To be alive beneath cherry blossoms, by PhD student Poovanna Cheppudira (click on the photo to see more of his photographs)

tips and tricks

April Update for Graduate Students

April 11, 2017

Awards and Funding

SFU Private Awards 2017 Competition
Due in large part to the generosity of our donors, Simon Fraser University can offer over $1 million in private or endowed awards to our graduate students. Check the list of private awards (pdf) for the scholarships available.

  • Make sure that you review the Terms of Reference for your chosen awards carefully as this will indicate the eligibility criteria and the list of documents required with your online application.
  • June 1 is normally the deadline to submit your application online on the Graduate Awards, Application and Adjudication system(GA3). Check GA3 to see if your department has set an earlier application deadline date. If you cannot find an award on GA3, then that award may not be available this year, or your department may not have opened up the competition to their students. Make sure that you apply to the correct Department or your application may not be considered.
  • GA3 tip: Add "Centre" as a department in your search to see awards that are available university-wide.
  • Questions should be directed to your graduate program assistant (if it's a department-specific award) or to

GSS Professional Development Grants
Grants of $499 for graduate students presenting at conferences or engaging in field research.

  • May 1 2017 for travel occurring between June 1 2017 and September 30 2017
  • July 3 2017 for travel occurring between August 1 2017 and November 30 2017
  • September 1 2017 for travel occurring between October 1 2017 and January 31 2018
  • November 1 2017 for travel occurring between December 1 2017 and March 31 2018
  • January 2 2018 for travel occurring between February 1 2018 and May 31 2018

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.

Tri-Agency 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 (CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC) if you need to defer, interrupt, withdraw or take a leave from your graduate program.

External 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.

Summer 2017 Student Jobs
Roundup blog post of all the student jobs we can find for Summer 2017. Continuously updated as we hear of more jobs.

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.)

If you have any questions, please email Alison Brennan Alison is also available to meet you at any of SFU's campuses.

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

photoshootGraduate Student Photo Shoot, April 26
Get a free personal portrait taken by one of SFU's official photographers for your LinkedIn profile, Twitter handle, or next conference program. You're also welcome to bring props for your photo if you want to! Date: April 26, 11 am–1 pm. Please register using myInvolvement.

SCORE: Surrey Collaborative Outreach and Research Experience
An enriching 8-week program (4th July - 25th August 2017) for graduate, undergraduate, and high school students to participate in cutting-edge research projects associated with medical technologies, digital health technologies, and assisted living technologies through a variety of clinically embedded labs within Surrey’s Health and Technology District.

Professional Development Workshops
Professional development workshops focus on career development, skill-building and academic success. Stay tuned to the Just-In-Time calendar and the Grad Studies blog for the release of the upcoming Summer 2017 schedule!  

Mitacs Step
Free workshops facilitated by professionals in the field. Next workshop is Build Your Scientific and Technical Writing Skills, Burnaby, April 10 & 11, 2017, with a couple of spaces still available.

4th Annual Beyond the Professoriate, the Online Career Conference for PhDs
$40 to $60 for two weekends of online career conference for PhDs in career transition.

Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning
This is a four-month, 120-hour, Senate-approved non-credit certificate for SFU graduate students who are aiming for employment in post-secondary institutions. Apply by May 26 for the Fall Certificate Program.

Teaching and Learning Centre Workshops

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 and postdoctoral fellows throughout the term. Upcoming workshops are posted on their website.

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. Email to set up an appointment.

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 available.


Just-in-Time Professional Development 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.)


Women in TechnologyPresident's Dream Colloquium on Women in Technology: Attracting, Retaining and Promoting Diverse Talent
Applications are now open for the graduate course that will run alongside the six free public lectures in Fall 2017. Confirmed speakers: Dr. Maria Klawe, President, Harvey Mudd College, Dr. Danielle Gaucher, Assistant Professor, University of Waterloo, and Dr. Steven Spencer, Robert K. and Dale J. Weary Chair in Social Psychology, Ohio State University. (Bonus reading — Melinda Gates: The Tech Industry Needs to Fix Its Gender Problem—Now)

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. Next sessions:

Calls for Participants / Submissions

  • Tim Bodyka Heng, SIAT, is looking for people who have fitbits to participate in a study, sign up at SIAT. Participants get $20 for using your Fitbit device and doing your work for a period of 2 weeks.
  • The Close Relationships Lab has a few studies looking for participants who are in relationships and long distance relationships. Prizes from $50 to $500.
  • The CRABE lab is looking for students to participate in economics experiments and participants receive around $15/20 a hour.


Climate Research DaySFU Climate & Energy Research Day
The biennial SFU Climate and Energy Research Day will take place on April 27, 2017 at the SFU Burnaby Campus. $1000 poster prize and $5000 seed funding for a research proposal. Submission deadline April 18.

Summer Welcome / Welcome Back Trip to Victoria
You're invited to an SFU student day trip to explore Victoria, BC on Saturday, May 27. Tickets are $20 per person and will go on sale starting Monday, April 24th. 

Events around Campus

Events around Metro Vancouver







Forum on Advanced Education
April 11, 5-7 pm, Asia Pacific Hall, Wosk Centre for Dialogue, SFU Vancouver

Continued support for programs and infrastructure, affordable transit, and the climbing cost of living in the province are growing priorities for students. With an election on the horizon, we want to learn more about the three major parties’ plans to address them, and we are inviting all members of our community to attend this event

Minister for Advanced Education, Hon. Andrew Wilkinson, BC Liberals
Dr. Michael Markwick, BC Green Party
Critic for Housing, Mr. David Eby, BC NDP

Tips and Tricks

Library and Burnaby Research Commons open 24/7 until April 21
The SFU Library, Burnaby campus, will be open 24/7 from now until the end of the exam period.

