Graduate Studies Guide: Funding

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology receives a small budget for entrance awards and to assist students during their time in the program. Within the confines of this budget, the department is committed to providing some financial assistance to all PhD and MA students.

With respect to financial support, department policy and practice is to make financial awards to the largest number of students possible. Thus, all students who meet the terms of reference for an award are strongly encouraged to apply. Most fellowships and some other awards require an online application through the GA3 system. Students are encouraged to review the GPS Scholarships and Awards page for additional information and to direct questions to the GPA or the Grad Chair.

To be eligible for any departmental funding that is not an entrance award, students must be enrolled in the program (i.e. not on leave), and priority will be given to those who are making satisfactory progress or better in their studies. It is department practice to treat all students as equitably as possible, and all students are eligible to apply for support provided they have a CGPA of 3.50 or better, and meet the terms of reference for the award.

The following sources of funding are available. The terms of reference can be found on the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website.

Special Graduate Entrance Scholarships (SGES)

A small number of entrance scholarships are available annually for incoming students. These are competitive awards given to the best incoming graduate students for full-time graduate study. For more information, visit the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Entrance and Scholarships Awards.



GFs are one-term grants from Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies that are awarded to students who have applied, who qualify, and who have been ranked by the department based on status in the program, availability of other funding, and merit. Each year the department is allotted a number of GFs proportional to the number of graduate students in the department. The department adjudicates the applications based on the terms of reference provided by Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, and as a practice, tries to ensure that all eligible MA students receive at least one GF and eligible PhD students receive at least two GFs over the course of their studies.


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$17,500 for one year for MA students and up to $35,000 for up to 3 years for PhD students. These are competitive fellowships from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR). The department expects students who meet the CGPA and Canadian residence/citizenship criteria for these government awards to apply.


Previously called Private Awards

There are many private awards available which are adjudicated independently, and have unique eligibility criteria related to discipline, topic or geographic region of study, gender or citizenship of the applicant, progress toward degree completion, etc. Many of the donor awards are available to SA graduate students, including the Ellen Gee Memorial Graduate Scholarship for Excellence, which is specifically designated for an SA masters student. In most cases, application for donor awards is through the GA3 system.

Professional Development & Research Support


The department has a small budget with which to support student research and/or travel to conferences, largely on a reimbursement basis with receipts. There are two calls for applications each year. Students are eligible to apply multiple times if they have new research related expenses. Apply through GA3.


The Purpose of the Dr. Hilal Ozcetin Conference and Research Travel Graduate Funding is to support the travel component of the scholarly activity of graduate students related to their research. It is processed as an expense claim, up to $500 for each student annually. Application form.


$1000-$2000 grants for graduate student research and conference travel. Visit FASS Funding, Research for details


Grants in the amount of $499 for graduate student research and conference travel.

Needs-based Support


Loans and bursaries are administered on an as need basis through SFU’s Financial Aid and Awards Office. Both international and domestic students are eligible. Additionally, graduate student parents who are working as Teaching Assistants or Tutor-Markers may be eligible for a childcare subsidy from the Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU).


Several emergency and need-based funds. Visit GSS, Financial Support for more information



When PhD students have reached ABD (all but dissertation) status (completed their qualifying exam (2 parts) and thesis prospectus defence), they are eligible to teach courses in the department that are offered to sessional instructors.  All sessional instructor positions are governed by the TSSU Collective Agreement and posted in competition, however, departments are able to reserve a certain percentage of courses and prioritize assignment to its graduate students.  The department will occasionally send a survey to its PhD students to collect interest/availability to teach during course planning stages.


In the middle of each term, the SA Department Manager sends an announcement to SA graduate students to invite applications for TA and TM positions for the following academic term. All graduate students in the department are eligible to be employed as TAs and TMs. Students may also find TA/TM employment in other departments.

Employment as a teaching assistant is a valuable site for professional development that we encourage graduate students to take advantage of. MA students are assured one TA/TM position during their studies/ PhD students are assured two TA/TM positions. While many graduate students work as TA/TMs throughout their studies, employment during any particular term is not guaranteed. Further students should be aware that there are only a small number of TA/TM positions during the summer term. Graduate Student instructors are covered by a collective agreement between the University and the Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU).

TA/TM positions (for both MA and PhD students) are available in the fall and spring terms, but very few are available for the summer terms.

Teaching Assistant appointments (including tutor marker, marker and lab assistant positions) will follow the procedures laid out in the TSSU/University Collective Agreement and are subject to availability.


Research Assistantships are administered by individual faculty members. The department normally plays little role in their allocation.