For our graduate students who are interested in more information about the CARES grant and the UWM Emergency Grant funding please see the Dean of Students page regarding emergency grants.
In order to be socially responsible in dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Graduate School office will be physically closed until further notice. The office functions are still being performed and if you have questions or need assistance you can contact us through email at: email@example.com.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Graduate Students and Programs Regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Updated May 27, 2020
This FAQ communication builds on the Campus COVID-19 Academic Continuity Plan and expands it to address emerging questions specific to graduate education. This document will be updated as needed and can be found at this site and the main UWM campus sites.
A. Recruitment | Applications | Admissions
A.1 Will graduate recruitment continue as before?Like many other universities, UWM has had to cancel most of its in-person recruiting efforts, or move them online. The Graduate School will continue to assess future possible events in light of the most current information available and according to local, state, and federal guidance.
A.2 How about graduate campus tours? Will they continue as before?The UWM Graduate School campus tours are currently cancelled and will resume at a time when it is deemed safer to take an in-person tour. In the meantime, please explore our virtual campus tour.
A.3 Will graduate applications and admissions processes be modified or interrupted?Applications and admissions will continue as usual without interruptions. In order to be socially responsible in dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Graduate School office will be physically closed until further notice. The office functions are performed remotely and if you have questions or need assistance you can contact us through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A.4 I’m applying to UWM, but GRE or other standardized testing centers are closed in my area? What should I do?The Graduate School does not require GRE or similar standardized test scores, but some programs do. Contact the program you’re applying to for more information. During this period, the Graduate School encourages programs to consider temporarily modifying, delaying, or suspending their requirements for standardized tests such as GRE, when justified. The GRE announced that as of March 23 they will make the GRE General Test available to take from home in selected areas: ets.org/s/cv/gre/at-home/
A.5 I’m an international student applying to UWM, but English proficiency testing centers in my home country are closed. What should I do?For applicants who need to provide proof of English proficiency but are affected by closed test centers (TOEFL and IELTS), UWM has some possible options. 1. Some test centers are offering online testing. Check to see if any online options are available in your country. 2. UWM now accepts Duolingo, which does not require you to go to a test center. 3. Some programs are willing to offer conditional admission, which means your language skills would be assessed upon arrival to UWM, and you may be required to take additional English courses in our English Language Academy (ELA). Please check with your Program Representative if this is an option for you.
A.6 Are applicants/students required to have their residency documents notarized?During normal operations, we do require students to have their appeal and requests for consideration of extenuating circumstances documents notarized. Since the COVID-19 stay at home orders were issued in mid-March, we have waived that requirement and will continue to waive it until further notice, as long as it creates an undue burden for the student.
B. Classes | Exams | Defenses
B.1 How will Graduate student classes be handled in fall?Plans for fall are still taking shape, as UWM assesses the evolving state of the current pandemic and local, state, and federal guidance on reopening. At a minimum, UWM will require more social distancing and other precautions during fall semester. Campus expects to have a clear plan for fall semester by mid to late July.
B.2 I had planned to defend my dissertation in summer or fall. What should I do?We encourage all students to defend their dissertations as planned, if possible. Consult with Doctoral Retention Advisor Shane Haensgen or your Graduate Program Director if you are in this situation. See below for more information on remote defenses.
B.3 Can a student or members of a doctoral or master’s defense committee participate in the examination remotely?Yes. A defense can be conducted remotely, preferably by video conference. The student and any or all members of a defense committee may attend the defense remotely. Any committee member attending remotely must supply the committee chair with their vote by email. For doctoral defenses, they must also give the chair permission to sign the warrant in their place.
B.4 I need to defend my dissertation or thesis from a remote location, but the free version of Zoom limits meetings to 40 minutes. What should I do?You can use Microsoft Teams through your UWM Office 365 account for the remote defense and invite your advisor and committee members to the teleconference meeting. Your committee members DO NOT need to have Teams on their devices, but will need either the Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge web browser to join from their computer, tablet, or phone.
B.5 What will happen if I’m enrolled for credit in an internship, practicum, clinical placement, fieldwork, or some other off-campus activity that I can’t complete this spring?Students will not have to re-enroll for credit and pay tuition for these activities again. Campus instructors should issue grades of “Incomplete” for students who have made sufficient progress, and coordinate with off-campus partners at a later date to allow students to complete the placement and receive a final grade. An Incomplete (I) will remain on the transcript for a full year, at which point it will turn into a Permanent Incomplete (PI).The PI can be changed to a grade by the instructor of record for a further full year, and for an additional year after that by filing a Request for Exception with the Graduate School. It will not automatically change to an F at any point.
