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tips and tricks

November Update for Graduate Students

November 03, 2016

TA/TM job postings are up for the Spring 2017 term; apply by November 7.

Awards and Funding

Tri-Agency (CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC) Award Holder's Guide
The Tri-Agencies have announced a new Award Holder's Guide for all CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC award holders. This guide is effective as of September 1, 2016. Questions can be directed to

Award Holder Resources page
Visit the new Award Holder Resources page on the Scholarships and Awards section of our website to find out what happens to your award if you need to defer, interrupt, withdraw or take a leave from your graduate program. 

Award Payments
Information about award payments is available on our website.

Graduate Student Society Grants
Professional Development Grants
of $500 for travel occurring between February 1, 2017 and May 31, 2017, apply by January 3.

Graduate Student Initiative Grant
The GSS is considering providing grants of up to $200 to help its members establish organizations (including, but not limited to clubs) or a series of thematic events that will lead to increased academic and social connections between graduate students at SFU.

Embark SFU Grants
Grants of up to $1000 for sustainability related projects or events. There are currently two grants offered: the Social Innovation Grant and the Sustainable Community Grant.

External Awards

Mitacs Research Travel Awards

External Awards with No 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

TA/TM Job Postings
TA/TM job postings are up for the Spring 2017 term; apply by November 7.

Graduate Student Society Directors Elections
There are three (3) Director positions open for nominations. These stipended positions are a great opportunity to develop leadership skills and to pursue initiatives and issues. This leadership position looks great on a CV or scholarship application. Stipend is $4600/semester for about 50 hours per month. Submit your nomination by November 7.

Hi-FIVE for Mental Health Project Co-Coordinator
Stipend of $120 every two weeks for 4 hours per week.

Student Jobs for Spring 2017
Students who are looking for on-campus jobs in the spring term should begin looking now, as the hirings are done in November and early December. We're continuously updating our student jobs roundup blog post.

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.  

Résumé Resources


Professional Development

Vancouver Institute for Visual Analytics
Student membership gets you free access to the Andrew Wade Student Workshop Series for visual analytics training. Registrations for the January 2017 sessions will open in November 2016.

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

  • Engaging with the Media, Monday, Nov. 7, 1:30 - 3:30pm @ Burnaby
  • Building an Online Presence, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 1:30-3:30pm @ Harbour Centre
  • Crafting your Resume, Monday, Nov. 28, 1:30-3:30pm @ Harbour Centre
  • Understanding your Audience, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 1:30-3:30pm @ Burnaby

APEX Certificate Program 
This professional development program is free for all grad students and postdoctoral fellows. This program will help you identify some career possibilities; build your professional network; improve your career documentation, and build confidence in your knowledge, skills and abilities. Learn more about getting started in the program and register for sessions. Start the program at Core Session 1: Tuesday, November 15, 12:30–3:30pm @ Burnaby 

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: 

  • Time Management: ONLINE WORKSHOP beginning November 16. Estimated completion time is approximately 5-6 hours. You access online and progress at your own pace. Must complete by Dec. 14. 
    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.

Research Commons
Lots of free workshops scheduled for the fall, including:

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.

Research Commons' GIS Day
Please join us on Wednesday, November 16 for SFU's GIS Day celebrations, which will include a hands-on technical workshop, a student poster session, and speakers from across disciplines, including an opening keynote talk by Peter Keller, VP Academic and Provost. 

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
Continuing Studies offers a free 10-week seminar program to new and current grad students in all disciplines. Those who expect to have teaching assignments in their first or second term will have priority.

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. Online version of the orientation will be available in late fall. Please refer to the EHRS webpage for additional information:

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.

President's Dream Colloquium on Understanding Medical Marihuana
A few graduate student spaces are still available in the Spring 2017 interdisciplinary graduate course on Understanding Medical Marihuana. The course is open to all disciplines.

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.

C2U Expo 2017
C2U Expo 2017 is being sponsored by SFU in May 2017, and there is a call for proposals for examples of community-campus partnerships. The conference is designed to celebrate and showcase the growth and range of community-campus partnerships in addressing social, health, environmental and community issues. Call for conference session proposals is open now; deadline is November 13.

Calls for Participants / Submissions

Events around Campus

Events around Metro Vancouver




Tips and Tricks

Free Library Study Rooms
Private, lockable study rooms in the SFU Library (Burnaby campus only) are for free available to graduate students who are at the writing phase of their thesis. Application deadline is November 15 for Spring 2017 rooms.

Changes to Payment Methods
Effective January 1, 2017, cash will no longer be accepted at the Registrar and Information Services counters.

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

Western Deans Agreement
Did you know that you can take graduate courses at other Western Canadian universities and apply those courses to your SFU grad degree? The 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).

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

Bioinformatics Club
Are you interested on joining a Bioinformatics Club at SFU? If yes, please email

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

GSS Graduate Caucus Funding
Every graduate caucus gets money to spend on almost anything that benefits the grad students in your department. See the GSS 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.

Contest Roundup

Parking Survey
SFU’s Parking & Sustainable Mobility Services, together with TransLink’s TravelSmart program, has a 5-minute survey, open until November 14. Random prizes for respondents.

Reading Roundup



SFU Flu Vaccination Clinics
Taking place at all campuses, October 25 through November 17.

International Graduate Students

US Visa Workshop
For international students who want to travel to the US: November 18, 1:30–3 pm, SWH 10061, Burnaby campus

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.

