03. 12. 2020

This website will be updated with more information as it becomes available.

University policy requires that the PhD final oral examination include a public presentation. How can this requirement be met given COVID-19?

The public presentation portion of the PhD final oral examination is required by University policy. You are encouraged to enable individuals to participate virtually.

Can programs have on-campus “Visit Days” where they bring prospective graduate students to campus as a recruitment activity and/or a method of evaluation?

No. The University is practicing social distancing in order to protect the health of our students, faculty and staff. We recommend scheduling virtual sessions when feasible.

How do recent COVID-19 policies impact graduate students on TA/RA appointments?

As of now, graduate students on TA/RA appointments are expected to continue to do their work, though they need to check with the relevant faculty supervisor to see if the nature of the work or conditions have changed.

Graduate students spend only a small portion of their time in in-person classes. How is the rest of their activity affected by recent COVID-10 policies?

Graduate students are expected to carry on with their program-related activities except for those involving in-person classes (either that they are taking or that they are teaching). Supervisors and graduate students are encouraged to take appropriate precautions (see below).

The university has decided to not have in-person classes to reduce the risk of transmission. What about other kinds of gatherings (e.g., workshops, seminars, meetings, prelim and final oral exams, etc.)?

At this time, gatherings other than in-person classes are not cancelled. You are encouraged to think carefully about whether a gathering is truly essential. In-person gatherings that are not essential are discouraged. If deemed essential, then if the purpose of the gathering can be accomplished without in-person interaction, you are encouraged to schedule these “gatherings” virtually. If the purpose of the gathering requires in-person interaction, then take appropriate precautions:

  • Remind participants not to attend if they are feeling ill or have reason to believe they have been exposed to the virus
  • Schedule the gathering in a facility where people can maintain appropriate person distance minimum 6 feet - don’t shake hands, etc.
  • Prop open doors to the room to minimize handling of door handles
  • Sanitize commonly touched surfaces associated with the meeting (elevator buttons, door handles, hard surfaces, remote control/pointers, etc.)

Our graduate program’s doctoral preliminary written examinations are scheduled to be given in April. Students are required to sit for the examination at a specified University site with a proctor. Do we have to reschedule or cancel this semester’s scheduled preliminary written examination?

The decision to reschedule or cancel the preliminary written examination is within the purview of each graduate program, in collaboration with the college. Programs and colleges are asked to refer to the University’s central COVID-19 resources site to inform their decision and communicate that decision with their doctoral students.

Our graduate program has a master’s student scheduled to take their final oral examination this semester. In addition, we have doctoral students scheduled to take their preliminary oral examination and their final oral defense in the coming weeks. Will our students have to reschedule their examinations?

University policy allows for remote participation on master’s and doctoral milestone examinations, and provides information about requirements and best practices. Graduate programs should communicate with students scheduled to take one of these exams to discuss the best-possible option for each student and their committee members, based on information provided on the University’s central COVID-19 resources site.

Can I complete all of my master’s degree requirements online during this time period?

Students must complete all degree requirements for their graduate program, as well as minimum requirements established by University policy. A student's options to pursue degree requirements online, therefore, are dependent upon the nature of those requirements, approval by the program’s graduate faculty, and University policy.

During this time period, will electronic signatures from committee members be acceptable on prelim and final oral exam forms?

Academic Support Resources is committed to minimizing impacts on degree progress or degree clearance for students. Contact GSSP at gssp@umn.edu to discuss options for alternate signatures.

I have a question about COVID-19 and graduate education that isn't answered here. Who can I talk to?

Please contact the Dean's Office at gsdean@umn.edu or 612-625-2809.