School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

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School of Graduate Studies Updates as of 31 March 2020

The School of Graduate Studies is using this web page to keep you up to date with the ever changing information about Covid-19 and how it may affect you.  Please note your health, safety and well being is very important to us.  As new information arrives, we will update the web page and answers accordingly.  There are many links throughout Queen's websites.  This page will look to create one page for you (although we will link out to some sites) to make this easier  to find relevant information as a graduate student.

A Message from the Dean - 30 March 2020 (PDF,  385 KB)

School of Graduate Studies COVID-19 FAQs 

I’m feeling overwhelmed and stressed. What do I do?

First and foremost, take time to ensure the well-being of yourself, your family and friends and your community. This is what matters most at this time. It is okay to pause for a moment right now as the University, Supervisors, Graduate Coordinators, Assistants, Chairs, Deans and Associate Deans and staff at SGS work out contingency plans and procedures to support you. If you can work remotely on your research and academics then go ahead, especially if a sense of routine and task completion helps you to feel well. However, if you are busy with family and your community that is fine and where your focus should be. Please do not stress over academics at this time. The University is not going anywhere. We will get through this. We are in this together.

Section 1: Academic: Time to Completion, Examinations, & Course Requirements

Do you have any suggestions on how I can continue to advance my research while working from home?

SGS recognizes that there may be challenges to working from home. Queen’s Human Resources have compiled tips for staying productive and motivated that may be helpful as your make the transition to working from home.

SGS recommends being in contact with your supervisor and committee members though remote meetings to consult with them on how best to plan and continue your research. Please review the “Guidelines for Effective Remote Supervision.”

If you have completed your research and are currently writing your thesis, the School of Graduate Studies has provided a contingency plan for administering remote thesis examinations.

Depending on the stage of your degree, and in consultation with your supervisor you could consider the following:

  • Conduct a thorough literature review. Remember that the online version of the library is still available.
  • You may also fulfill your PhD candidacy requirement by studying for and completing your comprehensive exams.
  • Analyse your data, examples: statistics, bioinformatics, other electronic analyses, interview outcomes and transcription, archival notes, etc.
  • Write a portion or all of your thesis. If you do not currently have access to all of your print resources, you can still begin writing – make notes or insert footnotes referencing source material you can track down later.
  • If you are a PhD student, please familiarize yourself with the format requirements for your thesis. Ensuring you work within these guidelines now may help you to save time in future.
  • Write your thesis proposal.
  • Prepare outlines of your chapters for discussion with your supervisor and committee.
  • Check if there are graduate courses that you can take during this time.
  • Focus on translations and language requirements that may be necessary for your research or a part of your degree requirement.
  • Take time to evaluate and reflect on the research you have already gathered. Gaining better insight into what you already have may spark ideas and help you to prioritize your activities moving forward.
  • Work on award applications (Tri-Councils or others) for the upcoming academic year.

What is SGS doing about time-to-completion?

SGS will work with programs on a case-by-case basis. Please be in touch with your Supervisor about how to modify your research in light of evolving circumstances. Many students will be in a position to continue their research remotely and get through their program in a timely manner whereas others students’ plans may be severely disrupted because of delays in planned laboratory or field research activities. We will be flexible and compassionate and timely in our response to each request.

What Academic adjustments are being made for the rest of the term?

Please read the message from the Provost on Academic Adjustments

What should I do if I have an upcoming scheduled comprehensive exam, qualifying exam, field exam, or thesis defense?

Comprehensive exams, field exams, and qualifying exams are program-specific requirements. Questions about how these may be adjusted should be directed to your Graduate Coordinator and Program Chair.

Regarding Oral PhD Thesis Examinations, efforts should be taken to ensure that oral thesis examinations are held as scheduled. Examinations will we conducted remotely. SGS has developed Procedures for Holding Remote Thesis Examinations

What are the procedures for remote PhD Examinations?

SGS recommends using Microsoft teams to hold PhD oral thesis examinations. Mr. David Smith at IT Services is offering technical support. Please see procedures for remote examinations.

What are the procedures for remote graduate-related meetings and comprehensive exams?