B.6 Are there any changes to deadlines for graduation?Graduate students who applied for May 2020 graduation, but who were unable to finish due to the COVID-19 restrictions, may delay graduation to August 2020 by using the Window Application Deadlines to finish during summer. This will provide about six additional weeks to complete the degree. Students who meet the Window Application Deadlines do not need to enroll and pay tuition during summer. Spring-Summer 2020 Window Deadlines (Must be enrolled in Spring 2020 to qualify) Graduation Application Deadline: June 1, 2020 Thesis/Dissertation Formatting Deadline: June 5, 2020 Thesis/Dissertation Defense Deadline: June 12, 2020 Thesis/Dissertation Submission Deadline: June 19, 2020 Degree Conferral Date: August 22, 2020 Students who wish to use the Window Application Deadlines must notify the Graduate School. Your application for May graduation will be removed, and you will need to reapply for August 2020 graduation via PAWS. Master’s and Certificate students, email email@example.com Doctoral students, email firstname.lastname@example.org All requirements for graduation remain the same. Please review the Graduate School website: Certificate Toolbox Master’s Toolbox Doctoral Toolbox
B.7 Are students whose graduation has been delayed until summer required to enroll in summer?For the summer 2020 semester only, the Graduate School will waive the requirement to enroll in at least one credit in order to graduate. No formal request is needed. Other graduation requirements apply, and students will still be responsible for the usual $40 graduation fee. International students should consult the Center for International Education to review any additional requirements for summer graduation.
- Please note that graduating students will still be charged tuition for summer if they:
- Choose to enroll in summer
- Need to enroll in summer to meet program requirements for graduation
- Need to enroll in summer to show enrollment status for financial aid or continuing student loan deferment
- You need to enroll to maintain your international student visa status
B.10 Are there any changes to the limits on time to degree for graduate students?The emergency time clock accommodation for graduate students in degree programs allows graduate students to extend their time to degree by one year in both doctoral and master’s programs. There is no extension for the relatively long time clock for graduate certificates. The preliminary examination clock already contains provisions for a one-year extension in extenuating circumstances, which can be used for students delayed by the COVID-19 emergency. Eligibility for emergency clock extensions requires entry into a UWM graduate degree program during or before Spring 2020.
B.11 Are there any emergency accommodations regarding grades?The interim policy on emergency grading accommodation for graduate students allows students to take as many of their eligible spring 2020 courses as they would like with the Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) option. This applies both to courses with letter grades and to courses with S/U grades. Please consult the list of ineligible classes to determine whether you will be able to apply for the Emergency Grading Accommodation. Students will be able to change to the CR/NC option after final grades have been given. Schools/colleges should apply this emergency policy as liberally as they can, but should make decisions on courses that are ineligible for the CR/NC option in compliance with program standards and requirements of accreditation and licensing boards. All enrolled graduate students will receive a letter grade or S/U grade in each spring 2020 course by the grade deadline of May 21, 2020. Students will have until July 3, 2020 to exercise their option to change an eligible spring 2020 course to a CR/NC basis. Students who earn a C- or better in a course may receive a grade of CR for the course. Students will exercise their option to change to CR/NC by completing a downloaded form and submitting it to the Graduate School as an email attachment sent from their UWM email account. Students should consult their graduate program directors or major faculty advisors with questions about grading expectations in their scholarly and professional disciplines.
C. Graduate Student Research
C.1 How will the response to COVID-19 affect graduate student research?In light of the March 17th restrictions to campus facilities, it is advised to suspend or ramp down all ongoing research requiring campus facilities as soon as possible and to prepare for various possible scenarios, including a shutdown of many of our research facilities and reduction of personnel to those essential for operations. Please see the following link for more details on current recommendations. uwm.edu/officeofresearch/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-updates-related-to-sponsored-programs In addition, the Graduate School and Office of Research had previously prepared the following Research Checklist of actions to consider in planning for possible disruption resulting from a COVID-19 outbreak. These steps are included in the campus academic continuity plan: uwm.edu/academicaffairs/planning/academic-continuity/
- Identify emergency personnel who are essential to the operation of your laboratory and make sure that they know what to do in the event of suspended operations. All students who conduct experimental or computational research should know the name of their emergency contact personnel.
- Review your communication plan and remind lab personnel of who is in the notification chain. Create a plan if you do not have one. Be sure that you have a list of all lab personnel and their current contact information, including all students.
- Identify priorities in case of restricted access. You should discuss how work should be handled if some personnel and students are unable to come to work. Discuss expectations with graduate research assistants about lab work on days when in-person classes are cancelled.
- Ensure remote access to files, data, servers, etc. Check that all members of your research team who might need to work remotely have access to computers that are able to connect to research files and data sets, research literature and meeting software (such as Microsoft Teams).
- Depending on the nature of your research, consider prioritizing work that has to be done in the lab and delay work that can be done remotely, such as data analysis. Freeze samples as you proceed if feasible.
- Contact your funding agency Project Officer to learn what to do if you believe that you will not be able to meet a grant deadline or need special assistance to do so.
- Check the University travel restrictions before planning any research-related travel.
- Contact the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP), the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and the Animal Resource Center (ARC) if you have any specific questions relating to grants management, human subjects research or research with animals.
- Contact the Graduate School (GS) and the Center for International Education (CIE) if delays in research and travel cause changes to your graduate milestones, including graduation.