Simon Fraser University

British Columbia, Canada

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School of Computing Science

The School of Computing Science has more than 220 graduate students enrolled in the PhD, M.Sc., and the Professional Master's Specializations in Big Data and Visual Computing. Under its graduate courses, the department offers M.Sc. and PhD degree programmes. Graduate courses are offered in three terms/semesters per year. PhD and M.Sc. thesis students are research-oriented, and they are provided with financial support from the School depending upon their progress. 

Students are expected to acquire breadth of knowledge through a sequence of courses and optional practicum work and depth of knowledge through the completion and defense of a thesis or a project. Under normal circumstances, M.Sc. programme should be completed within six semesters.

Apart from thesis, the MSc courses are offered with the project and courses. Students complete 30 units of graduate work in one of the three options chosen at the time of admission. Each option consists of graduate course and optional practicum work satisfying certain breadth requirements plus a depth requirement consisting of a thesis, project or portfolio document.

Thesis M.Sc. students need to complete five graduate courses (which is equivalent to 15 credit hours of work). Project M.Sc. students need to complete eight graduate courses (which is equivalent to 24 credit hours of work). Course M.Sc. students need to complete ten graduate courses (equivalent to 30 credit hours of work). 
The professional master's programme with visual computing specialization is the first professional graduate programme in Canada with a focus on visual computing. The program is normally for 4 semesters (or 16 months).

Professional Master of Science in Computer Science with Big Data specialization develops data architects who apply their knowledge of computer science to create new tools that add value to the large amount of information generated today. The programme is normally for 4 semesters (or 16 months).
The Professional Master's Programme requires students to complete a minimum of 30 units of graduate work.  These units are divided as follows: 

  • list items a minimum of 15 credits of graduate course work
  • list items 12 credits of specialized lab work
  • list items 3 credits for co-op (internship) work
  • The department provides support to thesis-based Ph.D and MSc. students. Minimum funding levels are:

  • list items Ph.D - $22,000 or more per year for four years
  • list items MSc. - $20,000 or more per year for five semesters
  • SFU Graduate Fellowships are available throughout the academic year and are for around $6,500 per semester. Faculty of Applied Sciences Graduate Fellowships also awards Graduate Fellowships of around $6,500 per semester. The School of Computing Science offers fellowships to incoming M.Sc. thesis and PhD students in their first term of enrollment, and students receive one Graduate Fellowships for at least $6,000.

    The school has 42 research faculty along with 15 adjunct professors and 11 associate members. The faculty is highly active in the computing science research community and has won numerous accolades including:

  • list items A faculty member named the world’s most influential scholar in data mining,
  • list items Two more named among the top 100 most influential scholars in data mining,
  • list items A Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics Fellow,
  • list items Two IEEE Fellows,
  • list items Two Sloan Fellowships,
  • list items A E. W. R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship; and
  • list items 11 NSERC Discovery Accelerator Supplements.
  • list items Research Areas Include
    • Algorithms and Complexity Theory
    • Artificial Intelligence
    • Databases, Data Mining and Computational Biology
    • Graphics, Multimedia, Vision and Medical Image Analysis
    • Network and Systems
    • Programming Languages and Software Engineering

    School of Engineering Science 

    The department has 1015 undergraduate students, 138 graduate students and 30 professors and lecturers. The renowned faculty has won numerous awards. Among them are Canada Research Chairs in Wireless Sensor Networks and Biomedical Technology. One of the faculty is also the NSERC Chair For Women In Science And Engineering, BC And Yukon Region
    For undergraduate students, the department offers an accelerated BASc-MASc program.

    The Department Offers 3 Graduate Degrees - 

    1. Master of Engineering (MEng) - Course-Based Masters Degree
    The course-intensive Master of Engineering (MEng) programme consists of required courses and elective courses for a minimum of 30 units. Students must complete a minimum of 12 units of ENSC graduate courses; a minimum of 15 units of additional graduate courses; and a project. Students in the MEng program are ineligible for any kind of university financial support except for a teaching assistantship (TA). 
    The thesis is based on an independent project with a significant research component. The student defends the thesis in an exam, in accordance with regulations.

