COVID-19 - 2019 Novel Coronavirus

Graduate Studies COVID-19 FAQs

The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is committed to supporting our grad students and PhD candidates. We are working to minimize disruption for all current and incoming students.

You can find answers to other frequently asked questions that may be useful to you on the following pages:

Please check your uoguelph.ca email address and the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website for further updates about your studies.

General

Take care of yourself and those close to you while practising physical distancing. Stay ambitious but set reasonable expectations of yourself on a day-to-day basis and prioritize your physical and mental health.

If you are feeling unwell and unable to work toward meeting program milestones, contact your adviser or graduate program coordinator to determine a suitable course of action.

The University recognizes that reports of the impacts of COVID-19 in Canada and around the world can be very troubling, especially for members of our community who are from or have friends and family in more heavily affected areas. Visit the General COVID-19 FAQs for supports that may be useful to you.

Unfortunately, convocation ceremonies will not be held this June. We understand this is disappointing for our students and their loved ones. Provided you meet the requirements, you will earn your degree this spring. Your will receive your degree parchment by mail this spring. More information will be available on U of G’s convocation site soon.

Graduate students who are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and are unable to work toward program completion should contact their advisor/graduate program coordinator and submit an Application for Leave of Absence, indicating “symptoms consistent with COVID-19” as the reason for the requested leave.

International students are strongly advised to consult with their international student advisor before making any changes to registration status.

The McLaughlin Library’s building is closed until further notice. The library will continue to support students by offering online resources and virtual services. Information about the library’s offerings are updated regularly on the library’s website.

Courses, Exams and Defences

The circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic have led to significant changes to the structure and delivery of your courses for the remainder of the winter 2020 semester. Your instructors have been authorized to make adjustments following the University Policy on Academic Continuity. These adjustments have been designed to provide you with options that address the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic on all of us, including your ability to cover original course material and be assessed on learning outcomes.

A revised grading structure and new drop date of May 20, 2020 are in place for the winter 2020 semester. Final grades that have been received in the Office of Registrarial Services will be posted to WebAdvisor beginning April 30, 2020. Grades will continue to be updated on WebAdvisor as they are received until May 6, 2020. At that time, you may choose one of the following options for each course:

  • Keep final awarded numerical grade – No action required
  • Assign a satisfactory “SAT” designation, provided a passing grade has been achieved – Submit an electronic form to the Office of Registrarial Services
  • Drop the course via WebAdvisor

The “SAT” designation does not affect your semester average or your cumulative GPA. You will receive credit for any credit-bearing courses.

You will have until Wednesday, May 20, 2020 to decide whether to:

  • retain the numerical grade
  • opt for a “SAT” designation, or
  • drop each winter 2020 course.

These instructions will also be posted on WebAdvisor and CourseLink.

In addition, please note:

  • Current requests for academic consideration are being reviewed by instructors, as faculty and staff are working remotely.
  • New requests for academic consideration related to the format of course delivery, grading scheme or a revised final examination should be sent to your instructor. A decision to request academic consideration must be made before dropping a course.
  • The credits from a “SAT” designation will be counted in the cumulative credit total.
  • A “SAT” designation will count toward prerequisites in the same manner as a numerical grade.

A “SAT” designation will be sufficient to satisfy provisional status.

Discuss the incomplete (INC) grade process with your instructor to suggest an extended timeline for submitting outstanding coursework/assignments.

If you had planned for winter 2020 to be your final semester, but have outstanding winter 2020 coursework, you will need to register for the summer 2020 semester. If you complete your outstanding coursework and a final grade is processed by May 29, 2020, you will not be required to pay tuition.

Students also have until May 20, 2020 to decide whether to:

  • Keep final awarded numerical grade (no action required)
  • Assign a satisfactory “SAT” designation, provided a passing grade has been achieved (submit an electronic form to the Office of Registrarial Services)
  • Drop the course via WebAdvisor

The last day to submit your approved thesis to the Atrium and avoid paying tuition for Summer 2020 is May 28, 2020. The deadline to pay summer tuition if you go beyond this date is May 29, 2020.

