Things You Should Know: Coronavirus and Graduate Studies
Coronavirus and Graduate Studies
Below are some questions and answers you might have about your graduate studies and the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
If you have further questions please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you accepting GRE waivers for the Fall 2020 Semester?
Applicants may be admitted conditionally without submitting test scores, please contact your graduate program for more information.
Have any deadlines changed?
Registration opened on March 26. Specific enrollment appointment times will be updated and visible on your myUCF in the very near future.
If you have questions about these changes, please email the Registrar’s Office at email@example.com. Check the academic calendar and UCF’s coronavirus website and Graduate Studies coronavirus website for ongoing updates.
I’ve been accepted into a graduate program for summer. Can I request a deferral of my admission offer?
Deferment requests are handled on a case-by-case basis, at the discretion of each individual graduate program. You will need to submit your request to the graduate program coordinator directly. You can find their contact information in the Graduate Catalog. During this time, the College of Graduate Studies supports the deferral of applications if granted permission by the program. If program approval is awarded, applicants will not be asked to pay an additional application fee or re-submit official documents that have been verified by our office for the entry term in which deferral is granted.
Is UCF accepting at home GRE/GMAT scores?
Yes, we are currently accepting at home/online exam scores.
Admissions – International
Due to the COVID-19, all the testing centers have been suspended. How can I fulfill my English proficiency requirement?
I am an international student and have applied to a graduate program, what will happen with my application because of Covid19?
All international applicants will have their application reviewed as normal. No changes regarding how we review international applications have occurred.
I am an international student and have been offered admission into a graduate program, what should I do?
UCF is still admitting qualified international applicants. If you have intentions of joining UCF as a graduate student, please accept the offer. Programs are making relevant academic accommodations for the Fall 2020 term. We encourage you to reach out to your program for additional information.
I cannot complete my course-by-course evaluation with GPA calculation from World Education Services/Josef Silny & Associates, what should I do to complete this requirement for my application?
Due to the current COVID-19 situation, we will accept this preliminary evaluation from Josef Silny & Associates as “unofficial” for admission review. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
What method of academic delivery will UCF be using for the fall 2020 term?
UCF will be adopting a hybrid model for academic delivery this fall 2020 term. New international students may also have the option to enroll entirely online in their home country. For specific information on how this may affect your visa process, we encourage you to reach out to UCF Global by emailing email@example.com or calling 407-823-2337.
I need to schedule a candidacy exam. What do I do?
Check with your program for updated information.
If graduate programs wish to use ProctorHub (which would also include Zoom) for their qualifying or candidacy exams, they can make a request for a special web courses section for that at:
https://cdl.ucf.edu/teach/course/request-section/. A designer at CDL will then follow up to help them set it up.
Health and Safety
I'm feeling stressed, not sleeping and having high anxiety, what can I do?
UCF RESTORES-Trauma Therapy Program will explore a variety of topics and challenges unique to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in video. The videos will cover reactions that are typical during periods of heightened anxiety, healthy coping mechanisms, the hazards associated with unhealthy drinking habits, the importance of proper sleep hygiene, relaxation techniques, resources for social support in trying times and more.
The live videos will be posted on the UCF RESTORES-Trauma Therapy Program Facebook page every Monday and Thursday through May 18, and will remain available for viewing and sharing on the “UCF Restores Wellness Education Series” event page.
I’m feeling overwhelmed and the campus is not open, what can I do?
UCF’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is still open to help students at no cost. While the office is not seeing anyone in person at this time, there are still resources available that align with social distancing. These include:
- TeleMental Health Services: Phone or video-conference counseling appointments with licensed professionals. To schedule an appointment, call 407-823-2811. If you want to engage in video conferencing, you will need to speak to a counselor to discuss options and process.
- TAO (Therapy Assistance Online) Self-Help: A self-guided interactive, web-based program that provides assistance to help overcome anxiety, depression and other concerns.
- TAO Treatment: Through this web-based program clients will watch videos, complete exercises and meet with a therapist via videoconferencing for a 10 to 15-minute appointment, weekly.
- TAO Mindfulness Library: Online exercises and videos are available to everyone.
The gyms and fitness centers are closed, how do I stay active?
- Listen to your body: There are so many different ways to be active, from bike riding to weightlifting, and playing with your pet to walking, so you should listen to your body to determine what kinds of exercise and how much to incorporate into your routine. Challenge yourself, but if something doesn’t feel right or you’re experiencing pain, ease off the exercise. You may also want to consider how your sleeping and eating habits are affecting your ability to be active and adjust accordingly.