In step with the university-wide ITS services, SGS recommends Microsoft Teams. For guidance on how to use and set up Microsoft Teams, visit IT Services. Your program will still be responsible for the conduct of these exams and will work with you on this.

Will online courses be available for the summer? What will happen to campus-based courses?

Yes. As of now, any online courses will run as planned. If your online course involves a campus-based component, please be in touch with the course instructor to lean how this may change. If you were enrolled in a campus-based course, please be in contact with your program/department to learn whether the course will be offered online.

Are directed readings or independent study courses permitted for the summer term?

At this point, yes, if you have a Supervisor or other Faculty member willing to direct such a course, you may move forward with those plans. 

Can I take a break from my graduate studies to deal with the added responsibilities and stresses related to the COVID-19 outbreak?

We understand that this is a challenging time, requiring many considerations and adjustments to be made.

If you feel it is the best choice for you, you may wish to consider a withdrawal from your program. You may apply readmission to the program once you feel able to do so.  Please contact SGS by emailing grad.studies@queensu.ca for information on how to withdraw. Please be aware that withdrawing from your program means that you will not receive your summer term funding package and you will no longer be a student (temporarily suspended from this status), which means that you will not be able to access many campus resources, including the library and supports offered through the Division of Student Affairs. If you have questions about how your health care plan may be affected, email the Society of Graduate and Professional Students at healthdental@sgps.ca.

You may wish to consider Short-Term Academic Consideration, which is available to those experiencing extenuating circumstances that temporarily affect their ability to fulfill their academic obligations and requirements. Please note that you must still pay tuition, however you retain your status as a student, will continue to receive your funding package, and have access to campus resources.

I am not sure if I can now finish my coursework and/or other degree work by the published Spring 2020 degree list deadline. What will happen?

We still plan to award graduate degrees to eligible students in the Spring 2020 term.  As far as we know, faculties and schools will still have deadlines by which to submit the list of eligible graduands (aka the degree list) for Senate approval. The university is trying to determine a revised timeline, right now. SGS will be as flexible as possible with the Spring 2020 degree list deadline and will extend the timeline accordingly and when possible.  We will let all programs and departments know about changes to the degree list deadline, as soon as we can.

What is the SGS position on Letter Grades versus the Pass/Fail system?

"SGS recommends that letter grades rather than a Pass/Fail (P/F) option should be provided for graduate courses whenever possible as we believe that these grades will serve students better going forward (for scholarships, job applications, internships etc.). For research programs in particular, SGS strongly recommends assigning grades for graduate courses. In some cases extensions to course deadlines will have to be granted to students so that they have a fair chance at the best possible grade.  Some professional graduate programs may have different considerations.  Employers of graduates from professional programs may look at transcripts differently. SGS also realizes that regardless of whether the program is research-based or professional, some students may need the P/F option, and during these extreme circumstances, all programs have the autonomy to make changes and adaptations to individual course requirements and grading to best serve the needs of their students. Using a P/F option may fall into this category, but it should be based on the student’s particular extenuating circumstances and should be treated on a case-by-case basis.

How will clinical placements/co-ops/internships be affected?  

SGS encourages programs to be creative and flexible in thinking about possible substitutes or adjustments to these requirements. Programs have the ability to make these changes in the interest of their students. All efforts should be made to avoid slowing students down in the progress of their degrees. If you are a student, please speak to your Graduate Coordinator about possible adjustments.
 

Section 2: Research

The library is open remotely, but what if I need particular print resources for my research?

The library is aware of this situation and is working on it. Questions about access to print materials and other physical library materials should refer to the library website for the most current information. Any updates will be shared widely through the library website and other means.

The library’s Ask Us service and Subject Librarians remain available to work with members of the Queen’s community remotely. We encourage you to reach out to your subject Librarian to advise them of your needs. For additional information about how to access library resources and services, visit the Queen’s University Library website. 

How is my lab research affected by the restrictions and precautions around COVID-19?

The university has implemented procedures intended to impede the spread of the COVID-19 virus, in line with the best information we have at this time. Please speak with your supervisor about how your work may be impacted. Please visit the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research) for the most up-to-date information on research activities.

