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Advocating for You: Supporting Graduate Education in Light of COVID-19

Kathleen Luo, a PhD candidate for agriculture and environmental chemistry, talks to student about the results they are looking for in their tea lab  during the Food Analysis Lab for Food Science in the Robert Mondavi Institute on January 20, 2020.
Thursday, May 14, 2020 (All day)

Dear graduate students,

We recognize the rapidly shifting challenge that COVID-19 represents and how it affects your roles as students, researchers, scholars, and educators. For many, the situation has introduced or heightened feelings of uncertainty about how best to pursue your graduate education.

Here are some new and ongoing efforts that Graduate Studies has undertaken with Graduate Council to address graduate student concerns:

Time to Degree - Blanket One-Year Extension

We are providing a one-year blanket extension of time to degree for students.  The quarters from Spring 2020 to Spring 2021 will not be counted against a graduate student’s normative time to degree.  Though this blanket exception of normative time to degree is not a guarantee of extended funding, Graduate Studies is working closely with campus units and programs to explore potential financial support options.

Nonresident Supplemental Tuition (NRST) Support

 In addition to the University of California waiver of NRST for the first three years post-candidacy, UCD doctoral candidates have the support of non-competitive NRST fellowships in their 4th and 5th years post-candidacy.  


The CARES Act Emergency Relief Grant Fund provides emergency financial assistance to undergraduate and graduate students for expenses related to coronavirus disruptions. We are grateful to provide this support to a large portion of our student population, using CARES Act funds from the federal government and supplemental funds from campus. In addition, we are exploring ways to support international and AB540 students and others who are ineligible for CARES funding.

18-Quarter Rule

The rule limiting teaching employment to 18 quarters is a UC system-wide policy. UC Davis Graduate Studies and Graduate Council have advocated for raising the limit to 21 quarters. It is now under consideration at the system level.

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grading - Spring 2020 Exceptions

A graduate student in good standing (or who receives approval from Graduate Studies) is now authorized to undertake up to 3 courses in Spring 2020 on an optional Satisfactory (S) or Unsatisfactory (U) basis, in addition to courses graded on a Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory only basis by default (e.g., 299 units). Students will have until the last day of instruction (June 4) to submit a Grading Option Change request form. Students will not be required to pay the $3.00 form fee.

Deadline Extensions and Remote Filing

Mental Health Resources

The Student Health and Counseling Services office is now offering telephone counseling sessions. Graduate students can call the Counseling Services appointment desk at 530-752-0871 to schedule a telehealth appointment. Online scheduling is also available via Health-e-Message.

We acknowledge that the situation is ever-changing, and we are committed to advocating for you in these challenging and uncertain times. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at


Jean-Pierre Delplanque
Vice Provost and Dean, Graduate Studies

About Graduate Studies

Graduate Studies at UC Davis includes over 100 dynamic degree programs and a diverse and interactive student body from around the world. Known for our state-of-the-art research facilities, productive laboratories and progressive spirit – UC Davis offers collaborative and interdisciplinary curricula through graduate groups and designated emphasis options, bringing students and faculty of different academic disciplines together to address real-world challenges.

UC Davis graduate students and postdoctoral scholars become leaders in their fields: researchers, teachers, politicians, mentors and entrepreneurs. They go on to guide, define and impact change within our global community.

For information on Graduate Studies’ current strategic initiatives, visit the Graduate Studies strategic plan page.