    2. Master of Applied Science (MASc) - Research-Based Masters Degree
    The Master of Applied Science (MASc) is a research programme that lays emphasis on thesis rather than coursework, is more exploratory than the Master of Engineering (MEng) program, and covers a greater range of study. This program consists of a course-work and a thesis of a minimum of 30 units. Students must complete a minimum of six units of ENSC graduate courses, a minimum of six units of additional graduate courses and a thesis.

    3. The department also offers a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - Research-Based Doctoral Degree.

    The Research Areas of the Department Include - 

  • list items Biomedical Engineering
  • list items Communications, Signal Processing & Networking
  • list items Microelectronics
  • list items Systems & Robotics
  • list items Computer Engineering
  • list items Engineering Physics
  • Sprinkles

    School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering

    The school was founded to meet the ever-changing needs of the high-tech industries. MSE undergraduate and graduate students attend classes at the state-of-the-art Surrey campus at Central City. The department offers a leading high-tech programme supported by world-renowned faculty and outstanding research facilities. Mechatronics is a multi-disciplinary engineering field that includes three areas of study: mechanical, electrical and computer engineering. It has 585 undergraduate students, 84 graduate students, and 15 research faculty.

    The MASc is a full-time programme that emphasises on thesis, rather than coursework. The MASc students are required to complete 30 semester hours of work with a minimum of 12 semester hours of coursework, plus a thesis with a weight of 18 semester hours.

    There is also a professional Masters programme that trains students with leading-edge product development techniques, processes, and manufacturing systems. This 16-month professional programme at the University is ideal for practising engineers seeking new expertise to enhance their careers. Students will complete 30 units of graduate work, and the units are divided into three sections: 15 units of graduate course work; 12 units of specialized lab/project work; and 3 units for co-op.
    The department also offers a doctor of philosophy programme. 

    The Areas of Research in the Department are - 

  • list items Bio Mechatronics
  • list items Computational Design & Engineering
  • list items Energy Systems
  • list items Industrial & Power Electronics
  • list items Intelligent Systems & Control
  • list items Micro & Nano Technologies
  • Sprinkles

    Sustainable Energy Engineering

    Graduate studies in Sustainable Energy Engineering (SEE) are designed to develop advanced theoretical and applied technical knowledge. SEE is a part of the Faculty of Applied Sciences that has internationally recognized researchers with numerous awards and distinctions.
    SEE students have access to brand new facilities through a state-of-the-art building constructed on SFU's Surrey campus. The building is a LEED® Certification Candidate, has been designed with sustainability features and is located near Skytrain and transit. 

    SEE currently offers a Master of Applied Science (MASc) and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) also. The Master of Applied Science (MASc) is a research-intensive program that emphasises on the MASc thesis. This programme consists of course work (12 units) and a thesis (18 units), that is, requiring the completion of a minimum of 30 units.The program aims to offer a unique ecosystem for advanced research in sustainable energy engineering. The students develop an aptitude for research and exceptional quantitative, analytical, and design skills in diverse areas such as sustainable harvesting, conversion, storage, distribution, utilization, transition, and management of energy and environmental resources.


    Pure Sciences

    1. Bioinformatics

    Degrees Available - 

  • list items MSc - The NSERC-CREATE SFU-UBC Graduate Program in Bioinformatics was created through a partnership between SFU and the University of British Columbia. The graduate studies programme provides training in areas ranging from the organization and management of data, the development of algorithms and software, and application of these approaches to questions in the wide-ranging areas of biology.Most students will complete their coursework during their first year. There are two mandatory core courses along with a variety of electives. The programme has 45 faculty apart from a number of associate faculty also.
  • list items PhD
  • 2. Department of Biological Sciences

    There are 44 research and teaching faculty in this department, and they are engaged in world-class research. The Department has strengths in neurobiology, plant molecular biology, toxicology, evolutionary biology, behavioural ecology, and conservation biology. The research areas are broadly organized into three themes: Cellular, Developmental, & Molecular Biology;  Ecology & Evolutionary Biology; and Applied Biology.

