Come and cheer on your fellow grad students on March 14 in the 3 Minute Thesis Finals!

Tips and Tricks

March Update for Graduate Students

March 02, 2016

As always in our monthly update, we have awards, lots of jobs (summer TA/TM/Sessional jobs are being posted) and so many other opportunities for grad students.

Awards and Funding

Graduate Studies Excellence Awards
We want to know about your amazing graduate supervisors, leaders and staff! Awards nominations now open. (Supervision award winners get graduate fellowships for the student of their choice; leadership award winners give a travel award to a graduate student.) Nominations due by March 15.

Embark SFU grants, up to $500
Do you have an idea for a sustainability-related project or event? Apply by March 7.

External Awards

External Awards with No Deadline

BCIC Ignite
BCIC Ignite provides funding to accelerate commercialization of new technologies and innovations in the natural resources and applied sciences in British Columbia. The program provides awards of up to $300,000 to consortia that are conducting research leading to commercializable projects that address a significant demonstrated problem faced by industry.

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

See our Spring 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 for the Summer term
Jobs are starting to get posted for the Summer 2016 term. (If you're relatively new to SFU, please note that there are far fewer courses offered in the summer term than in the fall and spring terms, which means that there will be fewer teaching positions.)

Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre
Teaching assistant applications open now. Other jobs also available.

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.

Federal Student Work Experience Program
Wide variety of student jobs in the Government of Canada, from computer programming to student guides to rescue boat service and more. Must be a full time student; international students may apply but "preference will be given to Canadian citizens who meet the job requirements."

Policy, Science & Innovation Officer, British consulate in Vancouver 
Work for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. This position is responsible for covering science, innovation & public policy in British Columbia, the Yukon & Northwest Territories. Salary is $68,944 per year. Apply by March 8.

SFU's Future Savvy coding program
Looking for accomplished web developers in HTML, CSS, PHP, Javascript and use of Git, developer tools and other debugging tools to provide online tutoring for self-directed learners. Apply by March 31 at 6 pm.

Ocean Networks Canada, University of Victoria
Now accepting applications from visiting scientists to work on NEPTUNE and VENUS operations for 3 to 6 months. 

  • Project Engineer: closes Fri, Mar 11, 2016
  • Metadata and Data Curation Specialist  : closes Fri, Mar 11, 2016
  • Scientific Data Specialist: closes Fri, Mar 4, 2016
  • Chief Finance and Operating Officer (CFOO): closes Fri, Mar 4, 2016

Let's Talk Science Site Coordinator
Let's Talk Science at SFU is looking for a new site coordinator who can start in May 2016. Apply by March 31. 

Jobs Roundup

Volunteer Roundup

Mitacs Accelerate Paid Internships
Many internships posted here: You can also set up your own internship, paid at $10–15k per term. (Recording of info session available.)

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 & eXploration (APEX)
Register for all APEX workshops in MyInvolvement:

  • Resume workshop (March 7, 2-4pm @ Surrey Campus)
  • Resume workshop (March 11, 10am-12pm, @ Burnaby Campus)
  • Crafting your Academic CV (March 17, 10am-12:30pm)

Software Carpentry Workshops
SFU will be holding several 1/2 day workshops as part of Titus Brown's Data Intensive Biology (DIB) Training program. All are welcome to participate, regardless of discipline or training level.

  • Amazon Web Services taught remotely by Titus Brown (UC Davis) on Mar 7, 2016
  • R Markdown taught remotely by Marian Schmidt (U. Michigan) on May 11, 2016
  • Open Science taught locally by Bruno Grande (SFU) on June 13, 2016

Creative Writing Workshops
Free writing workshops with Jordan Scott, Writer in Residence, Department of English

Vancouver Institute for Visual Analytics Student Workshops

$25 membership gets you into a free 8-week student workshop series.

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 students in all disciplines. They are free one and two-day intensive training for grad students and postdoctoral fellows, fully catered. These two workshops are on offer at Burnaby campus this term: 

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

APEX Certificate Program
This program is free for all grad students and info sessions are no longer required!

This program will help you:

  •  Make plans to support your long term career goals while in grad school
  • Build your professional network 
  • Improve your career documentation
  • Build confidence in your knowledge, skills and abilities.  

Read about how to get started here.

Advanced Professional Engagement & eXploration (APEX) Calendar  
A calendar of all professional development opportunities open to graduate students at SFU--all in one place!

You can also add it to your personal SFU Connect calendar. (Instructions are at the bottom of the page.)


Three Minute Thesis Finals
You're invited to the Finals for the 2016 Three Minute Thesis Competition, where we'd like you to help us select one of the best graduate student presenters at SFU! Monday, March 14, 5:15–7:30 pm, WMC 3520, Burnaby campus

President's Dream Colloquium on Engaging Big Data
Reservations now open for the free public lectures in this series.

  • Colin HillCEO of GNS Healthcare, Tuesday, March 8, 2016
  • Chad Skelton, Award-winning Data Journalist and Consultant, Tuesday, March 22, 2016

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.

