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Graduate Student Information

Latest Updates

Fall Semester to Follow Accelerated Academic Calendar: Subject to guidance from New York State and public health officials, we are planning to be open for residential instruction this fall. The fall 2020 semester is expected to follow this schedule:

  • Monday, Aug. 24: Residential instruction will begin (students living in on-campus housing will receive notification of their move-in date).
  • Tuesday, Nov. 24: Residential instruction will conclude.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 25: The in-person instructional semester will conclude, and students depart for Thanksgiving break (students will not return to campus after Thanksgiving break).
  • Monday, Nov. 30-Wednesday, Dec. 9: Review sessions, reading days and final exams will be administered virtually.

For more information, read the full update here.


Academic Instruction and Coursework

Due to COVID-19 and social distancing protocols, all graduate-level classes will be taught online rather than in person for the remainder of the spring semester and throughout early summer sessions. For additional information regarding academic instruction at this time, please visit the Academic Continuity web page.

Research Activity 

All data collection activities for non-essential human subjects research are on hold, including graduate student research. Approval to continue essential research activities must be requested by your Department Chair and Associate Dean for Research, with final approval given by the Vice President of Research. Instructions on obtaining approval, as well as the form that must be submitted, can be found on the COVID-19 Guidance for Researchers web page. All graduate students conducting research are also encouraged to seek guidance from their faculty mentors and graduate program directors for expectations within a given program.

If a graduate student has received approval to be on campus, they must adhere to on-campus social distancing protocols and follow enhanced preventative public health and hygiene measures.

Expectations for Funded Graduate Students, Including Those with TAs, RAs and GAs

Graduate students funded on graduate assistantships will continue to be paid and are expected to continue performing their roles and responsibilities. With the few exceptions of essential research, graduate assistantship work must be completed remotely. If a graduate assistant is an instructor of record or leading a recitation or discussion section, the graduate student is must host their sections online. TAs who are not instructors of record or discussion leaders should nonetheless work with their faculty mentors to provide ongoing TA support remotely based on the duties of the TA assignment. The same is true for students who are working as a research assistant or in another graduate assistant role.

In general, graduate students who have departmental funding are expected to adhere to expectations based on the needs articulated by departmental leadership. Please consult with faculty mentors and graduate program directors for expectations within a given program.

For graduate students who have positions paid on an hourly basis, supervisors are strongly encouraged to provide continued access to work responsibilities and assign duties that involve working remotely.

TA Training for Online Instruction

Information Technology Services (ITS) has recorded a “live” online training session for graduate TAs. The training can be accessed online. The session provides graduate TAs with essential strategies needed to move face-to-face courses fully online, including an overview of how to use Blackboard Collaborate to host live, video-based class sessions.

In addition, extensive online resources are available for graduate students working remotely or who will need to teach online the remainder of the spring semester. TAs can also access the Rapid Online Course Development Guide.

Protocol for Thesis and Dissertation Defenses

Given current guidelines, the Graduate School will support an online/video based defense. Students must submit their requests for a change in meeting format directly to their advisor for approval. The advisor will forward the approved request to Kristina Ashley at degreecert@syr.edu. The email must clearly articulate a plan for successful web-based hosting (e.g., using Blackboard Collaborate, Microsoft Teams or Zoom) and who will be participating remotely. The Oral Chair will note the change in their Report of Exam.

If you have questions or need assistance in making arrangements for video-based conferencing for a defense meeting, please contact Associate Dean Gabby Chapman.

For Prospective Students

There is currently no disruption to the Admissions process for our residential and online degree programs. For more information on these programs, visit the relevant Admissions page for the program of your interest.

Financial Services

The Office of Financial Aid & Scholarship programs has created the emergency funding page for CARES Act funding. The Office of Financial Literacy has also created a COVID-19 resource page to help students manage their finances during the pandemic.

Additional Resources