Financial Aid and Awards closed on May 4
If you need to contact them that day, please email and you'll get a reply when they're back in the office.

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.)

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




Engaging SFU
SFU would like to hear from you on what's next for the "Engaging the World" vision.

International Graduate Students


Summer Welcome/Welcome Back Trip to Victoria
Join us on a fun-filled day trip to explore Victoria, BC on Saturday, May 27. Tickets are $20 per person and will go on sale starting Monday, April 24th.  

US Travel Ban
SFU Student Services has a new website for students (and prospective students) affected by the US travel ban -- includes travel advice. Note: SFU has waived application fees for incoming (grad and undergrad) students from the seven affected countries.

Islamophobia Hotline
Free confidential legal advice if you feel that you have been discriminated against, harassed, or faced violence because you are Muslim or are perceived to be Muslim.

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

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.

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.   



Aboriginal Arts and Stories Writing Contest
Aboriginal Arts & Stories invites self-identified First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth (ages 9 to 29), to submit a piece of creative writing or two-dimensional art about their identity, their culture, or a moment or theme in Canadian Indigenous history. Prizes up to $2,000.

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

3MT Winners

SFU's 3 Minute Thesis Winners
Congratulations to our first place winner, Alexandra Kasper from Physics, and our second place winner and people's choice, Shera Fisk from Archaeology. Alexandra will move on to represent SFU at the Western Canadian Competition at the University of Saskatchewan on April 28, 2017 — and she'd appreciate your online votes that day.  

Courtney Szto makes SSHRC Storytellers Top 25
Congratulations to Courtney Szto, CMNS, who just made the Top 25 in SSHRC's Storytellers Competition for her work "Changing on the Fly: Exploring Multiculturalism, Citizenship, and Hockey"!

Opinion: Truly universal care could help end AIDS
Alexandra Collins co-wrote an editorial about the Canadian Association for HIV Research conference.

Lab livestreaming leaves lasting impression
Matthew Brown talked about "how a quiet Sunday in the lab prompted him to livestream his work and show a more human side to scientific research" for the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Killer heat, how temperature made Mayans more violent
Christopher Chris Carleton, PhD Candidate in Archaeology, was on CBC radio's Quirks and Quarks show: "After controlling for variables such as drought and how conflict begets more conflict, he found that temperature was most closely associated with the increased conflict seen in this era." He was also inteviewed in Seeker, International Business Times and RT.

Meet the finalists for the Griffin Poetry Prize
Jordan Abel
, English PhD student, has just been nominated for the Griffin Poetry Prize. He's one of eight finalists for the $65,000 prize, which recognizes the best books of poetry published in Canada and abroad.  

Reema Faris, GSWS PhD student, was profiled by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Reema Faris is a PhD student in Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies, where she studies the relevance of (mis)conceptions of feminism as they operate in popular culture. 

Mechatronics student’s research poised to revolutionize wheelchair design
Louise Thomas, Mechatronics, was profiled in SFU News.

Room-Temperature Quantum Bit Storage Exceeding 39 Minutes Using Ionized Donors in Silicon-28
Congratulations to SFU alumnus Kamyar Saeedi, whose research on quantum computing was published in Science last month.

Congratulations to Your New GSS Directors
The following candidates have been elected to their respective GSS Director positions:

  • Director of External Relations - Melissa McGregor
  • Director of Graduate Services - Robert Howsam
  • Director of Internal Relations - Mitchel Kovacic
  • Director of Student Life - Camila Miranda

Want to be in the news?
SFU News is interested in writing about the interesting research projects, summer programs, field schools and other pursuits at home and around the globe that students, faculty and staff are planning for this summer. Email your story tip to Diane Luckow, editor of SFU News,

Note: If you're convocating in June, she's also looking for stories about our convocating students: "This year, we're looking for stories that speak to themes of reconciliation, innovation and international engagement—whether those themes are reflected in student research, or student experiences. And, as usual, we're always seeking human interest stories about overcoming adversity, or achieving something out of the ordinary."

Dates and Deadlines

April 14-17, 2017
Easter break. All offices closed.

Friday, April 14, 2017
Last day for graduate students who completed in Spring 2017 to apply for graduation (June convocation).

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.)

April 9–22, 2017
Examination period

Friday, April 28, 2017

  • Fully graded date (transcripts requested for 'after grades' will be printed)
  • Last day for submission of all graduate degree requirements for 2017 Spring term (library submission deadline).

Monday, March 6, 2017
Registration opens for Summer 2017 term.

Monday, May 8, 2017
Summer term classes begin.

May 4-22 2017
You can enroll youself and/or your spouse/dependent in the Graduate Health and Dental Plan (only if you started school in May).

Monday, May 15, 2017
4:30pm Deadline for submitting a U-Pass BC Exemption request for Summer 2017. Requests must be submitted by 4:30 pm PST (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, May 19, 2017

  • 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.
  • End of Bursary application period (bursaries are awarded based on financial need; international students are eligible)

See all the Dates and Deadlines.



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Email List
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Via Shit Academics Say