- Use a trusted source: At this time there are so many resources from gyms, workout studios and fitness influencers. But you should focus on the material higher education institutions are putting out because they’re probably the safest. At UCF, we require that every personal and group exercise trainer has up-to-date certification. Our material is designed to be attainable for most people too, and it’s free for everyone to use.
- Stretch and hydrate daily: One thing everyone should do every day is stretch. When you’re sitting, you’re just in one plane of motion, but when you stretch you activate different planes of motion, which helps lubricate your joints, create more flexibility in your muscles, and boost positive hormones and energy in your brain and body. Now is also a great time to make sure you’re drinking enough water, which is different for every person based on weight, health, level of activity and environment.
- No equipment? No problem: Everyone has objects in their homes that can double as workout equipment, such as textbooks for weights and a chair that can be used for tricep dips. But with or without equipment, you can still get a good workout by completing bodyweight exercises, such as yoga, which only requires some space.
- Staying motivated and tracking progress: Depending on what your goals are there are different apps for tracking exercise-related progress and maintaining motivation, but I recommend everyone focus on the feeling of being active. You can write down how you feel after each workout in a journal or text a friend to let them know you’ve had an awesome workout, which may motivate them and inspire you to keep going.
Health and Safety – Cares Act
Am I eligible for CARES Act Funds?
Undergraduate, graduate and medical degree-seeking students are eligible, but must have submitted a 2019-2020 FAFSA or must submit a FAFSA application by the June 30 deadline in order to be eligible for the funding. Students must also meet federal aid eligibility criteria, including but not limited to:
- Being a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen (i.e. permanent resident or conditional permanent resident)
- Having a valid Social Security number
- Having a high school diploma, GED or completion of high school in an approved homeschool setting
- Being degree-seeking
- Must be enrolled in the term for which they are seeking assistance
- Cannot be in default on federal student loans
- Being registered with Selective Service, if male
- Meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress
- Cannot exceed aggregate loan limit or Pell Grant lifetime usage
- Cannot owe an overpayment on federal aid programs
Additionally, students enrolled in an all online program of study are not eligible.
Funding is limited, and applications will be reviewed based upon request. For students who are not eligible for CARES Act funding, UCF will evaluate applications to determine whether other forms of assistance may apply.
How can I help or donate additional funds to support students?
UCF students are being affected in very real ways by the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re among those in a position to help UCF students who are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, click here to pledge your support.
How can students apply for CARES Act funds?
How did UCF develop eligibility criteria?
How is UCF distributing the emergency grant funding allocated by the CARES Act?
UCF will be following the guidelines outlined in the federal legislation. Students whose education has been disrupted due to COVID-19 will be given the opportunity to receive this funding. Students’ requests will be evaluated based on the identified need and available funds.
How long before I know if I'm awarded CARES Act funds?
Due to the anticipated high volume of applications, we expect that it will be 3-4 weeks before students will receive the money.
How much funding from CARES Act will I get?
Award amounts will vary based upon student’s request and available funding.
How will I receive CARES Act funding if my request is approved?
Direct deposit is the fastest way to receive your funding, and banking information can be updated via myUCF. Instructions are available here.
- Log onto myUCF
- Click on ‘Financial Account’ tile
- Click on the ’Direct Deposit’ link
- Enter the bank account details and click the ‘Next’ button
- Review and agree to the Direct Deposit Agreement
- Click the ‘Submit’ button
Only U.S bank accounts can be used for direct deposit. Some banks make take longer to process payments.
Students without direct deposit will be mailed a paper check to the home address on record with the university. The home address in myUCF must be a residential U.S. address
I am an international student. What resources are available to help me?
Students who do not meet the eligibility requirement for CARES Act funding are encouraged to contact Student Care Services to discuss eligibility for Student Emergency funds by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am not eligible for CARES Act funding. What other resources are available for me?
Students who do not meet the eligibility requirement for CARES Act funding are encouraged to contact Student Care Services to discuss eligibility for Student Emergency funds by emailing email@example.com.
I graduate in Spring 2020. Can I still receive emergency grant funding?
Yes, students graduating in Spring 2020 have until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, May 19, to apply for the funding.
I have a student who needs financial help. Where do I refer them?
I'm continuing to experience financial distress. Are there any other funding options available?
Students are encouraged to review their financial aid package and can contact Financial Aid by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. They should include “Professional Judgement” in the subject line and provide a detailed explanation of their special circumstance. Please allow 3-5 business days for a response.
If students are continuing to experience financial distress, they are encouraged to contact Student Care Services to discuss eligibility for Student Emergency funds by emailing email@example.com.
If I applied for support from UCF's Student Emergency Fund, can I still receive a CARES Act award?
