Tips and Tricks

November Update for Graduate Students

November 06, 2015

Only a few more weeks in the fall term — hope it's going well for you! Don't forget that the university is closed on November 11 for Remembrance Day.

Awards and Funding

TriCouncil CGS Master's Program (CGSM)
The Canada Graduate Scholarship Master's Program (CGSM) is worth $17,500/year to top Canadian students. Application deadline: December 1.

GSS Professional Development Grants
Apply by January 6, 2016
, for travel occurring between February 1 and May 31 2016.

Graduate Student Society Open Access Award
Supports graduate students who have published work in gold open access journals. Up to 6 awards of $125 each. Apply by November 13.

Graduate Studies Excellence Awards
We want to know about your amazing graduate supervisors, leaders and staff! Awards nominations now open.

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.


Bonus tip: Keep a running list of awards that you can apply for in your personal calendar. Even if you've missed this year's deadline, it will probably come up again next year and then you'll have more time to get your application in.



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.  Many jobs for the spring term have been posted.

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.

Natural Resources Canada Info Session
Natural Resources Canada is seeking to recruit talented policy analysts through its Policy Analyst Recruitment and Development Program. Eligible applicants must have completed their graduate degrees by December 31, 2016. Fields of study include: Economics, Statistics, Sociology, Public Administration, Resource Management/Environmental Studies, International Relations, or other related disciplines. Info session on November 19, 5:30–6:30 pm, Blusson Hall 10011. Please register for the info session on Symplicity ( > Events > Employer/Org Info Sessions.

Jobs Roundup

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 Volunteers
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? APEX is here for you.  

Online Presence: November 13, 1:30–3:30 pm, Harbour Centre (room 1315)
Deanne Esdale of SFU's Career Services will walk you through what kinds of content to share about yourself and your work in order to enhance your connections, and to position yourself to be responsive and effective with potential employers and funders. Register for all APEX workshops on MyInvolvement.

Teaching Dossiers for Graduate Students: November 17, 9:30 am–12:30 pm
Daria Ahrensmeier and Sarah Louise Turner, Educational Consultants from SFU's Teaching and Learning Centre will guide participants through the components of a teaching dossier, review examples, discuss commonalities and differences across the disciplines and help them get started in their work on their own dossiers. More info and reservations.

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.)

Thesis Boot Camp Registrations Open
Three days, December 1–3 at the SFU Library, Burnaby campus, to do nothing but focus on your thesis. $40 includes writing and research support, lunch and a lot of caffeine.

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.)


Banting Postdocs Presentation Day
This year, SFU welcomed five new Banting Postdoctoral Fellows, and you are invited to hear the recipients present their award winning research and share their tips about the Banting application process, Wednesday, November 25, 10–12:30 pm.

Medical Outlaws or Medical Refugees? Medical Tourism for Services Illegal in a Patient's Home Country
November 26, 7 pm. The final free public lecture in the President's Dream Colloquium on Traveling for Health will discuss ‘circumvention tourism’, which may include travelling for abortion, female genital cutting (FGC), assisted suicide, and reproductive technology usage.

President's Dream Colloquium on Engaging Big Data
Engaging Big Data course applications now open for Spring 2016 — a handful of spaces are still available for graduate students.  

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.

United Way Book and Bake Sales
Cheap books and sweet treats. Volunteers welcome.

  • Burnaby, November 17–19
  • Vancouver, November 19
  • Surrey, December 3

SFU 50th Anniversary

Events around Campus (See even more listings)

Events around Vancouver


November 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

Leaves for Graduate Students
Two significant regulation changes for graduate student leaves will begin in Spring 2016:

  • graduate students in a per unit fee program will need to be continuously enrolled unless they have been granted a leave of absence (nothing has changed for graduate students in per-term fee programs)
  • two new categories of leave have been created (personal leave, academic break) and the leave of absence fee has been eliminated for all types of leave

For more details on these changes, please read Graduate General Regulations 1.4.3 and 1.8.4 and see more details and forms at our website.

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

Zipcar Promo for Grad Students
$20 memberships and the first 30 people who sign up will get a free hour of driving time.

