tips and tricks

August Update for Graduate Students

July 31, 2017

Awards and Funding

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships
The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships, $50,000 per year, are open to the top doctoral students in Canada, including international students. Vanier CGS Writing Workshop: August 24, 2017 in the Library Thesis Room, LIB 2020, 1:30-3:30 pm.

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

  • 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

GSS Benefit Plan Bursary and Family Subsidy
There are new program guidelines starting Fall 2017 for the GSS Benefit Plan Bursary and GSS Family Subsidy. The Fall application deadline is October 13. For more information, visit their webpage.

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.

Student Jobs Roundup
We track student job postings for in a continually-updated student jobs blog post as we hear of new student jobs.

Jobs Roundup

Volunteer Roundup

Mitacs Accelerate Paid Internships
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 Allison Brennan at Allison 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

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:

TLC Body-Voice-Space: An Intensive Two-Day Voice and Presentation Skills Boot Camp
If you have ever felt shortness of breath, sweaty brows, or fidgety hands while presenting, lecturing, or leading a discussion, or if you simply desire a safe environment to deepen your personal practice, don’t miss this much-requested summer intensive. This workshop explores techniques and skills that will give you the critical awareness you need for optimal impact. Date: August 14-15, register by August 8

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 Technology
President's Dream Colloquium on Women in Technology: Attracting, Retaining and Promoting Diverse Talent
Applications still open for graduate students from any discipline for this graduate course and free public lecture series. Reservations for the lectures are now open.

Scientific Programming Study Group at SFU
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. Upcoming sessions:

Women's Health Research Symposium
Coming in Fall 2017, save the date of October 25.

Calls for Participants / Submissions

  • Samarth Singhal is looking for families or partners with or without children to participate in her study of revisiting past moments in the home by interacting with an every-day object
  • The Close Relationships Lab has a few studies looking for participants who are in relationships and long distance relationships. Prizes from $50 to $500.
  • Alexandra Kitson is looking for participants for her study on lucid dreaming
  • 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.


Tips and Tricks

Your Academic Progress Report
You now have access to an Academic Progress Report (APR) through your student information account. This interactive course mapping tool is designed to help you keep track of your degree and program requirements.

Applied Quantitative Methods (AQM)
For graduate students looking to transition to data science careers, AQM is a 10-month data exploratory and modelling program for students to apply advanced methods in data processing, data mining, computational statistics, and machine learning. After training, the AQM team also embarks on a 4-month quantitative project with some of Canada’s largest companies. Application deadline: September 30

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.

Let's Talk
Health & Counselling Services has a free drop-in "Let's Talk" consultation service for graduate students in MBC 1501, August 3,  2:00-3:30 pm

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.

Vancouver Inspiration Pass from the VPL
For Vancouver residents: The Vancouver Public Library lets you check out a card that gets you access 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.

City of Surrey Neighbourhood Enhancement Grants
The City of Surrey provides small project grants of up to $3000 or Celebration grants of up to $1000 for residents of Surrey (can include block parties). (See also: Neighbourhood Event Equipment)

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.

Graduate Business Cards front
Graduate Student Business Cards 
Graduate students and registered postdoctoral fellows are able to order business cards through SFU Document Solutions. See our website for a walkthrough of how to order.





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

International Graduate Students

Finding Housing and Dealing with Landlords
International Student Services and Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre held a workshop in July to educate people on their rights as tenants. It is recorded and the slides are available online.

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.

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-Friday. 

You can also speak with an International Student Advisor 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.   



Indspire's Building Brighter Futures Program 
Indspire is offering a number of bursaries and scholarships to Indigenous graduate students. Deadline: August 1

Indigenous Co-op
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada is looking for an Administrative Assistant co-op student. Please see Symplicity or email Trina Setah, the Indigenous Co-op Coordinator, at for more information.

Walk for Reconciliation
Reconciliation Canada is holding many events as part of Reconciliation in Action: A National Engagement Strategy, a Canada 150 Signature Project. See their volunteer and job opportunities to get involved. Date: September 24


In the News

Money Might Not Be Enough to stop the Lionfish Invasion 
Luis Malpica Cruz, Biology PhD student, was interviewed in Hakai magazine about his research into lionfish.

Disney is using facial recognition to predict how you'll react to movies
Zhiwei Deng's research on AI facial recognition on people watching Disney movies was featured on

Trudeau Fellowship for Milad Parpouchi
Milad Parpouchi
has received a prestigious Trudeau Fellowship.


Dates and Deadlines

Friday, August 4, 2017    
Last day of classes.

Monday, August 7, 2017
BC Day. All classes cancelled and offices are closed.

August 8-17, 2017
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. 

Friday, August 18, 2017
Last day for graduate students who completed in Summer 2017 to apply for graduation (October convocation).

Thursday, August 31, 2017
Submission of all graduate degree requirements for 2017 Summer term (must be submitted by 4pm PST)

Last day for graduate students to drop classes under special procedures applicable in extenuating circumstances (WE on transcript). Any WE requests received for the Summer 2017 term after this date will be considered as a retroactive WE.

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.