tips and tricks

October Update for Graduate Students

October 03, 2017

Awards and Funding

SFU Awards

  • GSS Open Access Awards, for current or recently graduated grad students who have published in open access journals, $100+, October 6
  • GSS Benefit Plan Bursary, intended to offset the costs of the extended Health & Dental Benefit Plan ($459.54) for graduate students in demonstrated financial need, October 13
  • GSS Family Subsidy, up to $400 in funding to assist graduate students who have children, October 13 

*Note - There are new program guidelines starting Fall 2017 for the GSS Benefit Plan Bursary and GSS Family Subsidy.* 

Tri-Council Awards

TriCouncil Master's program, (CIHR/NSERC/SSHRC) provides $17,500 for 12 months to Canadian students. The award workshop will be on November 3, 3:00-4:30pm, Big Data Hub Theatre (ASB 10900), Burnaby campus. 

  •  SSHRC Doctoral Awards
    Don't wait to start your SSHRC Doctoral application! The awards are worth $20,000–$35,000 per year. Interested students are welcome to attend our Proposal Writing Cafe in the Library Thesis Room #7200 on October 11, 1:30-3:30pm.  
  • NSERC Doctoral Awards
    Scholarships of $21,000–$35,000 per year for Canadian students. The deadline to submit your completed online application is October 15. Don't forget to submit your transcripts to the Grad Studies Office by October 4 and yes, you do need to include a current SFU transcript.

Tri-Agency Award Holder Resources page
Visit the Award Holder Resources page on the Scholarships and Awards section of our website to find out what happens to your award (CIHR, NSERC, or SSHRC) if you need to defer, interrupt, withdraw, or take a leave from your graduate program.

External Awards

External Awards with No Deadline

Recognition Awards

SFU Exellence in Teaching Awards are now open for nomination, deadline October 15

President's Awards for Leadership in Sustainability, November 17

Awards Timelines 
We recommend scanning ahead because it takes time to prepare award applications and send reference requests. 

See our Fall Awards Timeline.


Bonus tip: Keep a running list of awards that you can apply for in your personal calendar. Even if you've missed this year's deadline, it will probably come up again next year and then you'll have more time to get your application in.

Job and Volunteer Postings

SFU Temp Pool and Student Temp Pool
SFU's Temp Pool and Student Temp Pool
 provide employment opportunities for SFU students. See also all SFU job postings, updated every Tuesday and Thursday.

Student Jobs Roundup

We track student job postings for in a continually-updated student jobs blog post as we hear of new student jobs.

Jobs Roundup

Mitacs Accelerate Paid Internships
You can also set up your own internship, paid at $10–15k per term. (Recording of info session available.)

If you have any questions, please email Allison Brennan at Allison is also available to meet you and your supervisor at any of SFU's campuses.

Volunteer Roundup


Student Jobs 
Many student jobs come up with very short notice, so we only have enough time to post them to the graduate students' facebook group.  


Professional Development

Mitacs Workshops

Mitacs Designing a Personal and Realistic Career Plan, October 5 & 6

This workshop is a unique opportunity to dedicate two days to planning your future and designing one or several professional projects. During this graduate-focused, interactive training, you will design a realistic career plan that fits your personal aspirations and your competencies, and aligns with the job market reality.

Mitacs Networking Skills, October 12

A good network is vital to career growth and can be your link to important new opportunities. However, getting started or knowing how to grow an existing network can be intimidating. This workshop will give you insights into how to establish and expand a stable network, both in-person and online.

​Mitacs Business Development Specialist for SFU
Dr. Allison Brennan is working exclusively with SFU faculty, students, and staff on all Mitacs internships and fellowships. She's available to you and your supervisor by appointment, Tuesday through Friday, and she's able to travel to all three campuses. Email to set up an appointment.

APEX Workshops

The APEX 4-Part Workshop Series is designed for advanced degree holders looking for structure and support in building their professional development plans. It will help you, expand your professional network, build confidence in your knowledge, skills and abilities, and translate your knowledge, skills and abilities to various audiences. Register through MyInvolvement.

Brown Bag Lunch: How to Use Social Media to Communicate Your Research to Non-Experts, October 26 

 In this hands-on training workshop, award-winning science communicator Dr. David Shiffman will teach you the basics of using three of the most common online tools for science communication: twitter, Facebook, and blogs. Please register on MyInvolvement.

