tips and tricks

September Update for Graduate Students

September 13, 2016

Hope your first week of September was exciting, and welcome to all our new graduate students who joined us this month!  

Awards and Funding

NSERC Doctoral Scholarship Programs
NSERC doctoral scholarships
are for Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Deadline to apply: October 15

SSHRC Doctoral Scholarship Programs
SSHRC doctoral fellowships
are for Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Scholarships workshop: October 19th, 10 am–12 noon in the Library Room #7200, Burnaby campus. Deadline to apply: November 4th

Award Payments
Expecting an award payment? If you are registered in your grad program and have accepted the award on (GA3) the funds will appear in your student account, paying off any tuition owing, by September 13.

Remaining funds will appear in your bank account by September 16th. If you have not signed up for direct deposit, your remaining funds will be printed as a cheque, which can be picked up at the Registrar's Information Counters. For faster payment, please sign up for direct deposit (see instructions) if you have not done so.

More information about award payments is available on our website.

Grad Student Society Grants
Professional Development Grants
of $500 for travel occurring between October 1 and January 31, 2017, apply by September 1.

External Awards

Mitacs Research Travel Awards

External Awards with No Deadline

SFU Staff Achievement Awards
Has an SFU staffer gone out of the way to help you out? Nominations are now open for Staff Achievement Awards. Deadline is Monday, September 19, 2016.

SFU Awards for Excellence in Teaching
Nominations are now being accepted for the 2016 Awards for Excellence in Teaching for those  who have taught a minimum of 5 years in a continuing position at Simon Fraser University. Nominations may be made by SFU students, alumni and/or faculty by October 15, 2016.

SFU International Engagement Fund
SFU's International Engagement Fund is intended as seed money to initiate and support international collaborative programming and research, particularly work focused in SFU's identified global regions of priority. Maximum funding available is $5,000 per proposal. October 4 deadline.

Awards Timelines 
We recommend scanning ahead because it takes time to prepare award applications and send reference requests. 

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

Mitacs Consultations at SFU
Through the Accelerate (up to $15k for one term, open to all grad students in all disciplines) and Elevate Postdoctoral programs, Mitacs offers research internships and fellowships to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Amin Aziznia, one of Mitacs' Business Development Specialists, will be holding drop-in consultations on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 2 -3 pm in the Graduate Studies' CAPE office, MBC 1501.

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.

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

APEX Certificate Program
This professional development program is free for all grad students and postdoctoral fellows. This program will help you:

  • Identify your long term professional goals 
  • Build your professional network 
  • Improve your career documentation
  • Build confidence in your knowledge, skills and abilities.  

There are three opportunities to start the program this term in Core Session 1: 

  • September 23, 9:30am - 12:30pm @ Burnaby campus
  • October 12, 4:30 - 7:30pm @ Harbour Centre
  • November 15, 12:30 -  3:30pm @ Burnaby 

Learn more about getting started in the program and register for sessions. 

Advanced Professonal Engagement & eXploration (APEX)
APEX offers a suite of workshops, seminars and speaking engagements that focus on academic success, skill-building, and career development. Check out the full lineup of workshops on the myInvolvement registration portal, which includes:

  • Proposal Writing Cafe
  • Building an Online Presence
  • Engaging with the Media

Mitacs Step Workshops
Mitacs offers free intensive skill-building workshops for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, facilitated by external experts. These are highly recommended by other grad students and in high demand. Upcoming workshops at SFU are now open for registration: 

  • Networking Skills: 
    Friday, September 30 from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    ocation: Burnaby campus, Bennett Library room 2020 
    Register and more info here
  • Discovering the Entrepreneur Within 
    Wednesday, October 12 from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Location: Burnaby, Bennett Library room 2020 
    Register and more info here
  • Scientific and Technical Writing Skills 
    Wednesday, November 23 & Friday, November 25 from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm  
    Location: Surrey, SUR 3040 (Wednesday) & SUR 2990 (Friday) 
    Register and more info here

Note: You can attend any session that Mitacs offers in BC or across Canada— not only the ones held at SFU.See list of all upcoming workshops & register. Note that Mitacs workshops are open to graduated grad students for two years after graduation.

Venture Connection Info Session
Are you a graduate student with an interest in entrepreneurship? Check out SFU Venture Connection, which supports SFU ventures from initial idea to business validation through an early-stage business incubator program, mentorship, co-op terms, competitions, networking, speaker events, workshops & seminars. Come to the one-hour info session to see if their free services fit your needs. 

Research Commons
Lots of free workshops scheduled for the fall. Sample titles:

The Research Commons is located on the 7th floor of W.A.C. Bennett Library and is exclusively accessible to graduate students, faculty, and postdoctoral fellows by punch code. The space is currently equipped with wireless access, workstations, bookable group rooms, and areas for discussion and relaxation. The access code to the Research Commons will change periodically.

