processed and generate the Myfile once the offices re-open. 

What if I accidently put in an incorrect email address for my referee?

Contact Admissions and they will arrange to have an email reference letter request go out to your referee as soon as possible.

One of my referees is ill, I need to change to another referee.  What do I do?

Contact Admissions and they will arrange to have an email reference letter request go out to your referee as soon as possible.

When are the supporting documents due?

The admissions office forwards the documents to the program as soon as they have completed their work with any of the documents.  The program then sets up the files and has the program's admissions committees start reading the files.  The committees will not wait to make a decision on an incomplete file, therefore missing documents may result in a lower ranking by the committee, thus we recommend all documents be submitted at the deadline or as soon after the deadline as possible. (Please note:  as of Fall 2013, applcants can submit documents electroncially, and are strongly encoruaged to do so as this may allow documents to be accessed by the program even quicker).

Where do I send the supporting documents if I am mailing in information?

The CV, Writing sample and personal statement - if submitted by hardcopy - can either be sent to Admissions (Office of Graduate Admissions, Bennett Centre for Student Services,
York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario CANADA, M3J 1P3) or you can send it to the SPTH office directly, and the program will notify admissions when the documents arrives.
the SPTH address is:
Social & Political Thought, York University, 4700 Keele Street, S711 Ross Building, Toronto, Ontario CANADA M3J 1P3

              Can I resubmit an old application?

Applications from previous years cannot be submitted for current application submission, although letters of references, statements of interest and writing samples are generally held for one year, and if the information is on file, it can be used.

               I am applying for more than one program at York.  Do I need to submit work

               samples for each program?

Yes.  The writing sample which you may select for one program may be different from the one you want to go to SPTH.  Even if it is the same writing sample, Admissions will not be making copies and distributing them to each program, so you need to submit one for each application, and to indicate your name, “Writing sample for SPTH application” and the title of the writing sample on the front of each submission.   

               When do offers start going out to applicants?


                Students start getting offers in mid to late February, with (usually) PHD offers going out

                one week before MA offers start to go out.

                 What if I am already enrolled in another graduate program and wish to

                 switch to SPTH?

Students currently in other graduate programs and considering attending the Social and Political Thought program should be aware that they must seek entry into the program through the admissions process. Advanced standing - if applicable - would be accessed only after student is admitted and registered in the program through a petition process to the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

             Once I have submitted my application, what happens then?

              Applications are sent over the the program office, prepared for the Admissions committee,

              read and ranked by each committee member, and then there is one admissions meeting

              for MA and one meeting for PHD by the committee.  Every completed file is discussed,

              and the committee established a ranked list of candidates who will be given offers of

              admissions, and a wait list by the end of the meeting.

               When does the meetings take place?

                In march.   With offers going out as soon as possible once the letters are generated.

               Why March when the deadline is January?

              The Admissions office needs time to assess the transcripts (and there are many

               programs all with deadlines in a small amount of time).  Then the documents

               need to get sent to the program, set up into files, documentation checked and

               organized, and the committee then can have assess to the files. We must also

               remember that the committee members are teaching, writing, and continuing

               with all their other obligations on top of reading about 70 files.  The files ofter

               take more than an hour each to read.  In addition, there are at least 5 people that

               need to read and rank the files. All of this takes time.

                Is there anything else I should be considering?

              Yes, if your academic average is an A- or above in the last two years (or equivilent

              of 2 years of full time courses), you should be planning on applying for OGS. 

               What is OGS?

               OGS is the Ontario Graduate Scholarship. It is awarded for one year, and is valued at

              $15,000.00 paid over the three terms (three equal installments of $5,000.00 each).

              Who can apply?

              You should see the Faculty of Graduate Studies website for eligiblity details, and for

               the actual application.  It is located at:


              What is the SPTH Deadline?

              The program deadline for the applications and all supporting documents is March 1st,



               (please note:  Every program sets their own deadline, so it is imperative that you

               check with every program you are applying to and submit your application to each

               program at each university, because OGS scholarships are tied to the graduate

               program that awards them, and the award cannot be moved to another program

               or university if the student moves.

               Where will I submit the OGS application to?

               The SPTH office, S711 Ross,

               4700 Keele Street

               York University  

               Toronto, Ontario

                M3J 1P3

                 When sending your documents for OGS, please do not send them to Admissions, onlhy to the

                 program office, and indicate OGS application on the documents, otherwise they will be

                  forwarded to Admissions for admissions processing, and not to your OGS file. Both

                  committees - Admissions and Scholarship - require official documents.

                 OGS references must be on the official OGS reference forms, must have official signatures

                 by the letter writers, and must be submitted in sealed envelopes with the back flap signed

                 by the author.   Reference letters opened by the students or applicants will not be processed.