Coronavirus Response Information for the
Graduate Education Community
The Graduate Studies offices are currently closed to the public in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. Graduate Studies staff will continue to work and will provide student advising and other services remotely. If you have any specific questions or concerns, please contact your graduate program coordinator.
Recent Campus Updates
Updated July 31, 2020
The University of California, Davis, released today (July 31) more information about its plans for fall quarter instruction and operations. An overview for fall was included in a message from Chancellor Gary S. May that was distributed to the campus community.
The update shared information about health and safety; instruction and academic support; housing and dining halls; and student programs, services and recreation with a link to more information in answers to frequently asked questions.
Please review the new Campus Ready Plan for information on the gradual return of research, operations, instruction and how the campus plans to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Please visit the UC Davis Coronoavirus Information page for more information and an archive of past updates.
Campus Resource Pages By Topic
The Graduate Admissions offices at UC Davis are currently closed. While our staff will still be able to review applications, process materials, and release decisions remotely, we do anticipate that these processes will be delayed. We appreciate your patience. At this point in time, we are continuing the usual rollout of graduate admission notifications. The global uncertainty surrounding coronavirus has not changed our application review or admission process.
We understand that some of our applicants and prospective students have been affected by the Coronavirus outbreak, including school closures, travel restrictions and shelter-in-place or quarantine measures. The thoughts of our office and our community are with you in this time of uncertainty. We are monitoring school closures and government actions in California, the nation and around the world. We will work with individuals as needed to stay on track with the admissions process and make sure everyone has the information they need.
Please review the sections below for guidance on specific admissions materials or concerns. We will share more Coronavirus information and updates, when available. If you have any questions, please email us at email@example.com.
- Academic Credentials / Transcripts
- Due to the campus shutdown in response to the pandemic, please note that transcript processing for admitted students has been delayed. If you have already sent physical transcripts/academic records, we have begun processing those documents as of April 30 but it will take some time to work through the backlog. If you have not yet sent your transcripts/academic records, please see our Transcript Requirements for New Admits webpage for specific instructions about sending your documents to us so that we can get them processed as quickly as possible.
- GRE Test Score Requirements
- GRE General examinations: ETS is now offering an at-home version of the GRE examinations, and UC Davis is accepting these scores as official. However, ETS does have some limitations on who is able to take the at-home versions of the GRE. If you are unable to take these exams due to the COVID-19 epidemic and the temporary closing of testing centers, please contact your proposed program of study. Information about ETS at-home testing availability can be found on the GRE website.
GRE Subject examinations: Because ETS has suspended GRE Subject examinations indefinitely, the university has now waived that requirement for all applicants for the remainder of this admission cycle.
- English Language Test Score Requirements
- ETS is now offering an at-home version of the TOEFL examination (see the TOEFL website for details), and UC Davis is accepting these scores as official. However, the at-home TOEFL examination is not available to all applicants, and many IELTS test centers are currently closed due to the COVID-19 epidemic. As a result, for those applicants who are unable to provide TOEFL or IELTS scores, UC Davis is now accepting Duolingo English Test scores for the remainder of this admission cycle only.
The minimum Duolingo English Test score to be eligible for admission to graduate study at UC Davis is 115. However, applicants who are selected for admission but have a score below 130 may be required to complete additional English language testing or coursework. To send your Duolingo English Test scores to UC Davis, select "University of California Davis Graduate Admissions" as the institution. Once we receive your scores, we will add them to your application record.
For applicants who have already taken the IELTS examination and need to submit official test scores, do not sent your IELTS examination scores to UC Davis via mail. Instead, contact UC Davis Graduate Admissions and provide us with your IELTS TRF number. We will verify your scores electronically using the IELTS examination score database and add them to your application record.
- International Students and Visas
- International students need visas to study in the United States, and we understand that travel restrictions or other concerns may impact visa preparation or travel plans. Admitted students should proceed with visa requests as usual. UC Davis Services for International Students and Scholars (SISS) handles any questions about the visa process. Please visit the SISS website for more information.