I had summer field research planned. What do the current precautions and restrictions mean for my research? Will summer research be cancelled?

It depends on your research – whether it can be done remotely or not. It is too soon to know whether all research activities at the university will be cancelled. At this point, it is best to speak with your Supervisor about your specific research plans and visit the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research) for the most up-to-date information on research activities.

My research involves human participants. How will my work be affected by COVID-19?

Please  speak to your Supervisor and refer to the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)'s Covid-19 Frequently Asked Questions on Research Ethics.  

Section 3: Financial Issues & Tuition

Will tuition be waived for the Summer 2020 term?

Even though we appreciate the difficult circumstances you are facing, Queen’s, like many Canadian universities, is not in a position to waive graduate tuition for the summer term at this time. Please see the recent statement from the Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) for more details and how to seek financial assistance.

Will I continue to receive my award installments (e.g., award money (internal and/or external)) as scheduled for the summer term?

There will be no alteration to the payment of scheduled award installments to graduate students over the summer. You can check SOLUS to confirm the scheduled disbursement date and amount of upcoming award installment payments.

Will I receive my Graduate Research Fellowship (GRF)?

There will be no alteration to, or delay in, the payment of graduate research fellowships as a consequence of the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Graduate research fellowships are paid to students to support them in carrying out their academic pursuits and completing their program requirements. Nothing has changed in this respect, and therefore these payments will continue. Any student who receives information, from any source, to the contrary should contact the School of Graduate Studies immediately.  

How will TA contracts be affected for the remainder of the Winter 2020 term? Will contracts be extended?

SGS does not have any direct involvement with employment-related matters, though we expect that contracts will remain in place. As you are aware, TA contracts specify the hours of employment and duties expected of graduate students. The nature of the duty/task may change in certain cases, but the number of contracted hours should remain unchanged. Graduate students employed as TAs are expected to perform duties or work hours within the hours specified in their contracts. It would be reasonable to expect that any requests to contribute work hours beyond those contracted would be compensated at the standard TA rate. TAs should discuss this question with their faculty supervisor as soon as possible to ensure there is a clear understanding of the potential consequences of this disruption on the hours/duties associated with your TA position.

Regarding Contract Extensions:

Given that the deadline for the submission of final grades has been extended, Department Heads and Instructors have asked about the possibility of extending the contract end date of Graduate TAs until May 11, 2020 in order to ensure GTAs can complete their marking and grading assistance activities. If an Instructor (i.e., Employment Supervisor) would like to extend the contract end date, it would be advisable for Department Heads to instruct their faculty Members (who are Employment Supervisors of GTAs) to contact their GTAs directly by email to ask if they would benefit from extending their contract end date to May 11, 2020. For clarity, instructors should add that this is not a request to complete additional work or allot additional hours of work, nor would this result in additional payments, but rather, is an extension of the Term of their contract to a later date (i.e., one week) to provide additional time for the teaching assistant to complete the work activities detailed in their TA Form. This can happen with mutual agreement.

TAs are a member of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC 901). If desired, TAs can reach out to PSAC to gain more information on their rights as an employee.

What happens to my RA Payment for the remainder of the semester?

Similar to the TAship, any graduate student holding a Research Assistantship to perform bargaining unit work that is not directly related to the completion of their degree or program requirements will continue to receive their payment as stipulated in their contract.

What is the status of  CGSM and Doctoral level award competitions results (CIHR, NSERC and  SSHRC)?

The CGSM results will be announced on April 15.  The results of the Doctoral level award competitions will  be released as planned and as per each agency’s schedule, in April.

If a student was awarded and SGS Travel Award, but they are no longer able to travel owing to COVID-19, will SGS still reimbursing for expenses that are now non-refundable?

Yes, SGS will reimburse these expenses. Students should make every effort to recuperate costs for items paid for out-of-pocket. Receipts and notifications for expenses that are non-refundable may be needed to claim reimbursement through SSG.

I have emergency financial needs owing to COVID-19. What supports are available?

Apply to the Queen’s Extenuating Circumstances COVID-19 Bursary Fund.

