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 1st June 2020

SGS understands that uncertainties around the Fall term, as well as concerns about the Summer term, will generate many questions from our community – students, fellows, staff, and faculty. In an effort to address your questions and concerns, we have compiled the following Frequently Asked Questions. In addition, the right-hand menu of this page includes a number of important resources, links, and highlights that you may wish to explore to find and access the information and support you need.

While much of the Summer term planning is complete, that for the Fall is still in the early stages. However, we can announce that some programs will operate remotely, some in-person, and others will offer a hybrid model. If you are unsure about that status of your program or courses, please contact your Graduate Coordinator or Graduate Assistant. Please continue to monitor this page for updated information. Your health and safety are our priority. Preparation for the coming months will continue under the advisement of Public Health and will always proceed with caution to ensure the safety of our students, post-doctoral fellows, faculty, and staff.

SGS is here to support you. 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.

Letter from Dr Fahim Quadir, Vice-Provost and Dean, School of Graduate Studies (PDF 764KB)

School of Graduate Studies FAQs 

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

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.

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 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 faculty and graduate researchers access to its print collections via curb-side pick-up, with the first pick-up planned for early next week.

Regarding access to physical material, principal Investigators/faculty members wishing to access print library materials for research are required to complete a Request to Access Library Print Material via Curbside Pickup form. As with the on-site and field research requests, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students must work with their principal investigator/faculty member if requesting access. Review and approval of requests will involve consultation with library staff and approval by the appropriate Faculty Dean (delegated to Associate/Vice Dean Research). Please review the recent Library statement for information on how such requests will be evaluated.

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. The library will help to locate and provide access to online versions of print materials, and can help to identify alternative resources where online versions are not available. They will also continue to purchase and license information resources to meet 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. 

As of April 23, principal Investigators/faculty members wishing to undertake on-site research at a Queen’s facility are required to complete a Request to Undertake Research On-Site Form. 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. For further information on this announcement and how requests will be evaluated, please visit the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research) website under “Research Facility Start-Up and Requests for On-Site Access.”

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.  

Section 3: Finances & Funding

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 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 or months 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 obtaining 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.

If a student is eligible for a SGS Conference Travel Award (CTA) in academic year 2019-20, but they are no longer able to attend or travel to a conference,  will SGS permit the student to receive the CTA as reimbursement for related non-refundable  expenses?

Yes, graduate departments/programs have been authorized by SGS to use their 2019-20 CTA budget for this reason in these unusual circumstances. Let your graduate coordinator know that you prepaid certain expenses related to a conference you can no longer attend, and the department/program will process the normal CTA payment to you through SGS.

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

Please apply to the Queen’s Extenuating Circumstances COVID-19 Bursary Fund. The team at Student Awards is working diligently to assess applications.

For international students, Queen’s has created a new emergency bursary to help address their immediate needs resulting from the impact of COVID-19. All international graduate students who previously applied for a Queen’s General Bursary will be assessed for this new emergency bursary. There is no need to reapply. International students who did not originally apply for this bursary but now find themselves in financial need due to COVID-19-related extenuating circumstances should apply to the Queen's Extenuating Circumstances COVID-19 Bursary Fund (link above). They will also be assessed for the new bursary automatically.

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)

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.

The Government of Canada has announced additional details regarding the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which may provide support to eligible students who are no longer working because of COVID-19, and who earned more than $5,000 in the past year. Information regarding eligibility for the program and the application process can be found on the CERB webpage. Additional information on the government’s supports for individuals can be found on the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan webpage.

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.

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 our offer, we are excited to welcome you to Queen's in the Fall of 2020. If the restrictions and precautions remain in place and campus-based programming is not possible in September, contingency planning would allow for the term to commence remotely, with courses, supervision, and other requirements conducted virtually. A shift to in-person would occur when it is safe to do so. 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.

Please refer to the recent statement by Principal Patrick Deane regarding the 2020/2021 academic year.

