Moving to SFU

About the University

SFU occupies a beautiful woodland setting at the 400-m-high summit of Burnaby Mountain, just 12 km east of Vancouver, on Canada's Pacific Coast. The University is named after the explorer and fur trader Simon Fraser, who, in 1808, descended the major river that now bears his name. The University's location commands outstanding views of the Vancouver harbour, the Coast Mountains, and the Fraser River delta, while the bold architecture of the buildings has won numerous awards.

The University opened in 1965 with an enrollment of 2,500 students. It has grown substantially and is now considered a young, moderate-sized, lively university with a committment to advanced scholarship, research, and teaching.

British Columbia is noted for its superb scenery and Vancouver is recognized as one of the world's most beautiful cities. In the warm summer months, the local beaches are thronged with swimmers and sun seekers. In winter, skiing is a prime outdoor activity. Several ski resorts on the local mountains are readily accessible, and Whistler-Blackcomb, a world-class ski resort, is only 90 minutes from campus by car. The temperate climate allows sailing, tennis, golf, and salmon or trout fishing year round. As Canada's third largest city, Vancouver is a thriving business and cultural centre with modern rapid transportation, international shopping and dining, museums, theatres, professional sports, an opera company, and a symphony orchestra.

About the Department

The Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science was created on May 1, 2001, though programs in Statistics and Actuarial Science have existed within the former Department of Mathematics and Statistics for many years prior. Even before gaining status as a separate department, the Statistics and Actuarial Science Group earned a national and international reputation for work in applied and theoretical statistics and in actuarial science. Undergraduate and graduate students flourish in the highly interactive and personalized environment that characterizes both our Department and the university more generally. We offer broad programs of training in contemporary statistics, actuarial science, and data science, while our internationally recognized research is focused in particular areas of specialization.


Students live both on- and off-campus. SFU has several residences on campus. Alternatively, the Residence and Housing Office can help students to find apartments or rooms close to SFU. Find more information under the Housing links on the International Student Advising and Programs website.

Health Services

SFU Health and Counselling provides on-campus health care for students. Its staff includes fully qualified doctors, nurses, and counsellors. All students are required to have medical insurance at the time of registration. Those (such as new arrivals) who are not immediately eligible for insurance under the British Columbia Medical Services Plan must purchase adequate private health insurance for the waiting period. Find more information about medical insurance here. International students should also follow the links under Medical Services and Insurance on the International Student Advising and Programs website.


SFU is served by several bus routes. Translink, the Greater Vancouver transit system, includes not only buses but also an elevated train system (Skytrain) and a ferry to North Vancouver (Seabus). Some students drive to campus, though parking is relatively expensive; carpooling is encouraged. A few students even cycle up the mountain!

Sports and Recreation

The University has a superb modern sport complex with an track, soccer and football pitches, two gymnasiums, indoor swimming pool, and courts for tennis, squash, badminton, racquetball, volleyball, and basketball. A variety of jogging trails can be found in the forest surrounding the campus. Numerous sports activities are organized by SFU Recreation, including both indoor and outdoor soccer and fitness workouts. University teams compete at the top level in, for example, football, swimming, soccer, basketball, and wrestling. Off-campus activities such as sailing and dragon boating are organized by student clubs.

Miscellaneous Facilities

Many dining options are available on campus. 

The SFU Theatre puts on plays, concerts, and cultural events by both University and visiting performers. An art gallery provides periodic exhibitions.

The University Bookstore maintains an inventory of books, including textbooks for SFU courses, as well as sundry items.

International Students

International Student Advising and Programs provides extensive information for international students who are moving to SFU. Of particular importance is the step-by-step guide for new graduate students, which explains study permit, immigration, and medical insurance requirements. Admitted students will receive a formal letter of admission to the degree program from the SFU Registrar's Office and a letter specifying promised annual funding from the Chair of the Department. Both letters are required for applying for a study permit.