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Important information for grad students and postdocs

The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS) continues to support all graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to ensure academic progress and make adjustments to the changing circumstances.  In doing so, we will prioritize your intellectual and academic growth just as much as your connections to the community.  We realize this is a shared responsibility, not only between students and supervisors in coming up with contingency plans, but also between programs and the many administrative units that provide additional assistance. Effective immediately until further notice, the FAQs below summarize the adapted operations and supports available to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. This information may be updated from time to time as new information becomes available:

Wellness

  • What should I do if I am not feeling well?

    If a student finds themselves ill, we ask that they take the time to focus on their physical and mental health. If they have any specific predetermined deadlines, they should contact their supervisor or advisor and/or SGPS to discuss alternative arrangements, if possible.

    Should students or faculty require any support or have any questions, the university’s webpage has provided COVID-19 related health recommendations, including mental and physical wellness tips.  

    There are also other supports and services available to graduate students, offered by the Office of Student Life, these can be found here.

  • How will the COVID-19 situation affect my progress?

    SGPS has developed a series of additional supports for graduate students. These range from basic accommodations such as time extensions where warranted, to guidance on academic/research continuity, availability of emergency funds and other measures to enhance progress. Please see below for further information. 

Coursework, Candidacy and Oral Examination

  • What is happening with my Spring/Summer 2020 courses and seminars?

    Graduate courses and seminars will continue for the remainder of this term in an online format as arranged by the course instructor and/or the specific faculty. Your professor will be in touch to advise you on course status, assessment and next steps on a course-by-course basis.

  • What can I expect for the Spring/Summer 2020 semester?

    As per the Graduate Academic Calendar, graduate students are to remain continuously registered for Spring/Summer 2020.

    Students may take courses or actively progress toward program completion remotely. Limited physical access to research labs does not necessarily mean a student cannot make academic and research progress. Other possible activities include:

    • literature reviews
    • preparing research proposals
    • preparing draft chapters
    • analytical and simulation work via online access to software tools 

    Students should immediately discuss their individual situation with their supervisor(s) or graduate program director.

  • What happens if I am in a course-based/professional master’s program in Spring/Summer 2020?

    Courses will be available online (including directed studies). Students are encouraged to register normally. If your professional master’s program has an internship component, students should discuss their options with the graduate program director. Alternatively, students may wish to change to the project option.

  • What will happen to my graduate candidacy or oral examination?

    Graduate candidacy or oral examinations will continue as scheduled with modified procedures. Thesis defense and candidacy oral examination will proceed as per normal practice, although with remote participation.

    SGPS has temporarily waived the graduate academic calendar requirement that “no more than two members of the examining committee, including the external examiner, may attend the defence remotely” in line with the university’s recommendations to move online. However, the following policy still applies: “The examination will be rescheduled if one or more members of the examining committee are unable to attend”. Attendance for the purpose of these guidelines means participation in person or remotely in real time (as opposed to the submission of questions to be read by the chair).

    SGPS will facilitate thesis examination and a representative from SGPS may attend the defence. See SGPS guidelines on remote defence.

  • I am a current international graduate student. If I go home, will my registration be affected?

    International graduate students are reminded that all graduate students are expected to be registered on a continuous basis unless on an approved leave of absence. Any absences should be discussed with your research supervisor or graduate program director. 

    If you are an international student and would like more information about travel arrangements, university health insurance plan (UHIP), or immigration inquiries, please connect with your International Student Advisor, Tharsy Selvanantham. To schedule an online or phone appointment, follow the instructions on the Ontario Tech International website.

  • What if I am unable to complete courses online or do not have access to my lab in Spring/Summer 2020?

    In exceptional circumstances where limited access to courses or research labs impedes continuation of their studies, students will be accommodated. Accommodations may include:

    • program extension
    • leave-of-absence
    • fee adjustments
    • other arrangements

    Students should immediately discuss their individual situation with their supervisor(s) and graduate program director (GPD). Where accommodation is believed necessary by the supervisor and GPD, students should submit a request for special consideration to gradstudies@ontariotechu.ca and they will have their case reviewed by SGPS.

  • Will the Graduate Professional Skills program keep running?