Crafting Your Resume

If you're in job search mode (or will be soon!) this session is essential. Not only will you learn what works for your career document, but also learn tips and strategies to move beyond the resume, in terms of what works on paper and what works in the digital world. This workshop is offered twice in Fall 2017: October 19 and November 24. Register on MyInvolvement.

Building an Online Presence

This session will inform on what kinds of content to curate, which stories to tell, and on which platforms as well as how to be intentional about expanding connections and build authentic relationships, and how to to stand out with potential employers and funders. This session is offered twice in Fall 2017: October 31 and November 22. Register on MyInvolvement.

Teaching and Learning Centre Programs

Breath Power, Posture and Pauses: Your Secret Allies for Public Speaking, October 12

This two-hour workshop for instructors, staff members and graduate students in instructional roles will introduce techniques to increase your confidence, vocal power and ability to communicate in a relaxed way. 

Expressive Speech: Vocal Dynamism in the Classroom, October 26

In this two-hour workshop for instructors, staff members and graduate students in instructional roles, you will learn to apply the musician’s tools of melody and rhythm to become a more confident, colourful and dynamic speaker. 

Better Presentations: Building Confidence and Connectivity, November 9

As a public speaker there are concrete steps you can take to increase the receptivity and alertness of your audience and to create a positive mood for learning. Learn to use the tools of intention, anecdote, gesture and humour to energize your message and captivate your audience.

Instructional Skills Workshop, November 11-13

The Instructional Skills Workshop is designed to strengthen novice to expert instructors' skills. This is your opportunity to experiment with new methods and teaching approaches. Build your skills, develop confidence and form partnerships with colleagues from other disciplines. Apply by October 6.

A teaching dossier documents your teaching approaches, experience and effectiveness in the classroom. In this workshop, you will be guided through the components of a teaching dossier, review examples, discuss commonalities and differences across the disciplines, and get started on your own teaching dossier. For more information and to register, visit the event page.

Private voice sessions

An opportunity for faculty members and instructional staff to work with Sanders Whiting, the TLC’s teaching enhancement specialist for voice, on public speaking skills. Each session will be 45 minutes and available to individuals or small groups who would like to explore the potential of voice work. Sessions run Mondays, 9:30-11:45 and 1:00-3:15 until December 4.

Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning

Want to become better at your teaching role? This a concrete step you can take. Apply for the Spring 2018 CPUTL cohort by October 20.

Research Commons 

The Research Commons is located on the 7th floor of W.A.C. Bennett Library and is exclusively accessible to graduate students, faculty, and postdoctoral fellows by punch code. The space is currently equipped with wireless access, workstations, bookable group rooms, and areas for discussion and relaxation. The access code to the Research Commons will change periodically.

The Research Commons offers a multitude of free workshops specific to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows throughout the term. Upcoming workshop themes include Digital Humanities, EAL/ESL, Learning, Research Data Management, Programming and Software, Scholarly Communication, Writing, and Thesis.

Graduate Open Writing Lab

The Graduate Open Writing Lab is for all graduate students who want the time and a quiet, dedicated space to work on their writing. Registration not required - please drop in!

Burnaby Campus: (Facilitated) - Mondays, 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm

Vancouver Campus: (Not Facilitated) - Thursdays, 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Vancouver Campus: (Facilitated) - Fridays, 11:30 am to 2:30 pm

New & Young Worker Health & Safety Orientations

The New & Young Worker Health & Safety Orientation is a mandatory workshop for all new employees hired to perform work at SFU. This includes TAs, TMs, RAs, postdocs, and event staff. Topics such as hazard and incident reporting, roles & responsibilities, worker rights, health & safety committees, emergency response, working alone and workplace bullying & harassment will be covered. Online version available.

External Opportunities

Just-in-Time Professional Development Calendar 
A calendar of all professional development opportunities open to graduate students at SFU--all in one place!


You can also add it to your personal SFU Connect calendar. (Instructions are at the bottom of the page.)


Women in Technology
President's Dream Colloquium on Women in Technology: Attracting, Retaining and Promoting Diverse Talent
Reservations for the lectures are now open.

