FAQ's

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I've read the information on graduate study and have questions. Can I call an advisor?

You can contact the academic coordinator, faculty sponsor or faculty associate of the program which interests you if you have questions. Names and email addresses are included on each program website.


I just missed the deadline to apply. Is the deadline firm?

Yes, the deadline is firm for Master's and Doctoral programs. Applications must be delivered to the appropriate Graduate Programs Office listed on your program's information webpage and application information pages no later than the application deadline.

Deadlines for Graduate Diploma programs may be extended to ensure an appropriate number of applicants. Please check the appropriate Graduate Diploma program page for deadline information or contact the Field Programs Office.


My former institution will not send a transcript directly to me. What should I do?

Ask the postsecondary institution to send the transcript directly to the mailing address of the Graduate Programs Office listed on your program's information and application information pages. Please note this in your application package so Graduate Programs personnel can watch for the transcript(s).

Please ensure that the envelope includes the full address; Graduate Programs staff cannot be responsible for tracking down transcripts that are improperly addressed or mis-delivered.


I graduated some time ago. It will be hard for me to get Letters of References from previous professors/instructors, so whom else can I ask?

Anyone who is able to comment on your academic competence (e.g., department head, school principal, academic co-ordinator, etc.).

If in doubt, contact the appropriate Graduate Programs Office for confirmation.


Do I need original certificates for proof of name change?

No, a certified copy or a scanned copy is acceptable.


Do I need to write the Graduate Records Examination (GRE)?

No. There is no GRE requirement at this time. However, non-traditional applicants may wish to write this exam to strengthen their application.


Do you require TOEFL, and/or IELTS scores?

Applicants with a degree from an accredited university in the US or North America do not have to submit TOEFL scores.  Applicants whose primary language is not English are required to submit scores to demonstrate command of English sufficient to pursue graduate studies.  International applicants whose primary language is not English will not be required to complete an English-language test if they have completed a degree at an institution where the language of instruction and examination was in English in a country where English is the primary language.

For more information please see:

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): www.toefl.org

International English Language Testing System (IELTS): www.ielts.org   www.sfu.ca/ielts/

More information on English Language Requirements: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/future/international-applicants/english-language-requirements.html

Please note: Applicants to a French language graduate program are not required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores.


If I am admissible but unsuccessful in being admitted due to lack of space, will I receive priority in the event an accepted student is unable to attend?

Yes, a rank-ordered waiting list will be established, as necessary.


Do you approve transfer credit at SFU for graduate work completed at another institution before acceptance into a graduate program at SFU?

Yes, depending on the program to which you are applying. Graduate courses taken at another post-secondary institution may be considered for transfer. The courses must have been completed within two years of starting the SFU program (depending on the program you are applying to) and may not have been used to earn another credential or may not have been completed as part of a qualifying year. Application is made at the time of admission. An official transcript and course syllabus will be required as supporting documentation.

If you are applying to a Community M.Ed. or EdD program OR any Field Program M.Ed. or GDE programs, transfer credits for courses from another institution are not accepted. Students must complete all courses with the cohort.


Do I need a teaching certificate in order to be admitted to graduate study?

Graduate Diploma and M.Ed. EP programs do require applicants to possess a teaching certificate prior to acceptance.

However, all other graduate programs do not require a teaching certificate, although applicants may wish to consider future career objectives, as more employment opportunities could be available for individuals possessing a teaching certificate.


Online/Additional Programs


Are there any plans for offering graduate study outside of the Lower Mainland in British Columbia in the future?

Faculty of Education, Community Graduate Programs has offered course work in specific locations leading to either an M.Ed. and/or EdD degree. If you are aware of a number of individuals interested in a Community Graduate Program in your local community, please contact them for further information at 778-782-5951.

Field Programs offers graduate diplomas in school districts throughout British Columbia if enough interest within a school district is evident. More information is found on the Graduate Diploma information page. Additionally, Field Programs offers a "blended" Graduate Diploma program beginning in the summer term. This program combines an on-site summer institute with courses held online throughout the rest of the program. Watch for the "Virtual/Face-to-Face" program when it becomes available.

Field Programs may offer M.Ed. degrees laddered from Graduate Diploma participants in communities outside the Lower Mainland. For more information, please see the M.Ed. Educational Practice program page.


Are there online programs available?

Community Graduate Programs has offered some M.Ed. programs online. Please contact cpmed@sfu.ca or phone 778-782-5951 for inquiries regarding possible online programs.

Field Programs has offered Graduate Diploma programs in a blended (in-class and online) format (see previous FAQ for more infomration). Please contact s_owen@sfu.ca or 778-782-4892 for inquiries regarding possible blended format Graduate Diploma offerrings.


