School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

  • Summer 2020 information
  • Fall 2020 information

School of Graduate Studies Updates as of 30th July 2020

As we navigate the coming academic year and the new ways of learning, working, and building community that it will bring, the School of Graduate Studies remains committed to providing a supportive, inclusive, and safe environment, whether in-person or remote, for our students, postdoctoral fellows, staff, and faculty.    

To help address your questions and concerns, we have compiled the following Frequently Asked Questions. In addition, the right-hand menu includes important resources, links, and highlights that you may wish to explore to find and access the information and support you need. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you cannot find answers to your questions here, or if you are facing challenges for which you require support. Email sgscomms@queensu.ca and you will be directed to the appropriate individual or resource.

 

School of Graduate Studies FAQs 

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

How will on-campus office space for graduate students be managed given physical distancing restrictions?

As we move towards greater opening, the University will facilitate access to on-campus office or lab space to support Graduate student research related to degree requirements. Given the fact that physical distancing requirements will likely reduce graduate office space inventory drastically, the School of Graduate Studies will work with Faculties and Departments to enable access to central university space.  

Access to office space for graduate students will be provided: 

  • First, by the academic unit (using existing office space and unit-owned meeting or classroom space);  
  • Second, by the relevant Faculty or School (if there is extra space available within the Faculty or School); and  
  • Third, by the School of Graduate Studies for access to centrally assigned spaces. 

Graduate students who are unable to access office space that is required to complete their thesis and/or program requirements through their academic unit or faculty should contact Alexa Lafleche (sgsasst@queensu.ca) in the School of Graduate Studies for further assistance

If my program/course is offered in-person in the fall, what happens if I cannot get to campus  because of travel restrictions, financial strain, or family responsibilities due to the effects of COVID-19?

Your safety and the safety of your family should always be your top priority. Where possible, the university will work with you to develop a plan that will both support your degree and provide stability for yourself and your family. In many programs, courses and research can be carried out from home. In close consultation with your supervisor, and following the recommendations of your program, identify the aspects of your degree that can be carried out remotely, and focus on those until your situation changes and you are able to join us on campus.

If there is a second wave of COVID-19, how will it affect campus-based programs? What if in-person grad classes are cancelled again?

To the best of our ability, and with the information that we have at this time, we are planning on offering certain graduate programs on campus in the fall. The strategies that we are putting in place are designed to enable graduate studies under a wide range of scenarios including a second wave of COVID-19 that could disrupt campus-based programming. This is a dynamic situation and making concrete decisions is impossible, but instead we are developing flexible contingency plans to adapt to a changing world.

How will lab, classroom, and office spaces ensure social distancing?

In consultation with University Planning and Environmental Health and Safety, Faculties/departments/programs will work together to ensure that social distancing guidelines and measures to ensure their adherence are established to ensure university operations comply with Public Health advice.

Continue to monitor campus opening guidelines on the Queen's Covid-19 Information & Planning for Fall 2020 Term 

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?

Students should work with their supervisors to modify their research program in light of COVID-19. Many students will be in a position to continue their research remotely and progress through their program in a timely manner, whereas other students’ plans may be severely disrupted because of delays in planned laboratory or field research activities. SGS has developed a COVID-19 Related Extension Protocol for graduate students who intended to complete their degree requirements by the end of August 2020, but will not be able to do so as a direct consequence of delays caused by COVID-19. Students are encouraged to contact their program for further information on eligibility.

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.

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 for 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.

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

I require access to Queen’s Library resources. How can I get the support I need?

The library remains open remotely and has developed a plan to provide current students, faculty, and staff access to its print collections via curb-side pick-up and has expanded access to digital materials.

The library is now a participant in the HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS), which provides electronic access to over 860,000 items from the library’s print collection, in addition to the 4.4 million worldwide public domain items already accessible in HathiTrust. This represents 36.4% of the Queen’s Library print collection. Further details about the ETAS and how to access it can be found at: Covid-19 Updates on Library Services & Operations

In addition, Several vendors are offering temporary free access to electronic resources, and the library has enabled a number of these offers for Queen’s University. 

