Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to Graduate Admissions and Graduate Studies

We recognize that prospective and current graduate students may have questions about how to address academic degree progress and graduate school applications given the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope the answers below will help current and prospective students prepare for graduate school and progress through their graduate degree. Please don’t hesitate to send additional questions to the Graduate Admissions Office or Office of Graduate Studies. Prospective students should e-mail questions to; current students should e-mail

In addition to this list of FAQ, graduate students are encouraged to explore the COVID-19 resource hub on the graduate studies homepage, and to view the latest information on KU’s COVID-19 resource guide. Individuals looking for resources related to remote learning should visit this guide.

Prospective Graduate Students

Will graduate programs continue to review applications for future terms?

Yes. Graduate programs with open applications will continue to review applications and make admissions recommendations to Graduate Admissions. Individuals who are not able to meet the program deadline should contact their program of interest to request an extension.  

How will graduate schools evaluate CR/NC and S/U grades?

Numerous institutions of higher education mandated changes to grades, or gave students options to change grades to CR/NC or S/U during the COVID-19 crisis. Many of these schools will provide a notation on the transcript to that effect (note that KU is reviewing a transcript notation and expects to be able to provide a notation). Schools are advised to follow guidelines set by national organizations that support higher education.  The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) published a statement strongly encouraging graduate programs to utilize holistic review, and the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers (AACRAO) shared guidance on how institutions should evaluate credit.

At KU, it’s up to departments to evaluate applicants’ credentials and suitability to the program but KU encourages departments to conduct these evaluations within the context of the COVID-19 disruptions. Prospective graduate students are strongly encouraged to discuss options with an academic advisor to determine which grading option will work best for their professional goals.

In addition, KU is reviewing a permanent policy change to allow CR/NC and S/U for master’s transfer credit with supporting documentation of a crisis.

Where can I find information about how the institution will issue immigration documents for international students?

For information about how the institution will issue immigration documents for international students, visit:

What are options to complete the GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE?

Visit the following websites for the latest information on testing options:






Are there additional options for me to demonstrate English proficiency other than an exam?

Prospective students should reach out to their specific program of interest. Applicants will work closely with the program to which they have or intend to apply to explore options such as Duolingo.

Can I delay my start term?

Applicants may request to defer their start term by sending a request to their program of interest.

Current Graduate Students

How do the changes in CR/NC and S/U apply to me?

There are no policy changes for grade changes for graduate students (except an extension of the deadline). Students are encouraged to work with their advisors to use Incompletes in appropriate circumstances. Advisors have been instructed to grade thesis and research hours with respect to students’ ability to perform research in light of campus and laboratory closures. More information is available at

What are the rules and procedures for remote exams?

Existing rules requiring in-person attendance at milestone exams are temporarily suspended through the fall 2020 term. As long as campus is open (starting Fall 2020) exams can be conducted as Zoom-only, a mixture of Zoom and in-person, or all in-person when all committee members agree. 

In cases where the student prefers for all committee members to be physically present, the student’s preference shall be honored. However, this preference may require rescheduling and therefore delay progress to degree.

A student’s milestone outcome will not be influenced by any proceedings that take place without full engagement of all participants.

Students who are still in or near Lawrence but do not have stable Wifi should contact Jeromy Horkman ( to reserve a private room in Watson Library for their exams.

More information is available at

Will graduate students receive extensions to complete their degrees?

Lawrence and Edwards-campus students are eligible to opt into a one-year extension of their maximum allowable time to degree without the need to petition for this additional time. Students will be able to elect this extension during the final semester of their current programs, if it becomes necessary. This COVID-19 extension is available to students even if they have already been granted a one-time extension according to the established university petition processes. However, it is not additive to COVID-19 extensions already in place in a student’s school or college. More information is available at

Are electronic signatures accepted for students’ master’s and doctoral exams?

Yes. Students should contact their school or the college for more information about this requirement.

Will spring 2020 graduation ceremonies take place?

The 2020 Spring Commencement and associated graduation ceremonies were postponed. Therefore, the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony was held virtually. A recording of the ceremony can be viewed here

For students who graduated, please be aware that degrees were still conferred in May, although the ceremonies have not taken place yet. The transcript is the formal documentary record of a student’s achievement and will show degree completion as of May 2020, if the student completes all requirements this spring.

Are students allowed to work?

Supervisors should communicate regularly with student workers and translate any guidance or instructions they would normally offer verbally into writing. Student work should take place remotely. Any exceptions to this must involve:

·       students who are well without any symptoms and who have not had recent exposure to symptomatic individuals,

·       the approved classification of the student as an essential on-campus worker,

·       the consent of the student to willingly be on campus, and

·       documentation of all safety and decontamination protocols implemented to ensure student wellbeing if they are working on campus during the COVID-19 outbreak

How do students access library resources?

Information is available in the “Library Resources” section of the graduate studies COVID-19 resource hub. 

Can students still use their Graduate Student Scholarly Travel Award?

The Graduate Scholarly Presentation Travel Fund resumed accepting applications on July 1, 2020. If you will incur costs by attending and presenting at a virtual conference, please apply for funding through this link.

Please note that, at this time, international travel and all conference travel is non-essential and therefore not covered by the fund.  You can find more information in the Protect KU website and the Provost's guidance on travel restrictions.

What resources are available for remote teaching?

Information is available in the “Student Employees” section of the graduate studies COVID-19 resource hub.   

What emergency funds are available?

Resources are listed at

Donate to the Graduate Student Emergency Fund
COVID-19 Updates and Information

Find additional resources regarding online teaching & learning during the COVID-19 outbreak at REMOTE.KU.EDU.

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