tips and tricks

January 11, 2018

January Update for Graduate Students

Welcome (or welcome back) to Simon Fraser University for the Spring 2018 semester! 

Get Connected

This monthly update is sent to SFU graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Request to join
Email: dgs-gradupdates, Subject: Subscribe. Leave body message blank. Follow instructions in confirmation email.

Request to unsubscribe:
Email: dgs-gradupdates, Subject: Unsubscribe. Leave body message blank.

Join the "Graduate Students and Postdocs" Facebook Group!
SFU ID required. Get advice and support, movies, free food alerts; plus job postings and awards alerts. See also hundreds of SFU-based groups.

Follow us on Twitter:  @SFU_GradStudies



Awards Timelines 

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

See our Spring Awards Timeline.

Spring 2018 Fellowships Roundup: A list of external doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships

Back to Index

SFU Awards

Back to Index

Tri-Council Awards

Tri-Council 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.

Back to Index

External Awards

Back to Index

External Awards With No Deadline

Back to Index

Recognition Awards

Back to Index


Student Jobs

Student Jobs Roundup
We track on-campus student job postings and collect them in a continually-updated blog post. The Spring 2018 Jobs Roundup is now available on our blog and will be updated until the end of January. Many student jobs come up with very short notice, so we only have enough time to post them to the graduate students' facebook group.  

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.

Back to Index

Jobs Roundup

Back to Index

Mitacs Opportunities

Mitacs Canadian Science Policy Fellowships
The 2018 cohort of fellowships will begin in September 2018. Approved postdoctoral fellows receive remuneration from their host offices and professional development training and networking events facilitated by Mitacs. Applications will be accepted until March 4, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. PT

Mitacs Accelerate Paid Internships
You can 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.

Back to Index

Volunteering Roundup

Back to Index


Upcoming Events

Grad Alumni Career Panel
This event will connect you with SFU alumni who have created interesting, non-linear careers that took them beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries. We aim to highlight unique career possibilities that exist for advanced degree holders, helping you envision possibilities for yourself you may never have considered before. Attend this event and be inspired to start carving your own niche which fits your goals and lifestyle!

  • Date: Tuesday, February 20
  • Time:  5-8pm
  • Location: Harbour Centre, SFU Vancouver

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, and translate your knowledge, skills and abilities to various audiences. Look out for Spring 2018 workshop dates on myInvolvement and in the Just-in-Time Calendar.

Three Minute Thesis 
One slide. Three minutes. Cash prizes. Give voice to your thesis in SFU's annual 3 Minute Thesis competition. Spring 2018 dates and times will be posted soon.

Back to Index

Mitacs Events

Mitacs Training
The Mitacs Training workshops aim to train grad students and postdocs in career-ready skills. These full one and two-day workshops are facilitated by professionals in the field and are free to current grad students and postdocs. This term, Mitacs is offering the following workshops at SFU:

  • Foundations of Project Management I, January 22-23 
  • Build Your Scientific and Technical Writing Skills, February 9-10  
  • Essentials of Productive Teams, February 12
  • Practice Your Presentation Skills I, February 15
  • Career Professionalism, March 16

Managing Project Timelines, February 28-March 14
This online workshop is perfect for those that are nearing the end of the graduate degrees and are finding it hard to schedule in time to work on their thesis. It provides a great overview of some of the modules in the popular Foundations of Project Management workshops. The workshop runs for 2 weeks and can be accessed and completed at any time during the two-week window.

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.

Back to Index

Teaching and Learning Centre Programs

Screencasting and Video Editing: A Simple Way to Create Engaging Videos, February 1
In this hands-on workshop, you will be introduced to Camtasia’s interface and its functionality. We will perform a microphone set-up and record a screencast with a voiceover. In addition, we will conduct some basic editing, such as cutting and placing footage, importing additional media, and adding transitions, annotations and titles, effects, behaviours and animations. Registration is open until all seats are filled.

Bring Yourself to Work Dialogues, February 5 and March 5
These sessions provide a place where instructors can gather and focus on the passion and purpose that drive their teaching practice. Join your teaching colleagues on the first Monday of every month to catch your breath, reconnect with your values, build community, and prepare for meaningful encounters with students. Light refreshments will be provided. There’s no need to register; please RSVP to to let us know you plan to come.

Instructional Skills Workshop, February 14–16 (during Reading Week), April 18-20 or April 23-25
For instructors, staff and graduate students in an instructional role who wish to strengthen their teaching skills. This workshop is designed to strengthen novice to expert instructors' skills through intensive, yet practical, exercises in learning-centred teaching. Apply by January 19 to attend February session, or by March 16 to attend an April session.

Breath Power, Posture and Pauses, February 22
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. Registration is open until all seats are filled.