Regarding access to physical material, the library offers curbside pickup service to all current Queen’s students, faculty, and staff using the Request feature in our Omni search tool. Materials will be retrieved on a first-come, first-serve basis, and users will be notified by email when their item(s) are available for pickup at Stauffer Library. Please see these instructions on how to complete these requests. Note that Items available electronically through HathiTrust's Emergency Temporary Access Service are not eligible for the library's curbide pickup service, as per the agreement terms with HathiTrust. 

We encourage remote access of library resources wherever possible. Although public health directives mean that the physical facilities are closed to the Queen's community, the library staff are available to support your research efforts. Please contact the library using their Ask Us service  or reach out to one of the Subject Librarians directly.  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 COVID-19 in line with the best information we have at this time. The Office of the Vice-Principal (Research) has created a multi-phase plan to prioritize and adjudicate requests for on-site research facility access. Postdoctoral fellows and graduate students must work with their principal investigator/faculty member/supervisor if requesting access. The principal investigator/faculty member/supervisor will be responsible for all activities of postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and research staff who report directly to them. Further information on this announcement, how requests can be made, and how they will be evaluated can be found on the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research) website under “Update on Requests for On-Site Access (Update June 5).”

Continue to monitor the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research) for the most up-to-date information on research activities.

What is Queen's current policy on conducting field research activities for the Spring and Summer terms?

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.

Faculty, post-doctoral fellows and graduate students who feel their field research should be deemed “essential,” and that it must be conducted in the spring/summer term, are asked to fill out a Request to Continue Critical Field Research Form.  For further information on this announcement, please visit the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research) website under “Field 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.   Continue to monitor for relevant updates on the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research) website.

Section 3: Finances & Funding

Will my funding package change as a result of Fall term operations?

Funding packages are normally determined during the Summer term for the upcoming academic year. The amounts allocated depend on TA, RA, and award allocations. Your department will be deciding on the funding packages in the coming weeks and will advise you of your funding package directly. Please be assured that your program’s minimum funding guarantee will stay the same. Questions about TA, RA, RF, and TF positions for the upcoming academic year should be directed to your Graduate Coordinator.  

I will have to conduct my TA responsibilities online but do not have access to appropriate internet at home. Will I be allowed to work on campus?

We recognize that moving to remote delivery of undergraduate courses will pose a challenge for some graduate students that have limited internet access at home. Over the summer months, strategies to support these students will be developed. We will keep you updated. Please consult with your program and check this website for the latest information.

I am the recipient of a Tri-Agency (SSHRC, NSERC, CIHR) award. Can I defer the start date of my award? What if I need to take a leave from my studies for COVID-19 related reasons?

Training award recipients (master's and doctoral) may defer the start date of their award, or request an unpaid interruption of up to four-months for reasons related to the COVID-19 situation. For master’s and doctoral award holders, this can be adjusted to align with the next available start date (May 1, 2020; September 1, 2020; or January 1, 2021).

The agencies will continue to support training award holders who, given the challenges posed by the COVID-19 situation, can only devote part-time hours to their research. They may continue to hold their awards and will be paid at the full amount. The amount will not be prorated, and the end date of the award will remain unchanged.

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

Some students may be eligible for financial support form the Government of Canada, specifically the Canadian Emergency Student Bursary (CESB) or Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Additional information on the government’s supports for individuals can be found on the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan webpage.

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 be eligible for other programs, specifically the Canadian Emergency Student Bursary (CESB) or Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Additional information on the government’s supports for individuals can be found on the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan webpage.

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 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.

I don't understand all the various government announcements on financial assistance, can someone help?

Dr. Jennifer Robson, Associate Professor of Political Management at Carleton University has put together a web page to help us understand this very question. This website has been adapted from information compiled and published freely by Dr. Jennifer Robson. You can read the original document on this website.   Please note this information is as accurate as possible at the time of print. 

Another explanation can be found on this link - https://www.savvynewcanadians.com/how-to-apply-for-the-canada-emergency-student-benefit-cesb/

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.

