Tips and Tricks

October Update for Graduate Students

October 06, 2015

We're looking forward to Convocation later this week! (Bill Nye will be speaking at convocation on Thursday at 2:30 pm, live webcast available.)

Awards and Funding

Ebco Eppich Scholarship Competition
The Ebco/Eppich Graduate Scholarships in Intelligent Systems are open to students registered in various departments, as long as their research projects are related to Intelligent Systems. The majority of students eligible for this award will be registered in Computing Science, Engineering Science, Mechatronics, Interactive Arts & Technology, Mathematics, Statistics, and Physics. Make sure that you apply to the Ebco Eppich Scholarship in your department via the online graduate award system by October 13. Awards will be paid in the Spring 2016 term.

Spring 2016 Private Award 'Mini' Competition

There are a few private awards that remain available for the Spring 2016 term. If you find an award that you are eligible for, please apply online by October 21. Make sure that you check the 'notes' section of the award list for specific instructions. (See also full list of all Private Awards for more eligibility information.)

TriCouncil Master's Program
The TriCouncil Master's program (CIHR/NSERC/SSHRC) provides $17,500 for 12 months to Canadian students. The award workshop will be on November 3, 2–4 pm, IRMACS Theatre, Burnaby campus.

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. Late applications possible.

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 has been extended to October 8, 2015; 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.

NSERC Doctoral Awards
Scholarships of $21,000–$35,000 per year for Canadian students. The deadline to submit your completed online application is October 15. Don't forget to submit your transcripts to the Grad Studies Office by October 7 and yes, you do need to include a current, official SFU transcript. 

SSHRC Doctoral Awards
Don't wait to start your SSHRC Doctoral application! The awards are worth $20,000–$35,000 per year.  The workshop for interested applicants is on October 7 in the Library Thesis Room #2020 from 10 am–12 noon. Be sure to RSVP. (Bonus reading: Tips for grads and postdocs applying for a SSHRC grant)

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.  

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

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 are starting to go up now.

DGS Project Assistant
We're looking for a graduate student to help us with an international recruitment policy project. Apply by October 13.

GSS Director Elections
The GSS elections will be announced on Wednesday, October 7. Directors will serve from January 1–December 31, 2016. There's a monthly stipend of $1150 for a minimum average of 50 hours per month. Three positions will be open:  

TA/TM Day Spring 2016 Workshop Leaders
The Teaching and Learning Centre invites experienced teaching assistants and tutor-markers to apply to lead workshops at the 20th Annual Spring TA/TM Day on January 8, 2016.

Researching the City
SFU Vancouver and SFU Public Square invites you to share your research at Researching the City. Small bursaries available to support Showcase presenters with the production of display materials. Apply by October 12.

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 12 noon 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
Many internships posted here: You can also set up your own internship, paid at $10–15k per term.

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) 
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 workshops for offer in October: 

Register for all APEX workshops on MyInvolvement. 

  • Résumé
    Friday, October 9, 10:00-12:00pm @ Burnaby campus
  • Online Presence
    Wednesday, October 14, 1:00–3:00pm @ Burnaby campus
    Wednesday, October 21, 10:00-11:50am @ Surrey Campus
  • CV Workshop
    Tuesday, Oct. 27, 1:30-3:30pm @ Burnaby campus
Show Me the Money!
Three new APEX sessions designed to help you understand the subtle differences in how you convey your ideas to a funding council, and giving you tips and strategies to help you land that coveted fellowship or award.
  • Persuasive Writing for Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM), October 9
  • Persuasive Writing for Social Sciences & Humanities, October 15
  • Proposal Writing Cafe, October 21
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 graduate students.

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.)

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. Upcoming workshops:

See list of all upcoming workshops & register (click on BC tab). Note that Mitacs workshops are open to graduated grad students for two years after graduation.

Also, you can attend any session that Mitacs offers in BC — not only the ones held at SFU! 

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.)


Vote on Campus This Week
In the upcoming federal election, you can vote for a candidate in your home riding at the Burnaby campus, October 5–8, 10 am–8 pm.

  • AQ SE Corner 3rd floor - Hallway
  • AQ 2004 - Indigenous Student Centre
  • WMX 2400 - Tim Horton's

For more information, and to learn how to register, visit Elections Canada.

See also: SFU Graduate Student Society Candidate Questions and Voter Information

President's Dream Colloquium on Traveling for Health
Travelling for Health colloquium
lectures take place every other Thursday through the fall.

