Graduate student resources

Welcome FHS graduate students!

The resources below are designed to provide you with valuable information that you will need over the next few years. It will also help connect you with the wide range of offices and professionals around the campus dedicated to supporting graduate students. We strongly urge you to take advantage of these resources whenever possible.


Graduate courses: registration, tuition and more

Simon Fraser University works on a tri-semester system: the fall term (September to December), spring term (January to April) and summer term (May to August). Graduate students need to be enrolled every term until completion. Get a confirmation of full-time enrollment letter.  See what is considered full-time student status.

Advanced standing

Courses taken previously in a related area of study may qualify for advanced standing and transfer credit.

To request advanced standing and transfer credit, you must submit an advanced standing request form for each eligible course during your degree program.

Undergraduate level courses and courses that counted towards a previous degree are not eligible for advanced standing. Advanced standing will not be granted for HSCI 900, 901, 902 or 903.

The following requirements must be met for a student to receive advance credit:

  • The courses must have been completed within three years of starting the program at Simon Fraser University.
  • The courses must not have been applied towards the requirements for a previously completed credential, unless this is permitted in the Senate-approved program requirements.
  • The courses must not have been completed while the student was admitted as a qualifying student.
  • Advance credit for courses from a certificate/diploma may comprise no more than 50 percent of the course requirements for a graduate degree; or advance credit for courses from a degree may comprise no more than 50 percent of the course requirements for a graduate certificate/diploma.
  • Application for advance credit must be approved by the Graduate Program Committee and the Dean of Graduate Studies, either before admission or retroactively within the first year of enrollment.
  • A minimum grade of B is required. Please note: the grade achieved will not be included in the calculation of the cumulative grade point average.  

Course registration

Course registration opens six-to-eight weeks before the start of each semester. Using your SFU computing ID and password, register through the online systemRefer to the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies dates and deadlines for specific registration dates.

Need help with registration? Watch this tutorial to learn more.

Students may receive a 100% refund for dropped courses only until the deadline. Check the dates and deadlines each term.

Priority enrollment: We will make sure that there are enough seats for students in all required courses.  If you see that a required course is full, add your name to the wait list and we will make a seat available to you.

Course outlines: For details about a course you can search the SFU Course Outline Repository.

Course textbooks: Some courses will require the purchase of a textbook(s).  The Bookstore in the Maggie Benston Centre will have these books for sale on the lower level.  Sometimes used textbooks are available.  

Selecting courses

To help make your course selection, see our graduate courses page, where you can acccess the current course timetable and future course offerings.

Directed Reading courses are available for students who wish to work with instructors—from FHS or other SFU Faculties—who share their particular interests. Directed Reading courses are eligible for graduate credit and they require the approval of the instructor, the senior supervisor, and the program director. MPH students may only be eligible for directed reading classes in exceptional circumstances.  Application forms must be completed and submitted by the deadline each term (around the third week of classes).

Taking courses in another SFU department or faculty

To request courses in other disciplines at SFU for credit or audit you complete the course add/drop form and return it to your program assistant who will get the Chair signature and submit the form.

MPH students will only be approved in exceptional circumstances (see below) and must include a course substitution form.

Taking courses at other institutions

There are a couple of ways SFU grad students can take courses at another institution. The most common is through the Western Dean’s Agreement (WDA).  WDA allows graduate students to take courses that are integral to their program of study at other universities in western Canada. Through the WDA, SFU students receive credit and pay their tuition at SFU. To qualify, students have to complete a form and submit it to their home graduate program office for approval. A deadline for the application is sent to students by email each term. 

MPH students are not normally eligible to take WDA courses as FHS offers required and elective courses needed to complete their program of study. The WDA is not intended as a mechanism to enable professional students to extend their knowledge in a particular area. MPH students should apply for the WDA only in exceptional circumstances where the WDA may allow them to complete courses that are integral to their program of study (ie. required courses).   Exceptional circumstances may include a leave of absence interrupting course access and program completion or unexpected cancellation of required courses.

