Skip to main content Skip to local navigation
Home » Future Students » How to Apply

How to Apply

Aerial view of Vari Hall with the Ross Building behind it


Prospective applicants must submit an online application.

The program normally receives hundreds of applications for admission and every year turns away many applicants who otherwise meet the minimum requirements and are capable of working at the graduate level. This will be very disappointing news for students who had hoped to study with us, which we well appreciate. Being refused admission is not a statement about an individual applicant’s past accomplishments or future potential. It is a product of the number of applications we receive in relation to the number of spaces we have in the program.

We must underline that while competition is intense for all applicants, it is particularly intense for international applicants (applicants who are neither Canadian citizens nor permanent residents of Canada). Every year we receive significant numbers of exceptional applications from visa students, but we are permitted only very few visa spaces. All international applicants to the program should be aware of how difficult it is to gain admission to the program and consider this fully before proceeding with the admissions process and paying the application fee.

The deadline for application is January 15. Applications must be submitted online. Information for submitting your application and the necessary application links are available at Future Students—Political Science.

MA applicants must submit transcripts, two letters of reference, a resumé or cv, a statement of interest (500 words) and a sample of written work (normally a seminar paper of 15–20 pages).

PhD applicants must submit transcripts, three letters of reference, a resumé or cv, a statement of interest (500 words) and a sample of written work (normally a seminar paper or chapter from Master’s Research Paper or Thesis, of less than 30 pages).

The address for submission of these supplementary materials is available through the link above.

Because there is a great interest in the Graduate Program, and the number of places is limited, students should apply as early as possible.  Letters of recommendation can follow later, but files will not be considered until they are complete.  In certain circumstances, late applications may be accepted at the discretion of the Graduate Program Director, but no guarantee can be made that a place will be available.  Most admission decisions will be made before the end of March.  Candidates are only admitted to either degree program in September.

Note: Applicants should note the importance attached by the Program’s Admissions Committee to the statement of academic interest and the specimen of written work. Because the latter is used as the basis of an independent assessment of qualification, applicants should be sure to select writing that represents their best work.

Note: Normally, the Admissions Committee will not look favourably on references written by Teaching Assistants, or Course Directors without a Ph.D. Similarly, applicants should be aware that letters from employers, friends/relatives or other non-academic references are not generally considered acceptable.

For both MA and PhD applicants, the statement of interest should convey your planned research, your background in Political Science (and how it has prepared you for graduate-level work) and why York Political Science is the appropriate program for you to pursue your particular research interests. Explaining why your proposed research is significant is an important element of the statement. Any additional information about extracurricular or other activities – especially insofar as these activities are related to your proposed research – should also be included in the statement. 

Applicants do not have to contact faculty in advance of their application to the program, and they do not have to secure a supervisor in advance. However, they should be familiar with our faculty's research interests and be able to indicate at least one or two potential supervisors.

Applicants are required to complete the Supplementary Information Form, which can be found in MyFile. The form will ask you to indicate your areas of specialization. In order of your interest, please list two of the following five fields: Canadian Politics; Comparative Politics; International Relations (Security Studies or Political Economy); Political Theory; Women and Politics. Applicants should complete all five questions on the Supplemental Information Form to assist the admissions committee in evaluating their application.

Finally, applicants are reminded that the ultimate responsibility for ensuring the expeditious transmission of letters of reference, transcripts, and other portions of the application lies with the applicants.

Learn More

The Graduate Program in Political Science at York is an exciting environment to pursue innovative, socially engaging, career-ready education. Contact our Graduate Program Assistant to learn more.