Teaching Dossiers for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows, March 6
Are you planning to pursue a career as a tenure-track faculty member? If so, then you will need to prepare a teaching dossier at some point in order to document your teaching approaches, experience and effectiveness in the classroom. This session will guide participants through the components of a teaching dossier, review examples, discuss commonalities and differences across the disciplines and help them get started in their work on their own dossiers. Registration is open until all seats are filled.

Expressive Speech: Vocal Dynamism in the Classroom, March 8
Are you ready to trade your sleep-inducing monotone for a richer and more exciting sound? 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. Registration is open until all seats are filled.

Better Presentations: Building Confidence and Connections, March 22
Do you struggle to connect with your listeners? Do audiences seem like an intimidating sea of faces? This two-hour workshop for instructors, staff members and graduate students in instructional roles will show you how to build confidence, warm up your audience, and create an inclusive and open atmosphere for learning. Registration is open until all seats are filled.

Body-Voice-Space: An Intensive Two-Day Voice and Presentation Skills Boot Camp, May 16-17
Through individual feedback and small and large group sessions, participants will acquire a range of tools, resources and skills along with a clear understanding of when and how to apply them. Register to attend by April 20.

Fall 2018 Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning, September 14 - December 7
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. Register to attend by May 25.

Back to Index

Research Commons

About the Research Commons
The Research Commons space on the 7th floor of SFU Burnaby's W.A.C. Bennett Library is exclusively accessible to graduate students, faculty, and postdoctoral fellows by a door access punch-code which is regularly changed. The space is equipped with wireless internet access, PC and Mac workstationsbookable group rooms, and areas for discussion and relaxation. Several free workshops and services specific to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows are offered throughout the term.

Upcoming workshops include:  

The Nuts and Bolts of NVivo: for Mac, January 23 and for Windows, January 31
Learn how and when to use NVivo,  a qualitative data analysis software program.  Already using NVivo? Then drop in during our weekly open laptop lab NVivo Project Time.

Data Privacy Day! Secure Your Data, January 25
Learn how to protect your research data, with topics including full disk encryption, threat modelling, two-factor authentication (2FA), digital preservation, and more.

All in a Day: Research Toolkit, February 3
A collection of our most popular workshops, with topics including R for non-science majors, mapping spatial data with QGIS, finding and sharing data, and using Tableau for data visualization.

Get credit for your work: Distinguish yourself with ORCID, February 6
An Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID) provides you with a unique numeric identifier to distinguish yourself from other researchers, and ensures consistent, reliable attribution of your work.

Graduate Open Writing Lab
For all graduate students who want the time and a quiet dedicated space to work on their writing. A Graduate Writing Facilitator will be available for consultations and to answer questions. This space operates weekly at the Burnaby and Vancouver Campus. Find out more about options and times on the Graduate Open Writing Lab webpage.

Back to Index

Miscellaneous Programs

Work Integrated Learning Courses
This spring, Work Integrated Learning is offering two courses to help students develop professional communication skills: Job Search Success and Effective Intercultural Communication

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.

Back to Index


Dates for Spring Semester

January 12
End of Bursary application period (bursaries are awarded based on financial need; international students are eligible).

January 16
Last day for graduate students to enroll through self-service (late enrollment deadline).
Last day to drop with 100% refund of tuition and ancillary fees. If you were eligible for the January U-Pass BC, there is no refund of the January U-Pass BC but you will be refunded for the February–April U-Passes.
Last day to change from credit to audit grade basis.
Grad tuition and fees (including co-op practicum fees) are due and payable. A 2% penalty will be calculated and posted to your student account every month.
Last date to opt out or change your coverage in the Graduate Health Plan (only if you started school in January).

January 23
Last day to drop with no notation on transcript.

January 31
Last day to opt out of Guard.Me@SFU (see medical insurance deadlines).
Early Completion submission deadline of Thesis at 4:00 pm.
Last day to drop with a 75% refund of tuition. No refund of ancillary fees and January U-Pass BC.
Last day for receipt of grades deferred from the Fall term.

February 12
Family Day. All classes and offices closed.

February 13-18
Reading break. Classes cancelled. (Please note: this is for applicable departments only.)


See all the Dates and Deadlines for Spring 2018.

Back to Index


Student Resources

At Simon Fraser University:

External Resources:

Back to Index

In the News

Back to Index

Contest Roundup

Back to Index

Reading Roundup

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

Back to Index


Events for International Students

International Graduate Teaching Assistants Program 
This graduate seminar is specially designed for teaching assistants and graduate students who speak English as an additional language. The seminar helps students' academic communication and teaching skills. It is free for current students, and is available as a 3-session or 10-session program. Registration is required.

Back to Index

International Services for Students

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

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.

Back to Index

Resources and Information

US Travel Ban
SFU Student Services has a new website for students (and prospective students) affected by the US travel ban—includes travel advice. Note: SFU has waived application fees for incoming (grad and undergrad) students from the eight affected countries.

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.

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.

Recommended Readings

Back to Index

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:

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's Burnaby campus.

