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New Graduate Students

Awards and Financial Aid

Graduate students are eligible for a variety of financial assistance programs including entrance or continuing scholarships, graduate fellowships, awards, bursaries and loans.

Scholarships and fellowships recognize outstanding academic achievements; awards generally acknowledge outstanding achievements or community contributions. Bursaries are awarded on the basis of financial need. Government student loans are awarded on the basis of financial need by the student's province of residence. Emergency loans are available from the Academic Resources Office, to students in short term financial crisis.

Other sources of income are teaching assistantships (TAs) and research assistantships (RAs) which are available in most departments. Applications should be directed to the chair of the appropriate graduate program committee in the intended department.

The following information is intended as a guide only. Every attempt has been made to provide up-to-date information. However, it remains the prerogative of the award-granting agencies to change deadline dates, discontinue awards, etc. without prior notice.

a. Scholarships and Fellowships

Merit-based awards, are available to graduate students and post-doctoral researchers from internal and external sources. "Graduate Scholarships Day" is held annually in September to provide timely information to prospective applicants; most national awards have autumn deadlines.

Merit-based awards from internal and external sources are administered by the Dean of Graduate Studies Office.

b. Bursaries

Need-based awards from external and internal sources are administered primarily by Student Services, Financial Assistance. Please refer to the current SFU Calendar, under Bursaries and Loans in the section Awards and Financial Aid for Graduate Students or for descriptions of:

University-administered Bursaries
University-administered Loans
Government Loans
Government Grants/Loans

For further information on these programs, contact Financial Assistance (Office of the Registrar), in person at MBC 3200, by phone 778.782.4356 or email fiassist@sfu.ca

c. Loans

Need-based awards from (mostly) external sources are administered by Student Services, Financial Assistance; these may be supplemented by a Work-study program.

d. Teaching Assistantships and Seasonal Instructorships

Teaching assistantships and sessional instructorships are governed by a contract between the University and the Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU). Teaching Assistantships usually involve instruction of undergraduate students in tutorial, seminar or laboratory settings (click here for the TA stipend).  In some departments, a graduate student may be appointed as a Sessional Instructor (SI) who is fully responsible for the offering of an undergraduate course (click here for the SI stipend). Please contact the departmental graduate program chair for further information on teaching assistantships and sessional instructorships.

Teaching assistantships and sessional instructorships are administered by departments.

e. Research Assistantships

Research assistantships vary very widely in duties and stipends; typical values are those paid to graduate students from research grants received by faculty members about $5,000 per semester.   In most cases, research assistantships may be held by students for work on their own thesis research.  Please contact the departmental graduate program chair or potential senior supervisors for further information on research assistantships.

Research assistantships are administered by departments and by faculty members who are holders of research grants or contracts.

General Information and Regulations

The following regulations apply generally to all financial assistance administered by the University.

  • Plan and apply well in advance as many scholarship deadlines occur between 4 and 12 months before the granting of the award. Application deadlines are listed for each award on the following pages. Please note that the published deadlines are approximate dates only, and are subject to change by the awarding agency.
  • All scholarships and awards are given on the recommendations of the Senate Graduate Awards Adjudication Committees. Committee decisions, when announced, are final.
  • The University does not guarantee the payment of any scholarships, awards or bursaries listed in the Calendar other than those provided directly from funds of the University. If invested funds do not provide the necessary income for an endowed scholarship, award or bursary, payment of the award may be reduced or the award withheld. The University reserves the right to withhold awards donated by individuals or organizations where the funds required have not actually been received.
  • The University reserves the right to refrain from making an award if, in its opinion, none of the applicants meets the terms specified.
  • The individual graduate student is responsible for knowing the deadlines, proper completion of the application forms and supplying all appropriate documentation for the various scholarships, awards and bursaries. Incomplete applications may be rejected.

International Students

Students who are not Canadian citizens and who would require financial assistance to attend Simon Fraser University must seek such assistance in their country of origin before arrival in Canada. Many of the outside awards are restricted to Canadian citizens or permanent residents. However, foreign students are eligible for most awards granted by the University.


SFU offers a variety of financial assistance including entrance or continuing scholarships, graduate fellowships, teaching and research assistantships, awards, bursaries and loans.


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