For international students who need to obtain visas prior to beginning their studies at UC Davis, we encourage you to seek information at the US consulate or embassy where you live. You should also refer to the Services for International Students and Scholars (SISS) website for information about requesting an I-20-DS/2019. Their team will be accepting requests for these documents as early as April 8, 2020. Please submit your request as soon as possible so that you are ready to schedule an appointment for a visa once embassies and consulates reopen.
Our campus is closely monitoring the global travel situation. We are hoping that improvements in the situation may allow current travel recommendations to be eased in the coming months, and that the visa process will be smooth this year for all incoming students.
We are aware that many international students at UC Davis are impacted by travel, housing and public health concerns given the situation with COVID-19. Global Affairs is maintaining an updated resource page with information specific to international students and scholars on the Services for International Students and Scholars (SISS) website. We will continue to update the graduate education considerations below as new developments take place.
Travel, Visas, and Immigration
Minimizing international travel is recommended since re-entry into the U.S. could be restricted. Services for International Students and Scholars is available for those with questions or concerns related to traveling to and from UC Davis, visas, immigration status, and specific programs such as the Planned Educational Leave Program. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-752-0864.
Instruction and Research
UC Davis is focused on protecting the health and safety of students and the teaching community and upholding the quality of education so students can continue progress on their academic goals. Graduate Studies is working with the Office of Research and Undergraduate Education to compile guidance related to their research and instructional responsibilities.
- Teaching Resources
- Instructors should talk to their TAs to determine their availability for in-person proctoring, in alignment with campus directives.
Keep Teaching: Strategies and Resources for Instructional Resilience — This site provides practical resources and strategies for moving part or all of a course online to help instructors keep teaching. It provides contacts for support from Academic Technology Services and the Center for Educational Effectiveness. Teaching and technology experts stand ready to consult with instructors on any part of the process of maintaining instructional excellence while teaching elements of a course online. Please contact Academic Technology Services at email@example.com (educational technologies) and the Center for Educational Effectiveness at firstname.lastname@example.org (pedagogical and instructional strategies) for support.
A new student resources page, featuring laptop loaner and free internet service information, has also been added to the Keep Teaching site.
- On March 17, the Office of Research posted a webpage on research continuity and planning for COVID-19 . The guidance on the site remains valid and in effect as of 8:00 pm on March 20 2020. The guidance is intended to help the campus research community limit the impact and potential risks associated with the growing outbreak of COVID-19. We ask that you review the guidance, particularly the definitions of critical research activities, and discuss continuity or closure plans with your PI or major professor.
If you are engaged in a research activity that is defined as critical (based on the criteria defined in the guidance from the Office of Research) and must work on-site, please follow the safety guidelines and the protocols described in the Office of Research guidelines. You must coordinate your schedule and working protocols with your PI.
In addition to the guidance from the Office of Research to ramp down any non-critical on-site research activities, we want to stress that your health, the health of your family, and public health come first. You should not feel pressured to conduct research that makes you uncomfortable. If you are being provided with conflicting information, we ask that you voice your concerns to program directors, thesis committee members, program administrators, or email email@example.com.
We appreciate that, for some students, stopping on-site, non-critical research activities could be damaging to academic progress. Again, your health, and public health, must come first. Please engage with your Major Professor and/or dissertation committee to establish a plan that gets you back on track when these in-person research activities become possible again.
Temporary Extension to the 18-quarter service limit for academic student employees (ASE's)
On Friday, June 19, UC Provost Michael Brown announced a temporary extension of the total length of service for academic student employees (ASE) up to 21 quarters, for matriculated students during the quarters in which instruction is substantially impacted by COVID-19. This means that all matriculated students in Spring 2020 and Fall 2020 (and perhaps beyond, "should these conditions persist") can receive permission to extend their total length of service to a maximum of 21 quarters at any point in the future.
For example, a Fall 2020 incoming PhD student who starts their first ASE appointment until 2022-2023 will likely not reach their 18 quarter service limit until 2028-2029, but they would still be able to request additional quarters (up to 21) of ASE appointments because the student was a "matriculated student at UC during the quarters/semesters in which instruction is substantially impacted by COVID-19."
