Graduate student finalists in SFU's 3 Minute Thesis 2016 competition, along with our esteemed judges! This year's competition is now open for your signups:

tips and tricks

January Update for Graduate Students

January 10, 2017

January is research communications month, with three huge contests from NSERC and SSHRC (international students eligible to enter), and the opening of SFU's annual 3 Minute Thesis competition!

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 $2500 for runners-up. Entry deadline is January 18. 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. 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.

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. January 16 deadline.

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. January 31 deadline.

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 Spring Awards Timeline.


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

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

Calls for Participants

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 Workshop Series 
The APEX Workshop Series is designed for advanced degree holders looking for structure and support in their professional development. The series is made up of four face-to-face workshops and independent online modules.

Workshop 1, Foundations is being offered three times this term: 

  • Friday, Jan 13, 9:30am - 12:30pm @ Burnaby campus
  • Thursday, Feb 9, 3pm - 6pm @ Vancouver campus
  • Tuesday, March 14, 1pm -  4pm @ Burnaby campus
In addition to the workshop series, APEX is offering the following workshops this term: 

Research Bazaar
The Research Bazaar is a "worldwide festival promoting the digital literacy emerging at the centre of modern research," and will take place February 1–3 at the SFU Library.

Research Commons 
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.

The Research Commons offers a multitude of free workshops specific to graduate students throughout the term. Check out the ones scheduled for January: 

Coming up Feb. 1-3, check out Research Bazaar, a worldwide festival promoting the digital literacy emerging at the center of modern research. UBC and SFU Libraries invite you to join them for a series of workshops and events that allow researchers to build next generation digital research skills and connect with one another. 
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. 
  • Wednesday, January 18, 11:00am–1:00pm, Harbour Centre Room 1500
  • Register using myInvolvement 

Vancouver Institute for Visual Analytics
Explore visual analytics concepts though lectures, discussions, hands-on use of tools and a project through our extracurricular workshop series. Intended audience: Students who aspire to become analysts / data scientists and want to add more to their skill set. Software/languages: Tableau, Trifacta, Open Refine, Jigsaw, Gephi. Course is $25 for SFU students and can lead to a capstone project with an academic/industry partner.

Active Citizens Social Enterprise
The United Nations Association in Canada is looking for youth (18-35) to participate in the Active Citizens Social Enterprise, a social leadership training programme.

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.

Intensive International Teaching Assistants Seminar 
Continuing Studies offers a free 10-week seminar program to new and current international 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.

Passport to Leadership (P2L) Spring Term Programs
If you are ready to explore who you are, make connections with other students and maximize your potential, then have a look at the Passport to Leadership (P2L) programs. Deadline to register for the first workshop is January 20. 


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

  • Pharmacology of Cannabis, January 26, 4-5:30 pm. Speaker: Ethan Russo, MD, Medical Director, PHYTECS, Los Angeles, CA, former Senior Medical Advisor, GW Pharmaceuticals, UK, former president of International Cannabinoid Research Society, and former chairman of International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines. Please reserve your seats online. 
  • Secrets of the Cannabis Genome, February 9, 4-5:30 pm. Speaker: Dr. Jonathan Page, Founder, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Anandia Labs, Adjunct Professor, Botany Department UBC. Please reserve your seats online.

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


Graduate Student Society AGM
The GSS Annual General Meeting takes place this week, Thursday, January 12 @ 4pm at SFU Burnaby's Maggie Benston Centre, rooms 2290-96. A post-AGM social event will be held after the meeting in the Highland Pub (next door to MBC).

Members who attend the AGM will receive a free drink and may win a door prize! A limited amount of finger food will also be served.

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.

Trans and Gender Diverse Guide to SFU
The SFSS has just released a new Trans and Gender Diverse Guide to SFU.

Sexual Violence and Misconduct Prevention, Education and Support Policy
SFU's draft Sexual Violence and Misconduct Prevention, Education and Support Policy is now available for your review. They're looking for your feedback by January 31, and there are also upcoming Town Hall events on January 17 and 18.

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.

Academic Mental Health Collective
A resource for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows; founders include SFU alumni. Recent posts: Framing Your New Year’s Reflections and Surviving Depression: A Personal Story

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 Bioinformatics-Club

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



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.

Canucks game for $25!
SFU ISS invites you for a group trip to see the Canucks game on February 4. Your ticket includes admission into the Canucks game ($90.50 value), the pre-game reception, and return charter bus transportation to and from Rogers Arena from SFU Residence Parking Lot.

In-Person International Student Advising
In addition to in-person advising in Vancouver and Surrey, International Services for Students is now offering in-person advising on Burnaby campus on Monday mornings from 9 am–12 noon. Burnaby, Vancouver and Surrey advising hours can be found at

International Mentorship Program
If you're new to SFU and new to Canada, you can request a mentor from the SFU ISS.

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.

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.

End of Leniency Period for Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
As of November 10, 2016, unless otherwise exempted, all visa-exempt foreign nationals must have an eTA to fly to or transit through Canada.  If you require an eTA to enter Canada and you do not have one you will not be allowed to board your flight to Canada. See ISS Handout on the Electronic Travel Authorization.  

Recommended Readings


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



SFU Aboriginal Reconciliation Council
Open forum and feedback session on Thursday, January 12, 2–4 pm, Halpern 126, Burnaby campus.  

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

SFU Alumnus is Ghana's New Vice-President
SFU alumnus Mahamudu Bawumia (Economics PhD, 1995) vows to change Ghana for the better as the Vice-President Elect of the Republic of Ghana.

SFU Students Travel to Germany for International Counter-Extremism Competition
Criminology graduate student, Vienna Lam, mentored the class of undergraduate students who will be traveling to Germany to represent Canada in the finals.

Vienna Chichi Lam Nominated for Prestigious National Scholarship
Vienna Chichi Lam was profiled by SFU's School of Criminology.

SFU Researchers Work to Fine-Tune Collagen Growth
Marjan Shayegan and Tuba Altindal have identified the crucial first stage of how collagen self-assembles into fibrils.

Does Rape Culture Have an Opposite? 
SFU alumna, Josie Pickens sounds off on how teaching nurturance to Black boys can lessen the incidences of rape in the African-American community overall. 

SFU Applied Sciences Profiles - Nataliya Shapovalova
A software engineer at Amazon in Seattle, Nataliya Shapovalova is happiest when she's problem solving. 


Dates and Deadlines

Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Deadline for submitting a U-Pass BC Exemption request for Spring 2017 (Note: Students taking a course at UBC under the Western Deans' Agreement will be charged for two U-Passes if they don't submit an exemption request.)

Friday, January 13, 2017
End of Bursary application period (bursaries are awarded based on financial need; international students are eligible)

Deadline for opting out of Dedicated Fee Groups (see GSS website for more information)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

  • Last day for graduate students to enroll through self-service (late enrollment deadline)
  • Last day to drop with 100% refund of tuition and ancillary fees.
  • If you were eligible for the January U-Pass BC, there is no refund of the January U-Pass BC but you will be refunded for the February–April U-Passes.
  • Last day to change from credit to audit grade basis Grad tuition and fees (including co-op practicum fees) are due and payable. A 2% penalty will be calculated and posted to your student account every month.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Monday, January 30, 2017
Only applicable to new international students: Last day to opt out of Guard.Me@SFU (see medical insurance deadlines)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Monday, February 13, 2017
Family Day. All classes and offices closed.

February 14-19, 2017
Reading break. Classes cancelled. (Please note: this is for applicable departments only.)

See all the Dates and Deadlines.



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