All in a Day: Data Driven Research 
Do you have questions about data? Wondering how to get, manage, and work with your data? Join us on Saturday, October 1st at the SFU Surrey campus for our All in a Day graduate student research workshop series on data driven research. Register for just one workshop, or choose three (note concurrent sessions) and stay all day! Morning refreshments will be served.

Graduate Open Writing Labs: Write Time, Write Space (drop-in) 
A quiet, dedicated writing space with a graduate writing facilitator available for consultations and to answer questions. See full list of writing services.

  • Harbour Centre: Fridays, 10:30 – 2:00 pm and Fridays, 10:30 am to 2 pm, HC 7400.
  • Burnaby: Mondays, 2:00 – 4:30 pm, Bennett Library, Research Commons, Rm 7000

Are you a grad student AND a parent? 
The Grad Writing Facilitators in the Research Commons are looking for ways to make it easier for grad student parents to access the writing services at SFU. Please send an email to Renee McCallum at for more information.

New & Young Worker Health & Safety Orientations
The New & Young Worker Health & Safety Orientation is a mandatory workshop for all new employees hired to perform work at SFU. This includes TAs, TMs, RAs, Post Docs and Events staff. Topics such as hazard and incident reporting, roles & responsibilities, worker rights, health & safety committees, emergency response, working alone and workplace bullying & harassment will be covered.

Corporate Mapping Project Institute 2017
This week-long graduate seminar at UVic, May 8–12, 2017, combines the sociology of corporate power with the political economy of fossil capital and the political ecology of the climate crisis. Some travel and tuition subsidies available for students outside Victoria. Please RSVP by October 1.

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.)


President's Dream Colloquium on Returning to the Teachings
You are invited to join us for an exciting speaker series that will explore justice, identity and belonging in the context of Education for Reconciliation.

SFU Scientific Programming Study Group
Weekly meetings for peer-facilitated study-sessions dedicated to building a community of SFU researchers who perform computational data analysis as part of their academic work. Meetings every Tuesday at 3 pm in the Research Commons (see their videos). All welcome, regardless of level.

SFU's New Sexual Violence Policy — Consultations
There will be two special consultations for grad students, TAs and TMs on SFU's new sexual violence policy.

  • Wed. September 21, 1:30–3 pm, location TBA (please see DGS blog)
  • Wed. October 5, 12:30–2 pm, location TBA (please see DGS blog)

Calls for Participants / Submissions

Events around Campus

Events around Metro Vancouver



Tips and Tricks

Changes to Program Time Limits and Extensions
The Graduate General Regulations on time limits for degree completion and extensions to complete a graduate degree will be changing as of September 2016.

SFU Apps
From bus schedules to class schedules to 50 GB of free storage — SFU Apps are there for you.

Bouncing Back: Building Resilience and Supporting Your Well-being
Free online course from Health and Counselling Services, takes about 45 minutes.

Graduate Caucus Funding
Did you know that every graduate caucus gets money to spend on almost anything that benefits the grad students in your department? (See the Caucus Funding Spreadsheet for funds available to you for the rest of this fiscal year.)

Free access to
All current students, staff, and faculty have free access to through the SFU Library.

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.

SFU Surrey - Central City Student Community Engagement Competition
Prizes of $3000, $2000 and $2000. Deadline is October 12. Note: Graduate students have won this competition in both of the years that it was offered.

Contest Roundup

Reading Roundup


Government of Canada Launches Review of Federal Support for Fundamental Science
They would like to hear from graduate students at this survey.

International Graduate Students

Whitecaps Soccer
SFU ISS invites you to join them for a thrilling evening of soccer with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Tickets are $25 and available for sale now at the ISS office (MBC1200).

SFU Tandem Language Exchange Program
Want to improve your Arabic? Your English? Your French? Your Cantonese? Or any other language? “Tandem” is a method of language learning that pairs up two people who want to learn each others’ languages.

SFU ISS Resources
Handouts available to answer your questions: Resources for New Graduate Students and Medical Insurance – Frequently Asked Questions. See all of their Resources and Handouts.

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 became 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 Readings


SFU International's Weekly Newsletter
All international students receive a weekly newsletter from International Services for Students.   



SFU Indigenous grad student get-together
Please join us on Tuesday September 27 at 5 pm in the Indigenous Student Centre. Catch up with friends and meet new ones!  We can talk about future events, workshops and activities.

Indigenous Science: Science Literacy Week @ SFU Library 
Indigenous sciences and Western science have evolved differently, but what is the relationship between them and how might they work together?
Thursday, September 22 at 6:00-7:30pm, SFU Harbour Centre, Room 7000. Speakers: Kyle Bobiwash, Lindsay Heller and Shirley Turner. Please reserve your seat.

The Girl Who Was Raised by Wolverine
Play by Deneh’Cho Thompson (Dene) at the Fringe Festival.

5th Annual DTES pow wow
Sunday September 5th, 12-5 pm at Oppenheimer Park.