Advising, Form Submission, Degree Filing, and Student Progress Assessments
The Graduate Studies office is closed to the public as part of the response to the Coronavirus outbreak. Although our physical location is closed to the public, Graduate Studies will still continue in an operating status. We will continue student advising and other services, but following new procedures described below.
Advising and General Questions
Students should contact Graduate Studies for general questions using email. The central Graduate Studies email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. For advising, email your Senior Academic Advisor (SAA) directly. Zoom (video conferencing) can be scheduled using our appointment system.
Submission via Email
Senior Academic Advisors are not available for in-person drop off and the Graduate Studies drop box is temporarily closed. Students should submit their forms to their graduate program coordinators according to their department process. Program coordinators are responsible for emailing completed forms to their Senior Academic Advisor (SAA).
Forms with Associated Fees: The Cashier’s Office accepts in-person payment or mailed checks from graduate students. There is not currently an online payment option for graduate candidacies or filing fees forms. The updated payment process is available on the Student Accounting webpage. Forms with associated fees must still be submitted to Graduate Studies by their due date even if the fee has not yet been paid. These forms will be held and not processed until receipt of payment is shown. Once we receive proof of payment, the forms will be processed based on the date the form was received by Graduate Studies.
Electronic signatures (either facsimiles of original signatures or digital signatures) are normally allowed on all Graduate Studies forms as long as forms are submitted through the graduate program coordinator. Submission dates and timelines still apply according to the policy associated with the form.
Students completing their thesis or dissertation must arrange remote filing with their SAA. Filing students may email all paperwork to their assigned SAA except the signed title page. Title pages may be signed by committee members electronically, but must be submitted by the committee chair or graduate program coordinator with all committee members CC’d. As is standard procedure, theses and dissertations will be uploaded via ProQuest ETD and reviewed by an SAA. More information on remote filing is available on the Preparing and Filing Your Thesis or Dissertation webpage.
Student Progress Assessments (SPA)
Graduate Studies will no longer require in-person meetings to discuss progress, but asks faculty and graduate students to discuss progress through remote means such as Zoom or Skype for the 2019-2020 academic year. Major professors and graduate program advisors should adjust expectations and timelines to acknowledge the possible limitations of remote work and accommodate a graduate student’s personal and/or medical situation. This year Graduate Studies is extending a SPA grace period to September 30, 2020.
Graduate Qualifying, Comprehensive, and Final Exams
Update (March 18, 2020): In compliance with current campus and state-wide directives, all examinations must now be conducted remotely until the end of Summer 2020. No in-person examinations will be permitted due to both personal and public health risk. All exam participants (committee members and students) must make necessary arrangements to engage in the examination virtually. This action is a provisional exception to the Policy on Service on Advanced Degree Committees (GC1998-01) and only applies to the rules regarding remote participation. All other aspects of the policy remain in effect.
- Information for Program Chairs and Coordinators
- You are no longer required to submit the online Remote Participation Request form that was sent on March 12. Since the current expectation is that all exams are to be conducted remotely, no advance reporting of remote participants will be required. Please contact Jasmine Bonite, Project/Policy Analyst, at email@example.com for any questions or concerns.
- Exam Committee Chairs and Students
- Prior to the examination taking place, the following requirements should be completed:
All committee members must be approved by Graduate Studies prior to the exam through the appropriate committee application form. Proceeding with an exam without an approved application and/or proceeding with unapproved member(s) will result in the examination being void and a result of "No Exam" being recorded. If you are unsure whether the associated application has been approved, please contact your assigned Senior Academic Advisor (SAA)
The exam committee chair must develop a clear plan for how to administer the exam and communicate it to all members and the student. At minimum, this plan should include:
- Agreement on the platform (e.g. Zoom or Skype) used to conduct the remote examination. All participants must have live visual and auditory capability for the exam.
- A technical support/troubleshooting plan should issues occur. Equipment and applications should be tested prior to the examination commencing.
- A plan for deliberation following the exam. The student must be able to exit the virtual meeting and return when notified by the exam chair.
