Frequently Asked Questions related to the impact of COVID-19 on graduate studies

By UM Grad News

Frequently Asked Questions related to the impact of COVID-19 on graduate studies

By UM Grad News
The University’s dedicated COVID-19 site, which can be found at coronavirus.miami.edu, is updated regularly and will continue to serve as the best and most up-to-date source of information regarding the University’s response to COVID-19.

Will all summer courses be online?

The University of Miami continues to prioritize the safety and health of our campus community. Per the Office of the Registrar’s April 27 announcement, all Summer A, Summer B, and Summer C courses will be online. Select courses in Summer C may transition to on-campus instruction later in the summer if it is deemed safe to do so. 

Will thesis or dissertation defenses be held virtually during the summer?

Yes, thesis and dissertation defenses should take place virtually.

Will Fall 2020 courses be online?

At present, there are no changes to the Fall 2020 semester schedule. The University will continue to evaluate the situation to determine if changes to the academic calendar or manner of course delivery are needed. Any changes will be communicated directly to the University community.

Is there a possibility that the Fall 2020 semester will be canceled?

No. While the method of delivery of courses (on-campus vs. online) has yet to be determined, classes for Fall 2020 are confirmed and will take place.

What happens if I cannot graduate on time because my research or graduate work is delayed due to the pandemic?

Students who depend on field research or whose research has been currently classified as not-critical, and therefore cannot access their labs, may experience longer time-to-degree completion. Other students who require practica, performance, or other in-person graduate work may be similarly affected. Students in these situations should speak to their faculty mentor and graduate program director to determine next steps. When approving these time-to-degree extensions, the Graduate School will exercise as much flexibility as possible.

If I do not complete my degree requirements until Summer 2020 or Fall 2020, can my degree still be conferred in Spring 2020?

No. Students must graduate the semester they complete their degree requirements.

If I have a Graduate School fellowship for next year, will it be impacted?

No, Graduate School fellowships will not be impacted.

How will virtual courses impact international students’ visa status?

Students in F-1 status who are currently enrolled in a program of study may engage in full-time online study during the Spring 2020 semester whether they are currently in the U.S. or currently outside the U.S. In either case, their SEVIS record will remain active as long as they are taking a full-time load of online classes during the Spring 2020 semester. Students who continue to make normal progress in their course of study remain eligible for re-entry to the United States. However, because of the changing array of travel restrictions, nonimmigrant students should refer to their local U.S. embassy's website through the U.S. Department of State for any updates about visa issuance. For information about the Optional Practical Training (OPT) benefit available to F-1 students, please visit the ISSS website. Please contact ISSS if you have any questions.

How does the S/U policy work?

Per the message from the Office of the Provost on March 31, schools and colleges will allow graduate students to opt-in to taking some or all of their Spring 2020 semester courses for Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) or to continue with letter grades. This policy is only permissible for Spring 2020 courses that have not yet been graded. All special session courses that have already concluded and have been graded are not eligible for the change. Courses taken for (S/U) grades during Spring 2020 will count towards their degree requirements. (S/U) grades are not calculated into a student's GPA, so some students may not have a semester GPA for Spring 2020. If a student elects to take a course S/U, a letter grade of A+ through B will be registered as S. A letter grade of B- through F, will be registered as U. For the Spring 2020 semester only, there is no limit on the number of courses that can be taken S/U in a single semester. The University of Miami will add a notation to the transcript key indicating the reason for the grade options for Spring 2020. Grades, transcripts, and other semester academic records will be posted by May 21, as opposed to the originally planned date of May 13. If you have questions, please contact your Academic Advisor, Program Director or the Office of the University Registrar at registrar@miami.edu.

How can I enroll in the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) grading for the Spring 2020 semester?

Students must submit an online request to receive S/U instead of a letter grade for each course they choose; the online form is available on the Registrar’s website. Students will have until 11:59 p.m. EST on May 8 to make this selection for each course they choose to take S/U. Each student will only be able to submit this form once; therefore, prior to submitting the form, it is important to review any issues regarding financial assistance, scholarship criteria, graduate school requirements, or other matters that may arise from selecting Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading for a course.

Instructions to enroll:

  • Go to registrar.miami.edu
  • Click on the Banner that Says "GRADUATE Spring 2020 Grading Basis Selection Form”
  • Complete the form; students will be required to login through their Single Sign-On account.
  • This form may only be submitted once, so be certain to add all the courses you want to take for S/U.
  • Students will receive a confirmation email that the form has been received once the grading basis has been updated.

If you have questions, please contact your Academic Advisor, Program Director or the Office of the University Registrar at registrar@miami.edu

What happens if I enroll in the S/U policy and get a U?

A student who earns a “U” in a course will not earn credit for the course and the course will not count towards degree requirements. The student must repeat the course if it is a core course or if the credits are needed for graduation. If the course is an elective, the student may take the same or another elective course that meets degree requirements. The electives a student takes should first be approved by the Graduate Program Director, or other relevant authority, as appropriate to the student’s plan of study.

What happens if I don’t enroll in the S/U grading policy?

For any course in which a student wants to retain their letter grades, no action is necessary. A student not electing to be graded S/U who earns a B-, C+, C, or C- (i.e., grades awarding quality points less than 3.0) will earn credit, and the course can be applied towards a degree. As a reminder, a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher is required to graduate.

Can I continue using the Counseling Center and Health Center Services over the summer?

Students who plan to continue with services at either the Counseling Center or Student Health Center must be enrolled for either the Summer 2020 or Fall 2020 semester and pay the Summer Health and Counseling Fee. After May 15, 2020, any student who does not meet these eligibility requirements will no longer be able to continue with services or begin new services with either the Counseling Center or the Student Health Center. 

Will my student health insurance coverage continue over the summer?

All students who have purchased the student health insurance for the 2019-2020 academic year will continue to have access to health services outside of the Student Health Center and Counseling Center (i.e., through UHealth, Telehealth, etc.) during the summer up until August 14, 2020.

I applied for a staff/or postdoctoral position at the University upon graduation. Is all hiring suspended at the University?

Hiring of staff and postdocs who are 100% funded on external grants is still possible.

What happens with my application if I can’t get my international documents evaluated?

Credentialing partner, JS&A, confirmed that the company is fully operational. For information on having an international credential evaluated by JS&A, please visit www.jsilny.org.