Bursaries, Scholarships and Financial Assistance


Can I apply for bursaries or scholarships?

As a general rule, only doctoral and some master's programs meet the criteria for bursaries and scholarships. Graduate studies in education provides information on scholarships and bursaries for potential students and returning students. Information regarding additional potential forms of financial assistance is available on the Education Financial Resources website.


I filled out the Application for Consideration for a Graduate Entrance Scholarship. Will I be notified if I am unsuccessful?

Only the recipient of an award is notified by the Dean of Graduate Studies Office.


New Students


Will there be a campus orientation?

Yes. Before the start of the Fall term, the Dean of Graduate Studies office schedules a general orientation for all SFU graduate students. As well, the Faculty of Education, Graduate Programs orientation is usually scheduled the Saturday following the start of the Fall term. Also, in July, the Education Graduate Student Orientation Handbook will be available online. This publication outlines the administrative structure of the program and provides information on specific logistics such as parking, computer access, housing, registration, etc.

Students admitted to a Community M.Ed. or EdD program will be notified of the orientation date for their program. Typically, orientation is held during the first month of the term.

Students enrolled in Field Programs' GDE or M.Ed. EP programs will get the information they need for their particular programs through e-mail prior to the start of the program and in their first class.


How soon will I have to pay for my first course once I’m admitted?

Canadian students pay $250 admission deposit as soon as they are accepted into the program and then the balance of fees by the second Friday of the term. The Student Services website has information on how to pay fees.


When will I have to pay for my courses each term?

Full payment is required by the second Friday of the beginning of each term. Information about how to pay online and in person as well as late fees and penalties can be found on the Student Services website.


Where do I find my student number? I only have a GA number.

If you have applied to SFU in the past, you will keep the same student number that was assigned previously. Your student number will appear on the letter you receive from the Dean of Graduate Studies office to confirm your admittance. Once you are admitted and have paid the $250 admission deposit, you will have no further need for your GA number. All future transactions will need your student number.


Can my personal/school district/non-SFU email be used for communication by Graduate Studies Offices for registration information and other purposes?

No, once you have been admitted to a Graduate Studies in Education program, you must activate your SFU email account as it is the only e-mail account staff will use to communicate with you. The university will also send important information to that address so you must activate and use it. However, you can arrange to forward your SFU e-mail to another account, if you prefer. Information on how to activate your account is found on IT Services website.


Can I pay my fees by credit card?

Only the $90 application fee and $250 application deposit can be paid by credit card. Administration fees charged by credit card companies are too high for the University to be able to provide this service for registration fees. Student services has information on internet banking, cheque, or on-campus payment options available for paying fees.


I need proof that I have paid my fees. Can I get a receipt?

Information on the fees you have paid is available on-line from the Student Information System under “account detail”. Your personal page can be accessed using your SFU computing ID and password.


Do you mail out tax receipts?

SFU does not mail out tax receipts (T2202As). These are available on-line each February for you to view and print via the Student Information System. Further information on this can be found on the Student Services website.


My account shows that I have been charged for the U-Pass. Do I have to pay for this?

If you live in, OR are taking a program based in the Metro Vancouver area, you will be charged a U-Pass fee. Complete information on the U-Pass, including eligibility and how to obtain your pass, can be found on the U-Pass website.


I have opted out of the Health Plan but it still shows on my account. What should I do?

Any issues around the administration of the health plan should be referred the plan administrator directly via the ihaveaplan website or by telephone at 1-866-369-8795. Alternatively, you may contact the Graduate Student Society at 778-782-6994.


I do not live within commuting distance of the University and will have to move to/within the Lower Mainland if my application is successful. Who do I contact for housing information?

A current listing of all types of housing available to students in the Lower Mainland is available at www.sfuoffcampushousing.com. In addition, there is on-campus residence accommodation information for Burnaby campus. Call 778-782-4201 or email housing@sfu.ca for details.


Course Offerings


If I decide to take more than one course a term, will the fees be higher?

Graduate students in per term fee programs pay a set fee every term, regardless of the number of courses taken. Students enrolled in a Graduate Diploma program will have to pay additional fees for each additonal course taken. Please note: some courses have restricted enrollment.


Can I complete my degree requirements by taking two courses every term?

Normally only one course is scheduled for a particular program every term; however, you can usually enrol in an elective course.

Please note: students enrolled in Graduate Diploma programs take two courses every term.


As a registered graduate student, would it be possible to complete my course requirements by taking one course a term?

