How to Apply

Note: The revised SPTH Deadline for applications is  January 11, 2018


The Graduate program in Social and Political Thought welcomes applications from students who are interested in the analysis of social and political ideas with the aim of integrating intellectual interests common to the Humanities and Social Sciences. The program represents a wide range of intellectual approaches to the study of social and political thought in its larger historical and cultural contexts. Applicants should have a direction in mind for their research project prior to entering the program and are encouraged to identify specific faculty members they may wish to work with. Applicants should also identify their interest in one or more of the following three fields within the SPTH program:

  1. History of Social and Political Thought,
  2. Black Studies and Theories of Race and Racism
  3. Economy, Consciousness, Aesthetics and Society.

Where can I find an application?

Applications are available through the Admissions office in mid-October for the admission the following September. The Admissions office provides applicants with an on-line application.

When should I apply?

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

The deadline for Fall term admission (September) is the first Wednesday in January, although applicants are encouraged to submit their applications early, and ensure that all required documents are submitted.

Due to the limited number of spaces in the program, applicants are advised that a complete application package is essential.

Admissions has enabled applicants to upload and submit documents electronically. Students who submit documents including their written work sample, statement of interest, electronically need only submit in that format. Transcripts may be uploaded and official transcripts will only be required if you are admitted to the program.

If you are unable to submit electronically, you may still send a hard copy application.

What else do I need to know?

Any questions regarding the admission application form may be directed to the Admissions office (416) 736-5000.

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

Where can I find details like TOEFL score required, etc.

Admissions has provided a quick reference sheet for many details, including Admissions contact information, what supporting documents are needed, etc.

It can be found at:    

And once you are there, just click on the box entitled "Degrees Offered and Application Requirements" for more information.

Can you give me information regarding the various supporting documents?

Written Work Sample

A written work sample may include work you have already completed for your previous studies and or a recent work of an interdisciplinary nature. Where possible, the paper should be pertinent to the research interests you wishes to pursue in the program. Most written work samples submitted are between 15 and 30 pages.

Statement of interest

The statement of interest should outline information about your academic background and the nature of your previous studies that will support your application and the future direction of your research and indicate the future direction of your research. You should indicate which SPTH faculty members you would be interested in working with and specific courses that are of interest to you. The statement of interest may range from 2 to 5 pages long.

Additional information

SPTH recommends that students submit a resume or curriculum vitae. The CV or resume can help the program match you for either your Graduate Assistantship (for Masters students), or Teaching Assistantships (usually for PHD students).


Applicants are encouraged to discuss the program and your academic goals with your referees 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.

If a referee needs to use an alternate format, the Admissions office or the program office can arrange for the referee to be sent a PDF reference form by email. If the referee returns the letter to you, the letter 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.

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 complete the Supplemental Form. It is on that form that you add the names and email addresses of your referees. An automatically generated letter will then go to each of the referees requesting the reference letter.

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. It may take one or two working days and then you will get an email from York with your MyFile information in it. (If you don’t find the email in your inbox, check your spam or junk email box, just in case it went there).

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

Contact Admissions and they will fix the problem.

What if I need to change one of my referees?

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

When are the supporting documents due?

Once you have received your MyFile number, you will have two weeks to upload your documents.

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

The CV, writing sample and statement of interest can be sent to either:

Office of Graduate Admissions,
Bennett Centre for Student Services,
York University,
4700 Keele Street,
Toronto, Ontario
M3J 1P3

Or you can send it to the SPTH office directly:

The Graduate Program of Social & Political Thought,
S711 Ross Building,
4700 Keele Street,
Toronto, Ontario
M3J 1P3

Can I resubmit an old application?

Applications from previous years cannot be resubmitted. Letters of reference, statements of interest and writing samples are generally held for one year, and if the information is on file, it can be re-accessed.  If you wish to use the previous year's references, statements, etc. , please notify the SPTH office by email, and they will notify Admissions.

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


When do offers start going out to applicants?

Students start getting offers in late February and on.

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

Students currently in other graduate programs who are considering admissions to 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 adjudicated only after the student is admitted and registered in the program through a petition to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. However, please note that advanced standing cannot be guaranteed and courses cannot count towards more than one degree.

Advice to the applicant:

It is advisable to go on-line and complete the application form and submit your referee information as soon as possible to allow adequate time for your referees to prepare and submit their letters.

The Program recommends that students wishing to upload their documents over the holiday season should submit their application on-line at least 4 days prior to the University closing so that Admissions can generate the MyFile ID number before they close for the holidays.