Yes, students may be eligible for both forms of support. Those who have applied for the Student Emergency Fund are encouraged to also apply for CARES Act funding.
If I depend on financial support from my parents and they were negatively impacted by COVID-19, am I eligible for this funding?
If families incurred expenses due to reduced work hours or loss of employment due to COVID-19 and those expenses impacted you as a student, students are encouraged to include those circumstances in the application.
Is this funding a loan that will need to be repaid?
No, the CARES Act money is a federal emergency grant that is not required to be repaid.
What are the types of expenses covered by CARES Act funding?
CARES Act funds are designed to assist with expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19, such as housing, food, course materials, technology, healthcare, and child care.
What if I haven't submitted a FAFSA for 2019-2020?
Students may still be eligible for CARES Act funding but must submit a FAFSA application. We recommend these students apply for CARES Act funding and fill out a FAFSA application, which takes the Department of Education 48-72 hours to process.
What should I do if I'm not sure that my expense would be covered by CARES Act funding?
Who can I contact if I have additional questions?
Why was I not funded the amount that I requested from the CARES Act?
Every application will be evaluated individually, and the amount granted will be based on the request and available funding.
I have to complete mandatory Integrity Training workshops to complete my program, but they are not offered online. What do I do?
The College of Graduate Studies has move required Integrity Training workshops to an online format so students can still meet their requirements. Check the Pathways to Success website for the current schedule.
Will there be a Fall Orientation for new graduate students?
After considering the unprecedented situation of COVID-19, guidance from the state, and the health and safety of all, the decision was made to move the Fall 2020 New Graduate Student Orientation hosted by the College of Graduate Studies completely online. Students should check with their academic programs for information on program-specific orientations.
Visit https://graduate.ucf.edu/orientation/ for information on the New Graduate Student Online Orientation.
Satisfactory and Unsatisfactory Grading
Are there any classes that are not eligible for the opt-in S/U grade?
Most classes are eligible for the Spring 2020 S/U opt-in policy. There are only a few exemptions that have been approved. Without a special exemption from the university, your faculty advisor or graduate program director cannot prevent you from opting in for S/U grading. Instead, their role is to advise you on what they think are the potential consequences of your choice. You are encouraged to seek their advice, but the ultimate decision is yours.
Can I appeal my decision to receive an S/U for a class?
Appeals to reverse your request for an S/U will not be allowed.
Can I withdraw from a class instead of opting-in for an S/U?
You can withdraw from a class until Monday, April 20.
How does a student opt-in? By what deadline?
Students will opt-in by completing an online request form. When available, students will opt-in using the self-service option in myUCF. Navigate to my.UCF.edu > Student Self Service > Student Center > Other Academic (dropdown menu) > COVID-19 S/U Option. The decision to opt-in should be made in consultation with your faculty advisor and/or graduate program director as soon as possible. The S/U opt-in period will begin April 10; the last day to opt-in is April 27.
How does a U grade impact my GPA or academic standing?
An unsatisfactory (U) grade will not impact your GPA, but it may impact your academic standing. In general, receiving more than 6 credits of U grades can result in dismissal. Some programs have more strict standards, so you should refer to your graduate program handbook for information about how a U grade may impact your academic standing.
How does my decision to opt-in for an S/U grading impact my Financial Aid and/or Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?
Information about the impact of S/U grading on financial aid will be given prior to April 10. Please pay attention to your knights.ucf.edu email for the information.
How will S/U grades this semester be explained when I have my transcript sent to another professional or graduate school?
The back of the transcripts contains a legend detailing grades. Transcripts will indicate that the S/U option was made available this semester because of the pandemic. Additional information will be available at registrar.ucf.edu\covid19. If you are a graduate certificate or master’s degree student wishing to apply to another graduate degree program, you should talk with your faculty advisor and/or graduate program director for information about how choosing S/U grades may impact your chances of being admitted in other graduate programs or how choosing S/U grades might impact the course transfers to those programs.
How will U grades impact my graduate assistantship?
Graduate assistantship students are expected to maintain good academic standing. Speak with your faculty advisor and/or graduate program director if you have questions about how receiving a U grade could impact your funding.
How will U grades impact my university fellowship?
Most university fellowships require students to receive satisfactory grades in all classes (unsatisfactory grades are C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, F, NC, and U). If you have questions about how a U grade could impact your graduate fellowship, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How would choosing S/U grading impact me if I’m part of a special population or cohort such as international students, veterans, student athletes, etc?
