How to Apply to the SOPR Program

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Admission Requirements

  • Successful completion of a course or thesis-based master's degree with a minimum grade average of at least 78% from an accredited university.
  • Applicants who have not completed a master’s degree but have considerable relevant professional experience outside the academy may be considered for direct entry into the doctoral program.

Application Process

The application deadline for the Social Practice and Transformational Change (SOPR) PhD program is January 12 each year, for a September program start. Although the OUAC site is available until January 12, it is important to apply well in advance of this date to allow for time for all supporting documents to be submitted and uploaded.

Your application requires the agreement of a faculty member to review your file. You are advised to review the list of SOPR program faculty and identify a faculty member whose research interests align with your own. Carefully write a paragraph or two about the research you would like to carry out in your program that you can send to prospective faculty advisors. Contact the faculty member via email well ahead of the deadline (at least a month or two) to ask if they would be interested in working with you, and if so, to confirm that they will agree to be named in your application to the program.

It is recommended that you begin the remainder of your application process at least two weeks before the application deadline. Follow these steps to complete your application to the program:

Step 1: Identify a faculty advisor

The faculty member must have agreed to be named in your application.

Step 2: Complete the online application

Prospective graduate students must apply to the University of Guelph online, through the Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC). You will be required to submit the names of two academic referees at this stage. The application fee is $110.00.

Step 3: Submit required documents

Within five business days of completing your OUAC application, you will receive an email with instructions on how to upload your required documents to the SOPR program through the University of Guelph's online system, WebAdvisor. See the list of required documents below.

For more details on the application process, please visit the Graduate Studies website.

Information for international applicants


Required documents for the SOPR program

  • Transcripts — All post-secondary transcripts.
  • CV or resume — this should outline your previous work and education, as well as any relevant creative, collaborative, or volunteer activities, such as exhibitions or performances, grants, work with community organizations, and materials produced for non-academic audiences.
  • Statement of Research — A detailed description and rationale for your research interests and plans (up to three pages, single-spaced). This should discuss the following points:
    • Outline in some detail the proposed research area you plan to focus on in the program, including reference to any research that has been done on the topic.
    • Describe your critical perspective and indicate how your proposed research emerges from your previous activities, both academic and non-academic.
    • Explain why the Social Practice PhD (and any relevant collaborative specialization programs, e.g., Sexualities, Genders and Bodies or International Development) is a good fit for your research.
    • Name and justify your choice of advisor (note that the faculty advisor must have already agreed to be named in your application).
  • Supplementary Document — A statement explaining your capacity to engage with different people's perspectives and work across diverse institutional and community spaces (half a page, single-spaced).
  • Writing Sample — A sample of your scholarly work (approximately 25 pages), such as a chapter of your master's thesis or directed research project. If relevant, examples of prior work that connects to your research interest may be submitted. This could include policy, scholarly or community activities such as a report or creative project.
  • English Language Test — If your first language is not English, you will be required to submit the results of a standardized language test.
  • References — Two academic reference letters; an electronic referee assessment form will be sent directly to the referees listed in your online application. You are advised to confirm with your referees' availability and contact information prior to applying.
  • Optional: If you are an applicant who has been outside of academia for quite some time, or feel a professional reference would be an asset to your application, a letter of support from a non-academic referee can be sent from the referee directly to Alternatively, you may provide us with the referee's contact information so that we can schedule a short phone call with them to learn more about your skills and abilities.