Academic Adjustments for the Winter 2020 Term

Updated March 25 at 3:00pm

The situation facing our country and our community as a result of COVID-19 is unprecedented, and there have been many changes at Queen’s in recent days. I know these changes have put significant demands on our university community, and I am deeply grateful for your patience, resilience, and willingness to support each other throughout this challenging time.

In our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been guided by experts in Public Health to limit the risk of spreading of the virus in our community. As announced last week, to facilitate social distancing and reduce population density, we are moving to remote delivery of instruction and support. While the way we deliver our programs and services will change temporarily, our faculty and staff have been working hard to ensure Queen’s students can complete the term successfully.

Our guiding principle is to be here for our students, staff, and faculty at this uncertain and unprecedented time. We will be flexible, creative, and adaptive. It is new territory, but Queen’s is well-positioned for the challenge. We will support our community and get through this together (while keeping our social distance!). There will be challenges ahead, but we will overcome them together.


Mark F. Green PhD PEng
Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic)

Summary of Academic Adjustments 

*Updated on March 26 The University has made available two additional academic adjustment options for students to consider as they complete their Winter Term 2020 classes. Students should carefully consider the impacts of these options on government financial assistance and future academic requirements before choosing either or both of the options outlined below. For information on current policies related to government student loan and grant programs, please refer to the Student Awards website.

Late drops: Undergraduate students will be able to drop Winter Term 2020 and Winter half of Fall-Winter 2019-20 classes using SOLUS until May 20, 2020

  • There will be no academic penalty for these drops. All classes dropped by May 20, 2020 will be removed from the official transcript. No DR grades will be added.
  • No appeal will be required.
  • Students will be able to see their final grades before they choose a late drop.
  • These late drops will not result in a tuition refund.
  • All drops processed by Faculties between February 29, 2020 and March 25, 2020 will also be removed from the transcript.

Pass/Fail Grades: Students will be able to request Pass/Fail grades for Winter Term 2020 and the Winter half of Fall-Winter 2019-20 classes.

  • Approval and administration of all Pass/Fail grading will rest with the Faculty/School.
  • No appeal will be required.
  • Students will be able to see their final grades before they request that a letter grade be changed to a Pass.
  • If instructors believe that Pass/Fail grading for an entire class is necessary due to an inability to provide final evaluative grades, they will be able to submit Pass/Fail grades, subject to approval by the Faculty/School.

Adjusted Course Delivery and Syllabi: As of March 23, undergraduate and graduate courses will be delivered remotely. Your instructors will connect with you directly to share the adjusted class syllabi, and the format of your remaining tests and assignments may be modified. In doing so, every effort has been made to avoid negatively impacting students and ensuring that the essential academic requirements of the course are maintained. The term will end on Friday, April 3 as originally planned. For questions regarding a modified course, assessments, and exams, please contact your instructor, department, or faculty office.

  • As a faculty that is involved in healthcare, the Faculty of Health Sciences’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic will be different in many ways from the rest of the university. Please see the Faculty of Health Sciences COVID-19 webpage for further information.

Exams and Assessments: There will be no in-person exams (with the exception of comprehensives/dissertation defences). Your instructor will confirm the details of final examinations. Again, every effort will be made to avoid negatively impacting students.

Thesis Defences: Students with comprehensive/dissertation defences should contact their supervisor and Graduate Coordinator for clarity on the specific details regarding how their comprehensive/thesis defences will be held. They are also asked to contact the relevant Associate Dean of the School of Graduate Studies for any particular questions/concerns. The School of Graduate Studies has developed a detailed contingency plan on thesis defences.

* Updated on March 26 Labs and Research Activities for Students: To align with social distancing guidelines, there will be no more in-person labs for the duration of the term for undergraduate or graduate courses.  Graduate student research activities (for example, research in support of a thesis) should be accessed remotely. Given the March 23, 2020, declaration from the Province of Ontario to close all non-essential workplaces, all research occurring in labs and facilities that can be discontinued for the 14-day period requested by the government should be discontinued immediately. Any essential research activity in labs or facilities that cannot be shut down for the time window must be reported and approved by the Dean of your Faculty. Please visit Faculty websites for further guidance. As this situation is very fluid, please bookmark and visit the Associate Vice-Principal (Research) website for regular updates on the impacts to Queen’s research.

Student Support Services: Our student services teams are ready to support you through this transition. Consult your faculty/school website or Student Affairs for details on how to access academic and career advising, Queen’s University International Centre, health and wellbeing services, and more. Be sure to check back regularly as our staff are hard at work developing new resources to help you stay connected and succeed academically. Students are encouraged to take advantage of Student Academic Success Services’ online resources or book a one-on-one appointment with a writing or academic skills specialist.

Convocation: In-person convocation ceremonies will not be held in spring 2020, however, degrees will be conferred. The Office of the University Registrar is in the early stages of planning alternative convocation dates. Our graduates have worked hard to attain academic success, and we are committed to ensuring they have the opportunity to celebrate this achievement. For information on degree conferrals please visit the Registrar's website