Reminder: Student supports during the pandemic

Over the past eight months of the pandemic, we have learned that the impacts of COVID-19 are uneven and evolving. Some students—either because of the nature or stage of their research or because of their personal circumstances—will be more profoundly affected by this pandemic than others. Further, research has indicated that women, racialized, and Indigenous groups are negatively impacted in disproportionate ways by the pandemic. As a result, an individual and flexible approach to graduate research continuity planning will be needed given that impacts of COVID-19 on students are both uneven and evolving.

Given the ongoing pandemic and recent lockdown, we wish to remind you of the supports available to graduate students.

COVID-19 Mentoring Form

You should have received a COVID-19 Mentoring Form that encourages a dialogue between you and your supervisor about research disruption as well as potential mitigating strategies for research continuity. If you haven’t received this form, please contact your graduate coordinator.  As the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions on students’ research may not be seen for some time yet, documenting disruptions now may help to inform future planning to mitigate any disruptions and address degree completion.

Pivoting the Research Plan

If you haven’t already done so, another option to consider, in consultation with your supervisor and/or supervisory committee, is pivoting the planned thesis/dissertation so you can make academic progress. Pivoting may take the form of revising aspects of a research question or objectives, the methodological approach or methods, or analyses.

Revising the Plan for a Defensible Thesis/Dissertation

Depending on where you were in your research when COVID-19 restrictions were put in place, you may want to speak with your supervisor and/or supervisory committee about whether you have sufficient data to complete the thesis/dissertation or whether you could undertake alternative tasks to have a defensible thesis/dissertation (e.g., additional analyses of data)?

Extended Registration with Tuition Waiver

Students who demonstrate that they were making good progress with their research before the pandemic, but whose data collection or access to necessary sources and materials has been significantly impeded due to COVID-19, who have completed all feasible alternative academic activities, who are outside of the funded cohort, and who require additional time may apply to register with a tuition exemption for up to one academic session. Students will still be charged the usual non-tuition ancillary, incidental and system access fees that are associated with the registration session. Click here for more information.

If it becomes apparent further along in your program that the COVID-19 related disruptions will necessitate additional time, you may apply for additional registration with a tuition exemption at a later date. It would be helpful to document any disruptions now and record your progress until the end of your program. One way to start documenting these developments is to complete the COVID-19 Mentoring Form.

Emergency Funding

If you are experiencing immediate financial hardship, you can apply for an

SGS Emergency Loan or SGS Emergency Grant. The new Funding Opportunity Directory provides resources to access those university financial aid supports as well as provincial and federal government programs. Please also check your department websites for possible additional resources.

Departmental Supports

It is important to check with your department to see if additional options for support exist.