Yes, the majority of graduate students in Education are employed full-time. It is normal practice for registered students to take one or two courses in the fall and spring terms and one during the summer term. During the fall, spring, and summer terms most graduate courses are offered in the late afternoon/evening. The occasional course may be offered during the day.

Students enrolled in cohort-based programs follow a set schedule of courses that are offered in a pre-determined order.

Students enrolled in Community M.Ed. or EdD programs typically attend classes on Friday evenings and Saturdays. Course schedules vary depending on the program.

Students enrolled in Graduate Diploma programs are required to take two courses per term. For variations to this schedue, please contact your program's Faculty Associate.


Are graduate courses offered in the evening or during the day?

During the fall, spring and summer terms, most graduate courses are offered in the late afternoon/evening. The occasional course may be offered during the day in the summer term.

Exceptions:

  • Languages, Cultures and Literacies PhD program has some courses that are usually offered in the day.
  • Students enrolled in Community M.Ed. or EdD typically attend classes on Friday evenings and Saturdays. Course schedules vary depending on the program.
  • All Graduate Diploma students are required to attend classes during the day for two weeks in the summer term.

Is it possible for me to undertake a graduate degree by attending during the summer only?

No. Due to program organization and faculty teaching loads, it would be impossible to complete course requirements in the Summer only. Also, graduate students must register every term until they complete their degree requirements.


May I take some of my courses at other institutions?

This depends on the program of study. Upon admission to an SFU graduate program, a maximum of one half of the minimum course work for degree requirements may be pursued at other institutions provided that such courses are deemed to be academically comparable, are not available at SFU, are suited to the program, and have prior approval of the student’s senior supervisor, the Director of Graduate Programs, and the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Students enrolled in cohort-based programs do not typically take any of their required courses at another university. Students follow a set schedule of courses that are offered in a pre-determined order.


Program/Degree Requirements


If I need to go on leave for one term what do I do?

Master's and Doctoral students can apply for an on-leave term during the regular term registration period.  

Graduate Diploma students must consult with their Faculty Associate if there is a need to miss any coursework.


If I need to go on leave due to illness, or for parenting reasons, how do I proceed?

Master's and Doctoral students can apply for an on-leave term during the regular registration period. If the leave is for exceptions circumstances, such as those resulting from accident, illness or parenting responsibilities, a doctor must complete a form.

Graduate Diploma students must consult their Faculty Associate to discuss whether it will be possible to continue in the program or whether it would be advisable to withdraw and join a later cohort.


Doctoral FAQ's


When will I know the selection committee’s decision regarding my application?

Applicants to PhD programs will receive notification in March to early April. Applicants to Community Graduate EdD programs will receive notification approximately 4-6 weeks after the application deadline. All applicants will receive an e-mail letter from the Dean of Graduate Studies. Students will also receive a letter in the mail shortly after.


How long does it take to complete a doctoral degree?

Normally the first year and a half is the completion of course work, followed in the third year by the comprehensive examination, and finally by the thesis research and defence in the fourth or fifth year.


What is the selection committee looking for in the writing sample?

Ideally, the writing sample (5-10 pages) should be a recent academic paper that develops one focus to a logical conclusion and expresses ideas in clear and appropriate language. If you do not have a recent paper to submit, an older paper (no more than 5 years old) or an educational or work-related report is acceptable, or you may write a new paper on a subject of your choice. This writing sample remains the property of SFU.


Is there a minimum fee for the doctoral program?

A doctoral student who has completed eight terms of full time research term fee units enrolment (excluding on leave enrolment) pays a continuing fee in subsequent terms equal to one half of the regular fee.

Terms in which a student enrolls on leave do not count towards the number of terms required to switch to the continuing fee.

Doctoral students must enrol for a minimum of five terms. On leave terms will not count toward this minimum.


Master's FAQ's


When will I know the selection committee’s decision regarding my application?

Applicants to M.Ed., MA, M.Sc. programs will receive notification in April. Applicants to Community Graduate M.Ed. programs and Field Programs' M.Ed. EP programs will receive notification approximately 6-8 weeks after the application deadline. All applicants will receive an e-mail letter from the Dean of Graduate Studies. Students will also receive a letter in the mail shortly after.


I have an undergraduate degree but my early grades were not very high. Will this affect my application?

The University calendar states that the minimum requirement for admission to a master’s program is a bachelor’s degree with cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0/4.33 (B), or a grade point average of at least 3.33/4.33 (B+) based on the last 60 credits of undergraduate courses. In exceptional circumstances a student may be admitted with lower formal qualifications, but with extensive experience judged to be of significance to the proposed area of research. However, in view of the competitive nature of entry in most programs, this is highly unusual.

