You're invited to free screenings of the PhD Comics movies at all three campuses.

Tips and Tricks

September Update for Graduate Students

September 08, 2015

Welcome back — and happy 50th birthday to SFU! Look for free cake on all three campuses on September 9.

Awards and Funding

Grad Student Society Grants
Professional Development Grants
: Apply by November 2 2015 for travel occurring between December 1, 2015 and March 31 2016. Mark your calendar for other GSS bursaries:

  • Benefit Plan Bursary, October 13
  • Family Subsidy, October 13

TSSU Member Childcare Bursary
For TSSU members with children.

NSERC Workshops
Representatives from NSERC will be on campus on Thursday, September 10, 2:30–5 pm, LIB 2020 (Thesis Defence Room). 

  • 2:30–3:15 pm: Postdoctoral Awards Presentation
  • 3:30–5 pm Doctoral Level Awards Presentation

CGS-Michael Smith Foreign Travel Supplement
Looking to fund your research travel? If you hold a CGS award, you may be eligible for a CGS-MSFSS. The application deadline is September 22, 2015, and you will need to drop your hard copy application to the Graduate Studies Office. For eligibility and application process visit the CGS-MSFSS Program Page.

CIHR Doctoral Awards
Be sure to have your application submitted by October 1, 2015, on ResearchNet for the Canadian Institutes of Health Doctoral Research Awards. (CIHR webinars will be held on September 8, 9 and 10)

NSERC and SSHRC Doctoral Awards
Scholarships of $21,000–$35,000 per year for Canadian students. Visit our TriCouncil Doctoral page for more information including workshop dates and internal deadlines.

Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarships
Valued at $60,000 per year for up to 4 years, and open to international students, this prestigious scholarship competition opens on October 6 on the Trudeau Foundation site. Be prepared by reading last year’s eligibility criteria to see if you can apply. We will update our External Awards webpage once the Foundation provides us with our deadlines.

Award Payments
If you have been offered a graduate award for Fall 2015, don't forget to accept your award online on the GA3, SFU's Graduate Awards system:

Graduate awards are paid into your SFU account and will go towards tuition and fees owing at the time of payment. Remaining funds can be transferred to your bank account if you have signed up for direct deposit.

Our website provides more details about setting up direct deposit, including useful tips and videos. See our website for the Fall 2015 graduate award payment schedule.

SSHRC Writing Group
Graduate students Scott Neufeld (Psychology) and Mina Sedaghatjou (Education) have started a series of six peer-support based, graduate student facilitated workshops for graduate students working on their doctoral and postdoc SSHRC applications to come together.   

SFU Bursaries
SFU Financial Aid's Bursary application period is August 31–September 18.

SFU Staff Achievement Awards
Nominate an SFU staffer or team who has gone above and beyond the call of duty for grad students! Nominations due by September 21.

SFU Community Engagement Initiative
Up to $10k for the development of innovative projects that build new or deeper mutually beneficial partnerships with SFU’s communities. Proposals due by September 25.

SFU International Engagement Fund
The International Engagement Fund is intended as seed money to initiate and support international collaborative programming and research. Up to $10k funded, proposals due by October 2.

External Awards

External Awards with no deadlines 

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

See our Fall Awards Timeline page.



Job and Volunteer Postings

PhD students for Semester in Dialogue
The SFU Semester in Dialogue would like to hire two PhD students from any faculty for Spring 2016. Theme is Semester in Experimental Futures. Pay is $5,500 plus 8% benefits. Apply by September 10.

TA/TM/Sessional Job Postings
The Graduate Studies website hosts the central job posting system for all TA/TM/Sessional jobs at SFU.  Jobs for the spring term will start going up shortly, with the majority to be posted in October.

SFU Temp Pool and Student Temp Pool
SFU's Temp Pool and Student Temp Pool provide employment opportunities for SFU students. See also all SFU job postings, updated every Tuesday and Thursday.

Indigenous Student Centre Tutors
Undergrads can request tutors as needed. Fill out the Application to Tutor form to add yourself to the available tutors database. Rate is $25–$35 an hour depending on qualifications.

The Peak
Do you like to write? Take photos? Illustrate? The Peak is always looking for new contributors — and they pay, too. Contact or join a weekly meetings on Wednesdays at 1 pm in MBC 2900. Something you want to see covered in the paper? Send your tips to

Jobs Roundup

Mitacs Jobs
Job postings at Mitacs, specifically Business Development Specialists, all across Canada. PhD required.