MSc and PhD students should apply to WDA only in cases where a course offered at another institution is integral to their ability to complete their thesis research, and no similar course is offered at SFU. The WDA arrangement is not intended as a mechanism to allow thesis graduate students to pursue extra courses of interest.

Please note: Course equivalencies have been established for the following courses and these courses are not eligible for the WDA arrangement:

UBC: SPPH 504 - Application of Epidemiologic Methods (take HSCI 849)
UBC: SPPH 500 - Analytic Methods in Epidemiological Research (take HSCI 804)

Process for FHS graduate students applying for a WDA course:

Incomplete and late requests will not be reviewed. Please read all forms carefully and follow the instructions below:WDA application form must be typed; hand-written forms are not accepted

  • WDA application form must be typed; hand-written forms are not accepted
  • MPH students completing a WDA course must also submit a course substitution request and course syllabus
  • The WDA application must include permission from the course instructor. This is an absolute requirement for graduate courses at UBC’s  School of Population and Public Health.
  • Forms may be submitted by email to the Manager, Graduate Programs at, or printed and submitted to the FHS main office, Attention: Jessie Choi.

Once your application form has been reviewed at the FHS level, you will be informed by email of the decision. If approved, the application will be forwarded to the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office at SFU for further processing, after which FHS will no longer be able to give updates on the application status.

The WDA course will appear on your SFU transcript as WDA 803: Western Dean's Agreement, in the term the course was completed. To receive credit for the course, you must submit an official transcript from the host institution to the address below once the final grade has been posted.

Office of Graduate Studies 
Maggie Benston Student Services Centre 1100
Simon Fraser University
8888 University Drive
Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6

Tuition and fees

Tuition and student fees must be paid by the end of the first month of each semester. See tuition and fees for graduate students and how to pay your fees.

Find a breakdown of typical graduate program costs and use the budget estimator.

Conflict in the Classroom

SFU and the Faculty of Health Sciences are committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment. We expect that all members and affiliates of FHS — faculty, staff, students, and guests will strive to engage in fair, respectful, and safe interactions at all times. There is no place in our Faculty, whether on campus or out in the community, for any form of harassment, bullying, intimidation, aggressive or disrespectful behavior. Dealing with Conflict in the Classroom provides guidance for students on steps to take if disputes arise in the classroom. It is meant to complement SFU policies on faculty, staff and student conduct.

Graduate Studies office: academic progress, graduation, appeals and more

Graduate Studies is an invaluable resource for graduate students throughout their degree program.  Please ensure that you are familiar with the GS website, particularly information related to academic dates and deadlines, fees and funding, various forms you’ll need to submit throughout your time at SFU, managing your progress, and completing your degree.  It is your responsibility to be aware of and adhere to the Graduate General Regulations, as these are the policies that govern all prospective and current graduate students at SFU.  

Academic progress

Graduate program staff review the academic progress of all students working toward MPH, MSc and PhD degrees including registration, minimum CGPA and program length. If coursework or other requirements of the graduate program are not satisfactory according to the graduate regulations, you might be required to withdraw. You will be informed in writing before any action is taken.

According to Graduate General Regulations, students enrolled in a master's program are expected to complete all of the requirements in nine terms from the start of the program. Students enrolled in a doctoral program are expected to complete the requirements in 18 terms from the start of the program. FHS normally expects master's students to complete in a maximum of six terms and PhD students to complete in a maximum of 12 terms.

Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies has a checklist to help you manage your progress in the degree program. Students enrolled in a master’s or doctoral program may apply for an extension if they need more time to complete the program requirements. Refer to Graduate General Regulations Section 1.12.2 for details. Forms are available on the GS forms page.

Application to graduate

Every candidate for a graduate degree needs to apply for graduation online on the Student Information System. Typically, students apply to graduate in the semester that they defend or complete the capstone.