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

I am an international student who wants to start my research Masters or PhD program in the Fall. If my program/courses are offered in-person, but I cannot get to Canada or campus right away, does that mean I cannot start my program?

These are unusual times for Queen’s and every university in the world, and we are working to make a remote start to your graduate program an option wherever possible. In close consultation with your graduate supervisor, and following the recommendations of your program, identify the aspects of your degree that you can start remotely, and focus on those until your situation changes and you are able to join us on campus. In the coming weeks, each graduate program will be developing contingency plans for students that are unable to come to campus in the Fall 2020. These could include remote courses, project proposal writing, literature reviews or other activities to prepare for your on-campus activities once you are able to join us.    

I am an international student. What if I experience a delay in getting my visa and work permit?

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.

In the coming weeks, each graduate programs will be developing contingency plans for students that are unable to come to campus in the Fall 2020 but whose programs are anticipated to occur on campus. These could include remote courses, project proposal writing, literature reviews or other activities to prepare for your on-campus activities once you are able to join us. Please be in touch with your program/department Graduate Coordinator to learn more.

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 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.
  • Queen’s will continue to support you in partnership with your host university. 

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

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has compiled the following resource, outlining the details of the COVID-19 travel restrictions to date. 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

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 have questions about Queen's community housing who do I contact?

Contact Queen's Community Housing for information on An Clachan and John Orr Tower on email community.housing@queensu.ca .

I have questions about housing off-campus. Who do I contact?

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

I require housing over the summer. 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 past May 1st, you must email reslife@queensu.ca with your name and proposed dates of occupancy.

We recognize that situations are unique, and that students may have questions about their individual circumstances that are not covered in the above.  Please email reslife@queensu.ca if you have any additional questions.

Housing in the Kingston community is also available. You may wish to explore some possible options through the Community Housing Accommodation Listing Service, which is administered by Queen’s Community Housing.

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

Please visit the Queen’s Community Housing website, which includes information on campus-based housing as well as housing within the Kingston community. Please also visit the Student Community Relations Office webpage for important resources to help you navigate housing in Kingston.

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.

I am an incoming international post-doctoral fellow. How will travel restrictions and precautions around COVID-19 affect me?

Information valid as of: May 13, 2020. Please monitor the appropriate Government of Canada websites to confirm the most up-to-date information (see below).

A valid work permit is no guarantee for admission to Canada - Canada’s travel restrictions continue to be in place until at least June 30th. We are now hearing how the Canada Border Services Agency/CBSA is interpreting the travel restrictions. Border officers have ultimate discretion in allowing or refusing access to anyone they do not deem to be essential to be present in Canada, whether they have a valid work permit or not.

Health checks prior to boarding - Those intending to travelling by air need to pass a health check before they are allowed to board a flight. Individuals who show symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to board a plane or enter Canada. Untrained airline personnel carries out these health checks, sometimes with inaccurate results, and may refuse boarding.

Special rules for US citizens – but no guarantees of admission - US citizens may apply for first work permits at the border, however, it is up to the individual border officer if they deem the person essential to Canada. Persons working in the health sector and/or involved in COVID-19 research will likely be admitted, but faculty and Post Docs in other fields may have a more difficult time to convince a border officer of the necessity of their travel to Canada.

Family members are not admitted - Family members of foreign nationals may not be admitted as CBSA generally doesn’t deem them “essential”. They can, however, be admitted once the principal applicant is in the country.

Credible self-isolation plan must be in hand - Incoming travelers must have a credible self-isolation plan to show the border officer. The faculty recruitment page, (https://www.queensu.ca/facultyrecruitment/covid-19-resources)  offers resources to assist foreign nationals with establishing a self-isolation plan.

Please note that the above information is narrowly focused on international Post-Doctoral Fellows, incoming international faculty and academic visitors. For broader information please refer to https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/coronavirus-covid19.html.

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.

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.