Thesis defences can continue remotely through online tools like WebEx or Microsoft Teams. Contact your graduate program coordinator to discuss moving to a remote thesis defence.

If your advisory committee and department agree to support a remote defence, the following key guidelines apply:

  • It is the responsibility of your department to facilitate remote defences.
  • Remote defences should adhere to the normal requirements and procedures (as outlined in the Graduate Calendar), as much as possible.
  • Thesis defences are usually open to the public, but at the discretion of the chair of the examination committee, this requirement can be relaxed to conserve internet bandwidth. Discuss with the chair of the examination committee how audience streaming and questions will be handled during your remote defence.
  • At the discretion of the chair of the examination committee, a defence in progress may be stopped and rescheduled if technical difficulties prevent the student, chair or more than one examiner from participating.

Given the challenging circumstances for both students and faculty, either party may request that a thesis defence be postponed (up to four weeks). To request postponement of your defence, please contact your graduate program coordinator.

Students who request to postpone a scheduled defence, or whose defence is postponed for reasons beyond their control, and thus cannot complete their degree requirements in winter 2020 must register for the summer 2020 semester. The deadline to register without a late fee is April 26, 2020.

Qualifying examinations (QEs) can continue remotely, either through online tools like WebEx or Microsoft Teams, or through OpenEd for written, closed-book exams. Contact your graduate program coordinator to discuss moving to a remote qualifying exam.

If your qualifying examination committee and department agree to support a remote QE, the following key guidelines apply:

  • It is the responsibility of your department to facilitate the remote examination.
  • Remote QEs should adhere to the normal departmental requirements and procedures as much as possible.
  • At the discretion of the chair of the examination committee, an exam in progress may be stopped and rescheduled if technical difficulties prevent the student, chair or more than one examiner from participating.

Students or faculty may request that a QE be delayed. To request that your QE be delayed, please contact your graduate program coordinator.

Research

Graduate students should no longer seek to, or agree to, work in a University facility (e.g., research lab, studio, archive) until instructed otherwise. Graduate research may continue, provided it is not in a physical setting on campus, and is consistent with the Public Health Agency of Canada’s advice for reducing the spread of the COVID-19. Learn more on how this applies to students on the Office of Research’s COVID-19 FAQ page.

Please refer to the Office of Research COVID-19 FAQs for information on the recommended scale-back of research activities. Any research that proceeds must comply with the directives provided by the Office of Research.

Thesis-based research

Contact your adviser to discuss your plan for thesis-based research. Decide together how you will adapt research-related activities if necessary.


Please refer to the Research Travel FAQs from the Office of Research for information.

Work with your adviser to discuss essential travel needs.

International Students

Advice for international students differs depending on whether you are pursuing course-based programs (including major research papers or projects) or thesis-based programs and when your program is expected to be complete. Please visit the International Students COVID-19 FAQs for the most current guidance.

Summer 2020

Please contact your advisor/graduate program coordinator to discuss the terms of your graduate stipend.

Yes. While all face-to-face course delivery has been cancelled until August 15, 2020, graduate courses may proceed in an alternative delivery format. Any final exams for the summer semester will also be conducted in a modified format.

If you can continue your experiential learning opportunity, we encourage you to do so. Discuss the potential for work-from-home arrangements with your advisor/graduate program coordinator and, if applicable, placement host/employer.

If your work placement host/employer cancels or postpones your summer 2020 experience, work with your advisor/graduate program coordinator to determine an alternative plan for your summer 2020 semester.

If you are currently a full-time master’s student in semester 7, DVSc student in semester 10, or PhD student in semester 13, we recommend submitting a Plan of Study and Progress Report to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies in consultation with your advisor/graduate program coordinator.

Students who are beyond their completion period and no longer receiving a stipend are reminded that they may transfer to part-time status.

Students who have completed their thesis and submitted it to the department for review but have since decided they are not able to defend under these circumstances must register for fall 2020 in order to defend. If you have completed all other requirements for your program and submit the final version of your thesis to the Atrium before the 100 per cent refund date (date to be determined), you will not be required to pay tuition.  Tuition owing for submission of the final thesis after this date will follow the Fall 2020 early completion rebate schedule.