If you have questions or concerns about coordinating or conducting your remote examination, please contact your Program Coordinator.
- Postponing Exams
- Students do not need to report postponed exams to Graduate Studies unless the approved committee must be reconstituted. When selecting a new exam date, please remember it is unclear how the current situation will develop in the coming months. As usual, committee chairs must list the exam date on the exam report.
- Master’s Comprehensive Exams
- Comprehensive exam format varies between programs. Graduate Studies recommends programs make adjustments to their current exam format in keeping with the campus directive of ‘maximum flexibility’.
Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) Optional Grading - Extended to Summer 2020
A graduate student in good standing (or who receives approval from Graduate Studies) is authorized to undertake up to 3 courses in Spring and/or Summer 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.
- How will I know what course(s) I have the option to change to S/U grading?
You must consult with your program to determine which courses you may be allowed to change to S/U grading. Approval from a Graduate Advisor (GA) is still required in order for a Grading Option Change request to be processed.
- Are there potential disadvantages to changing a course to S/U grading?
Discussing your options with your Graduate Advisor will help you to comprehensively evaluate the pros, cons, and possible long-term implications of S/U grading. The goal of this process is to support your long-term success. Graduate Studies has also prepared an Important Considerations document to guide students through this decision.
- How do I submit a request for optional S/U grading for my course(s)?
- You can initiate the process by completing the Grading Option Change form and then sending the completed form to your Graduate Advisor after you have engaged in a discussion with them about the requested changes and the potential implications. Step-by-step instructions are listed on the first page of the form.
- How will I know if my form has been processed?
- You will receive an email confirming the grading mode has been changed for the course(s) requested. Please note, this process can take up to two weeks to complete. If you have questions about the status of your request, please contact Duncan Temple Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Are there any resources for programs seeking to apply these exceptions?
- Yes, resources for programs, coordinators and advisors have been shared by Graduate Studies through the Dean's Update Email to Chairs and Coordinators. Please see the following resources:
COVID-19 Mentoring and Advising Page
Important Considerations for Late Drops and S/U Grading Exceptions guide
Submitting Program Plans for Summer 2020 S/U Exceptions: Please submit your plan and/or any questions about applying Summer 2020 S/U exceptions to Duncan Temple Lang at email@example.com.
Time to Degree - Blanket Exception
In recognition of the impact that COVID-related closures have had on all graduate students at UC Davis, Graduate Studies, with the support of Graduate Council, will provide 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 programs and campus partners to explore potential financial support options.
We will reassess in the future if additional measures may be required; in the meantime, we encourage all students to work closely with their faculty to adapt their plans to make progress in their research in different ways than anticipated.
- What is "normative time to degree" and how is it calculated?
- Doctoral students have 12 registered quarters from the quarter they pass their qualifying examination to submit their dissertation. Summer terms, quarters in which the student is on Planned Educational Leave (PELP), and terms for which the student has withdrawn do not count towards the allotted 12 quarters. In addition, as part of the blanket exception on normative time to degree, Graduate Studies will not count the quarters from Spring 2020 and Spring 2021 as part of the 12 quarter calculation.
- Do I have to submit a Time to Degree Extension Request Form?
- No, this is a blanket exception and is automatically applied to all graduate students. Students will not be required to submit the Time to Degree Extension Request form to Graduate Studies.
- Who should I contact if I have questions about how this exception applies to me?
- Students can contact their assigned Senior Academic Advisor.
Employment and Leave Options
UC Davis is committed to supporting employees and their families during the COVID-19 emergency. Graduate Studies has compiled information about academic employment and leave and will be updating the sections below as details emerge.
Spring Quarter Employment
As the campus responds to changing needs, there may be a need to update the Description of Duties for some appointments and make reassignments for our graduate student teaching staff. Student employees should communicate with their supervisor and departmental staff to remain aware of the changes to operations, course appointments and instructional delivery methods.
Compensation equal to that in the contract is protected for students with employment contracts in place for Spring 2020 quarter. For more information, talk to your supervisor or refer to the collective bargaining agreement between the University of California and the United Auto Workers 2865.