I have lost income as a result of the restrictions and precautions around COVID-19. I can’t afford to continue my graduate studies. What can I do?

Depending on your employment you may be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI). You can investigate your eligibility for EI through the following Government of Canada website: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei.html.

You may wish to also investigate your eligibility for the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit. While the federal government has yet to provide full details on eligibility, students who are unable to work as a result of COVID-19, and who earned more than $5,000 in 2019, are encouraged to apply for the newly-introduced Canada Emergency Response Benefit. The benefit will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000/month for up to four months to those who are unable to work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. An application portal for the new program will be launched in the coming days. For more information on the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, or for up-to-date information on applying for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, please visit Canada.ca

Queen’s also offers bursary assistance for Covid-19 related extenuating circumstances.

You also have the option to withdraw from your program and apply for readmission to the program once you feel able to do so.  Please contact SGS by emailing grad.studies@queensu.ca for more information on how to withdraw. Please be aware that withdrawing from your program means that you will not receive your summer term funding package and you will no longer be a student (temporarily suspended from this status), which means that you will not be able to access campus resources, including the library and supports offered through the Division of Student Affairs. If you have questions about how your health care plan may be affected by either a leave or withdrawal from your program, email the Society of Graduate and Professional Students at healthdental@sgps.ca.

 

Section 4: Convocation and Diplomas

What is the status of my completed graduate degree, now that the University has cancelled all Spring 2020 convocation ceremonies? Will I still get my diploma?

 Although the university has made the difficult decision to cancel Spring 2020 convocation ceremonies, your graduate degree/graduate diploma will be granted, yes.  Your official Queen’s transcript will be updated to show that, and your official diploma will be produced. The timing and logistics will be announced soon.

 What about my graduation ceremony?

 We recognize the importance of this occasion. The university is working hard to determine if Fall 2020 convocation period could be expanded to include our Spring 2020 graduands.  The Office of the University Registrar has some information about this on their website and plans to communicate with affected students when they can. See http://www.queensu.ca/registrar/convocation/ceremonies for information and check back with that site for updates about this.

I am not sure if I can now finish my coursework and/or other degree work by the published Spring 2020 degree list deadline. What will happen?

We still plan to award graduate degrees to eligible students in the Spring 2020 term.  As far as we know, faculties and schools will still have deadlines by which to submit the list of eligible graduands (aka the degree list) for Senate approval. The university is trying to determine a revised timeline, right now. SGS will be as flexible as possible with the Spring 2020 degree list deadline and will extend the timeline accordingly and when possible.  We will let all programs and departments know about changes to the degree list deadline, as soon as we can.

Section 5: Newly Admitted and Applying Students

What is the status of programs with a May 1 start date? Can acceptances be deferred?

Students that have been accepted to a graduate program that are online or can otherwise be commenced without physically relocating to Kingston, can still start that degree as planned. At this point, most on-site graduate programs will still be able to welcome students in May 2020, if they can get here and if want that. If students want to defer the May 2020 start date, they should get in touch with their graduate program coordinator and prospective supervisor if applicable, to  let them know.  In some cases deferral might not be possible, and/or other changes might be required to the terms and conditions of our offer of admission. But we will be as accommodating as possible in this challenging situation. If the supervisor and graduate program are in agreement that a student can start in a term later than May 2020, they will follow up with the School of Graduate Studies.  The School of Graduate Studies will facilitate whatever arrangements that are acceptable to all other parties.

What is the status of programs for the 2020-21 academic year? Can acceptances be deferred?

At this point, our plans to welcome new graduate students in Fall 2020 term are proceeding as normal.  We plan to be ready for students to arrrive this Fall if they can get here and if they want that. If students want to defer their Fall 2020 start date, they should get in touch with their graduate program coordinator and prospective supervisor if applicable, to  let them know.  In some cases deferral might not be possible, and/or other changes might be required to the terms and conditions of our offer of admission. But we will be as accommodating as possible in this challenging situation. If the supervisor and graduate program are in agreement that a student can start in a term later than Fall 2020, they will follow up with the School of Graduate Studies.  The School of Graduate Studies will facilitate whatever arrangements that are acceptable to all other parties.

