tips and tricks

December Update for Graduate Students

December 07, 2016

Hope your Fall semester went well, and that you'll have a great holiday break. Remember that you are entitled to vacation time as a graduate student! (See Vacation Policy on page 10 of the Graduate Student Handbook.)

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 Payments
Information about award payments is available on our website.

NSERC Science Action! Video Contest
Cash prizes of $3500, $3000, $2750 and runners-up $2500. Entry deadline is January 18, 2017. Must be resident in Canada (open to international students), must feature NSERC-funded research at SFU. See past finalist videos.

NSERC Science Exposed Photo Contest
Submit a photo related to your research, deadline is January 31, 2017. International students are eligible. Note: Images can relate to any field of study: natural sciences and engineering, social sciences and humanities, or health sciences. (We have a winner: SFU Biology student Simon Valdez came in third last year! See past winners.)

SSHRC Storytellers Contest
Top 25 submissions receive a cash prize of $3000. Submission must feature research funded by SSHRC at SFU. Must be under 3 minutes in length for audio or video, or 300 words for text or infographic. Enter by January 31, 2017.

CIHR Trainee Award in Women's Heart Health Hackathon
Hackathon focussed specifically on increasing the uptake of research knowledge on the Heart Health of Canadian Women, $8000 award, January 4 deadline.

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

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.

Award Holder Resources page
Visit the 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. 

President's Awards for Leadership in Sustainability nominations
SFU is looking for nominations (staff, faculty or students) who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in advancing the cause of sustainability within and/or beyond the university

Warren Gill Award for Community Impact
The award seeks to recognize and celebrate the achievements of a member of the SFU staff or faculty who has worked to build significant partnerships between the University and the communities served by SFU.

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

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

Spring 2017 Student Jobs
We're maintaining a running list of student jobs in the Spring term.

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

APEX Professional Photo Shoot
Looking to boost your online presence? Get a free personal portrait taken by one of SFU's official photographers. These photos are clean, sharp and great for building or updating your LinkedIn profile, Twitter handle, professional blog or whatever tools you are using to project your professional image. 

  • Thursday Dec 8, 11:00-1.00pm @ Harbour Centre
  • Register using myInvolvement 

Mitacs Business Development Specialist for SFU
Dr. Allison Brennan will be working exclusively with SFU faculty, students, and staff on all Mitacs internships and fellowships. She's available to you and your supervisor by appointment, Tuesday through Friday, and she's able to travel to all three campuses.

Research Commons
Lots of free workshops scheduled for December, 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.

Intensive International Teaching Assistants Seminar 
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.

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 Understanding Medical Marijuana
Three graduate student spaces are still available in the Spring 2017 interdisciplinary graduate course on Understanding Medical Marihuana. The course is open to all disciplines and will review the current state of research on the general topic of marihuana for medical purposes, provide space for an informed discussion on the legal aspects of marihuana use and provide perspectives from the licensed production, genetics, pharmaceutical utility, medical profession, and human behavioural aspects of marihuana.

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.

Calls for Participants / Submissions

Events around Campus

Events around Metro Vancouver


Tips and Tricks

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.

Graduate Certificate in Development and Sustainability (DEVS)
You can combine the Development and Sustainability Graduate Certificate with your graduate degree to enhance your career options and align with current demands for sustainability and development expertise.

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.

Organizing a big public space event?
The Activation of Underutilized Vancouver Civic Theatres Spaces Grant aims to provide free urban spaces for communitiy engagement. Places include the Queen Elizabeth theatre plaza and 4 theatre lobbies.

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

Reading Roundup

Important info for grad students and postdocs from India
500 and 1000 Rupee bills will be obsolete as of December 31st, 2016

Transit service changes
As of December 19th, the 135 bus will be replaced with the 95 B-Line
. Some stops have been removed, including the TASC 1 & 2 stop. 

Kinder Morgan Tank Farm expansion
SFU releases a press release and report on the health and safety risks the tank farm expansion will pose to the SFU community


International Graduate Students

International Teaching Assistants Free 10-week seminar
The seminar is free and open to all new and current SFU grad students in all disciplines. Those who expect to have teaching assignments in their first or second term will have priority.