Convocation takes place each June and October. Students who defend in the fall and spring semesters convocate in June, and students who defend in the summer semester convocate in October. Students who can't attend the ceremony can request to attend a different ceremony by emailing Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and

Leave of absence, appeals and withdrawals

SFU has regulations for taking a leave of absence and making an appeal.  

You can withdraw from SFU at any time by notifying the FHS graduate program in writing and completing a withdrawal form. A student who has withdrawn and wishes to re-enter will need to apply for readmission under the same conditions as any other applicant. Before you make any changes to your program, please consult with your supervisor, the graduate programs manager and the Chair.

Graduate Studies has more information on leaves and withdrawals.

Advising and graduate program contacts

Graduate advisor: Jessie Choi

The FHS Advising Office provides support and guidance for students in their graduate academic progress and degree completion. Program planning and graduation checks need to be done in person.

Phone: 778-782-3831

Email inquiries will be answered within five business days where possible, but there might be delays during busy periods. For urgent inquiries, please include “urgent” in the subject line. Note: special requests and forms may take up to two weeks to process.

MPH students, please refer to the MPH Advising Guide to find the best resource for your inquiries.
MSc and PhD students, please refer to the MSc/PhD Advising Guide to find the best resource for your inquiries.

Faculty of Health Sciences contacts

Graduate program faculty contacts

For profiles of all faculty members, please visit the faculty directory on our website.

Graduate program staff contacts

For profiles of all staff and their roles in the Faculty, please visit Dean’s Office & FHS Staff directory.

IT Services including networks, software, printing and more

SFU apps to download

Download these apps. Allow notifications on SFU SNAP to receive emergency alerts from SFU. 

Computer network connections

SFU provides three wireless networks for faculty, staff and student use.

Learn more

Computing lab access

Blusson Hall 11660 has a 36-station computing lab available for use by FHS Graduate Students. Access to the lab is controlled by a combination lock, which is reset September 1st every year. The combination will be shared with you at the start of the semester. Do not give this combination to anyone. Use your computing ID and password to log onto the lab workstations, which are equipped with a number of software packages for word processing, statistical and spatial analysis.

Printing and copying

Graduate students have access to printers located in the general computing lab (BLU 11660), as well as the workrooms in BLU 10501 and BLU 11501. Use your computing ID and password to login to the workroom printers. See the SFU print website for instructions on how to set-up printing on your laptop, additional printer locations, how to pay and more. 

When you log onto a computer in the computing lab or graduate study space, your current printing credit will be displayed in a yellow window in the top right corner of the screen.

File space and sharing

FHS provides personal file space for coursework in the FHS Computing Lab at Blusson Hall 11660. This space is provided for the duration of your graduate studies and is accessible through the My Documents folder or through M: in My Computer in the computing lab. This space is accessible only to you and FHS IT Staff. Instructors may choose to deliver course materials via the shared T: course drive.

SFU offers access to the highly versatile SFU Vault cloud storage service. This space can be used to store files and can be used across multiple devices.

To learn how files are governed on university computers and file spaces, visit the SFU General Policy (GP 24) - Fair Use of Information and Communications Technology.

Computer software

As part of licensing agreements with various software vendors, SFU offers software to students free of charge. Software under this agreement includes Office 365 for Education, JMP, SAS, NVivo and citation management software.

Software under SFU site-licensed is administered by SFU IT Services. Please note: while you can download the software for free, FHS IT Staff are not able to help in installation and use.

The service provides video tutorials on software programs, design practices and business skills.

Office space, room bookings and study space

Grad students are allowed to use the workstations in the open plan area BLU 10402 on a drop-in basis. Entry to the open plan offices is through an access code, which is changed before the fall and spring term and emailed to students. MSc and PhD students are also welcome to request private workspace.

Graduate Program Staff can help you book a room in Blusson Hall for your research proposal meeting, comprehensive exam, capstone presentation or thesis defence. Supervisors have access to book rooms for committee and other meetings. 