I have received and accepted a conditional offer of admission. Final official hard copy transcripts showing that my current or recently completed degree has been granted, are still required by Queen’s School of Graduate Studies. How can these arrangements be made if my home university is partially closed or if hard copy transcript production has decreased?

In these unusual circumstances, the School of Graduate Studies will work with whatever arrangements applicants are dealing with. We need the final transcripts for our processes—the documentation is required. But, we can accept the transcript from the issuing university as a pdf or similar document, or any other electronic format, or by fax if that helps.  If for some reason the issuing university cannot produce official transcripts, we can accept unofficial transcripts if they are generated and sent by the issuing university and as long as all parties understand an official hard copy transcript will still be required, eventually. We cannot accept any version of any transcripts from applicants directly by email.

Transcripts can be emailed to grad.studies@queensu.ca  or our fax number is 1-613-533-6015. Canada Post services on campus is still operational 2 days per week, so we can pick up and process mail, including transcripts, 2 times per week (mailing address - School of Graduate Studies, Queen's University, Gordon Hall Room 425, 74 Union Street, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6). But, our office building is closed to the public currently, so courier deliveries (ie FedEX, UPS, Purolator, etc.)  cannot be processed for now.

I recently applied to Queen’s. Will my application be processed? 

Yes, SGS continues to process applications that have been submitted for graduate programs whose deadlines have not yet passed. Log into your application dashboard to check on the status of your application:  https://eservices.queensu.ca/apps/sgsapp/.

I am a newly admitted international student. What do I need to know? Who should I talk to?

For incoming international students, an important resource for you now and in future is the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC).

  • For questions about visas, work permits, cultural transition advice, etc. please contact isa@queensu.ca.
  • If you have questions about the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP), contact uhip@queensu.ca.
  • For any other queries you may have as an international student at Queen’s contact quic@queensu.ca.

I am currently an undergraduate student at Queen’s. I have accepted an offer of admission to graduate studies at Queen’s for 2020-21.  How will a Pass/Fail option for Winter 2020 or Summer 2020 undergraduate courses impact graduate admissions?  Will graduate programs accommodate the circumstances of COVID-19 and the undergrad graduating class of 2020?

Our graduate programs are aware that final transcripts of students who have accepted offers of admission to graduate studies here, may show CR (Credit) or Pass/Fail, instead of a grade.  That will happen for students from other universities too, not just Queen's. They are prepared to be as flexible as possible in their assessment of the final term’s grades, as is the School of Graduate Studies. We plan to make the best admissions decisions that we can, given the current circumstances

Section 6: International Students

What specific supports will be made available for international graduate students in light of COVID-19?

There are a number of resources to support you and provide answer to questions you might have as an international student. 

  • If you have questions about immigration, cultural transition advice or with student wellbeing, please contact isa@queensu.ca.
  • If you have questions about the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP), contact uhip@queensu.ca.
  • For any other queries you may have as an international student at Queen’s contact quic@queensu.ca.
  • Academic support services will continue to be available to support you in your academic work, including the Student Academic Success Service.
  • Access Student Wellness Services for support. You may wish to reach out to a graduate student counsellor directly by emailing counselling.services@queensu.ca.
  • If there is a specific concern that affects the completion of your program that cannot be addressed at QUIC, with your Supervisor, or within your program, please contact your SGS Associate Dean.

I am an international graduate student. I have secured employment outside of Canada in the coming weeks and my visa (and/or work contract) expire soon. What should I do?

Graduate students should get in touch with QUIC for further guidance. Please email isa@queensu.ca and explain your situation.

I am concerned that I will not be able to cross the border into Canada because I am not a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident. What should I do?

  • International students, workers on visas, and temporary foreign workers will be able to enter Canada with the expectation that they’ll respect the government’s request to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • This is the latest directive, but the situation is changing rapidly. For up-to-the minute information, please consult with Queen’s International Student Advisor at isa@queensu.ca
  • Please also keep up-to-date by checking the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website for updates.
  • Queen’s will continue to support you in partnership with your host university. 