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.

Study in BC Contest
The Study in BC contest lets students showcase how they study, play and have fun in British Columbia; send in 4 photos and enter to win an iPad Air.

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.   



Drum Making Workshop
The Indigenous Student Centre is hosting a drum making workshop for currently enrolled indigenous students on December 16 from 10 am–1 pm. Please RSVP at

Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Annual Christmas Craft Fair, December 3–4, 1607 East Hastings Street. Find a vast selection of traditional and contemporary work from various artists and get all your holiday shopping done in one place. Admission by donation.

Caribou Legs Honouring Ceremony
Please join the people in honouring Brad Firth Caribou Legs for completing the journey running across Turtle Island for all our missing and murdered women, December 12, 1–4 pm, Carnegie Community Centre Auditorium, 401 Main St.

We Come to Witness: Sonny Assu in Dialogue with Emily Carr
At the Vancouver Art Gallery until April 2017. Sonny Assu (Ligwilda'xw Kwakwaka'wakw)  continues his ongoing body of work Interventions on The Imaginary, creating a new series of digital tags on a body of Emily Carr paintings selected from the Vancouver Art Gallery’s collection. Assu confronts the portrayal of Indigenous peoples as a vanishing race by interrupting Carr’s landscapes with an insertion of an ovoid and u-shape.

Indigenous Graduate Student Coordinator
Visit June Scudeler on Thursdays 9 am–4:30 pm in MBC 1500 and Fridays 9 am–4:30 pm in the Indigenous Student Centre. Contact email:

Graduate Students in the News

Is the Possibility of a Trump Presidency Sending Americans North?
Geography student Josh Labove was interviewed by BC Business about the possibility of a Trump presidency sending Americans north.

RE$EARCH Infosource Inc. Ranks SFU as the Number One Comprehensive University for Research Income Growth
Over the past 15 years, SFU's percentage of change/growth has increased an impressive 362%.

Big Data: Discovering New Career Opportunities in Pro Sports
Statistics graduate student alumni, 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 contains a wealth of data about how Vancouver residents are using Airbnb and how the service impacts housing across the region

Alumna's Award Highlights SFU's Strength in Medical Anthropology
Thando Malambo, Health Sciences Master's, has won a prestigious Rudolf Virchow Award in medical anthropology.

$5 A Day Challenge
Molecular Biology and Biochemistry grad student, Kevin Rey, is chronicling his experience living on $5 per day for food in The Peak.

'Bat-Signal' Rallies 1,500 Young Researchers to Press Trudeau for Evidence-Based Decisions
A group of young Canadian scientists, including Kara Pitman and Michael Price, are calling on the prime minister to have more scientific rigour and transparency in environmental decisions.

Right-Wing Extremism Not New, But More Visible
A study by SFU Criminology PhD student, Ryan Scrivens, explains the Trump effect in Canada.

Computing Science Student Stories - Juhua Hu 
PhD student, Juhua Hu, was profiled on the Applied Sciences website for her academic achievements

Nanoose Bay Resident Launches Aboriginal Story Anthology
Michael Calvert, Master of Publishing student, is a Métis writer who won the 2012 Pat Bevan Award for achievement in fiction writing and who has just been published in "In Our Own Aboriginal Voice", an aboriginal story anthology.

Mahamudu Bawumia is Candidate for Vice President of Ghana
Alumnus Mahamudu Bawumia is curently running for the Vice Presidency of Ghana. He received his PhD in Economics from SFU in 1995. He's best known for his annual lecture on the state of Ghana's economy.  

Congratulations to the winners in the Fall 2016 GSS Director Election
Director of University Relations: Chantal Turpin
Director of Graduate Services: Michelle Aslan
Director of Finance: Heather Baroody

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–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).

Monday, January 2, 2017    
New Year's Day. All classes cancelled and offices closed.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017    
Spring semester classes begin

Friday, January 6, 2017    

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

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