Information for New Graduate Students

Congratulations on your admission to SFU Physics! This section of our website will provide you with some of the resources you will need to begin your studies at SFU. Please click the tabs above or the drop-down menus below for additional information.

Step 1: Once You've Been Admitted to SFU Physics

Accept Your Admission Offer - Pay Your Admission Deposit

Your admission offer must be accepted or declined within 21 days from the date of your admission letter. To accept your offer, please log in to the  application system at: with your 'GA" Id and password, or your computing ID if you are an SFU student. You may pay the deposit online with a credit card. This deposit will be applied to your tuition in your first term in the program.

For other methods of payment please go to:

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Department of Physics or the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies

Provide Proof of Degree Completion Prior to Start Date- Submit Official Transcripts to SFU

Transcripts are only considered Official if they are received in sealed envelopes directly from the institution(s) you attended. If you have up-to-date sealed transcripts in your possession, you may submit them directly to The Department of Physics, they will be forwarded to the Department of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies on your behalf. 

All post-secondary transcripts (transcripts in languages other than English or French must be accompanied by an English or French translation provided by a certified translator).

Once you have received an admission letter, all official hard copy documentation should be directed to:   

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

SFU Degree Holders
Students admitted with the condition of completing an SFU degree do not need to forward Official SFU Transcripts once the degree has been completed. This condition will be verified by Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies upon request, please email upon degree completition (please include your SFU student number). 

Apply for Your Study Permit (International Students)

Please apply for a study permit as soon as possible. Processing times can take as long as six months, depending upon where you apply for your permit. Your official Offer of Admission and Funding letter from Simon Fraser University's Office of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral fellows provides the necessary documentation from the university.

Please click here for more information about applying for your study permit.

Activate Your SFU Computing ID and Begin Using Your SFU Email Account

Email is the primary form of communication for departmental and university notices for students. Once you are assigned an SFU email address, it will be used as the default for communications; in the interim, we will use the address supplied on your application form. Please begin monitoring your SFU email account as soon as it is activated.

After you accept an offer of admission by paying the $250 deposit for Canadian students, or the $750 deposit for International students, you will receive an email sent to your non-SFU email address indicating that your SFU computing ID is ready for online activation.  All computing IDs, for a given term, are issued at the same time.

This email will be sent on the following schedule for students beginning studies in:

  • September: Email sent mid-June
  • January: Email sent mid-October
  • May: Email sent mid-February

* If you confirm your offer of admission after the scheduled issue date, you will be sent an email within 5 days of paying your deposit.

For more details, see FAQs for Students
Activate your SFU Computing ID

Apply for a Teaching Assistant Position

A portion of your stipend funding will come from Teaching Assistantships (TAs). Most incoming students should expect to work as a Teaching Assistant during their first term of study. If you are an incoming student who has already made arrangements to work with a senior supervisor, please confirm with your prospective supervisor whether or not you should be applying for a TA for your first term in the program. All students without confirmed supervisors should submit TA applications.

Please click here or click the red 'TAs' tab above for detailed instruction and information for new students regarding TA applications and TA assignments.

Prepare Your Course Planner and Enroll in Courses

Please click the Course Planning / Enrollment tab above for detailed instructions about designing a course plan for your SFU Physics graduate program. This page also has instructions for enrolling in courses. Be sure to consult with your senior supervisor to develop a course plan before enrolling in courses for your first term!

Find Housing

The following links will provide you with resources for housing options at or near SFU:

Off Campus Housing

SFU Residence and Housing

Short-term Accomodation On Campus

Additional Resources Before You Arrive at SFU

Step 2: Arriving in Vancouver and at SFU

Your Arrival on Campus

Please let the Physics Graduate Program Assistant know when you plan to arrive on campus, and be sure to come by the Physics General Office in the 'P' building of the Shrum Science Centre (SCP 8429), to meet us. The Graduate Program Assistant can assist you with your paperwork requirements for various administrative purposes, including setting up payroll for your teaching and research appointments.

International students are required to be in Canada to obtain a Social Insurance Number before we can process your payroll forms. For this reason, international students who do not have financial resources to carry themselves through their first month should plan to arrive well before the beginning of the term. Students who have adequate financial resources may arrive closer to the beginning of the term, but should not expect to receive payment until near the end of the first month of study.

Fall 2017 Dates: Payroll Forms (including SIN and banking information) need to be completed by August 21, 2017, for a student to receive a paycheque on the first paydate of the term (September 1st, 2017)

Related Links

Get Your Social Insurance Number (SIN) from Service Canada (International Students)

Before we can complete payroll forms for international students, the student will require a Social Insurance Number (SIN). To apply for a Social Insurance Number international students must simply visit a Service Canada office. At the Service Canada office, the student will present their original study permit issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) that states the permit holder “may accept employment” or “may work” in Canada. They should receive a "confirmation of SIN" letter (the plastic cards are no longer being issued).

Tip: We recommend that all new international graduate students double-check with the officer processing their study permit at the airport/port of entry into Canada to ensure that their study permit conditions include the wording "may accept employment" or "may work" in Canada. (see Without this wording, Service Canada may refuse to issue a SIN.

Related Links

Open a Bank Account

Payroll at SFU is paid on a bi-weekly schedule through direct deposit to your bank account. Please open a bank account when you arrive in Vancouver. The Physics department will require a Void Cheque or Bank Account Verification from your bank (clearly stating your Bank ID, Transit ID Code and Account Information) in order to set up your payroll.

Get Your SFU ID from the Information and Registration Office

You can get your Library/student ID card 24 hours after you have enrolled in a course. You will need to present valid photo ID (for example, government issued ID, passport, driver’s license).

Library/ID cards are produced at any of our three campuses.

Note: 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.

Bring identification and your student number to the SFUs Information and Registration Desk in the Maggie Benston Building. SFU staff will take your photo and issue you an ID card.

Get Your U-Pass Public Transit Pass

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.

Please note: Students enrolled in a course that is marked as being "off-campus" and have a mailing address outside Metro Vancouver are not eligible for the U-Pass BC Program. Please make sure that your contact information is up-to-date in GoSFU.

Pick-up Your Office and Lab Keys

The Physics Department Manager will assign you an office when you arrive at SFU. Faculty, postdocs, grad students and continuing staff will additionally be issued a key for the department kitchen. You will be required to show photo identification and pay a $20 deposit for each key (deposit will be returned when key is returned).

All SFU Burnaby Campus keys and cards can be picked up in Discovery 1, Room 1300.

  • Visa, Mastercard, debit and cash accepted
  • Open from 8:45am until 3:45pm, Monday to Friday

Photo ID is required for all transactions. (SFU ID is sufficient).

Set-up Your Medical Insurance Coverage

There are several paths for health care coverage for graduate students, depending on your country of origin and employment status at SFU. Please click here and choose the category that best describes you.

Related Links

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