    There are over 120 graduate students in Biological Sciences, and along with the MSc and PhD programmes, there are applied graduate programmes in Pest Management and Environmental Toxicology.

    SFU has a very limited number of major entrance scholarships for exceptional students, valued at $18,000 for a one-year period.
    Biological Sciences provides a strong and well-rounded foundation in Science for undergrads. Students cover the breadth of modern Biology in the first and second years, after which they specialize in one of three concentrations: 

    Graduate Degrees Available through the Department are - 

  • list items MSc: The graduate programme is designed to provide students with the best possible research and academic preparation in a diversity of subdisciplines. The MSc program is expected to be completed in less than three years.
  • list items Master of Pest Management (MPM): The programme was founded in 1967 and became recognized nationally and internationally for its contributions to the biology and management of pests. 
    • The Program Requirements are -  Four classroom-based graduate courses Two graduate field courses A research-based thesis
    • Four classroom-based graduate courses
    • Two graduate field courses
    • A research-based thesis
  • list items Master of Environmental Toxicology (MET): Every MET program consists of a minimum of 32 graduate course credit hours. The MET program at SFU is a professional degree that provides graduates with training in basic and applied sciences with real-world work skills.
  • list items PhD
  • list items Neuroscience Graduate Certificate
  • 3. Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology

    The M.Sc. provided by the department consists of graduate courses (two mandatory and two electives), a Master's thesis proposal and a successful thesis defense. It is expected to be completed in six semesters. The MSc programme involves multidisciplinary ways to enquire into the fundamental properties of human structure and function that are pertinent to health, movement, and physiology. It provides research training through graduate-level courses combined with a research thesis presenting novel lines of enquiry related to the fields of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology. This program consists of courses, a thesis proposal, and a thesis for a minimum of 31 units.
    There is also a Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology Doctor of Philosophy offered by the department. 

    4. Department of Chemistry

    Since its inception in 1965, the Department has a national and international reputation as one of the most multidisciplinary Chemistry departments in Canada. The Department offers M.Sc. or Ph.D. degrees in analytical, biochemistry, organic, inorganic, nuclear, physical and theoretical chemistry. The M.Sc. programme must be completed in about 2 years. Students must carry out research, write a thesis, and defend it in an oral examination. M.Sc. students are required to complete 12 credit hours of graduate-level coursework.  An average grade of B or higher is necessary to continue in the program.

    The department guarantees funding to all incoming graduate students. The annual stipend for two years is: For MSc Students: CD$21,855; For PhD Students: CD$24,250

    5. Department of Earth Sciences  

    The Earth Sciences consists of a diverse range of disciplines which investigate the geological, geochemical, and geophysical processes of the planet.

    The department offers both M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees. The Masters programme consists of courses, a Thesis Proposal and a thesis of a minimum of 30 units. Students are expected to complete the program requirements in six terms.

    The diverse expertise of the faculty allows research possibilities across surface processes, geological hazards, environmental geoscience, surficial and Quaternary geology, petroleum geology, glaciology, siliciclastic sedimentology/facies analysis, ichnology, genetic stratigraphy, hydrogeology, volcanology, petrology, tectonics, geophysics and geochemistry.

    6. Department of Mathematics

    The Master of Science (MSc) in Mathematics encourages students to get involved in mathematical exploration and research. Students take courses in advanced topics and work with world-class research faculty. This program offers two streams: mathematics and operations research for a minimum of 30 units. 

    Students Must Complete

  • list items A minimum of 12 units of course work from at least three different groups
  • list items Additional six graduate units of course work
  • list items Requirements from either the thesis or project option THESIS OPTION: A thesis
  • list items PROJECT OPTION: Additional six graduate units and a project
  • Students are expected to complete the program requirements in six terms.

    There is also a PhD programme offered by the department.

