Travel and Research Awards

The Graduate International Research Travel Award provides support to master's and PhD students who must travel in order to undertake research for their degree requirements. The award is valued to a maximum of $6,250 and is tenable only in the term in which the travel is occurring.

Interested applicants should read the Terms of Reference to ensure they are eligible.

Eligible students apply using the Graduate (International) Research Travel Award form and submit all required documentation to their department of enrollment.

Departments are required to submit the top two ranked applications to the Dean of Graduate Studies in February. The Senate Graduate Awards Adjudication Committee (SGAAC) makes the final decision on award amounts.

Terms of Reference

This scholarship is awarded to graduate students who must travel to undertake research required for their program of study.

  1. The Graduate [International] Research Travel Award is valued up to a maximum of $6,250 and is tenable in the Summer, Fall or Spring term. The duration of the research trip must be a minimum of one month to a maximum of four consecutive months. The award value will be prorated depending on the duration of the research trip and its location.
  2. To be eligible to hold this award, a student must be registered as a full-time, regular (not “on-leave” or “part-time”) student in good standing in a master’s or doctoral program in the term in which the award is held.
  3. Master’s students must be intending to complete a project or thesis that will be deposited in the SFU Library/Summit and hold the award within two years of beginning their degree program.
    Doctoral students must hold the award within three years of beginning their degree program.
    These times may be extended for students who have taken approved ‘on-leave’ semesters for medical or maternity reasons.
  4. The following categories of activity are typical of those that will be supported:
    1. research where travel to informants is necessary (e.g. ethnographic research);
    2. research that requires travel to natural phenomena (e.g. species, ecosystems, landforms);
    3. research where travel to cultural phenomena (e.g. archives, artifacts) is necessary;
    4. research that requires the student to use facilities not available in Western Canada or the Northwestern USA (e.g. scientific equipment; reference collections).
  5. The following categories of activities will not be supported:
    1. instructional activity (courses, field schools, training programs);
    2. research to be conducted in Northern Canada, the Northwest Territories or the Yukon. Funding for research projects in the North is available through the federally funded Northern Studies Training Program (NSTP) and through NSERC.
    3. conferences, seminars, working groups, etc.;
    4. travel to paid employment (co-op terms, internships, research assistantships, etc.).
  6. Students are eligible to hold no more than one Graduate [International] Research Travel Award during their degree program.
  7. Recipients of a Graduate Research Travel Award may accept other scholarship support from external sources and/or from awards administered by SFU with the exception of the Michael Smith Foreign Travel Supplement. Students cannot hold the MSFSS and GIRTA during the same travel period.
  8. Application is made on the Application for a Graduate Research Travel Award form and must be accompanied by:
    1. a current, unofficial SFU transcript AND a copy of the transcript from the institution from which the applicant obtained their most recent degree;
    2. a list of scholarly contributions (publications, conference papers, etc.) and graduate awards received;
    3. a statement of the research to be conducted, including description of research, relevance, contribution to the student’s development as a researcher, and justification for travel (maximum two pages);
    4. a letter of support from the senior supervisor, indicating the relevance of travel to the research and confirming that they do not hold a research grant that could support the travel;
    5. completion of the one-page budget summary form, including dates of travel, travel costs, accommodation, and living expenses. (It is not necessary for these costs to equal or exceed the value of the award.)
  9. The completed application and all supporting documentation must be received by the Graduate Program Chair in the applicant’s department of enrollment by the deadline specified by the department.
  10. Awards are made by the Senate Graduate Awards Adjudication Committee after a University-wide competition in which the departmental recommendations are considered.
    Awards will be adjudicated on the following criteria:
    1. academic ability, based on transcripts and scholarly contributions;
    2. the research proposal;
    3. justification for travel and contribution of travel to the development of the student as a researcher.

Revised: April 2014


  1. Eligible students must apply on the application form provided.
  2. Students must submit the application form, budget summary form and all the supporting documentation required directly to their program by the internal deadline established by their Graduate Program Chair. Please contact your Graduate Secretary/Program for further information.
  3. Each graduate program will forward to the Office of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Fellows a ranked list of applicants. 
  4. Applications will be adjudicated by graduate programs and the Senate Graduate Awards Adjudication Committee (SGAAC) based on the following award criteria:
    (i) academic ability, based on transcripts and scholarly contributions;  
    (ii) the research proposal;  
    (iii) justification for travel, and contribution of travel to the development of the student as a researcher. 

Eligibility criteria  
Eligibility criteria for this award are outlined in the Terms of Reference. Please remember to sign and date Part A of application. Please note that incomplete applications will be rejected.

Timing of Award and Accountability
This scholarship is intended to support students while working on their degree requirements. Therefore, recipients of the award do not need to account for travel expenses.

However, recipients must conform to the following requirements: 

  • Awards are available for travel that begins in either the fall, spring or summer semester. 
  • Students will be required to submit a short report of their activities to the Office of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Fellows after the travel has been completed. Failure to do so will result in a reduction of awards made to the student’s program in future. 
  • Awards will be disbursed through the SFU Student Account (SIMS) approximately two weeks before the travel date. Any indebtedness to the University will be subtracted from the award value.