Section 5: Newly Admitted and Applying Students

I still would like to apply to graduate school at Queen's for the Fall of 2020. Is it too late?

Please apply! It is not too late for most programs. We have extended deadlines for many of our programs and we are still accepting and processing applications for the Fall 2020 semester. We are excited to welcome you to Queen's!

Will the Fall term be running as planned?

If you have already accepted an offer of admission, we are excited to welcome you to Queen's in the Fall. Please get in touch with your program’s Graduate Assistant to understand how courses, programs, and other degree requirements will be administered. Regardless of the format, SGS and our programs will offer the same level of academic excellence, care, guidance, and support to all new and returning students – including orientation activities and other supplemental programming.

Can acceptances for the Fall 2020 term be deferred?

Contingency planning around Fall term operations is currently underway such that if COVID-19 restrictions and precautions are still in place, the academic year can commence remotely and transition to in-person when it is safe to do so. If students want to defer their September 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 September 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. 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 all universities.  Programs 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.

How should graduate departments/programs assess undergraduate marks in the final year, if in the Winter 2020 term a combination of letter or number grades, and Pass/Fail, or Credit grades are used?  Will this affect the undergraduate student’s eligibility for admission, and scholarships? 

Many students from across Canada will be applying to graduate programs at Queen’s over the next few years with transcripts that list Pass/Fail or Credit outcomes for courses taken in the winter term of 2020, instead of the usual numerical or letter grades. Queen’s recognizes the extraordinary circumstances in which the use of Pass/Fail or Credit options have been used, and we seek to assure all potential applicants that these circumstances will be taken into consideration when evaluating applications for admission. To this end, the School of Graduate Studies recommends the following approaches be used by graduate programs at Queen’s in the assessment of these students for admission to the program.  

1. The overall GPA may be used as the primary method for ranking applicants.

2. The GPA in the final year may be used omitting any Pass/Fail or Credit courses.

3. The GPA may be calculated using relevant subject matter courses only, omitting any Pass/Fail or Credit courses.

4. The last 4 terms of study prior to the winter of 2020 may be used to calculate the GPA.

To determine eligibility for scholarships, the normal procedure used by SGS is to calculate the average GPA obtained in each of the last two years of completed study. This procedure will continue to be used, except that any Pass/Fail or Credit courses will be omitted from the calculation. 

Section 6: International Students

Government embassies/consulates/Visa Application Centres (VACs) are closed in my country and/or the borders are closed to neighbouring countries.  

  • Can I still apply for a study permit/visa?  
  • These closures mean that the processing of my study permit application/visa is delayed and/or I can’t submit biometrics. What should I do?  

First, please note the difference between a visa and a study permit. To study in Canada, you need to apply for a study permit, which grants you permission to study and stay in Canada. This is different from a visa, which is not required by all students.  A visa, for those who need it, allows you to enter or re-enter Canada as long it is valid. You may also be required to submit biometrics as a part of your study permit application. 

Government Embassies/Consulates may be currently closed to walk-in traffic; however, they are still processing study permit applications.  The VACs in some countries are currently closed, or offering reduced services. Paper applications are not being accepted but you can apply online. If you plan to come to Canada in the Fall or Winter term for your program, please apply for your study permit if you have not done so. Even if your program offers the ability to start remotely in the Fall, please still apply. 

The Government of Canada announced temporary policy changes on July 14, 2020 to provide more information to applicants outside of Canada who are unable to provide required documents as part of their application and updates to the Post Graduate Work Permit Program 

Please also visit this Government of Canada website for details on what you need and how it may be affected by COVID-19

For incoming international students, an important resource is the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC). For questions about visas, work permits, cultural transition advice, etc. please contact isa@queensu.ca

I have questions about the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and its application processes as related visas, work/study permits, etc. Where can I find answers?

Please also monitor the Government of Canada publications regarding COVID19, and program delivery updates, which are reviewed and updated on a regular basis:

Please see this pdf of IRCC Covid-19 updates, that was compiled by Colleges and Institutes Canada, Universities Canada, and the Canadian Bureau for International Education.