    The Master of Science (MSc) in Applied and Computational Mathematics offers advanced education and research training in applied analysis, computation and mathematical modelling. This program consists of required courses, elective courses, and a thesis for a minimum of 36 units.

    Students enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program may be eligible to take graduate courses and count them towards their bachelor's and master's degrees. Approved students can apply for a maximum of ten (10) graduate course units towards the electives or upper-division requirements in the bachelor's programme and the program requirements for a master's programme.

    7. Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

    The department’s Graduate Program provides advanced education and research training and emphasises research along with relevant coursework. Students have the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with researchers from a wide range of disciplines.

  • list items Research Topics for the Faculty are - 
    • Bacterial Pathogenicity
    • Biomembranes/Lipids
    • Bioinformatics
    • Molecular Evolution
    • Membrane Transport/Cell Signalling
    • Developmental Genetics
    • Signal Transduction
    • DNA Nanotechnology
    • Peptide Libraries and Phage Display
    • Proteomics
    • X-Ray Crystallography
    • Physical Biochemistry
    • Nucleic Acid in Vitro Selection
    • Cancer Biology

    Students accepted into the graduate programme are guaranteed financial support. It can be achieved through scholarships, fellowships, teaching assistantships, or research assistantships.

    8. Department of Physics

    Established in 1965, SFU Physics has one of the oldest and most comprehensive biophysics and condensed matter programs in Canada. 
    The department offers a wide range of research activities and programs leading to MSc and PhD degrees. The department has a strong international reputation for its research and a research environment that is welcoming and collaborative. Currently, it has 26 research professors who supervise approximately 65 graduate students and 10 postdoctoral fellows.

  • list items Physics Areas of Research
    • Atomic, Molecular, Optical
    • Particle Physics / Cosmology
    • Condensed Matter Physics
    • Biophysics / Soft Matter

    A bachelor’s degree in Physics or a related subject including upper-level undergraduate coursework in quantum mechanics, electromagnetic theory, and statistical mechanics is required for admission to the program. The MSc program requires the completion of 15 graduate units of coursework. A thesis has to be submitted and defended at the programme's conclusion. The programme is designed for completion within two years (six terms) of study.

    9. Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science

    The Department Offers the Following Programmes - 

  • list items Actuarial Science MSc programme: It provides advanced education, research training, and exposure to current applied and theoretical topics generally not covered by the professional exam syllabus. Students have the opportunity to gain work experience through co-operative education. This program consists of required courses, elective courses, and a project for a minimum of 36 units (at least 24 units of course work must be at the graduate level). Students who have completed the undergraduate actuarial science major or honours programme are required to complete 24 graduate course units plus 6 project units for 30 units in total. Students are expected to complete the program requirements in five terms. The course work typically takes three terms, and the project, including the defence, usually takes two terms.
  • list items Statistics MSc programme: This programme exposes students to a myriad of statistical techniques and offers experience in the application of statistical methods.  It teaches statistical expertise for careers in either theoretical or applied statistics. It combines applied and theoretical training with statistical methodology while also offering hands-on consulting experiences. There is also a project in data analysis or in the development of new statistical methodology. Finally, there is an opportunity to gain work experience and course credit through co-operative education. The MSc in Statistics requires a total of 36 units consisting of a 6-unit project and 30 units of course work, of which at least 24 must be at the graduate level.
  • list items The department also has a Statistics PhD programme.
  • Is Simon Fraser a good university?

    According to Best Global Universities, Simon Fraser University is placed 313th and according to student ratings on Studyportals, it is placed 201 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and has an overall score of 4.1 stars.
    Is it hard to get into Simon Fraser University?

    SFU has a 59 percent acceptance rate, making it quite simple to be accepted. Getting into SFU is not tough as long as a student has competitive test results and meets the entrance requirements.
    What is Simon Fraser University famous for?

    SFU is renowned for its academic prowess, inventiveness, and sustainability. It consistently ranks as one of the top 250 institutions in the world as well as one of Canada's top research universities. And with more than 170,000 alumni spread across the nation and the world, SFU's influence is felt in many facets of life.