Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal


Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic)


Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic)

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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Returning Student Questions

Frequently Asked Questions for Returning Students

Last updated Friday, March 27th 2020

Friday, March 27, 2020


I’m writing to you as a member of the Queen’s community who is registered in an exchange or study abroad experience this term.  The last few weeks have been a time of such tumultuous change.  I know that you may have questions about how Queen’s will support your progress in completing your academic year.  I’d like to outline some basic principles that will guide us as we work with you to ensure that you complete your academic year under these very unusual and challenging circumstances.  But let me begin by assuring you that your well-being is our top priority.  

Our expectation is that you will continue to work on completing the program offered by your international host, if it has been offered online.  Completing the courses via the online format will give you the opportunity to continue to learn from a global partner, even if under such changed circumstances.  It may be that your host university’s transition to online teaching has not been seamless, given the speed of the transition.  This is a challenge for all universities, wherever we are.  None the less, continuing with these courses will provide you with opportunities for global engagement even at a remote distance that may be valuable and beneficial to you personally and professionally. We know that employers place a high premium on international education. 

If you have left your host university and your host university has not provided online course delivery, Queen’s will ensure an alternate plan for completion of your term, working in conjunction with the Vice- Provost Teaching and Learning.  Please contact the international office in your Faculty/School.   Before making any decision about dropping courses, please speak to an advisor.  Dropping courses can have implications that are not immediately obvious and some advice will be helpful.  You may also be able to  transfer credit in some circumstances.

We recognise that each student has individual circumstances. We have developed some FAQs that will help answer some of your questions about your academic program.  Please send us any questions that have not been answered here.  We will update the FAQs as we receive new questions. 

Please be assured that we are here to support you.

Best wishes,

Dr. Sandra den Otter

Associate Vice-Principal (Research and International)

If I drop a course at my host university, what are my options to pick up these missed credits? I very much still want to graduate on time.
Our strong recommendation and expectation is that you will continue to work on completing the program offered by your international host, if it has been offered online. If you drop a course at your host university, you may have the option to take online alternatives at Queen’s, though there are currently comparatively few third or fourth year courses available at this time. Course offerings may change. Please be aware of any add/drop deadlines at your host university, and any impact on your transcript at the host university. Although Queen’s University is offering its students the ability to drop courses past the add/drop deadline without academic penalty in light of the exceptional circumstances related to a global COVID-19 challenges, your host university may not have this option. If in doubt, check with your host university and speak with the international office in your Faculty/School.

If you are receiving government student financial assistance (e.g. OSAP) please be aware that all government regulations will apply should you choose a reduced course load.  If in doubt, check with Student Awards at

Can I take some courses from my host university and some courses from Queen’s online, without paying extra tuition to Queen’s? If so, what is the process?
Yes, you may be able to take a Queen’s online course(s) without paying extra tuition if you have no choice but to reduce your course load at your host university by the equivalent amount(s). We recognize that these are exceptional circumstances related to a global COVID-19 challenges. If a student selects to take a course overload, additional tuition could be charged. Check with your Faculty/School to understand when this could occur.
I am having difficulties managing online courses at my host university due to the time difference. What options do I have?
Please contact first the international office at your host university to express your concern and request accommodation. If your requests for accommodation are not successful at your host university, please contact the international office at your Faculty/School who will assist.
Can I take non-Queen’s online courses without cost to make up for lost credits on exchange?
Students should first examine the course offerings through Queen’s. Students must pay independently for any online courses not at Queen’s University. Please check with the international office at your Faculty/School.
I am thinking about dropping this term and am prepared to pursue an additional semester. Will I get my tuition back if I drop?
Students should approach academic decision-making with caution and understand the implications of a decision to drop the semester can be far-reaching (for example affecting OSAP, student visa, drop deadlines at the host university, etc.). Professional/graduate schools will have first-hand knowledge of this world-wide issue and may tailor application cycles in recognition of this major disruption. An appeal for a tuition credit may be considered. Please contact the international office in your Faculty/School if you are considering this option.
Can Queen’s support my host school’s request to proctor exams?
In-person proctoring at Queen’s is not possible given the provincial wide shut down which includes all education institutions. If your host university is not able to offer an online exam format, please contact the international office at your Faculty/School at Queen’s and we will try to find a solution for you. We are able to contact your host school and advocate on your behalf. Other solutions may be available.
I haven’t been able to start my exchange term. Will I be getting my tuition money back?
Yes. Students who have had their exchange terms cancelled by the host university or Queen’s are eligible for a tuition credit. Please connect with your Faculty/School to see what academic options exist to replace the cancelled term. Queen’s will make every effort to see that students are able to reach their graduation goals within the desired timeline.
What is the process for processing travel reimbursements?
We are finalizing the process for travel reimbursements; it will be available shortly. The international office in your Faculty/School will advise you when you may file your claim.
a. What will be covered? Please review the 'Financial Support for Travel Affected by COVID-19' section of this page to understand coverage. 
b. How long will the process take? Queen’s will endeavour to expedite this process as quickly as possible for students. Guidelines for submission will be sent to each student.
c. Students who think that may wish to submit a reimbursement claim should immediately update their mailing address and banking information in SOLUS by 15 April, 2020.
d. We will be updating this FAQ as more information becomes available.
Whom do I contact in my Faculty or School for information specific to my program?
Faculty of Arts and Science, International Programs Office
Schedule an online advising appointment here
Faculty of Education
Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science
Julie Hao, Program Advisor (International and Student Experience)
Smith School of Business, Centre for International Management