Photo of Kagbeni, Mustang, Nepal, by Bicram Rijal. (Click on the photo to find out more about how he and other grad students have been affected by the Nepal earthquake.)

Tips and Tricks

May Update for Graduate Students

May 04, 2015

Monthly email update sent to all SFU graduate students — and congratulations to all of our graduating students this spring! 
(If you are graduating and plan to convocate, we take thousands of photos at every convocation.)

Awards and Funding

SFU Private Awards 2015 Competition
Due in large part to the generosity of our donors, Simon Fraser University can offer over $1 million in private or endowed awards to our graduate students. Check the list of private awards (pdf) for the scholarships available.

  • Make sure that you review the Terms of Reference for your chosen awards carefully as this will indicate the eligibility criteria and the list of documents required with your online application.
  • June 1 is normally the deadline to submit your application online on the new Graduate Awards, Application and Adjudication system (GA3). Check GA3 to see if your department has set an earlier application deadline date. If you cannot find an award on GA3, then that award may not be available this year, or your department may not have opened up the competition to their students. Make sure that you apply to the correct Department or your application may not be considered.
  • GA3 tip: Add "Dean of Graduate Studies" or "Centre" as a department in your search to see awards that are available university-wide.
  • Questions should be directed to your graduate program assistant (if it's a department-specific award) or to

Grad Student Society Grants
Professional Development Grants
 for travel occurring between August 1 and November 30, apply by July 2.

External Awards

External Awards with no deadlines 

  • Youth Education Assistance Fund, for young adults who have spent time in the care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development or a delegated Aboriginal agency (See also Youth Education Bursary)
  • Mitacs Globalink Research Award, up to $5k for study in Brazil, mainland China, India, Mexico, Turkey or Vietnam. No application deadline, but Mitacs recommends applicants submit applications by June 12, 2015, for projects starting in September 2015 (fall term).

Awards Timelines 
We recommend scanning ahead because it takes time to prepare your awards applications and request letters of recommendation. 

See our Awards Timeline page.



Job and Volunteer Postings

GSS Mini School
The GSS Mini School is an opportunity for graduate students to teach any topic of their choosing and get paid for it. Some ideas: French, photography, drawing, improv, and anything you are skilled at doing and would like to share. Apply soon for summer courses; there will be another call for proposals for the Fall.

SFU Residences
Residences is hiring a Student Communications & Marketing Assistant.

SFSS Accessibility Review Project
Project worker for summer term, $14.65/hour for up to 192 hours. Apply by May 8.

TA/TM/Sessional Job Postings
The Graduate Studies website hosts the central job posting system for all TA/TM/Sessional jobs at SFU. Postings for the fall term will start going up shortly and will continue through July.

SFU Student Temp Pool
SFU's Student Temporary Pool provides employment opportunities for qualified SFU students registered in credit courses in the semester of employment.

SFU Dining Services
Dining Services is looking for part-time staff (does not have to be a student; could be good for partners/spouses looking for work on campus.)

Textbook Reviewers
BCcampus is looking for grad student TAs to write reviews of open textbooks. Honorarium $250.

Mitacs Accelerate Paid Internships


Student Jobs 
Many student jobs come up with very short notice, so we only have enough time to post them to the graduate students' facebook group.  

Professional Development

APEX Certificate (Professional Development Program)
Last chance to join APEX during the summer semester! Come to the info session on Tuesday, May 12 at 11 am to find out if this program is a good fit for you. Register here:

The summer cohort session will begin on Friday, June 5th from 12:30-3:30 pm at Harbour Centre. All other sessions take place at a  time/campus convenient for most participants. Need more information? Contact Sue Hampton at

APEX Knowledge Translation Series 
This workshop series is designed to help graduate students translate their work and their research to diverse audiences. The next sessions takes place on Tuesday, May 5, and Thursday, June 4, and there are monthly drop-ins to practice your presentation skills. 

Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning
Are you a graduate student intending to apply for a teaching position? This 4-month certificate may give you an advantage. Apply by May 22 for September workshop. (Prerequisite course may be taken in August.)

Research Commons Space & Workshops 
The Research Commons is a spacious and airy working area in the Bennett Library (7th floor), where graduate students can work on their research and writing in the company of other graduate students. (Link for door code.)

They run drop-in writing labs and other programs aimed at getting you through the thesis finish line. 

Mitacs Step Workshops 
Mitacs workshops are in high demand among all disciplines. They are free one and two-day professional development workshops for grad students and postdoctoral fellows, fully catered.

