Information for Students Fall 2020 & Winter 2021

This FAQ provides specific details for the Faculty of Arts and Science following the University’s updates on the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 terms, and will be updated regularly.


As we are committed to protecting the health of all members of our Faculty, and to providing equitable access to learning for all of our students, we have decided to deliver our undergraduate program remotely for the fall term. With a short list of exceptions, graduate courses will also be delivered remotely. As usual, Arts and Science Online programs, certificates, and courses will be fully online.

Looking ahead to Winter 2021, although we expect public health to deem it safe to allow for more students to return to campus in January, it is our understanding that some level of physical distancing will be required. In addition, we will have limited classroom and lab space, some faculty and students may not want or be able to return to campus. Given this situation and the fact that our first year courses have the largest classes, we have decided to deliver our first year courses (100-level courses and P-level courses) remotely.

Additional decisions will be made and communicated this fall regarding winter 2021 upper-year and graduate classes. We are consulting with departments to assess their needs and working with other faculties to prioritize access to common teaching spaces, with the goal of bringing back as many students as possible. In doing so, we will ensure that upper-year and graduating students complete the learning outcomes of their programs that cannot be completed remotely or deferred to a future year, such as lab or creative work as well as capstone and research projects, theses and dissertations.


For the full statement (July 30) from the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) regarding programming for the Winter 2021 term, please visit

Are you an incoming student and interested in learning more? 

Meet one of our current students online. We have a team of student ambassadors who are available to share their stories, answer your questions, and chat with you about how to make the most of your time at Queen's. 

Our academic advisors are also available online. They are available to assist you in exploring your possible study options and inform you about the wide range of services and educational opportunities offered by Queen's.

Connect Now

Please also see the Next Steps website ( to start preparing for your first year. The website will be updated throughout the summer, and will include information on our Summer Orientation to Academics and Resources, so make sure to check it soon and often!


Remote Delivery of Courses

Will there be any courses at all being offered on-campus face-to-face in Kingston in the Fall?

For Fall term 2020, undergraduate courses in the Faculty of Arts and Science will be offered remotely.

What will happen in January 2021? Will the winter be on campus?

For Winter term 2021, first-year courses (100-level courses and P-level courses) will be offered remotely. We are currently evaluating how many students we can safely accommodate in our classrooms in January. Decisions are still being made about upper-year undergraduate courses and graduate courses.

Do we have to come back if campus re-opens?
We understand that some students may not be able or willing to return to Kingston and thus we will do our best to provide those students with opportunities to continue their studies while at a distance.  We are likely to have some courses on campus and others remote to ensure that all of our students can stay engaged and progress in their degree plans.
How will time zone and internet issues be accounted for?

If you anticipate that a time zone difference or internet instability will interfere with your studies, please inform your instructor as soon as possible and well before any assignments are due or online sessions or tests are scheduled to take place.

Will I be at a disadvantage taking courses online?

Arts and Science is committed to providing you with an engaging online learning experience and the supports to help you succeed. We are able to use a lot of what we’ve learned through our Arts and Science Online unit. For example, instructors will engage you in a learning community so that it is easy to interact with your peers. They will use regular check-ins to gauge learning, and address particularly challenging topics via course announcements and short videos. They will communicate regularly, offer timely feedback and regular help sessions.  

Will tuition be reduced for 2020-2021? 

Tuition will remain the same for 2020-2021. Tuition is reflective of the quality of the degree and associated learning outcomes. Queen’s has invested significant resources to ensure our students receive a quality learning experience and the value of a Queen’s degree is not diminished.

How will the Faculty of Arts and Science maintain academic integrity with online courses?

Maintaining standards of academic integrity in all aspects of learning is a priority for the Faculty of Arts and Science. In online courses, as with face-to-face courses, instructors will be able to choose the assessment format that will best demonstrate your individual learning. One option will be to offer a final exam in OnQ via an online proctoring service such as Examity.

How will lab based/hands-on courses work?