In exceptional circumstances, a student may be admitted to the M.Ed. EP with an undergraduate GPA less than 3.0. For more information see M.Ed. EP Additional Requirements.


Do you admit students without an undergraduate degree?

In exceptional circumstances, a student may be admitted with lower formal qualification when there is significant professional experience relevant to the proposed area of scholarship.

Students must satisfy any further requirements set by the graduate program committee. Students whose native language is not English may be required to satisfy the University and the graduate program committee as to their capability in English.


What are the differences between the MA/M.Sc. (thesis) and the M.Ed. course work/comprehensive examination degrees?

The MA/M.Sc. route normally requires a minimum of 25 units of course work and a thesis. The M.Ed. degree normally requires a minimum of 35 units of course work and a comprehensive examination.


How long does it take to complete a M.Ed. (course work/comprehensive examination) degree?

Normally most M.Ed. degree students complete in two years by taking one course each fall and spring term and two courses each summer term.

Student enrolled in Field Programs' M.Ed. EP programs complete in one year following the completion of the Graduate Diploma program.


How long does it take to complete a MA/M.Sc. degree?

MA/M.Sc. degree students normally complete in about three years by taking one course in each of the five terms and completing thesis research and a defence in approximately four terms.


Is there a minimum fee for the master’s program?

The minimum fee for a master’s program is six full time research term fee units (excluding the International Program and the M.Ed. EP program). However, the minimum fee rule may be waived for students who complete all degree requirements in less than six terms of continuous full time enrolment. Contact the Dean of Graduate Studies information.

Students who enrol on leave are not eligible for the waiver of the minimum fee requirements.

A master’s student who has completed six terms of enrolment (excluding on leave enrolment) pays a continuing fee in subsequent terms equal to one half of the regular fee.


Graduate Diploma FAQ's


I've submitted my on-line application but haven't been asked to pay the $90 application fee. What should I do?

You should receive an automatic e-mail within a couple of days of submitting your application. If there are any errors/discrepancies in your application it may take a few days longer.  If you do not receive an e-mail 5 days after your submission, please contact the Field Programs office so we can check to see if there is a problem with your application.


How long does the Statement of Interest need to be?

Typically one paragraph per question is adequate. This information is used for initial program planning.


Can I drop my transcript(s) off at Surrey/Vancouver campus?

Yes, if you apply early, but please make sure it is in an envelope clearly marked  with the Field Programs address.  If you are applying within 3 days of the deadline, it must be brought/couriered to the Field Programs offices at the Burnaby campus as there is no guarantee it will reach us in time through the internal mail service.


I completed my application package before the deadline but haven’t yet heard if I'm in the program. When will I know this?

After the document deadline, a decision will be made whether each program will run based on the number of qualified applicants with completed application packages. You will be notified as soon as possible, usually about three weeks after the document deadline date.


Can my Graduate Diploma credits count towards a Master's degree?

Possibly.  You will have the option of applying to ladder your diploma credits into a Master's of Education: Educational Practice after you have finished your graduate diploma program.  Please note that acceptance into the Master's program is competitive and is not guaranteed. For more specific information on the M.Ed. EP, see our M.Ed. EP web page.


What is the total cost of a graduate diploma?

Approximately $1,500 per term (over 6 terms) in tuition and student fees, totaling approximately $9,000. This cost is generally recovered in salary increases within 2-3 years of completion, as each diploma meets current TQS requirements for category upgrades (TQS 4 to TQS 5 or TQS 5 to TQS 5+).
NOTE:  If you are a TQS 4, please check with TQS prior to applying to ensure that the diploma will satisfy the requirements for a category upgrade.


I am using tuition fee credits to cover some of my fees. When will these show on my account?

Fees from tuition fee credits are generally removed from accounts after the fourth week of the term.


Will I have to buy textbooks and/or pay for photocopying during the program?

Yes. You will be required to purchase some textbooks and there will be an additional fee for photocopying most terms. Your Faculty Associate will let you know which text(s) to purchase and/or what the copying charge will be each term.


How will I know which course(s) to register for and when to register each term?

In the first term the Field Programs staff will register you in the appropriate courses. In successive terms, the Field Program staff will send an e-mail to your SFU e-mail account giving registration details.


How will I know how to register for my courses?

The e-mail sent by the Field Programs staff to your SFU e-mail account will give instructions on how to register on-line.


Why does Field Programs give me an earlier registration deadline than the one I receive directly from the University?

Funding for our programs is awarded on a different basis to regular on-campus courses; it is based on timely registrations and it is therefore of the utmost importance that all our students are registered before our deadline.


How much will my courses cost each term?

A normal course load is five credits. A schedule of course fees can be found on our Graduate Diploma Fees web page.