COVID-19 and Graduate Education

UConn Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

The worldwide pandemic involving COVID-19 (coronavirus) has produced unprecedented challenges in the UConn community and around the world. These unusual circumstances create significant uncertainty and unease in the professional and personal lives of our students, employees, alumni, and others throughout UConn Nation.

The latest official guidance and updates on UConn’s response to COVID-19 and itsm impact on the university community is being provided in real time at

COVID-19 and Graduate Education

August 12, 2020

To the Graduate Student Community at Storrs and the Regional Campuses:

The Graduate School has been working closely with Student Health and Wellness (SHaW), Human Resources, the Office of the Provost, the Graduate Student Senate, and the Graduate Student Representative to the Board of Trustees to develop the following plan for testing members of the graduate school whose work will require them to be on campus. What follows is a summary of those procedures. Please note: Graduate students at UConn Health should follow the procedures in place at UConn Health.

  • All graduate students who are expected to be regularly on campus (Storrs or any regional campus) in order to participate in in-person course work or to fulfill their duties as GAs (including those RAs who have already been working labs as part of the summer research ramp-up) will be provided access to COVID testing without cost.
  • Graduate students who have no regular duties or coursework that require them to be on campus will not be tested. They are permitted to come to campus occasionally for very brief  periods during the semester. In general, however, they are urged to stay off campus and arrange for virtual meetings with faculty advisors or other colleagues.
  • Testing will be done by Vault Health. Eligible graduate students will receive an email link to their UConn email along with detailed instructions for how to order a kit by mail for collecting their own samples, which should then be mailed directly back to Vault labs for testing.
  • Students who have already had a test within the 14 days prior to the start of classes (August 31st) may instead submit a test result to SHaW directly here.
  • Over the next several days the Graduate School will be working with Human Resources, Departments, and the Registrar in order to identify all graduate students who fall within these categories. Therefore, please note the following:
    • Given our need to have accurate information about students being on campus due to enrollment in in-person or hybrid courses, it is very important that all graduate students complete their course registrations for the Fall 2020 semester by August 17th.
  • Test results will be sent to the students and will also be shared with Student Health and Wellness (SHaW). No further action is necessary if test results are negative, and students may come to campus. For Storrs students who receive a positive test result, contact SHaW at (860)486-4700 or your primary care provider to obtain medical attention and instructions on how to self-isolate.  For regional campus students who test positive, contact your primary care provider to obtain medical attention and instructions.
    • Students who are taking in-person courses should contact their professors to make arrangements to continue their studies online.
    • GAs who test positive for COVID-19 are expected to initiate a report directly to HR and are also expected to self-quarantine as instructed by HR. (Vault/SHaW will NOT be sending those results to HR due to HIPPA privacy laws. GAs are expected to report their positive tests results to HR by sending a note to

Carl Lejuez, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Kent Holsinger, Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of The Graduate School

Previous Announcements

Click on the announcement date to expand.

July 14, 2020

Last month, The Graduate School and the Graduate Student Senate (GSS) held our first Grad Conversations event. These events highlight the collaborative and deliberative efforts between the University and graduate student leaders to address topics and questions voiced by the graduate student body.

We invite UConn grad students join us for our second joint event being held virtually on Tuesday, July 21 from 4:00-5:00 pm EST. This question and answer session brings together panelists to discuss topics pertaining to the graduate student experience, based on questions and concerns received from graduate students. Join us as we take your questions and discuss topics including: the Fall 2020 opening, international student issues, financial concerns, effects on research, and resources from CETL for teaching assistants. 

Update: July 23, 2020: Watch a recording of this event.

June 3, 2020

The Graduate Student Senate (GSS) and The Graduate School, invite UConn grad students to join us for this joint event to discuss topics and questions pertaining to the graduate student experience.

The current pandemic has affected graduate students in unique ways, and we understand that in a changing landscape, the path in front of us all may be unclear. This event will bring together panelists to help guide you during this time and highlight the collaborative and deliberative efforts between the University and graduate student leaders over the last few weeks.

The conversation will include the following topics: financial concerns, international student issues, effects on research, academics, and Fall 2020. Graduate student leaders will also share their experience during this crisis and what they have been doing to help keep grad student voices heard.

For more information, visit our event page.

June 17 Update:
View a recording of this event.

April 24, 2020

Last week President Katsouleas, Interim Provost Elliot, and Dean Holsinger received an email from a group of graduate students with a link to an open letter created by UConn graduate students calling for additional responses to the COVID-19 crises. More than 400 members of the UConn community (graduate students, undergraduate students, postdocs, faculty, and staff) signed the letter.

