Financial assistance

Graduate students at SFU Economics are normally provided with financial support through a combination of Teaching Assistantships, Graduate Fellowships, Sessional Instructor positions, and a variety of merit-based scholarships. The Department normally receives resources from the university to disperse as financial awards to eligible graduate students. The majority of these are in the form of Graduate Fellowship awards. Travel awards may also be available to help finance graduate student participation in academic conferences.

Please refer to the Dean of Graduate Studies for available Scholarships and Awards. All students, including current graduate students, are encouraged to apply for these awards. Please be sure to read the Terms of Reference for each award to see if you meet the eligibilty requirements.

Please note that students must pay tuition (Research Programs Full-time fee) every semester and that international students pay the same rate as domestic students.

Graduate Fellowships

Each year, the department receives an allocation of funds where GFs are dispensed from. The application process occurs three times during the year. The first application is conducted in May for the Fall semester. The second application is conducted in October for the Spring semester. The third application is conducted in February for the Summer semester. Online applications are accessed through the Graduate Awards and Application System (GA3).

The top priority for fellowships will be first-year PhD students. Resources permitting, all newly admitted PhD student can expect to receive a fellowship in the summer semester of their first year; subject to the provisions contained in the Terms of Reference and the department’s Satisfactory Progress Guidelines (SPG) for PhD students. The primary purpose of this award is to grant first-year PhD students teaching relief during the summer semester when they will be studying for their comprehensive exams

The Graduate Program Committee will make recommendations based primarily on academic performance, broadly defined (CGPA, seminar participation, conference participation, research papers completed, etc.)

Most GFs will be assigned for the summer semester (when the number of available TAships is relatively small).

Funding for PhD Students

PhD students are normally guaranteed a minimum level of funding; currently in the order of $19,700 for one full year (three semesters of continuous study). To be eligible for financial support, PhD students must meet the Department’s Satisfactory Progress Guidelines. Financial support will typically be made up of the following options:

  • PhD students are typically funded by way of Teaching Assistantships ($6,725 per semester; or $19,700 per annum).
  • Students who are writing their PhD comprehensive exams for the first time will be given high priority for a summer fellowship valued at $6,500. Normally, students who receive fellowship support will be ineligible for a TAship in the same semester.
  • PhD students may also find employment as Research Assistants (these positions are negotiated bilaterally between the student and individual faculty members).
  • PhD students who have successfully completed their coursework and comprehensive exams may also apply for Sessional Instructor positions.
  • Senior PhD students deemed to be making Satisfactory Progress are also eligible to apply for grants to finance conference travel or scholarly activity related to their research.
  • Upon successful completion of all departmental and University requirements for the degree by the 11th term, PhD students are eligible to receive the President’s PhD Scholarship ($6,500).
  • PhD students entering the program may be nominated for the Doreen Wilkinson Memorial Graduate Scholarship in Economics, valued at approximately $2,000.

Funding for Masters Students

MA students are normally guaranteed a minimum level of funding; currently in the order of $17,100 for one full year. To be eligible for financial support, MA students must meet the Department's Satisfactory Progress Guidelines.  Financial support will typically be made up by the following options:

  • MA students are normally funded by way of Teaching Assistantships ($5,700 per semester; or $17,100 per annum); but may also be eligible for (no more than one) Graduate Fellowship (GF) Award ($6,500).
  • A GF may be assigned for recruiting purposes; they may also be assigned to incumbent MA students on the basis of availability and academic performance (minimum CGPA of 3.50).
  • MA students may also seek to gain employment as a Research Assistant (these positions are negotiated bilaterally between the student and individual faculty members).

Travel Awards

Travel and Minor Research Awards

The Travel and Minor Research Awards provide financial support to graduate students for the travel component of the scholarly activity related to their research. Only travel to conferences at which the student is an active participant (presenter or discussant), and travel to conduct research are eligible for support. Recipients must be registered as graduate students during the time of the expenditure.

Graduate students interested in the Travel and Minor Research Awards program must ensure they meet the eligibility criteria as outlined in the Terms of Reference. Eligible students must apply using the online Graduate Awards and Application System (GA3). Additional required documentation may include conference invitations and supervisor recommendations. Competition for this award is usually held each semester.

Applications will be assessed by the graduate chair. This assessment will be based primarily on the applicant’s academic performance as it relates to the department’s Satisfactory Progress Guidelines, as well as the supervisor’s recommendation.

Owing to the limited budget, expenses will normally be subsidized, rather than covered in full. For example, travel within Canada is usually limited to $500; and travel outside of Canada is usually limited to $700. Receipts, boarding cards and a completed expense claim form are required for all expenditures (please submit to Gwen Wild).

Graduate International Research Travel Award

Graduate students who must travel abroad to undertake research may be eligible for a Graduate International Research Travel Award, a one-semester award valued at $6,500. Please read the Terms of Reference and apply using the online Graduate Award and Application System (GA3).