A New Form of Indigenous Archeology: The Wild Archaeology Experience, October 10

How can the study of ancient past benefit modern First Nations communities? Host and lead archaeologist on the APTN series Wild Archaeology, Dr. Rudy Reimer will discuss his experiences sharing Indigenous archaeology with new and wider audiences and bringing history to life through alternative media.

Women's Health Research Symposium

Hosted by Simon Fraser University and the Women's Health Research Institute, this free symposium examines diversity across disciplines, decades, and distances. This event is open to all students, trainees, and researchers who are interested in women's health research. Wednesday, October 25 from 8:30am-1:30pm in the Fraser-Thompson Room, Diamond Alumni Centre, SFU, Burnaby Campus. 

Events on Campus

Events around Metro Vancouver

Calls for Proposals/Participants

22nd Annual Spring TA/TM Day: The Teaching Orientation Program

As a veteran teaching assistant or tutor-marker, what knowledge do you have that you could pass on to novice teaching assistants and tutor-markers? Submit your proposal (available here) to lead a session at the 22nd Annual Spring TA/TM Day (January 5, 2018) by Friday, October 6. TAs and TMs who lead sessions will be paid.

Social Interactions and Wellbeing Study

Participation involves completeing an online diary every day for 2 weeks, and a follow-up questionnaire. All responses are completely confidential. To find out more, email Dr. Girme at

It Takes All Of Us - Call For Proposals

The SFU Sexual Violence Support & Prevention Office will be hosting an awareness raising event in Convocation Mall titled "It Takes All Of Us". The GSS is inviting graduate students who are doing research in the areas related to sexual violence support and prevention to create mini-posters, which will be displayed at the GSS table during the event.

These can be designed however you choose and should highlight the key takeaways from your work, whether those are the key findings or the key areas where more work still needs to be done. Poster can be submitted electronically to by October 12th at 11am.


Tips and Tricks

Your Academic Progress Report
You now have access to an Academic Progress Report (APR) through your student information account. This interactive course mapping tool is designed to help you keep track of your degree and program requirements.

Bouncing Back: Building Resilience and Supporting Your Well-being
Free online course from Health and Counselling Services, takes about 45 minutes.

GSS Graduate Caucus Funding
Every graduate caucus gets money to spend on almost anything that benefits the grad students in your department. See the GSS Caucus Funding Spreadsheet for funds available to you for the rest of this fiscal year.

City of Surrey Neighbourhood Enhancement Grants
The City of Surrey provides small project grants of up to $3000 or Celebration grants of up to $1000 for residents of Surrey (can include block parties). (See also: Neighbourhood Event Equipment)

Free access to
All current students, staff, and faculty have free access to through the SFU Library.

Free Microsoft Office
All SFU students can install Microsoft Office for free. (Adobe Creative Suite is also available for university-owned computers — could work for labs.)

YNAB is Now Free for College Students
if you need to build a budget, the You Need a Budget tool is free for students. Note that all data is stored on a US server. (Bonus reading: Personal Finance in Grad School)

Student Budget Consultations: Provide your input for proposed tuition and other fee increases for the 2018/19 academic year, October 27

Got an idea for how to get 18-35 year olds engaged in the outdoors? Join MEC's Ourdoor Nation Campaign and get up to $500 in gear

Twenty-five thousand songs recorded onto 78RPM discs in the early 20th century have been released online, for free

New resource from the SFU Library: Frost & Sullivan market reports now available for SFU researchers

The Ultimate Guide to Student Discounts

Contest Roundup

Reading Round Up

Want More Academic Readings?
If you're planning a career in academia, you're eligible for a free subscription to University Affairs.

Graduate Business Cards front
Graduate Student Business Cards 
Graduate students and registered postdoctoral fellows are able to order business cards through SFU Document Solutions. See our website for a walkthrough of how to order.





Engaging SFU
Look out for the results of  SFU's recent "Engaging the World" vision public consultation. 

International Graduate Students

Finding Housing and Dealing with Landlords
International Student Services and Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre held a workshop in July to educate people on their rights as tenants. It is recorded and the slides are available online.

US Travel Ban
SFU Student Services has a new website for students (and prospective students) affected by the US travel ban—includes travel advice.

Islamophobia Hotline
Free confidential legal advice if you feel that you have been discriminated against, harassed, or faced violence because you are Muslim or are perceived to be Muslim.