Leave Information for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars
The Office of the President has issued guidance regarding COVID-19 related administrative leave use by academic employees. The guidance for supervisors is available at the campus COVID-19-Related Leave for Academic Appointees page. (Mar 26)
This paid administrative leave is available to salaried and hourly postdoctoral scholars and graduate student employees. As indicated in the guidance, Paid Administrative Leave may be taken only when at least one of the following circumstances are met:
1. When an employee is unable to work due to the employee’s own COVID-19-related illness or that of a family member; or
2. When an employee is unable to work because the employee has been directed not to come to the worksite for COVID-19-related reasons and it is not operationally feasible for the employee to work remotely; or
3. When an employee is unable to work because a COVID-19-related school or daycare closure requires the employee to be at home with a child or dependent, and it is not operationally feasible for the employee to work remotely or in conjunction with the childcare commitment.
If an employee themselves is ill or is caring for an ill family member, medical and sick leave under applicable university policy and collective bargaining agreements are also available in addition to the administrative leave program.
Administrative leave should only be requested when the employee is unable to perform any work. Alternate duties may be assigned and reasonable flexibility should be applied given the ever-changing situation. Employees should consult with their supervisor or department chair regarding appropriate alternate duties.
President Napolitano has stated that the use of paid administrative leave must not adversely affect the delivery of essential university services. Delivery of instruction and UC Health clinical services are essential university service and thus every effort must be made to ensure their continuation. The campus is working diligently to facilitate remote instruction.
The Office of the President has allowed an extension of APM and collective bargaining agreement leave policies to allow leave that is normally available only for one’s own illness to to extend to cover a family member’s COVID-19 illness.
The COVID-19-Related Leave for Academic Appointees letter (Mar 26) contains provisions specific to Postdoctoral Scholars-Paid Direct, Reader/Tutor hours, Work Study awards, by-agreement flat rate payment, and requirements for leave tracking.
- Employees may still use accrued sick, vacation or paid time off in order to address their own illness or the serious medical condition of a family member.
- The 128-hour allotment may be used consecutively in one block or incrementally.
- The paid administrative leave may be used prior to usage of accrued leave.
- The allocation for employees with less than full time appointments (e.g., student employees) shall be prorated based on appointment percentage.
- Subject to the University’s ongoing operational needs, the paid administrative leave provided pursuant to the Executive Order must be used during the period from March 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020 for the reasons stated in the covered categories only. All hours must be used by December 31, 2020, or any remaining hours in the allotment expire.
Questions may be directed to Graduate Studies Academic Personnel, Tracey Pereida, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Requesting Paid Administrative Leave
The employee should complete the Emergency Administrative Leave form (PDF), and submit it to their immediate supervisor. The request will be reviewed by the employee’s immediate supervisor who shall be responsible for determining whether to grant the administrative leave.
The employee will be contacted by the department and/or service channel leave administrator to assure FML designations are in place, if applicable, and to coordinate administrative leave and other applicable medical or personal leave as prescribed by the APM and/or collective bargaining agreement. If administrative leave is exhausted, the employee may be eligible to use accrued vacation, PTO or sick leave. Following approval, the department is required to submit a case to the service channel for leave to be entered into UCPath.
Determining Whether to Grant Administrative Leave
In making the determination whether to grant the leave, supervisors must take into account the operational needs of the University with special consideration given to the critical importance of maintaining the continuity of medical center operations. Supervisors are responsible for determining whether their employees may work remotely, whether they are performing essential functions and requiring employees to be at work on campus.
Essential functions include, but are not limited to:
- Clinical services delivered by UC Davis Health
- Patient and animal care
- Critical campus infrastructure
- Diagnostic laboratories
- Critical ongoing research
- Delivering ongoing instruction
When a supervisor denies a request to use this emergency leave, the supervisor should inform the employee the basis for the denial and inform Employee & Labor Relations of the employee’s name, job title, and reason for denial.
Reporting Paid Leave
Davis Campus: The Time Reporting System (TRS) is updated for reporting approved COVID-19 related Emergency Administrative Leave (EAL). Visit the Time Reporting System (TRS) webpage for information.