If my permit is granted on time, will I be able to enter Canada even if my program is delivered online? How do non-essential travel advisories affect me? 

Please refer to the current travel restrictions available on the Government of Canada website to understand how your plans to travel to Canada may be affected: https://travel.gc.ca/covid-19-travel 

Non-essential travel advisories are still in effect in most countries. As foreign governments implement strict travel restrictions and international transportation options continue to become less available, many international students will have difficulty travelling to Canada or may be unable to do so. Local authorities may impose control measures suddenly, including movement restrictions such as quarantine. 

Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced in early May that international students can begin their classes online from abroad in Fall 2020 and complete up to half of their program via distance learning if they cannot travel to Canada sooner. Many programs are working on options for students to start their program remotely. Please contact your program Graduate Assistant to learn if you are able to enroll in the Fall term and start your program remotely. 

If my spouse obtains a job offer first before applying for a work permit, what type of work permit should he apply for? 

Please contact isa@queensu.ca and one of the International Student Advisor will be able to respond to your question.  

I have been granted a study permit, however, my partner/spouse is still waiting for their eTA to travel to Canada. If they don't get their eTA in August, is there any other type of visa to let them enter Canada?  

Please contact isa@queensu.ca and one of the International Student Advisor will be able to respond to your question. 

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 should be able to enter Canada with the expectation that they’ll respect the government’s requirement 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.
  • Be sure that you have all required documentation, including a study permit.
  • Be sure that you have a plan for your mandatory 14 day quarantine, including transportation from your point of entry to place of quarantine, the location where you will quarantine, and how you will access food and other essentials.

I have questions about study permits and visas that are not covered in the questions included here. Who should I contact? 

Please contact isa@queensu.ca and one of the International Student Advisor will be able to respond to your question. 

I am considering deferring my Fall term admission. If travel bans and study permit processing centres are still closed throughout the Fall term, can I defer a second time?

The possibility of deferral for a second year for COVID-19 related reasons is unlikely, but will be considered on a case by case basis and only if the graduate program and prospective supervisor(s) are in agreement.

Is there a deadline to register for Fall semester? I still don't have my unconditional offer.

The deadline to enroll for Fall semester is September 30, 2020. Any student who does not have an unconditional offer by mid to late July 2020, should consult with their department/program and prospective supervisor (if applicable) for advice and assistance.

I need to submit original copies of my transcript or other documents to Queen’s. Can I send them by DHL, FedEx or other shipping company?

The School of Graduate Studies is not open to the public, nor for deliveries, currently. It would be best to mail, email, or fax these documents to SGS and to provide us with the original versions upon your arrival and when the building is once again open.

What happens if I don’t get my documents in time for the Fall term? Can I still register and take classes online? What if my program is being offered in-person? 

Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced in early May that international students can begin their classes online from abroad in fall 2020 and complete up to half of their program via distance learning if they cannot travel to Canada sooner.   

Although you may not be able to travel to Canada, Queen’s is working to make a remote start to graduate programs an option wherever possible. Please contact your program Graduate Assistant to learn if you are able to enroll in the Fall term and start your program remotely. Options could include remote courses, project proposal writing, literature reviews or other activities to prepare for on-campus activities once you are able to join us. 

I plan to enroll in Fall 2020 courses and participate remotely from outside Canada.  Can I still receive my Fall 2020 funding from awards? Can any of  my funding be applied directly to my tuition?

Queen’s cannot disburse your Fall 2020 funding if you do not have a Canadian bank account and/or a Social Insurance Number, which you must be in Canada to acquire. Queen’s cannot transfer funds internationally because of tax, immigration and other regulations.

There may be a solution for some new international students who wish to have their funding applied directly to their tuition. If you are going to receive Queen’s Graduate Award (QGA) and/or the International Tuition Award (ITA)  as a part of your funding package, it may be possible to arrange for your Fall 2020 award installment(s) of those two awards (and ONLY those two awards)  to directly pay off your Fall 2020 term tuition charge (and ONLY Fall 2020 term). This arrangement requires the agreement of the graduate program/department and your supervisor (if you have been assigned a supervisor).