Coast Salish Singing and Drumming Workshops with Russell Wallace (Lil'wat)
SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement and SFU's Office of Aboriginal Peoples presents a new series of Salish Singing & Drumming workshops this fall. 

Dialogues in Critical Indigenous Studies: Indigenous Feminisms: Art in Practice, September 22–24 at UBC

  • Film Screening with Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Lisa Jackson, and Dory Nason September 22nd, 5:00, Frederick Wood Theatre
  • Dialogues, Performances, Provocations with Leanne Simpson, JB Webster, Natalie Knight, Dory Nason, Margo Kane, Lisa Jackson, Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Rosemary Georgeson, Molly Billows, Kelsey Sparrow. September 23, 10-3 pm, first nations house of learning
    RSVP at
  • Graduate student workshop with dialogues presenters
    September 24th. To apply email

Ch'nook Scholars $2k Scholarships for Business Students
Indigenous business students: Ch'nook Scholars Program now accepting applications. $2000 in scholarships plus networking. Apply by September 25.

Introducing our new Indigenous Graduate Student Coordinator

My name is June Scudeler. My Métis ancestors are from Red River, Manitoba and Batoche Saskatchewan.

I'm excited to be SFU's Indigenous Graduate Student Support Services Coordinator. It's great to be back at SFU, where I completed my BA and MA in English. I recently received my PhD in English from UBC.

I'm looking forward to working with you for a fulfilling and successful graduate career. Visit me Tuesdays in Room 1500 of the Maggie Benston Centre and Wednesdays 9–12 in the Indigenous Graduate Student Centre. My email is

June Scudeler

Graduate Students in the News

More than just refugees: Syrian kids tell their stories their way
Graduate Liberal Studies student Shawk Alani  hosted Capturing Our Stories: An Exhibition of Syrian Children's Photography at the Interurban Art Gallery.

Airbnb bonus not helping housing rental shortage in Vancouver
SFU urban studies master’s student Karen Sawatzky commented on Airbnb’s effect on the local rental market. (Congratulations, Karen, on your recent successful defence!)

Kelsey Blair Publishes First Novel
Congratulations to English PhD student Kelsey Blair on her most recent publication, Making the Team.

Access to food is a human right
Milad Parpouchi, Health Sciences doctoral student, was interviewed in Metro.

TRU grad wins cash for fish studies
SFU biological sciences master’s student Colin Bailey receives a scholarship for research on steelhead and salmon.

Don't blame the app. Pokemon Go is just another entertainment
Amelia Cole, SIAT grad student, wrote an editorial for Oregon Live.

NSERC Science Exposed Photo Contest — Please vote!
Grad student Simon Valdez needs your vote in the NSERC Science Exposed competition — he's photo #11. Thanks!

Surrey's SCORE program wins North America Gold
Engineering science PhD candidates Sujoy Ghosh Hajra and Careesa Liu set up a summer training program last year to give students hands-on experience in solving real-world problems and have just won the 2016 Gold Global Best Award in the category of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) for North America.They were also interviewed in Business in Vancouver: Program seeks to create business-savvy scientists.

Two Graduate Student Entrepreneur Teams in Top 10 of BCIC-New Ventures BC Competition
Congratulations to Benjamin Britton, Chemistry PhD student (Ionomr) and Ehsan Daneshi, Mechatronics PhD student (Ophthalight), for placing in the top 10 in the BCIC-New Ventures BC Competition. Both were also big winners of the 2016 Coast Capital Savings Venture Prize competition, with Ionomr taking first prize and Ophthalight claiming second. (If this might be you, there's a Venture Connection Info Session on the Burnaby campus this Wednesday, September 14.)

Harper's former communications director reveals how to manipulate media
Grad student alumna in the news: Dimitri Soudas was a former communications director for former prime minister Stephen Harper, and wrote his SFU master's thesis on "Media and Government: The Role of the Director of Communications." Full thesis:

SFU Artists Make Waves at Rio Olympics
A multimedia art display created by SFU's PhD students Mirjana Prpa and Kıvanç Tatar was selected to be displayed in Rio de Janeiro as part of the Olympics' cultural programming."

Want to Be In the News?
SFU News is looking for story ideas about graduates in this October's convocation ceremony. If you're graduating with a great story, please email

Here's what they're looking for: "Perhaps they are embarking on an interesting entrepreneurial objective, or have landed a really exciting job after graduation. Perhaps they are older or younger than most, have overcome adversity, or pursued unusual research, field school, or co-op experiences. Or perhaps you know of a first cohort of graduates from one of your faculty's new programs."

Dates and Deadlines

Friday, September 16, 2016
End of Bursary application period (bursaries are awarded based on financial need; international students are eligible)

Monday, September 19, 2016

Monday, September 26, 2016    
Last day to drop with no notation on transcript

Friday, September 30, 2016   

  • 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 6–7, 2016    
Convocation for students who completed in Summer 2016. See for more information.

Monday, October 10, 2016   
Thanksgiving Day.  University closed.

See all the Dates and Deadlines.



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