The graduate student lounge is located on the main floor of Blusson Hall in room BLU 10716. Lounge entry is through an access code that is changed regularly and is shared by email at the beginning of every term.

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. The space is equipped with wifi, workstations, bookable group rooms and areas for discussion and relaxation. Please see the Research Commons website for the door access code.

See The Graduate Student Society, the SFU Library and SFU Library graduate group rooms in the learning commons for more room booking options.

Video conferencing in meeting rooms

FHS has a built-in video conference system in the Boardroom (BLU 11021) and it is available to students for thesis defence, comprehensive exam, capstone presentations and project presentations. Please contact your graduate Program Assistant for more information about booking. For all other uses (academic or research meetings), students are expected to coordinate video conferencing setup on their own. Faculty have access to book video conferencing using Zoom at SFU IT website.  

Audio/Visual IT Services provides computers, data projectors, sound systems, and other related A/V equipment to SFU's lecture theatres and classrooms. SFU IT Services is located in SSC P9301.

Study and research assistance

See the FHS presentation on advanced writing.

Library resources

There are lots of helpful resources for graduate students through the SFU Library. There are quiet study areas in the W.A.C. Bennett Library. Room 5102 and the library’s 6th floor are designated silent study spaces. Lockable offices are available for masters and doctoral students who are in the final phase of writing their thesis. Openings are sent to graduate students by email and are assigned through the Office of Graduate Studies.

SFU Library's Research Commons supports the research of the University community, with particular focus on graduate students during all stages of the research lifecycle—ideas, partners, proposal, writing, research process and publication. It provides easy access to physical and virtual research resources. The Research Commons contributes to the ongoing success of SFU’s graduate researchers by providing a comfortable and inspiring space and offering services to support research. 

The Research Commons is located on the 7th floor of SFU Burnaby's W.A.C. Bennett Library and is equipped with:

  • Wireless access

  • Workstations

  • Bookable group consultation rooms

  • Areas for discussion and relaxation 

The Research Commons is the home of the Graduate Open Writing Lab and Thesis Boot Camp, and also organizes workshops on a variety of topics like writing, thesis and research softwares.

For more information, please visit the Research Commons website.

For informational resource help or questions, please contact the Health Sciences Library Liaison, Ean Henninger at

EAL support services

If you need or want to improve your written and spoken proficiency in English, the SFU Library (Student Learning Commons/Research Commons) offers a wide range of services for students.

All graduate students benefit significantly from taking advantage of the Writing and Publishing support services and ALL the other services provided for graduate students through the Research Commons.

The International Teaching Assistant Program is a free graduate seminar designed for teaching assistants and graduate students who speak English as an additional language. The seminar helps students' academic communication and teaching skills.

SFU's Centre for English Language Learning, Teaching, and Research (CELLTR) provides SFU students, staff and faculty with teaching and learning services that support them in SFU’s multilingual environment. Check out their upcoming events.

Academic code of conduct

Cheating and plagiarism are taken seriously at SFU. Our Academic Integrity and Good Conduct policy sets out standards for every student. Students can also take a plagiarism tutorial to make sure they’re up to date.

Get involved

Make the most of your graduate experience at SFU and become a more engaged member of the campus community, learn new skills, and make friends through a variety of extraordinary learning opportunities outside of the classroom. The friendships you make and the experiences you have are an important part of your educational journey. See below for some great opportunities for Health Sciences graduate students and visit SFU’s myInvolvement website to learn more about the variety of opportunities to get involved at SFU.