To make a request for this special consideration, email to Monica Corbett at the School of Graduate Studies (corbettm@queensu.ca), copying your graduate department/program, by August 3, 2020. The action will not be taken without this request.

I am taking classes remotely in the Fall. I’m concerned I will have to attend at odd hours because of my time zone. Is this the case?

Please get in touch with your Graduate Coordinator to discuss how classes will operate. Many programs will be offered asynchronously, allowing you to participate and learn at a time that is convenient and appropriate for you.

If I can’t travel to Kingston in the Fall, how can I communicate with my supervisor?

Your relationship with your supervisor is important to SGS. If you can not travel to Kingston in the Fall, get in touch with your supervisor to let them know and work out a plan for how to keep in touch and remain on track with your degree requirements. Please review our Guidelines for Effective Remote Supervision for tips.

If you experience challenges in your supervisory relationship, please get in touch with your program’s Graduate Coordinator or the School of Graduate Studies.

Regarding TA and RA positions, how many hours a week will I work? what is the pay rate? do I have to apply for a position?

TAs and RAs at Queen’s are a part of a labour union, called PSAC 901. The union ensures consistent pay rates and job expectations across the university. Your duties and hours may vary depending on your position; however, you can expect to sign a contract that sets out these details.

Many programs assign students a TA or RA position and so you do not need to submit a CV/resume. These positions are often a part of your funding package. However, there may be positions to which you can also apply. Please note that those who can not travel to Canada for the Fall will not receive a TA or RA position for the Fall.

If you still have questions about TA and RA positions that are not addressed here, please contact your Graduate Coordinator.

How does health insurance work?

To live and study in Canada, you require health insurance. As a Queen’s student you are required to have two kinds of insurance.

The first is the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP). For more details, please visit the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC) webpage. If you will be studying remotely in the Fall term, please email uhip@queensu.ca to learn if you need to apply, or if you have other questions about UHIP. If your family is coming to Canada with you, they must also have UHIP.

The second form of insurance is a supplemental health plan. This provides you with health and dental insurance that is not covered by UHIP, for example, trips to the dentist, eye glasses, or prescriptions. Supplemental health insurance is administered by the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS). Questions about this plan can be directed to healthdental@sgps.ca. You can enroll dependents in this supplemental plan as well. Visit the SGSP website for details on costs and deadlines to do so.

If you are enrolling in the Fall term and will be taking your classes remotely, it is important to note that these insurance plans can not be used in your home country. Please reach out to QUIC or the SGPS if you have questions about this.

If I am not living in Canada for the Fall term do I have to get UHIP and the SGPS supplementary health insurance? 

More information about UHIP and the SGPS supplemental health and dental plan will be sent in August, including what to do if you are not in Ontario. 

How is Queen’s preparing to support international students when they arrive in Canada? Can students who need to quarantine be accommodated in university housing/residences? I can’t take public transit from the airport, so how will I get to Kingston?

Queen’s is aware of this challenge and is currently looking at how to support students who will need a place to quarantine. Please check back for updates in the coming weeks. Transportation from your point of entry to your place of quarantine is not currently within the capacity of the university to support.

When you arrive in Canada you must have a plan for quarantine, including a place to stay, how you’ll get to your destination, get your groceries, and access essential services and medical care. This must be shared with border agents and is mandatory even if you do not show symptoms of COVID-19.

For more details on travel and arrival to Canada, please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/coronavirus-covid19/visitors-foreign-workers-students.html

In response to COVID-19, hotels across Kingston have created accommodation packages to meet the needs of Queen’s graduate and undergraduate students.  Each provider offers a different package, so interested students are encouraged to investigate all the options available.

My partner/husband/wife is coming to Kingston with me. How easily can they find a job? Does the university offer help with this process?

The university does not offer support to the spouses or partners of students. There are, however, agencies within the city that may be able to offer support, such as Keys Job Centre.

Your partner or spouse requires a work permit to legally work in Canada. Please visit the Government of Canada’s website for more details.

