Our group's expectations

We are always excited to welcome new students! We look forward to building an enjoyable and productive relationship that lasts well beyond your time at SFU. We feel that productive relationships are built on a good understanding of expectations. By clearly articulating expectations early on, we hope to insure that your programme of study progresses smoothly, with no surprises. For example, we wish to emphasize that our programme offers a research-intensive experience. For those who would prefer less emphasis on research, we recommend one of the many excellent one-year,  course-based, professional  Master's programmes. Graduate students in our Department are evaluated once a year, typically in May (see here for an example progress report form). Funding commitments made by the Department at the time of admission are contingent on an evaluation of "satisfactory progress" in these reports. Progress is measured by evidence of engagement in the programme, as reflected by academic performance (i.e., grades), seminar attendance, commitment to teaching and research assistantship duties and scholarly output such as research manuscripts. Please be aware that research assistantships are jobs, not scholarships. If you get a research assistantship you are expected to perform the assigned duties, such as writing semesterly progress reports or completing your research project. Progress over the course of one's programme is also weighed at the end, when supervisors are asked to write reference letters for applications for jobs, PhD studies, etc. In our group, we expect that you will engage in the programme by:

  • Letting us know in advance if you are considering simultaneous study in a programme at another institution or work in addition to your study and work commitments at SFU. We are happy to work with you to accommodate these, particularly internships, co-op work terms and part-time employment related to your field of study since these may be counted as credit for the Master's level course requirement in STAT 811/812.
  • Understanding that the financial support of the Department is for the purpose of completing your program of study. If you wish to retain the financial support of the Department and extend your program completion time through activities such as auditing extra courses, you must consult with your supervisor first.  
  • Attending to your TA and RA duties professionally by, e.g., showing up regularly and on time.
  • Maintaining a minimum 3.5 grade-point average (3.5 is between a B+ and A-).
  • Avoiding all forms of academic dishonesty (e.g. plagiarism ), at all costs!
  • Attending departmental seminars and research group meetings as requested.
  • Understanding that written and verbal communication are central research activities and being willing and able to write and present ideas in a coherent manner.
  • Being willing and able to outline your arguments for written or presented work (e.g. thesis, research manuscript or presentation) before preparing it, and expecting to discuss these ideas with others in the research group.
  • Being willing and able to perform basic editing, programming, time-management and administrative activities on your own.
  • Staying aware of deadlines for department teaching assistantships, graduate fellowships and travel awards and applying for them.
  • If you are a PhD student, staying on top of manuscript deadlines for timely completion of your dissertation.
  • If you are a PhD student and a landed immigrant or citizen of Canada, taking the initiative to apply for scholarship opportunities with Canadian funding agencies such as NSERC, CIHR or MSFHR in the first and second year of the programme. These opportunities require advance planning, including bringing supervisors on board. We ask for at least a month turn-around time to provide any required documents and at least two months advance notice if you would like us to critique your proposal and work with you to improve it.