Please contact the appropriate resource office to anticipate the impact:
- Academic Services for Student Athletes (ASSA) — 407.823.5895 or email@example.com
- UCF Global (International Students) — 407.823.2337
- Veterans Academic Resource Center (VARC) — 407.823.2707 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Office of Student Financial Assistance — 407.823.2827 or email@example.com
I am a graduate student who is enrolled in an undergraduate class as a pre-requisite for my graduate program and I am expecting a C grade in this class. If I choose the S/U option, will I receive an S or a U?
S/U grading is linked to your status as a graduate student. Thus, any grade of C that you earn, regardless of the level of class you are taking, will be evaluated using the graduate S/U conversion. Any C grade you earn will be converted to a U grade.
I am considering opting-in for an S/U grade for a class. How should I proceed?
Read through these FAQs, review your graduate program handbook, and schedule an appointment to speak with your faculty advisor and/or graduate program director for guidance.
Some programs have requirements that limit you to letter grades (e.g., accreditation standards; minimum letter grade requirements) for certain classes. Additionally, some programs have strict rules about dismissal for “U” grades that you should consider as you make this choice.
I am in provisional admission status, on probation, or on a conditional retention plan. Can I choose S/U grading?
Yes, but it is important to consider the implications of your choice. If you were admitted provisionally or are currently on probation or a Conditional Retention Plan, you should contact the student services team in Graduate Studies (email firstname.lastname@example.org) about your specific situation before opting in.
I expect to earn a C (or C-/C+) in a class. How do I decide if I should 1) take the C grade; 2) choose the S/U option, or 3) Withdraw from a class?
This may be a difficult decision to make depending on your circumstances, so we recommend that you discuss this with your faculty advisor, graduate program director, college graduate advising office and/or the College of Graduate Studies. Failure to discuss your options with a knowledgeable advisor could result in making a choice that will negatively impact your academic progress in your program.
If I am graduating this semester, how will S/U affect me in a class I need to pass to graduate? How will it affect my GPA?
Remember that S/U grades do not change your GPA. They only reflect credit earned or not earned. For instance, if you are in your last semester and need specific letter grades to get or keep your GPA above 3.0, then the S/U grade will not be a good choice for you. If your GPA is already above 3.0 and you just need the credits to complete your degree, then the S/U grade might be something to consider. It is important to understand and review your degree audit and situation with your faculty advisor and/or graduate program director so that you can make an informed choice.
If I am taking a class that is a pre-requisite, how will an S/U impact my ability to register for the next class?
Some courses require a set letter grade in the pre-requisite for it to count. An S/U grade could negatively impact your academic progress in that degree program. It is important for you to consult with your faculty advisor and/or graduate program director to understand the impact of the S/U election on required pre-requisites.
Is the request form available yet?
The online form is not yet available. It will be available on April 10. Students will be notified when this online form is available.
What happens if I don’t opt-in for an S/U?
You will receive the letter grade you earn for your class(es).
What is Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grading?
Due to the extraordinary COVID-19 circumstances, UCF graduate students will have the opportunity to choose Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) grading for eligible courses in which they are enrolled in the spring semester 2020. Students will be able to choose this option from April 10 through April 27. After April 27, students may no longer choose a grading system and their choices are final. Transcripts will indicate that the S/U option was made available this semester because of the pandemic.
It is very important that you contact your advisor and/or program director to see whether this choice makes sense for you. Choosing S/U may in some cases have an effect on financial aid, and this choice may not meet requirements for your degree. More on this below.
The University uses an alphabetic system to identify student grades and other actions regarding student progress or class attendance, as follows: (https://catalog.ucf.edu/content.php?catoid=14&navoid=1197#grade-system)
Grades Grading Points Per Semester Hour of Credit
NC No Credit (NC replaces the use of D+, D and D- in certain courses)
S Satisfactory (w/credit)/Satisfactory Progress
U Unsatisfactory (no credit)/Unsatisfactory Progress
If you choose to change your letter-graded courses to an S/U grade, those selected courses with grades that are equivalent to A, A-, B+, B, or B- grades will be converted to a Satisfactory (S) grade. If your instructor agrees to give you an Incomplete (I) grade, and you wish to opt-in for S/U grading, you must opt-in by April 27 for that course. Then, once you complete the course requirements (or fail to complete the course requirements in the time allowed), your earned letter grade will be converted to S/U on your transcript.
Grades of C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, F or NC will be converted to an Unsatisfactory (U) grade. Keep in mind that most labs are linked directly to the course. If you are registered for a lab that is graded separately and does not require you to be registered simultaneously to the lecture, then the option will exist.
Grades of S and U do not impact the GPA. A grade of S will result in credit for the course, but it will not be used in the calculation of your GPA. A grade of U will reflect attempted credit that was not earned in the course, but it will not affect the GPA.
