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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.
Click to read more ↓
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.
- Learn more about your responsibilities as a graduate student at SFU as well as policies that apply to you in the Graduate Student Handbook.
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 →
- You must have medical insurance for the duration of your studies and stay in Canada. Learn more →
- Your medical coverage may change if you are on a work term or practicum. Learn more →
SFU Residence and Housing has graduate student housing options in Burnaby as well as Vancouver.
Indigenous students, you may wish to consider the Indigenous Living Learning Community on SFU Burnaby campus.
Sources of information
- International Services for Students website is a great resource to help you learn about visa regulations, housing, banking, transportation, schooling & childcare, and much more. Check out their Welcome Guide for International Graduate Students for the most comprehensive information.
- Our International Students section of our website also provides helpful 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.
- If you are having trouble obtaining your study permit or facing other delays, please see deferrals and postponing your arrival
- Ensure you have mandatory medical insurance for yourself and any accompanying family members for your first term in Canada
- To help you plan your arrival to Vancouver, note any important dates, including residence move-in dates, orientation dates, and employment contract start dates (if applicable).
You've arrived in Canada, now what?
- Learn more about your next steps after you arrive →
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 go.sfu.ca.
- 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 go.sfu.ca. 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 go.sfu.ca, 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 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.
Awards and scholarships
- SFU awards over $600k in private awards every year. Application deadlines vary, but are generally the end of May each year.
- Find out if you're eligible for any entrance awards
- If you're a Canadian student, find out if you are eligible for TriCouncil Awards (CIHR / SSHRC / NSERC) at the master's or doctoral level
- If you're an international student, look for awards provided by your home country. If you're coming to SFU with a national award, you may be eligible for the Provost International Fellowship.
- The Government of Canada maintains a database of awards for incoming students from various countries.
- See also other databases for external awards.
Teaching and research positions
- See the list of all TA/TM/Sessional positions, which are updated by their departments.
- Check with your graduate program supervisor or grad program assistant to find out if any Research Assistant (RA) positions are available to you
- Sign up to receive RA position announcement emails from the Institute for the Study of Teaching and Learning in the Disciplines (ISTLD)
- Check out other employment opportunities
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.
- We frequently mention job postings in the graduate students and postdocs semi-private private Facebook group (an sfu.ca email address is required to be a member) or on Twitter.
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.
GPS Fall Orientation
- We host a university-wide Fall Orientation for all graduate students every year. Hosted in a conference-style format, choose which sessions you wish to attend, learn about the services available to enhance your graduate student experience, and make some new friends. Learn more →
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.
- 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
- The Research Commons at the SFU Library has a Library Research Basics for Grad Students overview to get you introduced to the library.
- Watch, "I wish I'd known that earlier", Grad's Eye View: The Library Edition (Library orientation for grad students)
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, postdocs, and event staff.
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
- All eligible students receive a U-Pass BC for unlimited access to public transit around Metro Vancouver.
- See the U-Pass BC website for more information oneligibility and how to collect your U-Pass BC.
- TransLink has a page with useful information on how to use public transit in Metro Vancouver. Plan your trip with Tranklink's trip planner, transit schedules and transit system maps.
- TransLink's mobile site is also very useful to keep you informed on when the next bus will arrive at your stop.
Driving to SFU instead of using transit?
- Look into parking options for SFU's three campuses
Life + Community
- Discover the range of services, departments, resources, and people that can help you navigate and enhance your graduate student experience at SFU.
GPS Community Hub
- Connect virtually with graduate students from across SFU in this canvas-based space. Participate in asynchronous and synchronous activities independently or with others. Get the link for self-enrollment → (NOTE: you need a valid SFU Computing ID)
- Join our graduate students and postdocs semi-private private Facebook group (an sfu.ca email address is 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.