How to Apply

In order to apply to graduate studies at Western, it is important that you understand the essential elements of the Western graduate school application. No application will be considered until it is complete.

A complete application is done online via: As a part of the online application, you will need to upload:

  • Scans of transcripts from all post-secondary study completed
  • A CV or Resume
  • Statement of Intent for graduate study
  • Contact information for three referees, who will be asked to complete confidential letters of reference online
  • English proficiency scores if your first language is not English
  • Application fee of $115

The application will not be assessed until the three letters of reference have been completed. Any submitted applications with information missing will be returned to the applicant for revision. If your application is judged to be successful, your offer of admission will be conditional upon your forwarding official transcripts and/or test scores to the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Please do not send in any official paper documents unless requested to do so by the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

For all questions about the graduate application process please contact Academic Program Coordinator Amy Wickham at

The Application

A completed application consists of the following components, in detail:

Completed application, accessed online.

Your resume or CV.

Statement of Intent.
This should outline your qualifications for graduate school, your research interests, and your reasons for applying to Western specifically. The statement should be in the format of a research proposal, providing background information to position your proposed research within the context of the current knowledge in the field. Your objectives, hypotheses, approach, and methods should be noted if you know them, as well as the significance of the research you are proposing. If you have not discussed potential projects with a faculty supervisor in advance, you must still provide a detailed description of a research project that interests you. You will not be bound to the research statement, it just allows the admissions committee to assess your research objectives, your background for graduate school, and your written communication skills in English. The statement should also include the names of potential supervisors with whom you have been in contact.

The statement of intent should be no more than one single-spaced page. If you are including references, they may spill over to a second page.

A minimum of three references from those persons who are most familiar with your academic abilities.
By entering your referees’ email addresses on the application, they will be sent an online reference form to complete and submit electronically. Two of your referees must be academic; the third may be academic or professional. If you are using a professional reference, they must be from a previously held position related to the earth sciences.

Scans of transcripts from all college and university studies.
These transcripts should be uploaded as a part of the online application. Official transcripts in a language other than English should be provided in their original language, along with a certified translation into English. French language transcripts from schools within Canada are acceptable without an official translation. We do not require transcripts from high school. If your application is judged to be successful, you will need to provide official transcripts to the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies as a condition of admission.

English Proficiency Scores if your first language is not English.
If your first language is not English, we require proof of English proficiency as a condition of admission. If you have completed a minimum of two full years of study at an accredited university where English is the medium of instruction, and that university is located in a country where English is the primary language of use in the region in which you studied (e.g. Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Australia, etc.), we do not require a proficiency test.

In all other cases, applicants must complete the TOEFL or IELTS test.

Our required scores are:
: minimum of 92, with no individual score falling below 20, and a minimum of 23 in the speaking component
: minimum of 6.0, with no individual score falling below 6.0

Scores more than two years old as of the date of proposed admission will not be accepted. We also can accept MELAB, CAEL or TOEFL PBT scores; please contact the department for more information. A waiver of the English proficiency test may be granted in exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the graduate committee, in cases where the applicant has studied at an English-language university in a region where English is not the language of daily use, and in which the applicant demonstrates exceptional proficiency in communication with members of the Department. No waiver will be granted in cases where the applicant has previously taken a proficiency test and failed to meet the Department's standard. All decisions of the graduate committee regarding proficiency tests are final.

TOEFL results should be sent electronically using the institution code of 0984 and the department code of 71. IELTS scores can be sent electronically, by uploading a scanned copy as a part of the online application. Your TRF (Test Report Form) number must be legible in the scan so that we can verify the results with the British Council.

For students who fail to meet the minimum required proficiency standard, we can consider conditional admission subject to successful completion of Western's English Language Proficiency Program, but only in exceptional circumstances.

Application fee of Can. $115.00, as per instructions in the online application.

Note: We do not require the GRE. If you are a Permanent Resident of Canada or a Canadian citizen originally from another country, please also supply a copy of your PR card (front and back), or your proof of Canadian citizenship, with your application materials.


Students who have voluntarily withdrawn or who have been withdrawn and wish to complete their program must formally re-apply for admission via our application. Credit for previous work completed must be approved by the program and SGPS.

Admission Decision

Applicants who have been offered admission to the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies can accept or decline their offers of admissions online through the Western Student Center.

  1. Login into the Student Center with the information provided with your Western Personal Computer Account and locate the Admissions box
  2. Select "Accept or Decline" to begin the decision process

Timelines & Deadlines

Our application is open year-round. Our first round of admissions is done based upon all completed applications (with all letters of reference received) by January 27.

Only applications that are complete as of January 27 will be considered. Standard SGPS processing time for applications to be released to the Department of Earth Sciences is approximately one week, and applicants will need to allow time for their referees to submit their letters of reference. We would estimate that applications should be submitted by early January at the latest to ensure they are complete by the deadline.

Students who apply after January 27 can still be considered for admission, but may be limited by available resources. We can continue to make offers for applications received after the January 27 deadline, but we encourage all applicants to apply by the original deadline when possible.

Once an application is completed including successful submission of all letters of reference, the application passes to potential faculty supervisors for review. If a supervisor is found, the graduate committee review generally takes place within two weeks and a decision will be communicated on the Student Centre. In cases where a supervisor cannot be found, the application will remain open until the absolute deadline, at which point it will be closed as unsuccessful. Note: Our M.Sc. Course-Based program does not require a supervisor for admission. Qualified students will be admited based on internal assessment conducted by the graduate committee. 

The absolute final deadline for Canadian students and Permanent Residents for receipt of all application materials (completed application plus references) is one month prior to the start date of the term you wish to enroll (e.g., for a Sept. 1 start, the final deadline would be August 1). The final deadline for international students is two months prior to the start of a term (e.g., for a Sept. 1 start, the deadline would be July 1), as international students often have to wait 6-8 weeks for a student visa. Any application that is incomplete as of the deadline will be closed as unsuccessful. We offer admission on September 1, January 1 and May 1 of each year. September start dates are usually preferable.

All offers of admission for international students will be issued no later than two months prior to the intended start of program.

Collaborative Specializations

Students interested in applying to collaborative specializations in Planetary ScienceEnvironment & Sustainability, or Scientific Computing must first apply to, and be accepted by, a host program at Western. Enrollment in a collaborative program is not done officially until program start.