UC Davis Health (Medical Center, Schools of Health): Employees on approved COVID-19 Emergency Administrative Leave (EAL) should record their time and attendance in Ecotime. View Ecotime Guide (.pdf)
Manual Leave Report: Departments must submit a case to manually report approved COVID-19 related Emergency Administrative Leave (EAL) to the appropriate Service Channel for employees unable to use a campus time reporting system.
Planned Educational Leave Program (PELP)
Students have the option to apply for the Planned Educational Leave Program (PELP). PELP is a leave from your academic studies at UC Davis for up to three cumulative quarters. Extensions beyond three quarters will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. To apply for PELP, submit the filled email template to your Graduate Program Coordinator. Be sure to review all the information on the PELP instructions before submitting. Please pay special attention to restrictions on UC SHIP (health insurance). PELP applications for international students will not be approved unless you have confirmed you discussed a leave with your SISS advisor.
Normally, students who are enrolled and submit a PELP request after the first day of instruction are subject to the Schedule of Refunds and must pay a percentage of the quarter fees based on the date the PELP was submitted. However, exceptions to the Schedule of Refunds can be made for late PELP requests in exceptional circumstances. To request an exception, students should submit the email PELP template with an explanation of the situation along with a memo of support from their major professor or graduate advisor, and any available supporting documentation.
Family and Medical Leave for Funded Graduate Students
The Graduate Studies Policy for Family and Medical Leave Accommodation for Graduate Students with Funding (GS2015-01) is designed to accommodate outside demands so that students can successfully complete their program of study. There are several types of leave available to doctoral and master’s students, including students in self-supporting and professional degree programs, who hold an academic employment appointment. For more information on eligibility requirements and the different types of leave, visit our Family and Medical Leave webpage.
Many graduate student parents will be impacted by school and daycare closures. The Women's Resources and Research Center has put together a COVID-19 Student Parent Community Resources document for on- and off-campus resources for parents. This document includes resources on paid administrative leave available to employees (including graduate student employees experiencing a lack of child care), emergency child care, and education resources.
Campus and Graduate Studies Operations
The Graduate Studies offices are currently closed to the public in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. Although our physical location is closed, Graduate Studies will still continue in an operating status.
Graduate Studies staff will continue to work, making arrangements with supervisors to work from a remote location. We will continue student advising and other services, but following new procedures described above.
Graduate Studies Events
- In accordance with campus directives, we have canceled or postponed a number of Spring Quarter events, including...
- Postdoctoral Scholar Association's 2020 Postdoctoral Research Symposium
- National Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week
- Grad Student and Postdoc Professional Development Resource Fair
- UC Davis Grad Slam Final Round
UC Davis Graduate Studies Commencement will not take place in an in-person format this spring. Graduate Studies will be hosting a virtual celebration on June 11. All eligible graduate students were sent a personalized email with directions explaining how to register for the virtual celebration. If you did not receive an email, please check your spam/junk folder, and email email@example.com to be added.
Graduates will have the opportunity to create a personalized slide and their names will be pre-recorded by a professional name reader. The Virtual Celebration will be available on this webpage on June 11 at 10:00 a.m..
- Accessing On-Campus Space
Acting in the interest of public health remains the top priority. We continue to strongly against being on-campus to abide by the local and statewide directives. However, we understand the need for some people to access on-campus resources and/or work spaces in order to effectively continue essential duties related to their academics and/or student employment. are encouraged to exercise their greatest discretion when deciding to be physically present on campus. If you are planning on utilizing on-campus space for any reason, please note the following guidelines:
Though many parts of campus remain accessible, some department-specific space may be limited due to the strict enforcement of “shelter in place.” If the space(s) you wish to utilize require another person’s assistance (e.g. staff) in order to access the space, it may not be possible to use that space. It is best to check with your supervisor or department staff if you are planning on accessing department space. Please be mindful that you must still adhere to public health guidelines of social distancing.Students who have concerns about conducting required work or research duties on campus are strongly encouraged to discuss their concerns to their supervisors or contact Graduate Studies at firstname.lastname@example.org.