Where can I find information on income taxes in Canada?

Please visit the Queen’s University International Centre’s (QUIC) website for information and support on navigating income taxes in Canada.

I am a Canadian citizen living abroad. My program is being offered online, so I plan to stay abroad for a few months. How does this affect my tuition rates? Should/can I apply for health insurance through the university if I’m not living in Canada?

As a Canadian citizen you are entitled to domestic tuition fees.

For questions about your health plan, email healthdental@sgps.ca.

Can I access a VPN to help me begin my program remotely?

Queen’s is supporting VPN service abroad. Queen’s has put VPN service in place for our students in China and IT Services is investigating collaborations with other Canadian universities to ensure effective connectivity. Our intent is to have this in place prior to the first Arts and Science exams to be proctored live online starting June 24, 2020.

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.

    What resources are available to international students from the Canadian government in relation to Covid-19 travel restrictions?

    Please visit this Government of Canada website, which outlines the details of how COVID-19 might affect you and your plans to come to Canada. International students, staff/faculty holding valid work permits, and others who may be required to travel are advised to consult the IRCC guidelines for specific details relating to travel restrictions, quarantine-on-arrival, and more. Please check back frequently, as guidelines are subject to change on short notice.

    Section 7: Community & Wellness Supports

    Is the University working on a solution for grad students regarding the ending of the Bus It program? Many graduate students are on campus and will continue during Fall/Winter and will require the use of public transit. 

    The Bus It program is administered between student government (AMS and SGPS) and the City of Kingston. The following statement was issued by the President of the Society of Graduate and Professional Students circulated in a recent newsletter: 

    “As students prepare for their return to campus it is likely that many are looking to public transport to navigate Kingston. As you know, the bus-it contract was suspended for this year given the reduced capacities, lack of Queen’s specific route provisions, and that transit is currently free to all. We are still actively working with the AMS and the City of Kingston to ensure students who need access, have access. I want to stress again that the SGPS is committed to ensuring financial supports to students to keep the cost affordable. As of this moment discussions on what the pass will look like (digital, additional stickers, separate card) are occurring as many issues with distribution arise when considering public health guidelines. Until we communicate otherwise, you can ride the bus for free.” 

    Once the SGPS has further details, they will circulate that information a statement on their website, social media accounts, in their newsletter. 

    How Fall term orientation work?

    To provide maximum flexibility, the School of Graduate Studies is currently working to transition all of its orientation programming to remote delivery. This includes information sessions as well as professional and academic workshops. We are also in the process of creating ways for you to connect with other grad students to build a community, even if you’re not able to be on campus on in the Kingston community!

    Please visit the SGS Orientation website for details on orientation programming for the summer and fall, which will be forthcoming. Monitor the Orientation page for updates on programming.

    Will we still have access to support services, such as those operated by the Division of Student Affairs in the Fall?

    Queen’s University has more than 5000 graduate students and students in professional programs, along with faculty and staff, and therefore all services will be operational in Fall 2020. All of these services will, however, adhere to the guidelines set by Public Health, which may include innovative methods to deliver this support.

    Keep up-to-date on the services available to you as a graduate student through the Division of Student Affairs’ website (includes Student Wellness Services, Queen’s University International Centre, Student Academic Success Services, Career Services and others) and that of the Centre for Teaching and Learning.

    Can I still access student support services during the summer?

    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.

    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.

    There are several departments you contact to get online/phone support.  From counselling services at Student Wellness, Ban Righ, Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre and QUIC. 

    I am a student/post-doctoral fellow with children at home. What resources are available to support me?

    SGS understands that the caring for children and working from home presents unique challenges. Please visit the Students with Children website for resources that might help. 

    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

    Will the SGS-still offer professional and academic development programing over the Summer and Fall terms? For example, workshops and writing retreats?

    SGS is working hard to transition all of its professional and academic development programs to remote delivery to suit current uncertainties as well as future student needs. There are many opportunities that your Queen’s NetID can provide you with access to, such as Aurora and Mitacs. Please monitor our professional and academic programming website, Orientation page, and the Mitacs and Aurora websites for current and future offerings. By participating in these opportunities, you can work towards a Certificate in Professional Development.