Instructors are developing alternatives and in some courses labs and other practical components will be offered virtually. In other cases, some courses or course components may not be suitable for remote teaching, and may be moved to the Winter 2021 term when we are expecting some on-campus courses to resume. Lab-based courses and courses with learning outcomes that necessitate physical presence in particular spaces (like science labs or art studios) or that need specific equipment or that need to have students cooperate in groups (like music ensembles) will be prioritized for Winter 2021.

How will I get the textbooks that I need?  Will the Bookstore ship them to me?

The Campus Bookstore offers an easy to access online textbook search engine and order system and ships via FedEx.

They are also working with publishers to see what material may be made available electronically.

Will I be able to access library resources? 

Yes, Queen’s University Library is committed to supporting faculty, students, and staff while maintaining its core academic operations to facilitate the institution’s educational mandate. Online resources (e-journals, e-books, databases, etc.) continue to be available to support the university's academic and research mission. Consult the library’s website for more information.

What if I need help?  How will I contact my professor or teaching assistant in an online class? How will office hours work?

Instructors and teaching assistants will be available within your course page in onQ.  They may also be contacted by email and this contact information will be posted for each of your courses. Some instructors and teaching assistants may also host one-on-one or group help sessions by video or live chat. 

Will the same option for a “P” grade (pass) that was offered in Winter 2020 be available again in Fall 2020?

No. The “P” grade option was introduced because the shift to remote learning in March was sudden and unexpected. It was necessary to provide academic remedies for that exceptional circumstance. For Fall 2020, although undergraduate courses will be online, this is something that is known in advance and is planned for.

What will be the technology requirements for courses delivered online?

Computer Specifications

  • Latest, most up to date version of Windows or Mac OS

  • USB Headset

  • Webcam

Supported Browsers

  • Latest up to date version of Chrome (preferred) or Firefox

Internet Connection

  • High speed Internet access (5-10 Mbps of download speed)


Course Selection and Registration

How can I find out more about the 2020-21 Timetable and Registration?

Please see our registration webpage for information about the timetable, registration and registration help sessions.  

Will all the courses I need to graduate be available? Can I graduate anyway if I am only a few units short?  

We will make every effort to ensure you will be able to take the courses you need to complete your degree on time. If you are concerned that you won’t be able to take all the courses you need, please notify the Undergraduate Chair in your department of your situation.  

Do I have to graduate in 4 years?

No. You can take the time that you need. It is quite common for students to take several extra terms to complete their course work by taking fewer courses each term to manage their workload. 

This year we will be offering some on campus courses in the Spring (May- midJune 2021) term in addition to our usual suite of online courses in the Spring and Summer terms.

Can I stay home and take my courses at my local university? Will it be easy to transfer?

Yes, returning students may take courses at another university through a Letter of Permission.

What if I am an upper-year student and don’t want to take online courses in the Fall 2020 term, can I return in Winter 2021? Can I voluntarily withdraw for the term or the year?

Yes. If you decide to take time away from your studies and do not attend another post-secondary institution during your time away, please notify us when you are ready to take classes so that we can advise you of next steps and get you up in SOLUS.

In the current situation, there are opportunities for our students that may not have been possible before. Before you decide to take a term or year away we encourage you to keep this in mind.

A break from studies is also not the only option – you could choose to take a reduced course load instead. If you are unsure about what working remotely will be like, perhaps consider taking two or three courses instead of the usual five.  Many students who take an online course for the first time find that it works really well with their learning and lifestyle. Another important factor to consider is staying “fresh”.  Taking time away from your studies may be something you need for your mental or physical health, and that’s ok – encouraged in fact!  However, if your driving factor for pausing your studies is based on the current environment, remember that it’s sometimes tough to get back into your usual “university-mode” after you have taken an extended break. Staying engaged in studies, even with a reduced load may make it  easier to keep that momentum rolling and engagement level high to get you through to graduation.