International Student Advising
In addition to in-person advising in Vancouver and Surrey, International Services for Students is now offering in-person advising on Burnaby campus on Monday-Friday. 

You can also speak with an International Student Advisor by email to and by phone at 778-782-4232.

SFU ISS Resources
Handouts available to answer your questions: Resources for New Graduate Students and Medical Insurance – Frequently Asked Questions. See all of their Resources and Handouts.

EAL/ESL Support Services for Graduate Students 
If English is not your first language and you would like to improve your written and spoken proficiency, CELLTR has put together a roundup of free support services available at SFU.

End of Leniency Period for Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

As of November 10, 2016, unless otherwise exempted, all visa-exempt foreign nationals must have an eTA to fly to or transit through Canada.  If you require an eTA to enter Canada and you do not have one you will not be allowed to board your flight to Canada. See ISS Handout on the Electronic Travel Authorization.  

International Postdoctoral Fellows
Citizenship and Immigration Canada has a number of Permanent Resident (PR) programs for international graduates who wish to remain in Canada permanently. These programs include:


Completing an Express Entry profile is the first step to immigrate to Canada permanently as a skilled worker. Completing an Express Entry profile does not guarantee that you will receive an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence. An Invitation to Apply for permanent residence will be based on your score and rank in the Express Entry pool using the Comprehensive Ranking System.
Please note that the work experience gained while you were on a study permit will not count towards meeting the Canadian Experience Class requirements. But, you may still be eligible if you already gained one year of work experience as Postdoctoral Fellow on a valid work permit and you meet the language threshold.
If you have any immigration related questions, please email Alina Roman, Postdoctoral Fellow Coordinator and Immigration Consultant at Alina is also available to meet you at SFU Burnaby campus.

Recommended Readings


SFU International's Weekly Newsletter
All international students receive a weekly newsletter from International Services for Students.   



Indspire's Building Brighter Futures Program, offering a number of bursaries and scholarships to Indigenous graduate students, November 1

Rising Up: A Graduate Students Conference on Indigenous Knowledge and Research in Indigenous Studies, University of Manitoba, March 9-10, 2018. Deadline for submission of abstracts is December 29.


In the News

Grad Students and Postdocs in the News:

This shark question on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire referenced SFU Postdoctoral Fellow David Shiffman!

Dates and Deadlines


Dates for Fall Semester:

  • October 5-6 - Convocation for students who completed in Summer 2017
  • October 9 - Thanksgiving Day, university closed.
  • October 31 - Last day for a 50% refund of tuition for term withdrawals (and course drops for unit fee students).  No refund of ancillary fees.
  • November 1 - Western Canadian Deans Agreement deadline for applying to take transfer courses at other western Canadian universities is 4–6 weeks before the beginning of the next term (depends on destination university).
  • November 6-24 - Work-study application period.
  • November 6 - Last day for graduate students to drop classes with WD on their transcripts. Enrollment opens for Spring 2018 semester.
  • November 13 - All classes cancelled and offices closed for Remembrance Day.
  • December 4 - Classes end for Fall term.
  • December 6-17 - Examination period. Iif you are a current TA and want to pay to extend your TSSU medical insurance for up to two terms, application forms are due by the end of the term.  (See also: All HR forms.)
  • December 15 - Deadline to apply on Go.SFU for graduation in the June 2018 convocation ceremonies, if you are completing degree requirements in Fall 2017 term.
  • December 22 - Submission of all graduate degree requirements for 2017 Fall term (must be submitted by 12pm PST, see library submission deadline). Any Withdrawal under Extenuating circumstances (WE) requests received for the Fall 2017 term after this term will be considered as a retroactive WE.
See all the Dates and Deadlines.


Grad Students Facebook Group
Advice and support, movies, free food alerts — plus job postings and awards alerts: (SFU email ID required to join).

See also hundreds of SFU-based groups.

Follow us on Twitter: @SFU_GradStudies

Getting on Our Email List
This monthly update is sent to SFU graduate students. You can also request to be added to the email list for this monthly update.

To join: Send a message to with the words "subscribe dgs-gradupdates" in the subject line. You don't need anything in the body of the message.

To leave the mailing list: Send a message to with the words "unsubscribe dgs-gradupdates" in the subject line. You don't need anything in the body of the message.