President's Dream Colloquium on Engaging Big Data
Engaging Big Data applications now open for the Spring 2016 graduate course that goes with the free public lectures. Students in the course have private dinners with the speakers:

  • Sasha Issenberg, Author and Journalist
    Tuesday, January 12, 2016
  • Dr. Surajit ChaudhuriScientist and Managing Director of XCG (Microsoft Research) 
    Tuesday, January 19, 2016
  • Pat HanrahanProfessor at the Stanford Computer Graphics Laboratory, Cofounder and Chief Scientist of Tableau, Founding member of Pixar
    Wednesday, February 3, 2016
  • Sheelagh CarpendaleProfessor of Computing Science, University of Calgary; Canada Research Chair in Information Visualization
    Tuesday, February 23, 2016, 3:30pm, Surrey campus
  • Colin HillCEO of GNS Healthcare
    Tuesday, March 8, 2016
  • Chad Skelton, Award-winning Data Journalist and Consultant 
    Tuesday, March 22, 2016

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. (Sold out, but waitlist might be possible.)

Digital Humanities Summer Institute 2016
Applications for sponsored tuition scholarships now open.

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)

The Black Eagle Canoe
You are invited to Ust’am (Witness) the installment of Bill Reid’s Black Eagle Canoe on October 21, 1:30 pm.

Events around Vancouver


October Events at the GSS


Global Student Centre
The Global Student Centre, AQ 2013, hosts a broad range of social events, from Timbit Tuesdays to free movies to career services support.

Tips and Tricks

Flu Shots at SFU's campuses
Health and Counselling has arranged for flu shots at all SFU campuses on various dates from October 27–November 19. Vaccines cost $20/each, unless you qualify for a free vaccination.

CMNS Research Study
Amir H. Ghaseminejad, CMNS, is looking for survey participants on Variables Related to Citizen Engagement in Mediated Democratic Systems.

LGBT Network for Grad Students
A small group of grad students, with support from Out on Campus, the SFSS and the GSS, has created an LGBT email network for graduate students, faculty and staff at SFU.

Submissions Roundup

Thesis Defence Procedures
We've improved our web pages on Thesis Defence Procedures.

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.

Contest Roundup

Reading Roundup

Want More Academic Readings?
If you're planning a career in academia, you're eligible for a free subscription to University Affairs.

SFU's Official App
Built by students for students, SFU's Official App is the central hub for all things SFU, including class schedules and transit information.
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

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 4 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  

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.

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. 

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.


Culture Shock Videos
These videos from Columbia Business School are entertaining and may help you adapt to student life in Canada.

Indigenous Graduate Students

CFUW Aboriginal Women’s Award (pdf)
$10k–$25k for a Canadian Aboriginal woman with a bachelor's degree. Apply by November 1. (There is a $60 application fee.) 

West-coast drum-making workshop 
With Gary George, Friday October 9. Please RSVP. If you made a drum in Fall 2014, or Spring 2015, please let others have this opportunity.  This event is for current, First Nations, Métis and/or Inuit students and hosted by SFUs Indigenous Student Centre.

Missing & Murdered Indigenous Men: The Untold Story with UBC Professor Dr. Adam Jones
Given that indigenous men are murdered at more than twice the rate of that of indigenous women; and given that we don’t even know the statistics on missing cases (because no research funding has been directed toward such investigation), the current lack of attention to this cause is worrisome.


Graduate Students in the News

6 Tiny Cavers, 15 Odd Skeletons, and 1 Amazing New Species of Ancient Human
Marina Elliott interrupted her PhD in Archaeology to participate in a dig in South Africa — and the discoveries there led to headlines around the world. (She's since completed her PhD.)

NY Times: It’s My Nervous System That’s Lazy
Jessica Selinger, Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, saw her first-authored paper make the headlines

In Defense of my Year at SFU
Siobhan Doody's reflection on completing her master's degree in one very fast year — with survival tips!

Women in Tech: Taking Over the New Master of Digital Media Cohort
For the first time ever, women make up the majority of the Master of Digital Media student cohort.

Midwives Attuned to Needs of Pregnant Newcomers
Belen Febres-Cordero wrote an article on midwives and new immigrants.


Dates and 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.

Friday, October 30, 2015
Last day for a 50% refund of tuition for term withdrawals (and course drops for credit hour fee students). No refund of ancillary fees.

Monday, November 2, 2015

  • Tentative: Enrollment opens for Spring 2016 semester.
  • Western Canadian Deans Agreement deadline for applying to take transfer courses at other western Canadian universities is 4–6 weeks before the beginning of the next term (depends on destination university).

November 9–27, 2015
Work-study application period.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015     
Last day for graduate students to drop classes with WD on their transcripts

Wednesday, November 11, 2015    Remembrance Day. All classes cancelled and offices closed.

Monday, December 7, 2015
Classes end for Fall term. Last day for graduate students to drop classes under special procedures applicable in extenuating circumstances (WE on transcript).

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)