Section 7: Community & Wellness Supports

Can I still access student support services?

Yes. Check the Student Affairs website for updates as many or most services are now offered remotely. This includes Hospitality Services, support for food insecure students, Student Wellness Services, QUIC, Four Directions, Career Services, Office of the University Registrar, Ban Righ Centre, Faith and Spiritual Life, Student Academic Success Services, Athletics & Recreation, and the Student Experience Office.

Currently the graduate student wellness counsellors are available for remote appointments. Please email counselling.services@queensu.ca to make an appointment.

Is there support available for Microsoft Teams?

Yes. Please review the information provided by IT Services about Microsoft Teams. IT Services has also made tutorial for Microsoft Teams.

If you are preparing for a thesis examination, SGS has established procedures for remote examinations. IT Services is available for support and will coordinate a practice session in advance of examination. Please see the "Academic" section of this page for more details

What about SGS-related professional development support programs (e.g., dissertation bootcamp?).

The Expanding Horizons workshops have been cancelled for the remainder of the term. SGS is considering how to remotely offer support programs remotely, such as the Dissertation Bootcamp. More news soon.

I have health questions related to COVID-19. Where do I look for that?

For information specific to Queen’s University, please visit the COVID-19 information homepage.

For information about COVID-19 as it relates to the broader community and Canada, please visit the Kingston Public Health website or the Public Health Canada website.

Are graduate students, including international students, able to stay in Queen’s residence in the summer?

As you may know, students living in residence were required to leave by March 22nd, unless they are unable to do so due to travel bans or other restrictions.  The Division of Student Affairs with the Queen's Residence office is currently looking into the option for additional students to stay in residence over the summer. The decision of the Residence office would depend largely on the public health guidelines around social distancing, isolation and safety. SGS will have a better understanding of this option within the next few weeks.

What about Queen's community housing on campus?

Current tenants of Queen's community housing (such as An Clachan and John Orr Tower), should contact Queen's Community Housing on email community.housing@queensu.ca if they have any questions regarding their leases.

What about housing off-campus?

If you have non-Queen’s housing related questions, please visit the Student Community Relations website or email scr@queensu.ca.

What if my housing lease expires April 30th?

If you are already a tenant of one of Queen's community housing building contact community.housing@queensu.ca.  

With so many businesses shutting down, what food options are available on campus and what hours?

Hospitality Services is continuing to monitor this situation and in keeping with Public Health guidelines.  For up to date information from Hospitality Services visit their web page here 

Section 8: Post-Doctoral Fellows

I am a post-doctoral fellow. Since my contract is time-limited and there is little flexibility in the research plan, I cannot make up work that will be affected by current precautions. What should I do?

Please speak with your supervisor about how best to proceed.

Please also refer to the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research) for information on COVID-19 and its impact on Queen’s research

I am post-doctoral fellow with a work contract and visa that expire soon. What do the current precautions around COVID-19 mean for me?

For issues related to your work contract or visa, please reach out to Monica Stewart (monica.stewart@queensu.ca) in Faculty Relations.

I am a post-doctoral fellow applying for the Post-Doctoral Travel Award. How will this be affected by international travel restrictions?

The award will be adjudicated as scheduled. If you are a recipient and travel restrictions remain in place during the period in which you plan to travel, the School of Graduate will not financially support you through the travel award. However, if you apply for a conference that is rescheduled as a result of travel restrictions, the award will be honoured for that future date.

I am an international graduate student or post-doctoral fellow. I have secured employment outside of Canada in the coming weeks and my visa (and/or work contract) expire soon. What should I do?

Graduate students should get in touch with QUIC for further guidance.

Post-doctoral fellows should reach out to Monica Stewart (monica.stewart@queensu.ca) in Faculty Relations.

Section 9: Communicating Your Concerns to SGS

What is SGS doing to understand the range of issues that graduate students and post-docs are experiencing as a result of COVID-19 restrictions and precautions?

