Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning

A note about Spring 2023

For Spring 2023, the Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning will be offered virtually on Zoom. Sessions will take place from 9:00 to 12:00 on Friday mornings and will include a mix of activities, including small-group activities and discussions. The co-facilitators will be Megan Robertson (educational developer, Centre for Educational Excellence) and Sheri Fabian (university lecturer, School of Criminology).

Applications for Spring 2023 can be submitted here. Please apply by Thursday, November 24.

Be better prepared for your teaching roles

Are you a graduate student intending to apply for a teaching position? If so, reflecting on your teaching, improving your skills, and developing your practice may give you an advantage.

This is a four-month, 120-hour, Senate-approved non-credit certificate for SFU graduate students who are aiming for employment in post-secondary institutions. The program is offered in the spring and fall terms of each school year.

What past participants say

“It’s hugely practical … It helps with first-time teaching nerves … It challenges your basic assumptions about teaching and learning … Before this I was just googling ‘how to teach.’ ”

Read a blog post about one participant’s CPUTL experience >>

Go to the online application form >>

Additional information


The program aims to:

  • Provide participants with the knowledge, skills, positive attitude, and confidence to promote learning in their students 
  • Integrate learning and instructional theory with an individual's knowledge of his or her subject, emphasizing a scholarly approach to teaching 
  • Prepare program graduates to provide educational leadership in their academic endeavours 
  • To foster effective teaching techniques and sophisticated curricular thought


Sessions will be held each week for thirteen weeks, culminating with a graduation celebration.


There are four types of assignments in this program:

  1. Group presentations and reflection
  2. Mentor reflection
  3. A full-scale course design
  4. A teaching philosophy statement

Application process

Participants are chosen from a broad range of backgrounds, representative of SFU's teaching community. All current SFU graduate students are encouraged to apply, although space is limited and preference will be given to students in doctoral programs. The following selection criteria will be considered:

  • Membership in the SFU teaching community
  • Quality of application and letter of intent
  • Commitment to teaching and learning at SFU
  • Relevant previous activities and experience
  • Range of departments represented
  • Gender balance


As a foundation for success in the certificate program, completion of a three-day Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) will be required.


There is a program fee of $100, due upon acceptance into the program. There is no cost to apply.

Frequently asked questions

What is the Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning?

The program is a step toward ongoing professional development and is designed for you to explore; develop skills; create your own artifacts for future use in teaching; and reflect on your beliefs and professional growth. The program integrates learning and instructional theory with your own experience and expectations, and encourages you to reflect on your individual teaching practice. You will also have an opportunity to begin a teaching portfolio, which is valuable when applying for teaching positions. The instructors are SFU staff and faculty members with varied backgrounds and experiences in teaching and learning.

What are the admission criteria?

Admission will be based on a combination of your commitment to teaching and learning, the quality of your application and letter of intent, related previous activities and experience, and diverse representation. All current SFU graduate students are encouraged to apply; however, preference will be given to students in doctoral programs.

Is teaching experience necessary?

Teaching experience is not necessary. In your letter of intent, you are encouraged to discuss your own teaching and relevant personal experience, what you hope to gain from the program, and what you plan to do with the experience and knowledge you build.

Is the program open to SFU alumni, staff, or faculty members?

The program is offered to current SFU graduate students only.

Is the program open to international students?

Yes, international students currently enrolled in graduate studies at SFU are welcome to apply.

What is the workload of the program? I want to make sure it will not conflict with my studies.

The program emphasizes learner-centred active-learning methods, and self-directed learning. You will need, on average, about the same number of hours as a three-credit course to participate in the program. The bulk of the program consists of three-hour sessions, which are held every week during the term. Minor assignments will be scheduled intermittently throughout the course, with assignment descriptions provided in-class and online. Major assignments of the program include mentor reflection, a full-scale course design, and a teaching philosophy statement. You must also complete the Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) as a pre-requisite. This three-day workshop is typically offered during the Spring, Summer and Fall semester breaks. 

I will not be able to attend the Instructional Skills Workshop before the program begins. Should I still apply?

Everyone must complete the ISW before the first class of the program. This is a foundational workshop and the program will build on some of its themes. If you anticipate you will not be able to attend the ISW, we ask that you consider applying the following year. 

What if I have already taken the ISW?

Anyone who has completed the three-day Instructional Skills Workshop within the past three years is welcome to participate in the ISW again, but this would not be required.

How often is the program offered?

The program is offered twice a year, from January to April and again from September to December. This is a joint offering by the Dean of Graduate Studies Office and the Teaching and Learning Centre.

How many graduate students will participate?

There are typically 25 students in each cohort.

What are the tuition fees?

There are no tuition fees for this program. There is a $100 confirmation fee (due upon acceptance).

What kind of certification can I get at the end of this program?

This is a Senate-approved non-credit program; therefore, you will receive a notation on your SFU transcript and a Certificate of Completion. The Instructional Skills Workshop (pre-requisite) may also be applied as credit to the Provincial Instructor Diploma Program.

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E: ceeevent@sfu.ca
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