Mitacs Accelerate Paid Internships

SFU Student Ambassador Program
SFU's Student Ambassador Program is open for applications from students. Ambassadors get a few perks in return for short-term volunteer work.


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

Advanced Professional Engagement and eXploration (APEX) Professional Development Program
Wondering how to build skills in research, communication, or writing? Thinking about your transition after grad school? Wondering what you should put on your resume? Check out the APEX Calendar

APEX Certificate Program
Thinking about your career? Not sure how to approach potential employers or build your network? Trying to understand how the skills and knowledge you're building in grad school will translate in the professional world? Come to an info session and learn how the APEX program can help. This program is free for grad students — Register for an info session.

Visual Analytics 101
Vancouver Institute for Visual Analytics offers 7-week workshops at SFU Burnaby and Surrey and at UBC. Fee is $25. Register by September 25.

Career Brown Bag: Creating Your Own Success Through Entrepreneurship
September 23, 12–1:30 pm, Burnaby Campus
Learn insights and tricks on how to launch the business of you. For more info and to register go to this link.   

Biotech and Business MBB Course
SFU's Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry is offering MBB 400/700, a one credit course that gives you a taste and introduction to biotechnology and business.

Research Commons Space & Workshops 
The Research Commons is a spacious 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.)

Next Up Leadership Program
Next Up runs free programs for young (18–32) progressive leaders committed to social and environmental justice. Applications due by September 15.

SFU Passport to Leadership
Registration is now open on for leadership, personal and professional development programs at SFU in Fall 2015. Cost is $75.

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.

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.

You can attend any session that Mitacs offers in BC — not only the ones held at SFU! Stay tuned for announcements of upcoming fall workshops!

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

SFU Educator Talks
Both a learning experience and a social gathering, SFU Educator Talks will celebrate innovative teaching and bring educators together for a informal night of learning, fun and networking. Volunteers welcome!

SFU Scientific Programming Study Group
Weekly meetings for peer-facilitated study-sessions on topics from Python for DNA sequence analysis, plotting and statistical analysis of environmental data in R, automating repetitive tasks with the shell, general best practices in coding, using tools such as Git and Github to collaborate effectively with others, and much much more.

SFU 50th Anniversary

Events around Campus
(See even more listings)

Events around Vancouver


PhD Comics Movies
(see interview in Science Magazine)

  • Burnaby: Tuesday, September 22, 6–8:30 pm, Images Theatre (reserve here)
  • Surrey: Wednesday, September 23, 5–6:30 pm, SUR 2600 (reserve here)
  • Burnaby: Wednesday, September 30, 6–7:30 pm: Images Theatre (reserve here)
  • Vancouver: Friday, October 2, 7–8:30 pm, HC 1900 (reserve here)




September Events at the GSS

  • September 8–11, free pastries and coffee in the GSS Lounge (free coffee and tea available almost every day)
  • September 9–10, Forms Help and GSS open house
  • September 11, TA/TM Day and social at the Highland Pub
  • September 16: Mixer in GSS Lounge, 3–4 pm
  • September 18: GSS Talent Show

The GSS has also arranged for grad student discounted tickets for the BC Lions October 10 football game.

Federal Election Questions
In September, the GSS will ask candidates in ridings with an SFU campus to respond to questions. We will ask candidates to share their views on issues identified as relevant by our members. Please let the GSS know your questions.


Tips and Tricks

Bouncing Back as a Graduate Student: Building Resilience and Supporting Your Well-being
Free SFU Canvas course: Learn about strategies, tools and resources for supporting your well-being and resilience as an SFU graduate student.

Library Tip
Did you know you can check your library account and renew items in SFU Connect?



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.)

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

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.

Free Movie Streaming
If you need a break, the SFU Library offers thousands of movies for free streaming, from Amadeus and Austin Powers to Scooby Doo and X-Men.

SFU PhD Students Group
New Facebook group just for PhD students.

SFU's Strategic Research Plan
The VP Research is looking for feedback from graduate students on SFU's Strategic Research Plan for 2016–2020.

Call for Submission

Contest Roundup

Reading Roundup
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.




Graduate Student Business Cards
SFU graduate students are able to order business cards through SFU Document Solutions. The cost is $35 for 100 cards.


International Graduate Students

International Mentorship Program
You may request a mentor from the International Mentorship Program for social and cultural support.

Lengthy Processing Times at CIC. Plan Ahead to Apply for or Renew your Immigration Documents
Processing times for work permit applications/extensions made from inside Canada are currently almost 3 1/2 months.