SGS relies on multiple sources of information to understand the challenges faced by graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. However, our most valuable source of information is you. Please get in touch directly via email (sgscomms@Queensu.ca) or join in our live Q&A sessions to share your questions or raise your concerns. We will post the time and date of the live Q&A with a link to join the conversation on this website. We are here to support you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Section 10: Information for Faculty & Staff

Can the admissions team at SGS accept digital transcripts, reference letters, writing samples, etc. from the applicants? Mail has been stopped in many departments or staff are not there to receive the mail.

SGS cannot accept as official, transcripts directly from any student or applicant in any format, except as hard copy documents received in a sealed envelope from the applicant. See the other section about how we can accept transcripts from issuing universities. Letters of reference are submitted using the secure online reference form for the majority of applicants.

For other components of the application that are not SGS requirements, such as the writing sample, we are not receiving nor processing very much hard copy mail currently, and we have very limited capacity to convert hard copy documents to electronic documents to be emailed elsewhere. If we can do it, we will. But we recommend you reach out to applicants who still have non-SGS required documentation to submit, to tell them how (and when) you would like to receive that documentation. It would be more efficient if these documents were emailed to your department/program directly.

Some universities are only issuing unofficial transcripts at this time.  Will the SGS contemplate an unofficial transcript for the purpose of a conditional offer?

In these unusual circumstances, the School of Graduate Studies will work with whatever arrangements applicants are dealing with. We need the final transcripts for our processes—the documentation is required. But, we can accept the transcript from the issuing university as a pdf or similar document, or any other electronic format, or by fax if that helps.  If for some reason the issuing university cannot produce official transcripts, we can accept unofficial transcripts if they are generated and sent by the issuing university and as long as all parties understand an official hard copy transcript will still be required, eventually. We cannot accept any version of any transcripts from applicants directly by email.

Transcripts can be emailed to grad.studies@queensu.ca  or our fax number is 1-613-533-6015. Canada Post services on campus is still operational 2 days per week, so we can pick up and process mail, including transcripts, 2 times per week (mailing address - School of Graduate Studies, Queen's University, Gordon Hall Room 425, 74 Union Street, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6). But, our office building is closed to the public currently, so courier deliveries (ie FedEX, UPS, Purolator, etc.)  cannot be processed for now.

Normally, SGS sends departments hard copies of transcripts via internal mail. Under the current circumstances, can SGS scan the hard copies and send them to graduate assistants?

Most SGS staff are working remotely without access to anything that could turn a paper document into a scanned document and without access to the hard copy mail. Queen’s Post Office is only permitting pick up hard copy mail a couple of times per week and is not delivering mail at all. Gordon Hall is locked down, so couriers are not delivering packages to us.  So the receipt of hard copy transcripts is quite limited, currently. And, the capacity for our staff to turn hard copy documents into electronic versions and then email those documents, is extremely limited. If we can do it, we will.

What is the date for the submission of graduate course grades? Is it the same as for undergraduates (May 11)?

SGS does not have a grades submission deadline for graduate courses. Departments/Programs must have grades submitted by the university-wide marks release deadline that is posted on the OUR website  http://www.queensu.ca/registrar/grades-release-date-winter-2020-term-classes. For Winter 2020 term, that deadline is May 12, 2020, currently. Note that this is DIFFERENT than the Spring 2020 degree list deadline (but see other information about possible extensions to the Spring 2020 degree list deadline).

What is the SGS position on Letter Grades versus the Pass/Fail system?

"SGS recommends that letter grades rather than a Pass/Fail (P/F) option should be provided for graduate courses whenever possible as we believe that these grades will serve students better going forward (for scholarships, job applications, internships etc.). For research programs in particular, SGS strongly recommends assigning grades for graduate courses. In some cases extensions to course deadlines will have to be granted to students so that they have a fair chance at the best possible grade.  Some professional graduate programs may have different considerations.  Employers of graduates from professional programs may look at transcripts differently. SGS also realizes that regardless of whether the program is research-based or professional, some students may need the P/F option, and during these extreme circumstances, all programs have the autonomy to make changes and adaptations to individual course requirements and grading to best serve the needs of their students. Using a P/F option may fall into this category, but it should be based on the student’s particular extenuating circumstances and should be treated on a case-by-case basis.