You can attend any session that Mitacs offers in BC (not only the ones held at SFU!). Coming to SFU this summer: 

See list of all upcoming workshops & register here (click on BC tab). Unlinked courses listed above will be posted to the Mitacs website shortly. We'll send out alerts on Facebook and Twitter (see bottom of this email for links). Note that Mitacs workshops are open to graduated grad students for two years after graduation

Related story: "Mitacs Step helps SFU postdoc land new position."

SFU Postdoctoral Research Day: An Exhibition of Research Excellence
May 20, 2015 , 8:30 am–6 pm IRMACS Theatre and Atrium, ASB 10900, Burnaby campus.

SFU's Postdoctoral Fellows Association (PDA) invites graduate students and other members of the research community to this full day conference highlighting the work of SFU's postdoctoral fellows, as well as keynote speakers on career directions for postdoctoral fellows. Event is free and meals are provided but registration is required.

Visual Analytics Workshops
For SFU and UBC students, starts May 11.

New Ventures BC
High Tech Entrepreneurship competition with free workshops for students, which are also live webcast and recorded.

Support over Suicide / Students in Distress
Free workshops for students in leadership roles from Health and Counselling Services, Harbour Centre, June 22 in Burnaby and July 17 in Vancouver.

Making Sense of Climate Science Denial
Free MOOC on the science of climate science denial, from the University of Queensland.


APEX Professional Development Calendar  
A full list of all professional development opportunities is updated regularly on our website. You can also add it to your personal SFU Connect calendar. Instructions are at the bottom of the page.



President's Dream Colloquium on Traveling for Health, Fall 2015
Through this colloquium, we seek to challenge participants’ understanding of what forms travel for health is taking and what impacts medical tourism is having both within Canada and internationally.

Applications are now open for this interdisciplinary colloquium graduate course and free public lecture series — all disciplines welcome. More course information.

President's Dream Colloquium Lectures

Northern Studies Conference
ACUNS has opened their call for papers for their student conference, due by May 31.

Events around Campus 

Events around Vancouver

Google for Education webconference
Free online conference, May 8–9. Will give you some fresh perspectives on your teaching practices. (Nerd alert: LeVar Burton is one of the keynote speakers, on "Inspiring Learners with the power of storytelling.")


Discounted Playland Tickets
The GSS has arranged for group sales for graduate students so that you can order cheaper tickets for Playland and the PNE.





SUPERvisor Shoutouts
Thanks to all the graduate students who told us about their wonderful SUPERvisors!

Tips and Tricks


Confirmation of Enrollment Request
If you need a confirmation of enrollment letter, you can do it yourself through GoSFU.

Locker Rentals
SFU Recreation will open up locker rentals for the summer on May 11 for lockers in the gym and around the Burnaby campus. (While you're in that area, SFU Rec staff give free gym tours all year round.)

Open Access Fund
If you're publishing in an Open Access journal, the SFU Library has an Open Access Fund that graduate students can access.

SFU Families
New Facebook group just started to connect grad students with families to each other.

Get Your Own SFU website
SFU graduate students can get their own personal websites under (also available to clubs and research groups). It will be under SFU's easy-to-learn content management system.

Off Campus and Wireless Access to the SFU Library
Bookmarklet to help you get access when you're not on campus.

Refworks Migration to US Servers
As of June 2015, the Canadian version of RefWorks will cease to exist, because the Canadian server that hosts RefWorks is no longer available. This change affects the privacy of your personal information.  If you use RefWorks after June 2015, your data will be stored on US servers. Please note: If you are an instructor at SFU, you must not mandate the use of RefWorks in your classes after the migration date.  

For Movie Lovers
The Criterion on Demand collection at the SFU Library has been renewed: 2,928 movies from Alvin and the Chipmunks to Amadeus to X-Men and more.

For Persian Book-Lovers
About 1000 great Persian books on literature, history, religion, politics and novels have been recently added to SFU Bennett Library. To browse each donated collection, go to the SFU library home page and in the "Catalogue Search" enter these 3 sentences:
1-Gift of Mrs. Lami Nassirpour
2-Gift of Mrs. Shabnam Razavi Eskandani
3-Gift of Dr. Monir Taha
Thanks to Mahsa Gharibi for this tip!

Deliberate: The Experiences of Women of Colo(u)r Graduate Students 
Call for contributions to a print anthology, due June 15.

Contest Roundup

Reading Roundup



Free Microsoft Office
All SFU students can install Microsoft Office for free.

(Adobe Creative Suite is also available for university-owned computers — could work for labs.)
Free Access to
All members of the SFU community have free access to through the SFU Library.

It's a great way to pick up new skills in everything from presentation skills to Photoshop to Excel to street photography and far more.


