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Services for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows

This is a general introduction to basic Library services for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

For much more information about services and supports, including workshops, consultations, research data, writing and publishing, and thesis writing and formatting, visit the Research Commons.

Your library card

SFU student card

Your student card is your library card.

If you're a new student, obtain your student ID card from Student Services.
You can get obtain your Library/ID card 24 hours after you have enrolled in a course. Have your student number and picture ID ready to speed the process.

Borrowing: Library books, equipment, and more

As graduate student at SFU you can borrow:

  • books, videos, and materials in other formats
  • equipment including laptops, audio recorders, headphones, and digital projectors
  • reserve materials
  • videos, DVDs, CDs and other multimedia

You can request a book that is already checked out, at another SFU library, or in processing and it will be held for your pick up once it becomes available. Borrowed materials are subject to fines if they are returned late.

As a graduate student you are also entitled to:

  • Borrowing privileges for your spouse
  • Semester loans (subject to recall).

For much more information on borrowing privileges and fines, see our Borrowing Library materials guide.

Borrowing materials from other libraries

Reciprocal borrowing

Graduates are eligible to borrow materials at other college and university libraries using a reciprocal borrowing (COPPUL) card. You must obtain your card at SFU library before you borrow materials from other libraries. This card is free. See Borrowing privileges at other universities: Borrowing Library Materials for further information.

Inter-library loan

If you want a book or article that SFU library doesn't have, you can request it through inter-library loan. This service is free and unlimited for graduates.

Access and Services

Document creation: Typing, saving, and printing your assignments

The library has computers and software for word processing, spreadsheets, presentation slides, and other tasks. You can download, save, print, copy, and scan at all three libraries. You may be eligible for a departmental copy/print card.

Electronic resources: Journals, ebooks, and more

As a graduate student, you have on-campus access to electronic resources using library assignment station computers, as well as off-campus access using your SFU computing ID and password.

Access web-based books, ejournals, etc. through the library's website:

Graduates also have access to research data management software such as NVivo.

Wireless access: Using a laptop or mobile device on the SFU network

You are able to log into SFU wireless internet networks with your SFU computing ID.

Referencing and citation management software

SFU provides subscription access and support for several reference management tools.

Tech help: Solving problems with computers

All three campuses have technical help desks. You may be able to troubleshoot the problem yourself using the self-help guide.

Alerts: Staying up-to-date in your field

Current awareness

  • New books report: weekly and monthly listings by subject and format.
  • Save time and stay on top of your research with current awareness resources such as RSS feeds and table of contents emails from journals and journal article databases.

Use the Off-Campus Access Bookmarklet for seamless access to article links in emails or on publisher websites.


Liaison Librarians are also good contacts to learn about key websites and other publication developments in your discipline.

Research support

Your liaison librarian

Whether you're here for two years or ten, get to know your Liaison Librarian. Liaison Librarians serve as information specialists for each academic department at SFU.

Your liaison librarian:

  • Knows the information sources relevant to the subjects taught in the department
  • Is available by appointment for research consultations
  • Provides library instruction or web-based research guides on request for courses offered by the department
  • Assists instructors with the design of student assignments
  • Selects books for the department and investigates the availability of and access to e-journals and other web resources.

Each department appoints a faculty library representative to keep the liaison librarian informed of departmental issues, developments and concerns related to the library.   You can contact either your liaison librarian or departmental rep with your questions or concerns about how the library is serving you.

Teaching support

Due to your proximity to students and your example as a successful scholar who has completed an undergraduate degree, students in your tutorials will be influenced by the behaviour and attitudes you model.

If you think a library instruction class will benefit the students in your tutorial, discuss it with the course instructor to make arrangements with your liaison librarian.

You can direct students to:

The Research Commons

The Research Commons supports the research endeavours of the University community, with a particular focus on graduate students during all stages of the research lifecycle.

Guidelines for preparing and submitting your thesis

The Research Commons administers the thesis submission process. The Guidelines for preparing and submitting your thesis will help you with the formatting and submission of your thesis. Note: "Thesis" also includes projects and extended essays. 

Thesis Defence Room

To book the Thesis Defence Room in the W.A.C. Bennett Library (SFU Burnaby), contact the graduate assistant in your home department/school/faculty/program. They are responsible for making the booking through the Office of Graduate Studies website.

If you are booked for a thesis defence or a defence rehearsal, you may borrow a key to the Thesis Defence Room from the Bennett Loans/Checkout counter.