FHS Graduate Student Caucus

The FHS Graduate Student Caucus represents the voice of all graduate students in the Faculty. The caucus acts as a liaison between the student body and the Faculty and is responsible for voicing student opinions, organizing numerous student events, and supporting student initiatives. The Caucus works hard to create a sense of community within the Faculty and across campus for MPH, MSc, and PhD students in Health Sciences. Visit the FHS Graduate Student Caucus website

SFU Graduate Student Society (GSS)

The GSS is the student society and government for all graduate students at SFU, representing over 5,000 students in 37 academic programs at SFU’s Burnaby, Surrey and Vancouver campuses. The BC Universities Act recognizes the Society as the primary representative of graduate students in university affairs; through the collection of fees, the GSS provides a group benefit plan, grants and other funding, socials, student space, and support to departmental caucuses. The GSS also provides academic, professional, social, and recreational services to its members. Visit the GSS website.

Peer mentorship

Each new graduate student is connected with a current graduate student when they start their program. Your peer mentor can help you adjust to life as a graduate student and answer questions you may have about student life on and off campus. 

Town hall

Each year, the Town Hall Meeting is held with staff and graduate students in the Faculty of Health Sciences to discuss questions, comments and concerns about your graduate program experience to staff and faculty.

Reading club

Join FHS reads, a book club for the FHS community, to interact with other students, staff and faculty and discuss health related topics.  Each year, a book selection committee is put together to generate the reading list. 

Seminar series

All FHS MSc and PhD students attend bi-monthly research seminars to interact and learn about other research.  One seminar per year is organized and hosted by the students. See a list of recent and upcoming seminars.

Committee membership

All graduate students at FHS are encouraged to participate in faculty governance. You can put your name forward to the graduate student body to sit on one of FHS’ committees. 

Employment opportunities

Career and volunteer services

We encourage students to meet with Brenda Badgero, our career education manager from Career Services for career and volunteer support, opportunities and information.   

Please visit our TA Appointment Information page all the information and forms you will need after being offered a position.

Other employment opportunities

FHS professional opportunities

You can find an up-to-date list of opportunities on the FHS professional opportunities listing

Graduate Studies jobs blog

See the GS blog for job and volunteer postings relevant to graduate students at SFU.

Becoming a Teaching Assistant

Teaching Assistant (TA) positions for each term will be posted on the FHS Employment Opportunities page, and an email will be sent to students once the competition is open. SFU students can apply for TA positions in any department or faculty at SFU. See all TA listings.

Successful applicants will be contacted by email with an offer for a TA position in early August. It is the responsibility of the student to confirm their acceptance of the position by the stated deadline, or the position may be re-assigned. Some TA assignments are based on enrollment and, as a result, it is not unusual to be notified of a position after the start of classes. Undergraduate courses continue to enroll two weeks after the start of a semester.

Teaching Assistant contracts are normally 17 weeks and you need to be available for the entire duration of the contract. The instructor may want to meet before the start of the term. TAs should not make any vacation or travel plans until they know their final examination/marking schedule for the term to confirm whether they will be involved with final exam. If there is an issue meeting the 17 week contract, a TA should be in touch with the instructor. If suitable arrangements cannot be made, the contract may need to be re-assigned.

The Centre for Educational Excellence (CEE) hosts an orientation for new and veteran Teaching Assistants. All students who have been assigned a TA position in the fall term should plan to attend. For more information on this orientation and the Centre for Educational Excellence, please visit their website.

All Teaching Assistants are employees of SFU, and members of the Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU).  As a Teaching Assistant, the University pays 100% of the monthly premium for the Medical Services Plan (MSP) of British Columbia, 75% of the monthly premium for Extended Health Care Benefits (Pacific Blue Cross).  Eligible employees must apply before the start-up of every semester for coverage through Human Resources (778-782-3237).   The medical Services Plan Brochure provides benefit details, and is available from the MSP website.

Resources for TAs

The following links will help you get your medical coverage and other benefits, as well as help you learn how to become a better teacher.

Student services resources

Below is a list of some student services available to you. For a complete list and more information on these services, please visit the Student Services website.

New student orientation materials

Below are links to the handouts and presentations that were shared during the 2019 Fall orientation. 

Career and Volunteer Services

FHS Grad Caucus

Financial Aid and Awards

Infectious Diseases Research Challenge Area


Safety, Emergency Preparedness and Security