Leniency Period Extended for Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) Requirement
The timeline for the mandatory Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) requirement for visa-exempt individuals planning to fly to or transit through Canada has been updated. 

Recommended Readings


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



All Our Father’s Relations
All Our Father’s Relations tells the story of the Grant siblings who journey from Vancouver to China in an attempt to rediscover their father’s roots and better understand his fractured relationship with their Musqueam mother. The Grant family and their story reveals the shared struggles of migrants and Aboriginal peoples today and in the past. Sunday, November 6 4:30 at Cineplex International Village Cinemas (Rush tickets available)

Films by Banchi Hanuse Corlett and Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers
This free event at SFU Woodward's will feature a series of short film screenings will be followed by a dialogue with the filmmakers, Banchi Hanuse and Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers

Annual Squamish Veteran’s Powwow 2016
November 11 at the Chief Joe Mathias Center- North Vancouver

Cultural Events at the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre
Pow wow dancing on Mondays 6-8 pm, Pow Wow Family Night 7-10pm on Tuesdays, and Metis Family Night and West Coast Family Nights on Wednesdays. Location: 1607 East Hastings st (near Commercial Drive)

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.

Native American and Indigenous Studies 2017 Call for Papers
Abstracts for the NAISA conference are due November 8. The conference will be held at UBC, xʷməθkʷəy̓əm territory, June 22-24.

Indigenous Graduate Student Coordinator
Visit June Scudeler on Tuesdays in Room 1500 of the Maggie Benston Centre and Wednesdays 9–12 in the Indigenous Graduate Student Centre. Contact email:

Graduate Students in the News

Zombie Adventures Come to Life with App Created by SFU Alumni
TerraTap Technologies, co-founded by SFU alumnus D'Arcy Smith and Judy Hamilton, has helped The Virtual Stage create a theatrical "adventure", The Zombie Syndrome: Dead In The Water, playing until Oct. 31 on Granville Island. TerraTap's neartuit got its start as a student-business pitch project during Smith's master's program with the SFU Centre for Digital Media.

Researchers Say the Near Total Destruction of a Massive Starfish is Changing the Ocean Off the B.C. Coast
In a study published in June, Jessica Schultz and colleagues at Simon Fraser University and the Vancouver Aquarium found 90 per cent of sunflower sea stars have died in Howe Sound.

SFU PhD Student Develops First DUI Detecting Device for Both Drugs and Alcohol
Ehsan Daneshi has developed the first portable device that will one day enable police officers in Canada and around the world to perform standardized roadside sobriety tests for both drugs and alcohol.

Researcher's Travelling Bird Photo Nets National Recognition
Simon Valdez-Juarez's photo of a migratory warbler took 3rd place in NSERC's photo contest!

Transforming Invention into Innovation
The first cohort of Beedie's Graduate Certificate in Science and Technology Commercialization are preparing to transform their game-changing technology inventions into viable, commercialized innovations.

Risky Business - Graduating Entrepreneur Develops Algorithm to Mitigate Risk
Graduate student Jasneet Sabharwal was profiled in the fall convocation issue about his experience as an entrepreneur.

Restorative Justice Sparks Epiphany
Alana Abramson went from living on the streets at 15 to receiving a PhD in Criminology today.

SFU MASS Impact at the World's First Cybathlon Competition
Grad student alumnus Lukas-Karim Merhi, as part of SFU's MASS Impact team, competed in the inaugural Cybathlon in Zurich, the world's first cyborg Olympics.

Big data: discovering new career opportunities in pro sports
Statistics & Actuarial Science alumnus Harsha Perera has just published the first research to use big data for evaluating cricket players.

Master's thesis details how Airbnb has become a problem for housing supply and affordability in Vancouver
Karen Sawatzky's master's thesis made it into the Georgia Straight.

Why youngsters hoard Hallowe’en treats
John Corbit, SFU psychology PhD candidate, studies how children acquire their sharing behaviours.

Zombie adventures come to life with app created by SFU alumni
TerraTap Technologies, co-founded by SFU alumnus D'Arcy Smith and Judy Hamilton, has helped The Virtual Stage create a theatrical “adventure”, The Zombie Syndrome: Dead In The Water,

Want to Be In the News?
SFU News is looking for stories suitable for Remembrance Day or the holidays . If you have pertinent research, courses, events or exhibits related to this occasion, please email Diane Luckow,, with your story tip.

Dates and Deadlines

Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Enrollment opens for Spring 2017 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 7, 2016
Work-study application period.

Monday,  November 7, 2016
Last day for graduate students to drop classes with WD on their transcripts

Friday, November 11, 2016
Remembrance Day.  All classes cancelled and offices closed.

Monday, December 5, 2016
Classes end for Fall term.
Last day for graduate students to drop classes under special procedures applicable in extenuating circumstances (WE on transcript).

Wednesday–Sunday, December 7–18, 2016
Examination period.

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, December 16, 2016
Deadline to apply on the Student Information System for graduation in the June 2017 convocation ceremonies, if you are completing degree requirements in Fall 2016 term.

Friday, December 23, 2016, by 12 noon
Submission of all graduate degree requirements for 2016 Fall term (must be submitted by 12pm PST, see library submission deadline).

See all the Dates and Deadlines.



Grad Students Facebook Group
Advice and support, movies, free food alerts — plus job postings and awards alerts: (SFU email ID required to join). See also hundreds of SFU-based groups.

Follow us on Twitter: @SFU_GradStudies

Cartoon by Sarah Andersen