It has been a challenging time for the University and all its members, and graduate students have played a critical role in supporting the key mission elements, including successfully transitioning to online classes, supporting faculty, and students and carrying out critical research. President Katsouleas, Interim Provost Elliott, and Dean Holsinger directly responded to students who raised concerns in the open letter. You can read the response at

April 16, 2020

Last week, The Graduate School held an online Q&A session. With 7 panelists and over 300 folks joining us from across the University, we discussed a variety of topics including the suspension of on-campus research; graduation / commencement ceremonies, submitting signatures and paperwork electronically, pass/fail for graduate students, working remotely with a GAship, international students returning in the fall, and many other topics. The video is closed captioned and a transcript is also viewable beneath the video.

View Graduate School Townhall Recording (April 9, 2020)

Note that in the Townhall, Dean Holsinger refers to an upcoming discussion of pass/fail grading. Since the Townhall, the Graduate Faculty Council voted to approve a measure which is detailed in our April 14, 2020 announcement available below.

April 14, 2020

Announcement Regarding Options for Course Conversions by Graduate Students

In an effort to address concerns that have been raised regarding the challenges faced by graduate students during the pandemic, the Graduate Faculty Council recently approved a motion to temporarily allow any graduate student to convert a course taken in Spring 2020 from “graded” to either “pass/fail” or “withdraw-audit”, with approval of the student’s major advisor and/or program director.  This option is available to all graduate students in a degree or certificate program under the jurisdiction of The Graduate School. The deadline for conversion of courses is May 22, 2020.  Students can, but need not, wait until after receiving their grade to decide whether to seek a conversion. However, once a course is converted, it cannot be converted back to a letter-graded course.

For graduate students, a passing grade in a course converted to P/F is defined as an overall grade of C- or higher.  A course for which the student has a P grade can, with approval of the major advisor (or, if appropriate, the program director), be included on the student’s graduate Plan of Study or Advisement Report.  Courses that have been converted to Audit will appear on the student’s transcript as “WAU”.  A course that has been converted to Audit cannot be used on a graduate Plan of Study or Advisement Report.

Any student wishing to convert a class to P/F or Audit  should email their major advisor and/or program director requesting the conversion, indicating in the email the course number (including subject area), their Peoplesoft ID, and the requested conversion.  If the major advisor and/or program director approves, they should forward the student’s request, indicating approval of the request, to the Registrar’s Office ( and copy the student on the approval email.  The request should be sent by the student to the major advisor and/or program director no later than Monday, May 18, 2020. The approval email must then be sent from the major advisor’s and/or program director’s UConn email address to the Registrar’s Office by Friday, May 22, 2020.  Extensions of the deadline (due to extenuating circumstances) will be allowed only with the approval of The Graduate School.

April 3, 2020

To our graduate students,

We know that shifting to online classes, teaching, and research has created new and unforeseen challenges for our graduate student community. On our FAQ page, we have addressed many of the concerns we have heard about; however, we want to be able to offer you the opportunity to ask questions directly to staff from The Graduate School and our partners at the Registrar’s Office and The Office of International Student & Scholar Services.

On Thursday 9th of April at 1:15pm, we will be hosting a live webinar. The link to join has been emailed to you.

During the webinar, you will be able to ask questions using the Q&A chat feature and will see video feeds from each of our panelists. Moderated by staff at The Graduate School, the panel will feature Dean Kent Holsinger, Assistant Dean Karen Bresciano, Megan Petsa, Meg Drakos, Jennifer King, and other colleagues. We encourage you to submit questions ahead of time using the link at the bottom our FAQ page.

We hope that you will join us for this Q&A session, but even if you are unable to, we will be updating the FAQ with answers to the questions posed.

If you require an accommodation for this event, please email

Stay safe and healthy,

The Graduate School

April 1, 2020

To the UConn Community,

In an effort to keep you informed about events occurring in the Graduate Admissions Office, we’re sending you some information about updates to our processes.

To assist students who aren’t able to go to a testing center, The Graduate School has begun to accept the Duolingo English Test as evidence of English proficiency. Any applicant with access to a computer and a webcam can take the test.

In addition, ETS has recently updated their service to allow for online testing options for TOEFL and GRE. You can visit their website for more information ETS Testing Updates due to COVID-19.

