Science advising at Surrey

University is both an anxious and exhilarating time. I hope that the information on this page makes your transition an enjoyable experience and helps you navigate any bumps along the way.

Nadia Williams advises all Surrey Science students plus undeclared Science students from all campuses over 60 units, Management & Systems Science majors, General Science Double Minor program students, and internal faculty transfers.

Academic Advisor

The Academic Advisor can assist you in a variety of areas related to your academic career at SFU, from first year course planning to identifying your interests and choosing your major. 

Contact Details: Nadia Williams

Surrey Office:  Room 2910 (Podium 2) inside the main Science area
Monday - Friday, 9:00am - 4:00pm
Call/email for a specific time appointment or drop-in anytime. Special arrangements can be made in advance for after-hours appointments.

Burnaby Office:  Occasional Burnaby campus days only.  Next: October 11th for Science Convocation in the morning.  Appointments available in the afternoon, please email.

Advisor away: TBA, November 22, December 12, 13.

University closed: Monday, October 14th (Thanksgiving Day).  Monday, November 11th (Remembrance Day).

Why do I need to visit an academic advisor?

  • Course selection and anything to do with registration
  • What can I do with XXX degree?
  • How do I choose my major?  Help!
  • What courses do I need for XXX professional program?
  • Where do I find XXX on campus/on the SFU website?
  • I want to change programs
  • Academic goal-setting
  • Coaching
  • Exploring other programs
  • Identifying interests, skills, and abilities
  • I'm having academic/personal/financial difficulty and I need to know where to go/who to talk to

Blog Post

Student Learning Commons Workshops

Other than your advisor recommending one, why would you attend an SLC workshop?  The better question is, why wouldn't you?  Pride is probably the number one reason.  You think your skills are already up there in the stellar range.  Well, you might be right.  Or you might be wrong. 

Its one hour (actually less - most are 50 minutes) of your time, and its free.  If you already know everything, its a carefree refresher.  Maybe you can even help another student in the session and bank the karma!  Maybe you'll get ONE tip or strategy you haven't thought of before, or you'll connect with another student in a shared class for later study sessions.  Or you'll hear about a random program at SFU that you've never considered in the course of the workshop discussion.  

Whatever you might get out of it, you will get something.  And for other students, you'll get a ton.  There are multiple types of workshops for different skill sets. Two of my favourites to recommend:

Quantitative Study Strategies.  Focuses on skills for Q course studying.  How many Q courses do you need to take as a Science student?  Likely at least six.  Get started or reviewing learning skills early on in your first term, take the workshop again to refresh or update on new skills.  Usually held in the first few weeks of classes each term. Called various titles such as How to Succeed in Quantitative Courses, Quantitative Study Skills, etc.  Upcoming on Tuesdsay, September 17th at Surrey.

Crunch Time: Survival 101.  I like this one for dealing with exam anxiety early on. It talks about habits before exams, calming down, ways to prepare, and a little bit on strategies during the actual exam.  If you have never dealt with exam anxiety before, consider it a blessing and yourself a rare person.  Its really common and normal.  With prep and learning coping strategies, exam anxiety effects can be minimized.  You really can get through them and not feel completely awful.  You're welcome to come visit me and ask for the story about exam vomit...I'm still around to tell my tale and have a degree successfully behind me! This workshop is usually held a bit later in the term after first mid-terms to help those who discover/admit to their exam anxiety then.  Currently scheduled for Monday, November 18th at Surrey.

All workshops are viewable on the Student Learning Commons website:

September 12, 2019

Want to learn more about the Faculty of Science?

Surrey Science Events

Surrey Science Student Social

First Friday of every Monday 10:30am - noon, room 2990

October 4th

November 1st

No Social in December

BIG Fair - Careers & more

Monday, September 23rd Mezzanine

Document downloads  

* 2018 Advising Syllabus NW.pdf
Nadia's Advising Syllabus
* General Science Double Minor program planner.pdf
General Science Double Minor program planner

Help! I'm almost through my first semester and I've realized I hate Science!

That's OK! Over 50% of university students change their course of studies once, and 25% more than once. Whatever courses you have successfully completed in the Sciences will also not be wasted - you'll use them towards meeting the university's WQB requirements that are necessary in order for you to graduate with your degree. If you realize Science is not your thing, talk to your advisor as soon as possible to explore other course options. We don't want you to feel stuck completing a degree you are not passionate about!

What can I do with a degree in...?

Glad you asked! SFU Career Services has put together pamphlets with careers for various majors. These are beyond those that you would think of offhand (teacher, doctor, dentist...).

Some questions to ask yourself when deciding what to study:

  • What attracted you to the Faculty of Science?
  • What excites you about it?
  • What do you like to do when you're not in school?
  • What clubs/extra-curricular activties have you belonged to?
  • What courses have been your most and least favourites and why?
  • What types of classes do you prefer (active, passive, labs, etc.)?
  • Can you see yourself doing this as a job?

I want to be a doctor/dentist/pharmacist/other health care professional

Many students enter the Sciences with the goal of eventually becoming a health care professional. In your first year at SFU, you can enroll in the first year foundational science courses required as prerequisites for most professional programs. We keep a list of those professional schools whose courses have exact SFU equivalents and can advise you on which these are so that you take the right courses. We also advise you on having a back-up plan - professional schools are extremely competitive, and every student should always have at least one other career idea in mind as they go through their studies.

Self-assessment - is professional school realistic for me and my circumstances?

  1. How do my grades and admission test scores compare to the historical entrance averages for the professional schools I wish to attend?
  2. If my grades are below the above, how much time and effort am I willing to spend to strengthen my candidacy to professional school?
  3. How have I demonstrated commitment to this profession?  How willing am I to take steps to show further commitment?
  4. How have I demonstrated a foundational knowledge of this profession?  Am I willing to build upon this knowledge? 

Thanks to Lyman Briggs College for these self-reflective questions.

What if I don't get into the professional program I want?

This is where your back-up plan comes into play!  Your co-operative education job placements would have helped you explore different paid Science positions and helped you "get your foot in the door" for future employment at these organizations. There are also many alternate health related careers that could be entered via different eduation programs such as certificates or technical diplomas. A university science background helps with success in these areas.