Social Media Study needs Volunteers
Free donuts for volunteers for Anna Ndegwa's thesis research.

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?

All the Microwaves on Campus
Need a hot lunch? Find free microwaves at the Burnaby, Surrey and Vancouver campuses.

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.

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.

Lockable Study/Writing Rooms
If you have completed most of your degree and need a private room for writing your thesis, you can request a lockable study room in the SFU Library, Burnaby campus. Applications due by November 30.


Holiday Hampers for Grad Students with Families
If you are a graduate student with one or more dependents and you are in financial need, you may be eligible to receive a holiday hamper this holiday season.

Alternatively, you can also sign up as a donor and help a family in need.

Please register before 4 pm on November 23


GSS Elections (including UPass Referendum)
More information and the referendum question on the GSS website.


Graduate Student Websites
If you'd like an SFU-based website, please send an email request to This offer is probably most useful to PhD students in your early years at SFU because you'll want to move your website to your own domain eventually.



International Graduate Students

Post-Graduate Work Permit
Completing this term? See these tips on applying for a Post-Graduate Work Permit

Health Insurance
If you started your graduate program in September, you may have recently received MSP coverage. If so, don't forget to opt out of the Guard Me plan. See this link for instructions. 

Note: if you are eligible to apply for partial reimbursement (if you have not made a claim and there is more than 1 month of coverage remaining), you must opt out online before December 1. See this link for more details

Winter Break Travel Tips
Processing times for temporary resident (entry) visas may increase at peak travel times. If you're travelling home or abroad, plan ahead and check your documents to ensure that everything is valid. See this link for tips and resources.

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 Jackie Amsden, our International Graduate Coordinator, at or drop by the Maggie Benston Centre, Room 1500.



Indigenous Graduate Students

Big Drum
All skill levels welcome! November 12, 17, 19, 3–4:30 pm, Maggie Benston Centre 2294/2296.

SFU School of Public Policy 50th Anniversary Speaker
This event will feature Jody Wilson Raybould, a prominent First Nations leader who was just named as Justin Trudeau's new Minister of Justice and Attorney General. November 12, 5:30 pm, SFU Harbour Centre, Joseph and Rosalie Segal Centre (main floor).

In the Land of the Head Hunters Film Screening and Panel
Screening and panel discussion for the first feature film made in BC, with an entirely indigenous North American cast. November 13, 7–9 pm, SFU Woodward's.

Fall Feast
November 25, 5–7:30 pm, SFU Harbour Center (main floor, near Rm. 1530). Please RSVP to by November 18 for catering purposes.

SAVE THE DATE — 14th Annual Indigenous Graduate Student Symposium: March 4 & 5, 2016, UBC Longhouse
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Pamela Palmater, Associate Professor & Chair in Indigenous Governance, Faculty of Arts, Ryerson University. Call for papers is now open.


Graduate Students in the News

Graduate Students Won SFU Surrey's Student Community Engagement Competition
Two Urban Studies students, Tammas Grogan and Kate Elliott, won $3000 and first place and Iris Lesser, Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, won $2000 and second place.

Final day of the federal election
SFU political geography PhD candidate Josh Labove comments on the federal election. This story also appeared in The Province and in another Global News piece.

Helmet decal could reduce athletes' head injuries
SFU post-doctoral fellow Daniel Abram comments on the development and manufacturing of BrainShieldm a technology that helps reduce head injuries.

Study says fewer teens texting while driving 
A study co-authored by SFU PhD student Simon Pek found a decline in the frequency of texting and driving among teenage drivers.

SFU student uncovers history in South African cave
SFU archaeology PhD graduate Marina Elliot and a team of researchers discovered a new species of human ancestor deep in a South African cave, adding a baffling new branch to the family tree.

SFU News Needs You
SFU News is looking for topical research related to Remembrance Day or the holidays. Email your story idea to the editor directly:




SFU again tops Maclean’s rankings during 50th Anniversary year

Dates and Deadlines

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).

December 28, 2015–January 15, 2016
Financial Aid Bursary application period

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)