Virtual events for prospective and admitted students can be held through The Graduate School's online application and CRM system. Please contact for more information. Virtual events can include virtual infosessions or virtual orientations.

We are continuing to process admission for students, and matriculations have resumed. Because we continue to work remotely, both of these processes are experiencing some delays. We appreciate your understanding and patience at this time. If you have any questions or concerns, contact

The Graduate School has developed a webpage with answers to Frequently Asked Questions for prospective, admitted, and current students as well as faculty and staff. If you have any additional questions, email, and we will work to answer you directly and shape our page to assist others.

We hope that you are all staying healthy and safe.

Kent Holsinger and Anne Lanzit

    March 23, 2020

    Dear Colleagues,

    The ongoing COVID-19 epidemic is accompanied by extraordinary measures attempting to contain it. First and foremost, The Graduate School is concerned for the safety, health, and well-being of students, faculty, and staff of the University of Connecticut and the communities in which they live. Please heed the advice of public health experts to protect yourself and those around you. 

    Governor Lamont signed an executive order on March 20 directing all non-essential functions in Connecticut to suspend operations beginning Monday, March 23 at 8:00pm. As a result, the President, Provost, and Vice President for Research have determined that all on-campus research at all campuses must stop and all labs close at the same time. The suspension of activity will last through at least April 22. The University will allow only critical research support functions to continue. Critical functions are those that are necessary to allow research to resume after this suspension (e.g., care of research animals or plants, maintenance of cell lines, maintenance of research equipment). Please refer to the Critical Research Infrastructure Inventory for more information. In addition, all University-sponsored travel out-of-state has been suspended, except in very limited circumstances. Please refer to the COVID-19 Travel Advisory and Guidelines for more information.  

    Graduate students and their advisory committees should immediately develop plans for thesis and dissertation research that take into account these restrictions. We know that Governor Lamont’s restrictions to non-essential functions are now in place through at least April 22, but it is prudent to plan for the possibility that they will last substantially longer. Graduate students and their advisory committees should plan for the possibility that research involving on-campus facilities or out-of-state travel will continue to be limited through the entire summer, possibly even longer. The appropriate modifications to research plans will differ dramatically from discipline to discipline. They are likely to differ from student to student within disciplines. The Graduate School has developed a set of guidelines and questions for graduate students and faculty to consider as they adapt to these challenges. Please consult them carefully, and contact The Graduate School at if you have any questions. Given the unchartered territory, we also welcome your ideas that might be useful to other graduate students and faculty. We will update the guidelines periodically as new information and advice becomes available. 

    Please take care of yourself and everyone around you. 

    Kent Holsinger 

      March 16, 2020

      To our UConn Community,

      Due to concern about the COVID-19 (coronavirus) contagion, The Graduate School office will be closed from March 16th until further notice.  Our staff will primarily be working remotely during this time and the best way to reach us will be through email.  We will respond as quickly as possible and may be able to schedule phone and/or video meetings as needed. As always, feel free to email with any concern, and we will get your e-mail to the right person and respond as quickly as possible.

      During these extraordinary times, please be assured that The Graduate School continues to consider how the pandemic is and could affect academic work.  The leadership of The Graduate School is well placed on the working groups that are meeting regularly to anticipate and ameliorate issues, while making plans to ensure that the business of the university moves forward.  We have been impressed by how thoughtful our administration has been, though it is true that we cannot think of everything.  It is our goal that you feel supported. If you have a question for which you do not know the answer or concern that does not seem to have been addressed, please let us know.  We will either direct you toward the solution or work with you to create one.   

      The COVID-19 situation continues to change very quickly. The health, safety and well-being of our community is our highest priority and continually guides our preparation, thinking, and actions. 

      To address specific questions for graduate education audiences, please refer to the “Frequently Asked Questions” links in the side navigation of this web page.

      More information about COVID-19 is available at this website:

      Thank you,

      The Graduate School

        If you have a question about COVID-19 and graduate education that isn't answered here, please contact The Graduate School at or 860-486-3617 and we will do our best to answer your question.

        Graduate School Operations

        The Graduate School office will be closed from March 16th until further notice.  Our staff will be working remotely during this time and the best way to reach us will be through email.  We will respond as quickly as possible and may be able to schedule phone and/or video meetings as needed. 

        Email | As always, feel free to email with any concern, and we will get your e-mail to the right person and respond as quickly as possible.

        Reception Desk | Our reception desk at the Whetten Graduate Center at the Storrs Campus is currently closed.