Edward Snowden: Big Data, Security, and Human Rights
On April 5 Edward Snowden will join Metro Vancouverites for a conversation live via web-link about the power, promise and peril of big data. The event is sold out but due to overwhelming demand, SFU Public Square will live-stream the talk

Events around Campus (See even more listings)

Events around Vancouver


Tips and Tricks

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

SFU's Convocation ceremonies take place in June. 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.)


SFU Residences Moves Downtown
The Vancouver Graduate Residence is for grad students only, and opens in May 2016. Located by SFU Woodward's (see google map).

CRABE Lab Pays for Research Subjects
Students are invited to sign up online. Participants receive $7 for arriving on time to the session and an additional payment (usually around $15-20/hour) that depends on the decisions they make.

Online Resilience course for Grad students
Resilience is a survival skill, and there's a free course on Canvas on Bouncing Back as a Graduate Student: Building Resilience and Supporting Your Well-being.

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.

Embark Garden Plot Rental
If you have a group that wants to maintain a garden plot at SFU's Learning Garden, applications are now open.

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. They're also looking for articles by students for their student voices section — Submit your idea to


Leaves for Graduate Students
Two significant regulation changes for graduate student leaves are now in effect:

  • graduate students in a per unit fee program 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.

International Graduate Students

Tax Information for International Students Studying in Canada: Video Series
The Canada Revenue Agency has released a series of short videos explaining the different aspects of the Canadian tax system as it relates to international students in post-secondary institutions.

BCNP Introduces new Skilled Immigration Program 
The province of British Columbia has launched a new intake system for the Provincial Nominee Program. Go here to learn more.

In-person International Advising Now Available in Vancouver and Surrey  
International Services for Students is now offering in-person appointments with their International Student Advisors at the SFU Vancouver and Surrey campuses. Go here to book your appointment and find more information.

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, CELLTR has put together a 
roundup of free support services available at SFU.

New Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) 
Canada has a new entry requirement ( eTA ) for foreigners traveling to Canada by air. This entry requirement will become mandatory on March 15, 2016. 
Find out more about the eTA here.  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. 


Recommended Reading
Western Guide to Mentoring Graduate Students Across Cultures (pdf download). This guide can help you navigate a lot of common communication issues based on cultural assumptions.



Indigenous Graduate Students

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.

Aboriginal lecture series
Aboriginal Lecture Series
coming to SFU Woodward's, starting in March.

Irving K. Barber Aboriginal Awards
Awards of $1,000–$5,000 are available for Aboriginal people pursuing post-secondary education at B.C. public post-secondary institutions or Aboriginal-run institutions. Apply by April 1

Government of Canada Careers for Aboriginal Persons
Post-Secondary Recruitment Program open now
, closing date is March 15, 2016


Graduate Students in the News

SFU big data student’s Instagram research takes a bite out of #chocolate
Saif Charaniya analyzed 1.2 milllion Instagram posts about chocolate over a one-year period and discovered that the world’s top chocolate-loving city is Üsküdar in Instanbul, Turkey. 

Deena Coburn Awarded 2015 Staff Achievement Award for Leadership
We are proud to announce that Deena Coburn, SFU Education MEd alumna and Director of Administrative Services with the Office of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Fellows, was just awarded an SFU Staff Achievement Award for Leadership. 

Knack helps Downtown Eastside residents find jobs
Anna Migicovsky, an MBA candidate at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business, is working with LEDLab to help inner city residents improve their economic independence in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. 

Clean tech venture Ionomr wins Coast Capital Savings Venture Prize
A Simon Fraser University student venture led by PhD student Benjamin Britton took first place in the Coast Capital Savings Venture Prize competition.

Second place in the competition was also won by a team of graduate students and grad alumni — Ophthalight Digital Solutions Inc., is led by Ehsan Daneshi, Beedie School of Business, Younes Rashidi, engineering alumnus, and Farzad Hamidi, Mechatronics alumnus.

This is the third year in a row that graduate students have won the Coast Capital Savings Venture Prize!  

Want to be in the News?
SFU News is looking for interesting research or other story ideas. If you have a tip related to your research, please email

Dates and Deadlines

March 14-April 1, 2016
Work-study application period.

Monday, March 7, 2016
Registration opens for Summer 2016 term (approximate).

Friday, March 11, 2016
Deadline for other Western universities to receive application forms for graduate students to take courses elsewhere under the Western Deans' Agreement.

Monday, March 14, 2016
Last day for graduate students to drop classes with a WD on their transcripts

Friday, March 25, 2016 to Monday, March 28, 2016
Easter break. All classes and offices closed.

Monday, April 11, 2016
Last day of classes.
Last day for graduate students to drop under extenuating circumstances (WE on transcript)

Friday, April 15, 2016
Last day for graduate students who completed in Spring 2016 to apply for graduation (June convocation).

April 13–23, 2016
Examination period

Note: If you are a current TA and want to pay to extend your TSSU medical insurance for up to two terms, application forms are due by the end of the term. (See also: All HR forms.)

Friday, April 29, 2016
Fully graded date (transcripts requested for 'after grades' will be printed)

Last day for submission of all graduate degree requirements for 2016 Spring term (library submission 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)