Students may select the S/U grading option for most courses that are graded. Keep in mind that most labs are linked directly to the course. If you are registered for a lab that is graded separately and does not require you to be registered simultaneously to the lecture, then the option will exist.
Please consult with your faculty advisor and/or graduate program director before making any decisions regarding your academic plan.
Will opting in for S/U grades affect my tuition reimbursement from my employer? What about my scholarship?
It is important that you check with your employer or scholarship award PRIOR to opting in for S/U grading. Some employers and scholarships will only pay if you earn letter grades in your courses.
Will students who withdrew be given the opportunity to reinstate in a course now that the opportunity to earn a U exists?
Students who request a withdrawal reversal already have the ability to do so within 3 business days from the date you withdrew. However, the request to reverse the withdrawal, in this case, must occur no later than Wednesday, April 22.
Would I have to use grade forgiveness later if I choose to repeat a course in which I received a U grade?
No. Grade forgiveness is not available to graduate students.
Would repeating a course in which I received a U be considered as a second attempt?
Yes. U grades mean that you did not earn credit for the course. If it is a required or core course in your plan of study, it would have to be repeated. If it is an elective course, then you could choose to repeat the elective course or you could pick a different elective from those allowed as part of the degree. You would still need to meet the necessary elective credit hour requirement for your degree plan of study.
Have any deadlines changed?
What to do in advance of an event on campus. (i.e. qualifying exam, candidacy exam, proposal defense and/or thesis/dissertation final defense.
You are encourage to schedule these meeting virtually whenever possible, but we understand that there may be reasons to meet on campus.
Steps to Complete in Advance
- All students, faculty, and staff must complete the required COVID-19 (EHS 222) training.
- Secure space(s) so that no more than one person is in 200 square feet of another person at any given time.
- Plan and prepare written safety procedures for the spaces that you secure, including how you will clean and disinfect areas. The meeting space should be cleaned thoroughly before and after hosting the exam/meeting.
- Identify a point-of-contact in the days leading up to, and the day of the event. This person should verify that all parties have completed EHS 222 and be available to troubleshoot any issues or assist students/faculty if they should not come to campus.
- Plan and prepare in advance an online contingency plan (e.g., using Zoom, ProctorHub) for students who are unable to return to campus. All participants should agree to the contingency plans in advance.
- If your event is open to the public (e.g., a final thesis/dissertation defense), plan an online option that will allow visitors to attend remotely rather than on campus.
- Distribute your plan (including safety procedures, point-of-contact information, and contingency plans) to all faculty, staff, students, and visitors who will attend the meeting.
On the Day of the In-Person Event
- All faculty, staff, and students should use the COVID Self-Checker (accessible through the UCF Mobile app) prior to coming to campus. If any individual is told not to attend campus by the app, they should contact the point-of-contact to discuss alternatives.
- Masks must be worn in all inside common spaces.
- All attendees must practice social distancing.
- Disinfecting wipes should be made available for use throughout the day. To limit exposure, participants should not share materials (e.g., chair; computer; handouts) during their visit to campus.
Thesis and Dissertation
Given all the changes will the Thesis/Dissertation Final Submission deadline change?
I am working on forming my thesis or dissertation committee and getting approved to enroll in thesis or dissertation hours for the first time in Summer 2020 and need signatures of all my committee members. What do I do?
The College of Graduate Studies will temporarily accept Thesis and Dissertation Advisory Committee forms with electronic initials and signatures, where appropriate. Students are responsible for obtaining signatures on the Thesis Advisory Form and the Doctoral but it must be reviewed and then submitted by graduate program staff to email@example.com.
I have a thesis or dissertation defense scheduled soon. Do I come to campus? What do I do?
Candidates should contact their committee chair to arrange for the thesis or dissertation defense remotely through the summer 2020 term. Zoom, Skype, and Teams are all options available to the committee. This is a temporary procedure while the campus is on remote status. If you use Zoom, do not post the meeting link on a public website. Instead, the committee chair should share the access information with the student and committee. See How to Keep Uninvited Guests Out of Your Zoom Event for information on security features and best practices.
I’m not supposed to be on campus, how do I get all my approval forms signed?
The College of Graduate Studies will temporarily accept electronic versions of the Thesis and Dissertation forms with electronic signatures. Unless otherwise specified by the committee chair, the candidate is responsible for obtaining signatures on approval forms from the committee members. Approval forms can be accessed through the Thesis and Dissertation Services Site. You can visit the How to Help Grad Students: Thesis and Dissertation Webcourse – Creating and Using an Adobe Acrobat Digital ID Signature for assistance. Please submit signed approval forms to firstname.lastname@example.org.