If you need to apply for or renew your co-op work permit, we recommend you begin the process earlier. If you have recently applied to renew your study/work permits or applied for a post-graduate work permit, you may find yourself in implied status. If you have questions or need clarification, please speak with one of SFU's International Student Advisors/Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants  

Fall 2015 International Teaching Assistant Seminar
Free intensive 10 week seminar beginning at the end of September. The ITA Program has opened registrations for international and EAL/ESL graduate students and TAs who wish to enhance their academic communication and teaching skills.

EAL/ESL Support Services for Students
If English is not your first language and you would like to improve your written and spoken proficiency, the SFU Library (Student Learning Commons/Research Commons) offers a number of free support services.

Social Insurance Number
New international employees will need a Social Insurance Number to get paid. Find out how.

Medical Insurance Reminder for New International Graduate Students
New to SFU this Fall? Pick up your Guard Me card from International Services for Students (MBC 1200). See and 

Travel Tips
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.

New Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
Canada has a new entry requirement ( eTA ) for foreigners travelling to Canada by air. This entry requirement will become mandatory on March 15, 2016

Find out if you need an eTA and how to get one now. Upon approval, the eTA is valid for five years or the expiry date of your passport whichever comes first.   If you are a U.S. citizen or you currently hold a valid Temporary Resident Visa (entry visa), you will be exempt from this new eTA entry requirement. 

BC Provincial Nominee Program Updates
The BC PNP has received more applications for Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC than it has nominations for 2015. Effective September 1, 2015, new applications will no longer be accepted for the majority of BC PNP Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC categories. The BC PNP will re-open in early 2016. Stay tuned at

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

Graduate Student Sweat Lodge, September 19 (TENTATIVE)
Fire starts at 9 am-ish and sweat begins at 12 noon-ish

Graduate Panel: The Dos, Don'ts and Musts of Graduate School, September 23
3–4:15 pm, Room 7200 WAC Bennett Library
Opening:  SFU Elder Margaret George (Tsleil-Waututh Nation)

Drum Making with Gary George, September 30
Graduate Student Society Room, 12 noon–3 pm


Graduate Students in the News

Must be the season of the itch
Nathan Derstine
, master's student in Biology, was interviewed in the Province.

SFU student eyes app that will allow people to diagnose their own heart conditions
Alexandre Laurin, PhD in Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, was profiled in the Vancouver Sun.

Helping those living with HIV/AIDS
Oghenowede Eyawo
was profiled on the SFU Alumni Appreciation website

Creative Publics art project aims to inspire young voters in Vancouver
Tara Mahoney, PhD student in Communication, was profiled in the Georgia Straight

SFU study finds fat accumulation in human skeletal muscles concerning
Hadi Rahemi's research as a PhD student in Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology was profiled by SFU News.


Dates and Deadlines

Friday, September 11, 2015    

Monday, September 14, 2015    
4:30pm Deadline for submitting a U-Pass BC exemption request for Fall 2015.

Friday, September 18, 2015    
End of Bursary application period (bursaries are awarded based on financial need; international students are eligible)

Monday, September 21, 2015   

  • Last date to opt out or change your coverage in the Graduate Health Plan (see for details).
  • Last day for graduate students to enroll through self-service (late enrollment deadline)
  • Last day to drop with 100% refund of tuition. For refunds on U-Passes, please refer to the U-Pass website.
  • Last day to change from credit to audit grade basis.
  • Tuition and fees are due and payable.  Every month after this date, a 2% penalty will be calculated and posted to your student account.

Monday, September 28, 2015    
Last day to drop with no notation on transcript

Wednesday, September 30, 2015    

  • Last day to drop with 75% refund of tuition. No refund of ancillary fees.
  • Last day for receipt of grades deferred from the summer term.
  • Only applicable to new international students: Last day to opt out of Guard.Me@SFU (see medical insurance deadlines)

Thursday–Friday, October 8–9, 2015   
Convocation for students who completed in Summer 2015. See for more information.

Monday, October 12, 2015    
Thanksgiving Day. University closed.

More dates and deadlines

Health plan deadlines

Degree Completion this Term?
If you think you will be completing your degree this term, please go ahead and Apply to Graduate.

It doesn't cost any anything for you to apply, and if you don't complete your degree requirements, we just cancel the application, and you can re-apply in the future.

(It's much trickier to add you to the graduation list after the graduation application deadline.)


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