Getting Started

Welcome to SFU. We're glad you've chosen to come to Canada's top comprehensive university.

Before you even begin your studies, there are a couple steps you'll need to follow to get started as a new grad student. We've put together a guide to help you navigate what you need to know and do to ensure a smooth transition into graduate studies. Use this page as a checklist and familiarize yourself with the Graduate Student Handbook.

Community Guide

Discover the tools, services, and support to help you enhance your graduate student experience at SFU.

Learn more

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Accept Your Admission and Review Student Handbook

Review your offer of admission

  • Carefully review your offer, including deadline dates, funding package details and other important information. International students, your offer of admission is needed for obtaining your study permit and/or visa.

Pay your deposit

  • Paying your deposit lets us know that you've accepted our offer. NOTE: admission deposits may vary by graduate program.

Graduate Student Handbook

  • Learn more about your responsibilities as a graduate student at SFU as well as policies that apply to you in the Graduate Student Handbook.

Plan your Healthcare Coverage

Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents

  • Your provincial health plan may cover you while you are a student in BC. Review your current plan to ensure continuous coverage while you're in BC. Learn more →

International and US Students

  • You must have medical insurance for the duration of your studies and stay in Canada. Learn more →

International Teaching Assistants

  • You must have your MSP though Health Insurance BC before you can apply to have the University pay the International Student Health Fee as a member of the TSSU. Your medical coverage may change if you are on a work term or practicum. Learn more →

Arrange Your Accommodation

SFU Residence and Housing has graduate student housing options in Burnaby as well as Vancouver.

They provide information for finding off-campus housing as well as information for your rights as a tenant and how to avoid a rental scam.

Indigenous students, you may wish to consider the Indigenous Living Learning Community on SFU Burnaby campus.

International Students: Arrange your Study Permits + Visas

Sources of information

Study permits and visas

  • Apply for your study permit and any permits for accompanying family members. Please visit the International Student Advising page to learn more about bringing your family to Canada.
  • If you plan to visit or stop over in another country en route to Canada, you should check with that country’s Embassy/Consulate to find out which documents you and your family will need.
  • If you are planning to transit through the United States, the U.S. has suspended its policy of allowing travelers to pass through U.S. airports in transit to foreign destinations without a visa if they would otherwise require a visa to enter the U.S. This change has no effect upon Canadian citizens nor upon those who qualify to enter the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program. Before you book your flight to Canada, you should ensure that you have the proper documents. Check with the United States Embassy or Consulate closest to you.


Medical insurance

Arrival dates

You've arrived in Canada, now what?

Get Connected with SFU Online Systems

Get your SFU Computing ID

  • Your SFU Computing ID gives you access to the course enrollment system to enroll in classes. It is your official SFU email account — all important SFU-related emails are sent here. This computing ID replaces the temporary applicant login and password you previously used to access
  • Approximately two months before the term begins, you will receive an e-mail from SFU IT Services which contains your SFU student computing ID. You should receive this email around mid-June for the fall term, mid-October for the spring term or mid-February for the summer term.
  • Once you have your SFU Computing ID, you will need to enroll in Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). You add it to your SFU account to drastically increase its security. By using MFA, your digital identity, data, and access to systems are still protected even if your password is compromised.
  • Please note: This email will not be sent if your $250 deposit has not been received. Check your account balance in If you see -$250, it means your deposit has been processed. It is best to contact your department if you have paid your $250 deposit and there seems to be an undue delay in you receiving the email notification containing your SFU Computing ID activation instructions.

Download the SFU App Suite

  • SFU Snap: Access, your course schedule, exams, canvas assignments, your library record, room locations, campus services and transit schedules. Also receive alerts and emergency notifications.
  • SFU Canvas: SFU's online learning managment system. Submit assignments, post discussions, review your course notifications.
  • SFU Vault: 50 GB of free storage space to access and share your files.
  • MySSP: Free 24/7 mental health counselling and support in multiple languages.
  • Canada Passport: Pay for or extend parking on SFU Burnaby campus.

Sign up for free access to technology tools

Register in Classes + Pay Tuition

Register for Classes

  • Registration for classes opens approximately two months before the semester begins.
  • Once your fees are paid, you'll be able to register for your classes through the goSFU. SFU Student Services has some videos on using goSFU.
  • Some graduate programs prefer that you consult with your senior supervisor before registering. Please consult your graduate program. You can add and drop classes without financial penalty in the first 13 days of the semester. Check dates and deadlines every term.

Pay your Tuition

  • There are several ways you can pay for your tuition and fees after you have registered for classes. The most convenient way to pay is either online or through telephone banking with your bank or credit union. You can find more information, including step-by-step instructions, on the Student Services How To Pay Your Fees page.

Secure your Funding

Awards and scholarships

Teaching and research positions

Bursaries, work-study employment and loans
You must have demonstrated financial need. Learn more →

Jobs in the community

  • Canadian graduate students may work anywhere. International graduate students may work up to 20 hours per week at on- or off-campus jobs. See Employment and Volunteer for more information.

Get connected

Understand your costs and build a budget

  • We created a downloadable budget shell with links to sources of information to build your own budget. Use this to better understand your financial situation.

Attend Orientation(s)

Graduate Studies Orientation

  • We host a university-wide Orientation for all graduate students every year. With a mix of online and in person components, learn more about the services available to you, ask questions, and meet new people. Learn more →

International Student Orientation

  • New international students are encouraged to attend the 3-part International Student Orientation series to gain information specifically for international graduate students and make connections.
    • Part 1 Information Session (Virtual) | July 19, 8:30 am-10:30 am (PT)
    • Part 2 Student & Advisor Panel Session (Virtual) | August 21, 6:00 pm-7:30 pm (PT)
    • Part 3 International Student Welcome Social (In-Person) | September 4, 11:30 am-2.30 pm (PT) | Global Student Centre (AQ 2013), Burnaby Campus

Academic Unit Orientations

  • Your first priority should be to attend your department/program's orientation event. You'll meet your departmental colleagues and get to know the staff who will be helping you throughout your program. Keep an eye out for an email from your program/department.

Residence Orientation

  • If you have a confirmed place in the SFU Graduate Residences, visit the Residences' page for Incoming Residents for info on how to sign up for an early-move in option and residence orientation. It will take place in the first week of September. Cost is TBA.


  • SFU's Centre for Educational Excellence hosts a large TA/TM Day event for all teaching assistants and tutor-markers. The event is free and open to current TAs/TMs as well as anyone who is interested in becoming a TA or TM. The schedule also usually includes an opportunity to find out more about TA/TM employee medical coverage for and help with the employee medical insurance forms.

SFU Library/Research Commons

Safety & Risk Services

  • New & Young Worker Health & Safety Orientation
    This mandatory online workshop is for all new employees hired to perform work at SFU, including TAs, TMs, RAs, and event staff. 

Get your Student ID and U-Pass BC Card

SFU Student ID Card

  • You can get your Library/student ID card 24 hours after you're enrolled in a course. Present valid photo ID (for example, government issued ID, passport, driver’s license).
  • Library/ID cards are produced at any of our three campuses.
  • If you are based at SFU Surrey, please pick up your student card at that campus, as those cards are also used to access labs.
  • Visit Student Services for contact information. In addition, see their deadlines page for details on peak card production schedules.

U-Pass BC Card

Driving to SFU instead of using transit?

Connect with the SFU Graduate Student Community

Life + Community


  • Join our semi-private private new Graduate Students Facebook group (an email address will be required to be a member) where you can connect with graduate students, get updates from us, and learn more about what's happening at SFU. You can also follow us on Twitter or Instagram