International Graduate Students

New Immigration Regulations for International Students (came into effect on June 1, 2014) and Enrollment Reporting Requirements
CIC regulatory changes require you to actively pursue your studies while at SFU and allow full-time international students enrolled at SFU in certain eligible programs to work part time off campus and full time during scheduled school breaks without a work permit. 

  • SFU is required to report on the enrollment status of international students twice a year. 
  • To help you understand the immigration requirements that you must meet to comply with the conditions of your study permit, refer to the SFU definitions for immigration purposes.
  • Questions? Contact Carolyn Hanna at

Post-Graduate Work Permits
Completing your degree? See these tips on applying for a Post-Graduate Work Permit and information about the new open work permit fee. See also: Instructions on how to obtain a Completion of Degree Requirements letter.

Travel Tips
Travelling outside of Canada? Make sure that your immigration documents are valid. You already know that you will need to plan ahead for travelling home or abroad for conferences or study opportunities. We've put together a few tips and resources to help you out. 

Inviting your Family to Convocation
If you will be inviting family or friends to visit you in Canada for convocation, check out some of the  frequently-asked questions about the process.

International Teaching Assistants Seminar
A free, 10-week intensive course to help international students improve both their teaching and their intercultural communication skills. Upcoming dates in May and September.

EAL/ESL Support Services for Graduate Students
If English is not your first language and you would like to improve your written and spoken proficiency, we've put together a roundup of free support services available at SFU.

New students: If you have any questions about getting settled in Vancouver or at SFU, you are welcome to contact Carolyn Hanna, our International Graduate Coordinator, at or drop by the Maggie Benston Centre, Room 1500.


Indigenous Graduate Students

New Relationship Trust Awards
Offering $10k (Master's) and $20k (Doctoral) scholarships for Indigenous students.  

Institute of Aboriginal Peoples' Health National Gathering of Graduate Students
Call for papers now open until May 13.

Spring Feast
Please join Rupert Richardson on Thursday, May 28, 4:30–7 pm (food will be ready for 5) in the Indigenous Students Centre, Burnaby campus. Free event, RSVP to

Annual SFU/UBC Indigenous Graduate Conference
This annual event will be held at UBC next spring, and they are currently looking for graduate students who would like to be on the planning committee. Email


Graduate Students in the News

Reese Muntean

snəw̓eyəɬ (teachings)
If you're walking through Waterfront Station on the Canada Line, you'll see SIAT graduate student Reese Muntean's photographs in the installation called "snəw̓eyəɬ (teachings)" that documents salmon processing and smoking on the Musqueam Indian Reserve.

SFU Grad Students Win National Code Competition
Congratulations to Jonathan Bhaskar, Jasneet Sabharwal, Maryam Siahbani and Bradley Ellert for winning the prize for Best Student Team in the Canadian Open Data hackathon! (They got a tweet from Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board of Canada.

Indigenous teahouse opens in Vancouver
Grad student Michelle Nahanee is a partner in the  Capilano Herbal Apothecary.

NSERC Science, Action Finalists
Congratulations to Allison Cornell and Michael Hrabar for making it to the finals in NSERC's first video contest.


Dates and Deadlines

Monday, May 11, 2015     
Summer semester classes begin.

Friday, May 15, 2015     
Last date to opt out or change your coverage in the Graduate Health Plan (only if you started school in May).

Monday, May 18, 2015     
Victoria Day. All classes are cancelled and offices are closed.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015     
Deadline for submitting a U-Pass BC Exemption request for Summer 2015. Requests must be submitted by 4:30pm PST. (Note: Students taking a course at UBC under the Western Deans' Agreement will be charged for two U-Passes BC if they don't submit an exemption request.)

Friday, May 22, 2015     
End of Bursary application period (bursaries are awarded based on financial need; international students are eligible)

Monday, May 25, 2015    

  • Last day for graduate students to enroll through self-service (late enrollment deadline)
  • Last day to drop with 100% refund of tuition and ancillary fees. If you were eligible for the May U-Pass BC, there is no refund of the May U-Pass BC but you will be refunded for the June-August U-Pass BC. 
  • Last day to change from credit to audit grade basis.
  • Grad tuition and fees are due and payable. Every month after this date, a 2% penalty will be calculated and posted to your student account.

Friday, May 29, 2015    

  • Last day for receipt of grades deferred from the Spring term.
  • Early Completion submission deadline of Thesis, must be submitted by 4 pm PST.

Saturday, May 30, 2015
Only applicable to new international students: Last day to opt out of Guard.Me@SFU for full refund (see medical insurance deadlines)

More dates and deadlines:



Grad Students Facebook Group 
Advice and support, movies, free food — plus last-minute job postings and awards alerts: 
(SFU email ID required to join)

If you'd like to help us welcome the incoming graduate students over the summer, we have another group just for the new students.