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Mechatronics PhD Program Funding Policy

Mechatronics PhD Program Funding Policy  - effective September 1st 2024


Financial resources allow eligible students to focus on their studies, gain valuable teaching experience, and complete their degrees in a timely manner.  As part of the application process you must identify a prospective supervisor or supervisors.

The supervisor will be confirmed before an offer of admission is made. Prospective students are encouraged to contact supervisors to discuss
their application. Official offers of admission only come from the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Costs: Tuition, Fees and Living expenses

Please see the Graduate Tuition Fees page on the current academic calendar for information about tuition and fees for graduate students as well as the typical costs of being a graduate student at SFU in the Vancouver area. Note that the MASc and PhD program's are considered a "regular" program as they are research-based (completion with thesis).

Expected degree completion times for MASc are 2 years and for PhD 4 years.

Financial Assistance

Minimum annual stipends of $20,000/year are expected for all incoming graduate students but may be higher for outstanding candidates. MASc students are supported financially for 2 years and PhD students are supported for 4 years. Student stipends include contributions from scholarships, teaching assistantships (TAs), and research assistantships (RAs). Funding is subject to satisfactory degree progress and TA performance.

Applicants who are employer funded or government funded may apply for entry to the graduate program, however, this funding will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

SFU also has access to a wide range of external grant funding sources, and is an approved University for US applicants under FSA. Applicants are encouraged to check the External + Government Awards page for exact details of SFU administered grants and the specific application process and how it may fit with their MSE application, previous CGPA and any further experience or interests:

Qualified candidates are encouraged to contact MSE early in their application process regarding any such awards if they are eligible. Applicants who hold Tri-Council (NSERC, CIHR, SSHRC) Scholarships are eligible for a further one-time top-up of $6,000. Students are expected to apply for all available sources of funding (internal and external) for which they are eligible and as recommended by their prospective supervisor.

Offer of Admission

The offer letter will come from the Graduate Studies Office (GS) of SFU and may state conditions for entry into the program, which will need to be fulfilled before coming to SFU and before any payments can be made. Typical conditions are receipt of a formal transcript and evidence of a satisfactory standard in English. Students are encouraged to familiarise themselves with SFU's admission requirements through the Graduate Studies website, where country specific information may be found.

Regardless of the sources of funding, the offer letter will specify the guaranteed funding amount and specifies the period during which it applies. Funding is subject to satisfactory degree progress and TA performance.


Information about bursaries, which are awarded to those in financial need, can be found on the Graduate Students - Bursaries page. Bursaries are not a source of funding for new students.

International Students 

Students who are not Canadian citizens and who require financial assistance to attend SFU must ensure that they have a funding package and an offer of admission (letter) before arrival in Canada. Many scholarships (for instance, NSERC) are limited to Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents.

Research Assistantships (RA)

Supervisor Faculty in MSE provide Research Assistantship funding, which forms part of the minimum annual stipend to the student. This funding comes from research project funding and the student may be part of a team. The student will be expected to perform research in line with the supervisor’s requirements and meet the deadlines and deliverables of the funding source.

Teaching Assistantships (TA)

As part of their minimum annual stipend one TA position per year is normally expected ($4,000). Students are expected to apply for TA positions, the timing of which should be discussed with their faculty supervisor. In some cases, the RA pay may be increased to ‘buy out’ the student from the expected TAship, depending on the supervisor’s research schedule.

Students should complete the TAship training courses to ensure they are ready for teaching responsibilities. TAing more than one class per year is possible but should not interfere with your academic progress and should be done in consultation with your supervisory committee.

TA positions are assigned according to the School needs and following the TSSU Collective Agreement. TA positions are competitive and not guaranteed.

Entrance Scholarships

Graduate Dean’s Entrance Scholarship (GDES) is a full-value award (up to $21,000/year for four years) available to two outstanding PhD applicants each year. Supervisors will provide an award top up of $5,000/year for the duration of the GDES.

The School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering offers Entrance Scholarships ($3,500) to the most competitive applicants. All admitted students are automatically considered for these scholarships. Applying as early as possible is highly encouraged.

Graduate Fellowships

GFs ($3,500 or $7,000) are widely available throughout the program and given on the basis of excellent performance. Students are expected to apply once per year. One half-GF ($3500) is included as part of the minimum funding package in the offer letter.