Back to Index


Grad Student News 

We are very happy to welcome Denver Lynxleg to our team as the new Graduate Indigenous Coordinator!

Denver can provide support and resources tailored for Indigenous graduate students. Connect with her if you have questions regarding student advising, questions about awards/bursaries or would like contacts or other resources specific to our Indigenous graduate student community. 

You can find her in the Indigenous Student Centre (AQ 2002) on Tuesdays mornings (9:30 AM-1:00 PM) or in the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies CAPE Office (MBC 1500) Tuesdays (2:00-5:00 PM) and Wednesdays (9:00 AM-5:00 PM). Feel free to stop by and say hello!  You can also connect with her via e-mail at or at 778-782-9927.

Back to Index

Events and Opportunities

Indigenous Film and Resurgence, January 16 to April 10
Join us for a new semester-long project at the SFU Gallery lead by Dr. June Scudeler in which you are invited to have soup and watch Indigenous films as part of a course. Screenings are open to the public to be followed by a closed class only for registered students.

Decolonizing Teaching RA Position with the ISTLD, January 22
Are you interested in shaping the student learning experiences at SFU regarding Indigenous peoples, their histories and critical issues by providing your voice and insights around decolonizing SFU’s courses and programs? The Decolonizing Teaching Seminar Series and Grant Program will begin its first offering in Spring 2018. The goal of the program is for SFU faculty to engage in critical and unsettling reading/dialogue about Canada’s colonial past and present, make changes to their current curricular and pedagogical design, and to investigate the impact on student learning. The research assistant position will be a member of the Decolonizing Teaching Facilitation team. Application deadline: January 22

Beading Workshop Meet and Greet with Denver, January 23
Denver Lynxleg, the new Graduate Indigenous Coordinator, will be hosting a meet and greet beading workshop at the Indigenous Student Centre on January 23rd from 11-1 pm. We will provide refreshments and the supplies (SFU patches, beads, needles and thread) all students need to do is show up!

16th Annual Indigenous Graduate Student Symposium, UBC campus, March 3, 2018
The title of this year's symposium is "Walking In Two Worlds Occupying the Third Space: Indigenous Graduate Student Experience".

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 has been extended to January 28.

Back to Index

Scholarships and Awards

Indspire's Building Brighter Futures Program, February 1
Indspire is offering a number of bursaries and scholarships to Indigenous students studying in graduate degree programs. These awards are available to Indigenous students within Canada, however graduate-level studies outside of Canada will also be considered. Application deadlines are August 1, November 1, and February 1 of every year.

Irving K Barber BC Scholarship Society Masters/Doctoral Studies Award, March 31
$5,000 for students pursuing Masters or Doctoral studies. This award is available to First Nations (Status or Non-Status), Métis, or Inuit students and is renewable in order to provide sustained funding over multiple years.

Indigenous Graduate Student Travel Award
The Indigenous Graduate Travel Award provides financial support for Indigenous graduate students to present their research at academic conferences. Students can only apply for the Indigenous travel award once per academic year. Indigenous graduate students may apply for this fund before conferences to pay for their conference fees and/or travel costs in advance. Disbursements of up to $1000 each may be applied for in each academic year (starting September 1 of each year).

Back to Index


Major SFU Events

SFU Recreation Trial Week
SFU's Recreation Centre (located at the Burnaby Campus) offers over 75 registered classes at discounted rates for students, as well as flex passes to help you explore more options. During Trial Week (January 22-26), you can drop in to any of their registered classes for free!

Spring 2018 SFSS Clubs Days
Looking to get involved more in the campus community this semester? Drop by Club Days, the most popular SFSS event on campus. Hundreds of clubs and student unions pitch and share their interests, including sports, arts, cultural and volunteering groups. Almost any hobby or outlook is represented so there is something for everyone!

  • Burnaby Campus: January 16-19 from 10am to 3pm in the AQ
  • Surrey Campus: January 23-24th in the Surrey Mezzanine

Back to Index

Graduate Student Society News and Events

GSS Annual General Meeting (AGM)
The Graduate Student Society at Simon Fraser University is holding their AGM on January 30, 2018 at 4pm. The event will take place on Burnaby campus in room MBC 2290 and will be followed by a post-AGM social.  Please RSVP in advance. The agenda and supplementary documents are available on the main AGM page.

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.

Back to Index

Events on Campus

Back to Index

Events Around Metro Vancouver

Back to Index

Calls for Proposals/Participants

13th Annual Industrial Conference on Data Mining
Submissions on a variety of topics as outlined on the conference website, are accepted in long or short form (up to 15 pages). Experts from different fields will present their applications and the results obtained by applying data mining. Newcomers in the field can get a fast introduction to Data Mining by taking the tutorial running in connection with the conference. The conference will take place July 11-15 in New York, USA and the deadline to submit is January 15, 2018.

Back to Index