If you feel that taking a break from your studies is truly in your best personal interests, this is an option you can pursue. The process itself is quite straight-forward – you simply do not register in any classes for the 2020-2021 year. During your time away, your student account will “freeze” meaning that we will not roll forward any future registration segments to allow you to register in further classes until you have completed a “Return to Studies” form.  By signing a Return to Studies form you will declare that you have not attended another academic institution during your time away. If you have attended another school during your absence you must declare this and it could result in having to reapply for admission; therefore, if you consider attending another school of any kind during your absence we strongly encourage you to consult with the Faculty Office first to ensure that you understand all the terms and conditions.

When you submit a “Return to Studies” form prior to your return, the Faculty Office will consult with your home department to ensure it supports the reactivation of your current degree plan. We therefore advise you to consult with your department prior to making a decision about pausing your studies to understand any relevant terms and conditions on course enrollments, priorities, limitations and possible restrictions that you could face upon your return.

Note that if you are in receipt of a scholarship or bursary, you may wish to speak to Student Awards to arrange a deferral of the funding until you return. 

Can I take a part-time load or do I have to keep taking 5 classes (15.0 units) per term?

We are aware that learning is effortful and remote learning even more so and we want you to succeed. Please consider how many hours you can invest this fall when working remotely. You have the option to take fewer units in the fall and then make up these units by taking a 3.0 or 6.0 unit course in spring or summer. Note that we will also be offering our usual online spring and summer courses.   We are also planning to offer some on-campus elective courses in May-June of 2021. Although 9.0 units constitutes full time studies at Queen’s, a course load of fewer than 15.0 units per term may have an effect on some scholarship awards and other funding sources. Please be mindful of these requirements. For OSAP eligibility, please see

What supports will there be for students for whom English is an additional language (EAL learners)? 

Student Academic Success Services (SASS) offers a number of programs and resources to help students for whom English is an additional language to be successful at university. Students can improve communication and build confidence by working on academic English reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. Please see

What if I try remote/online classes and they don't go well?  Can I appeal my grades?

We have moved the drop date later in the term to give you more time to reflect on your progress.  We are committed to providing support to help you do your best in your courses. An appeal for credit standing (CR) is reserved for situations where you experience extenuating circumstances (something sudden, that was not known when you started the course). 

What will remote/online classes look like on my transcript?

The Faculty of Arts and Science has offered online courses for many years. They look no different than on-campus face-to-face courses on your transcript. They are just the same. 



If I am not on campus, what are the instructions for managing my own accommodations at home myself? How can I guarantee I get all of my different types of accommodations?

Students must be enrolled in courses before academic accommodations can be finalized.  Once you've confirmed your courses in SOLUS, complete the QSAS online registration to finalize your accommodations.  See


Academic Advising 

Will I be able to access  academic advising?


For information about our daily help sessions during the registration period, please see our registration webpage

The academic advisors in the Faculty of Arts and Science Office (usually located in Dunning Hall) are booking appointments for advising via phone or video. Email to book an appointment. Departmental advisors are also available for advising. Check with your department for an email address to book an appointment or ask a question. 

Meet Haley from our Student Services Team:


Please see our Arts and Science Online (ASO) website for information and to apply. 

Since Queen’s began offering “extension” courses in 1889, the Faculty of Arts and Science has been a trailblazer in distance education. ASO programs, certificates and courses are now offered fully online. 

Meet Laura (BA Psychology), from Victoria, B.C

Interested in learning more?

If you are an incoming graduate student and want to chat with one of our Grad Ambassadors, please contact us and we will put you in touch to learn more about grad studies at Queen's.


Will graduate programs be delivered remotely this fall?

With a short list of exceptions, graduate courses will also be delivered remotely in Fall 2020. Additional decisions will be made and communicated this fall regarding winter 2021 graduate classes. Students in the graduate courses that will be delivered on-campus will be receiving communications directly from their Department Heads. 

When will graduate students be allowed to return to campus to conduct research and prepare for remote teaching?

In addition to the graduate students who have already received approval to return to campus for research, return to campus is now being phased in to support remote teaching. This includes temporary and/or intermittent return to campus. Please see for more information.

Please see the School of Graduate Studies website for additional information.