    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.

    I’m looking for somewhere to live in Kingston. Where can I get housing advice and support?

    Please visit the Queen’s Community Housing online listing service, to search for off-campus housing options.

    For advice and guidance on rental contracts as well as other resources please also visit the Student Community Relations Office webpage.

    I would like to be a tenant in a unit owned by Queen's Community Housing who do I contact?

    All available units at An Clachan and John Orr Tower have been allocated for September 2020. The next application period will open spring 2021.

    I require short-term housing while I search for somewhere to live. What are my options?

    Queen’s Housing and Ancillary Services may be able to provide housing options for students who need accommodation either for a short term or for the summer (until mid-August). 

    There will be a daily fee of $25 to stay in residence (or a monthly fee of $750), which will be billed directly to SOLUS accounts upon checkout.  Students will be consolidated to Brant House, in order to maintain appropriate physical distancing and disinfecting/cleaning protocols. Food and desk services will not be available and Dons will no longer be on duty.  Students will have access to kitchen facilities in Brant House, Campus Security and Emergency Services will continue to respond to urgent issues, and our facilities team will continue to maintain and disinfect common spaces in Brant House. 

    If you wish to apply for a room in residence, you must email reslife@queensu.ca with your name and proposed dates of occupancy.

    You may also be able to stay temporarily (sublet) in a room where the student tenant is not occupying their space in the summer. Student Community Relations can guide you through that process.

    In response to COVID-19, hotels across Kingston have created accommodation packages to meet the needs of Queen’s graduate and undergraduate students.  Each provider offers a different package, so interested students are encouraged to investigate all the options available.

    What food options are available on campus during the summer term?

    Hospitality Services has reduced operations over the summer term. Decisions about what is available and hours of operation are made through consultation with Public Health.  For up to date information from Hospitality Services visit their web page. The Hospitality Services page will also be updated as decision about Fall term operations are made.

    I have experienced/witnessed acts of racism as a result of COVID-19. What resources are there to support me?

    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 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.

    I am the recipient of a Tri-Agency (SSHRC, NSERC, CIHR) postdoctoral award. Can I defer the start date of my award? What if I need to take a leave for my position COVID-19 related reasons?

    Training award recipients may defer the start date of their award, or request an unpaid interruption of up to four-months for reasons related to the COVID-19 situation.

    The agencies will continue to support training award holders who, given the challenges posed by the COVID-19 situation, can only devote part-time hours to their research. They may continue to hold their awards and will be paid at the full amount. The amount will not be prorated, and the end date of the award will remain unchanged.

    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 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 should graduate departments/programs assess undergraduate marks in the final year, if in the Winter 2020 term a combination of letter or number grades, and Pass/Fail, or Credit grades are used?  Will this affect the undergraduate student’s eligibility for admission, and scholarships? 

    Many students from across Canada will be applying to graduate programs at Queen’s over the next few years with transcripts that list Pass/Fail or Credit outcomes for courses taken in the winter term of 2020, instead of the usual numerical or letter grades. Queen’s recognizes the extraordinary circumstances in which the use of Pass/Fail or Credit options have been used, and we seek to assure all potential applicants that these circumstances will be taken into consideration when evaluating applications for admission. To this end, the School of Graduate Studies recommends the following approaches be used by graduate programs at Queen’s in the assessment of these students for admission to the program.  

    1.    The overall GPA may be used as the primary method for ranking applicants.
    2.    The GPA in the final year may be used omitting any Pass/Fail or Credit courses.
    3.    The GPA may be calculated using relevant subject matter courses only, omitting any Pass/Fail or Credit courses.
    4.    The last 4 terms of study prior to the winter of 2020 may be used to calculate the GPA.
     
    To determine eligibility for scholarships, the normal procedure used by SGS is to calculate the average GPA obtained in each of the last two years of completed study. This procedure will continue to be used, except that any Pass/Fail or Credit courses will be omitted from the calculation.