tips and tricks

May Update for Graduate Students

May 09, 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

Accepting your CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC Award
CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC and Vanier will be notifying students of the competition results during April and May. Visit our website for the steps required to activate and accept your award.

CIHR/NSERC/SSHRC Award Holders Travel Awards
Students who hold a Vanier or CGS award from one of the Tri-Agencies (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC) may be eligible for an Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement travel award. Applications are due to the Grad Studies Office (in paper form) by May 31st. Be sure to read the website to ensure you are eligible. Contact for more information.

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

  • 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

SFU Bursaries
SFU Bursaries are for students with demonstrated financial need. Application period is open from now until May 19.

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

BCIC Ignite
BCIC Ignite provides funding to accelerate commercialization of new technologies and innovations in the natural resources and applied sciences in British Columbia. The program provides awards of up to $300,000 to consortia that are conducting research leading to commercializable projects that address a significant demonstrated problem faced by industry. Next competition opens June 1 and letters of intent are due June 27.

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

See our Summer 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.

TA / TM / Sessional Job Postings for the Fall term
Sessional postings are starting to go up for the Fall 2017 term. TA/TM job postings period will be June 26-July 10, 2017.

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 and your supervisor 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

Professional Development Summer Workshops
Our professional development workshop series is designed for advanced degree holders looking for structure and support in building their professional development plans. The Foundations workshop is recommended for all graduate students and postdocs exploring their career options. Register at MyInvolvement.

  • Foundations (Workshop 1), May 15, 1:30-4:30 pm
  • Creating Your Own Luck (Workshop 2), June 13, 1:30-4:30 pm
  • Building Authentic Relationships (Workshop 3), June 21, 2-5 pm
  • Connecting the Dots (Workshop 4), July 25, 4-7 pm
photoshootGraduate Student Photo Shoot
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: June 21, 11 am–1 pm. Please register using myInvolvement.

16th Annual Symposium on Teaching and Learning: Voices of Diversity and Inclusion: Vulnerabilities, Tensions, and Opportunities
SFU’s annual Symposium, May 17-18, 2017, is a forum for faculty members, instructors, students, staff, and administrators to share innovative ideas and practices related to teaching and learning. Free event, free lunch provided.


Data Love-In
The SFU Library is organizing a Data Love-In on Thursday, May 18.

Can't make the Love-In? The SFU Library is offering a variety of workshops on research data management throughout the semester. Email for further information.

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.

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.

IMPACT! Youth Sustainability Leadership Training
Looking for passionate, motivated youth (19-30) who are looking to make a difference. Next session in Vancouver is June 10-11, see application form.

Mitacs Business Development Specialist for SFU
Dr. Allison Brennan is 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, postdocs and event 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)

President's Dream Colloquium Looking for Proposals
Funding is $25,000 to SFU faculty members to bring in 6 guest speakers from anywhere in the world. Proposal must involve at least three SFU departments and be interdisciplinary. Next proposal deadline is June 15, 2017.

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

  • Courtney Felix is looking for kids ages 5-8 to play a custom built nutrition game and answer a few questions on brand awareness and nutritional knowledge for her MA research on advergames.
  • 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.

Events around Campus

Events around Metro Vancouver







Discounts on Playland Tickets
Contact the Graduate Student Society to get your discount code for tickets (individual & season pass). Email, subject "PNE". (Reminder: The GSS is closed on Fridays)

GSS Summer Hours
During the summer semester, the GSS offices and lounge will be open Monday–Thursday, 9 am–4 pm.  Please note, the office and lounge will be closed on Fridays until the Fall semester.



SFU Rec Free Trial Week, May 15-19
Zumba, outdoor bootcamp, fencing (includes beginner) kickboxing, tai chi, flexibility yoga ... try out many of SFU Rec's programs for free.

Tips and Tricks

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.

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.

Parks Canada
Free pass for all national marine conservation area or historic sites across the country for 2017.

Vancouver Inspiration Pass from the VPL
For Vancouver residents: The Vancouver Public Library lets you check out a card that gets you acess to 27 major venues around the city. Note: There's a long waiting list for the pass.

Want to Run a Program in a Vancouver Park?
The Vancouver Park Board's Fieldhouse Activation Program provides you or your group with space in a fieldhouse and access to parks to create activities that engage the community.

New SFU Library Catalogue
The SFU Library will be launching a new-and-improved SFU Library Catalogue on May 24.

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.

YNAB is Now Free for College Students
if you need to build a budget, the You Need a Budget tool is free for students. Note that all data is stored on a US server. (Bonus reading: Personal Finance in Grad School)

Contest Roundup

Reading Roundup

Want More Academic Readings?
If you're planning a career in academia, you're eligible for a free subscription to University Affairs.




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

International Graduate Students

US Travel Ban
SFU Student Services has a new website for students (and prospective students) affected by the US travel ban -- includes travel advice.

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.

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

You can also speak with an International Student Adviser by email to and by phone at 778-782-4232.

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 Films at the DOXA Documentary Film Festival 
Film festival takes place in theatres around Vancouver, May 4-14, 2017.

New Relationship Trust has opened up applications for their university scholarships
The New Relationship Trust Foundation and BC First Nations communities realize the importance of education. Interested and eligible BC First Nation students are encouraged to apply for the NRT Foundation Post-Secondary Scholarship Awards. Deadline: June 8


In the News

Graduate Student Profile: Alex Thumm, Urban Studies
The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences wrote a profile of Alex Thumm, whose thesis examines parking regulations for laneway housing in Vancouver.

The Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning: A graduate student describes her experience
Mirjam Gollmitzer, PhD student in the School of Communication, was featured by the Teaching and Learning Centre.

Jakub Burkowicz receives Outstanding Graduating Student Award
The Canadian Sociological Association awarded Jakub Burkowicz with an Outstanding PhD Program student award in 2016/2017.

Dean of Graduate Studies Awards for Excellence
Congratulations to the SFU faculty members and staff who won this year's Dean of Graduate Studies Awards for Excellence:

  • Award for Excellence in Graduate Supervision
  • Award for Excellence in Graduate Leadership
  • Award for Excellence in Service
    • Susan Warren, Education

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,

Dates and Deadlines

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 4:30pm 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)

Sunday, May 21, 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 May U-Pass BC, there is no refund of the May U-Pass BC but you will be refunded for the June-August U-Pass BC.
  • Last day to change from credit to audit grade basis

Monday, May 22, 2017
Victoria Day. All classes cancelled and offices closed.

Monday, May 29, 2017
Last day to drop with no notation on transcript

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

June 6-9 2017
Convocation for students who completed in Spring 2017.

Friday, June 30, 2017
Last day to drop with a 50% refund of tuition. No refund of ancillary fees.

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

Getting on Our Email List
This monthly update is sent to SFU graduate students. You can also request to be added to the email list for this monthly update.

To join: Send a message to with the words "subscribe dgs-gradupdates" in the subject line. You don't need anything in the body of the message.

To leave the mailing list: Send a message to with the words "unsubscribe dgs-gradupdates" in the subject line. You don't need anything in the body of the message.

Via PhD Comics