About Graduate Studies
Graduate students have been an integral part of SFU's community since the university's beginning. Gordon Shrum, who built SFU, had been a physics professor and was Dean of Graduate Studies at UBC from 1956–1961, when he retired at 65. Two years later, BC Premier Bill Bennett asked him to take on the building of SFU, which he opened in 1965.
SFU's earliest graduate degrees were conferred in 1967 and 1968:
- 7 Master's degrees conferred on May 20, 1967
- 1 PhD degree conferred on May 20, 1967
- 18 Master's degrees conferred on May 11, 1968
- 7 PhD degrees conferred on May 11, 1968 (Many of these PhD students came to SFU with their faculty supervisors, who had been hired at the new university.)
- For SFU's 50th Anniversary, the SFU Library has assembled a collection of the First Fifty Theses
When SFU opened, there were not enough graduate students to form a separate Faculty of Graduate Studies — in those early years, there were only a handful of academic departments so each department administered its own graduate programs and graduate students. In 1968, the Senate Committee on Graduate Studies approved the formation of departmental graduate studies committees and recommended the creation of a Dean of Graduate Studies.
In 1971, the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies was officially created. Reporting to the Vice-President, Academic, the Dean was given responsibility for graduate studies policy development and graduate student services, including the administration of research and grants for faculty and scholarships for students.
In 1994, the Dean's role was combined with that of Vice-President, Research with the graduate studies portfolio reporting to the Vice-President, Academic. In 2000, the Dean of Graduate Studies was made a separate position once again, with the Vice-President, Research taking responsibility for research administration and the Dean of Graduate Studies reporting back again to the Vice-President, Academic and Provost.
Since 1965, 22,244 graduate degrees have been conferred by SFU: 19,131 master's degrees and 3,113 doctorates.
Today, SFU has a population of about 4,500 graduate students per year and the Office of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Fellows administers more than $16 million in graduate student funding every year.
SFU's graduate students, Associate Deans and Deans over the last 50 years. To celebrate SFU's 50th Anniversary in 2015, we asked SFU's staff and retirees to nominate their most inspiring alumni from the last 50 years and wrote 50 profiles about some of them.
Past Deans and Associate Deans of Graduate Studies
- John M. Webster (Biology), Dean (Interim), 1971–1972 (see John M. Webster fonds)
- Jon Wheatley (Philosophy), Dean, 1972–1979
- Klaus E. Rieckhoff (Physics), Associate Dean, 1974–1977 (see Klaus E. Rieckhoff fonds)
- Bruce P. Clayman (Physics), Associate Dean, 1977–1979 (see Bruce P. Clayman fonds)
- Roger Blackman (Psychology), Associate Dean, 1979–1981 (see Roger Blackman fonds)
- Bryan P. Beirne (Biology), Dean, 1979–1982 (see Bryan P. Beirne fonds)
- Jared R. Curtis (English), Associate Dean, 1981–1982
- Audrey D. Doerr (Political Science), Associate Dean, 1981–1983
- John M. Webster (Biology), Dean, 1982–1985 (see John M. Webster fonds)
- Marilyn L. Bowman (Psychology), Associate Dean, 1983–1985
- Bruce P. Clayman (Physics), Dean, 1985–2000 (see Bruce P. Clayman fonds)
- Phyllis Wrenn (French), Associate Dean, 1993–1996
- Jack Martin (Psychology), Associate Dean, 1997–1998
- Stephen D. Hart (Psychology), Associate Dean, 1998–2000
- Jonathan Driver (Archaeology), Dean, 2000–2008 (See press release)
- Trude Heift (Linguistics), Associate Dean, 2004–2006
- George Agnes (Chemistry), Associate Dean, 2006–2011
- Wade Parkhouse (Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, Dean, 2008–2017 (See press release)
- Mary-Ellen Kelm (History), Associate Dean, Students, 2011–2016
- Peter Liljedahl (Education), Associate Dean, Academics, 2011–present
- Jeff Derksen (English), Associate Dean, Students, 2016–2017
- Jeff Derksen (English), Dean and Associate Provost Pro Tem, 2017–present
- Ed Park, Mechatronic Systems Engineering, Associate Dean Graduate Studies, 2017–present
- Youngest Master's graduate: 13 (Conferred in 2009)
- Average age of Master's graduates: 34
- Oldest Master's graduate: 82 (Conferred in 1989)
- Youngest PhD graduate: 14 (Conferred in 1982)
- Average age of PhD graduates: 37
- Oldest PhD graduate: 68 (Conferred in 2015)
- Graduate Program Application and Completion Statistics 2011–14
Graduate Studies in SFU News
- Mary Ann Pope receives Dean's Award for Excellence in Service to Graduate Studies
- Carolyn Hanna receives Dean's Award for Excellence in Service to Graduate Studies
- Fun inspires Gladys We's stellar work ethic
- Dream Colloquiums a hit
- A new year, a new entrepreneurial dream?
- Three-minute thesis wins $2k
- SFU streamlines paperwork and processes
- Up for a challenge? Match the gift
SFU 40th Anniversary Graduate Studies Newsletters (from 2006)
Includes a list of the First Forty theses and the First Five degrees
Graduate alumni profiles, including Premier Gordon Campbell; new SIAT and public policy graduate programs
Dialogue and Interdisciplinarity
SFU Reviews Graduate Supervision
Province of BC announced $1 million to graduate scholarships at SFU