    Online workshops and other grad professional development opportunities are currently being scheduled for the spring/summer semester. More information on available workshops can be found on the Grad Student Engagement page on the SGPS website. 

Research Activities and Progress

  • What is happening with my thesis research?

    For the remainder of the spring/summer term, any research should continue remotely, as co-ordinated by your research supervisor. The university remains open, however, only specific research activities may continue on-campus, as outlined on the university's COVID-19 research-related questions page.

  • What happens if I am in the early stages of a research master’s or PhD program in Spring/Summer 2020?

    'Early stage' is defined as students completing coursework and/or conducting research, and in the case of PhD students, those who have not yet completed their candidacy. Courses (including directed studies) are available online and students are encouraged to register normally. Graduate research assistantships funding will continue. With limited physical access to research labs, students conducting research must discuss with their supervisor(s) ways to continue to make academic and research progress.

  • What happens if I am in the late stages of my research program and physical lab work is not critical to the completion of my degree?

    'Late stage' is defined as students who expect to complete their degree requirements, including thesis defence, in the Spring/Summer 2020 semester. Students should discuss their individual situation with the research supervisor and graduate program director. If physical lab work is not critical to the completion of the degree in Spring/Summer 2020, register normally; graduate research assistantship funding will continue.

  • What happens if I am in the late stages of my research program and physical lab work is critical to the completion of my degree?

    'Late stage' is defined as students who expect to complete their degree requirements, including thesis defence, in the Spring/Summer 2020 semester. Students should discuss their individual situation with their research supervisor and graduate program director to explore possible accommodations.

    If physical lab work is critical to the completion of the degree in Spring/Summer 2020, students can choose to take one of the following actions:

    Take a leave of absence for the spring/summer semester: The student will pay no fees; however, the student will not receive their graduate research assistantship (GRA).

    Register normally: GRA funding will continue. Adjustments may be made at the end of the program when it is has been determined if there were any long-term effects of this delay.

  • I am concerned about the delays this will cause to my experiments, research progress and program completion. Can I request an extension to my degree?

    These are extraordinary times which everyone has to adapt to new ways of working. If the current university closure has affected your ability to progress and graduate before the maximum time limit for your program, it will be take into consideration at that time.

    If your final term before reaching the maximum time limit for your program is the Spring/Summer 2020 term, you will be contacted by SGPS. If needed, a one term automatic extension will be provided.

    Note: students that request/require a program extension are still responsible for tuition and ancillary fees in each semester they are registered.

  • Are research progress reports still required?

    Yes, students and supervisors are still recommended to submit research progress reports. Our current reality has certainly caused massive disruption in our work, education and personal lives. We want to prioritize the health of our community, while also supporting our students intellectual and academic growth.

    Research Progress Reports are a useful tool to connect with your supervisor/student, if possible. We hope you view this as an opportunity to discuss and to document the past terms goals. How was your research affected? What can be done in order to achieve your goals moving forward?

  • I have upcoming travel for a conference or research. Can I still travel?

    Graduate student travel is subject to university COVID-19-related travel information and advisories, which are regularly updated.

  • I am concerned about the delays to my final thesis submission in the current context and thus affecting my ability to graduate. Will extensions to thesis submission be provided?

    Thesis submissions continue to be processed.  We understand that with the current circumstances students may need additional time for submission.  Therefore, the April 2020 submission deadline has been extended from April 20, to April 30 and this will not affect graduation as long as all other degree requirements have been met.

    Further, SGPS will extend the submission deadline for Spring/Summer 2020 from August 24, 2020 to September 18, 2020. 

    Please contact gradthesis@ontariotechu.ca if you have any questions pertaining to your thesis submission.

  • What happens if I miss some milestones due to the current situation?

    If milestones are delayed, please email SGPS to document reasons for delay and when they are expected to be completed. Milestones include but are not limited to: submission of progress reports, candidacy exams, submission of Form 1-Establishment of Supervisory Committee. Your program or supervisor may have additional milestones and students are encouraged to discuss any concerns with their research supervisor or graduate program director.

    If you have any questions or concerns about other milestones, please contact SGPS.

  • I am already over my program time limit, but COVID-19 has caused further delay in my thesis progress. Will I be able to receive another extension?

    SGPS will waive program extension requests that were due at the end of Winter 2020 and a one term extension will be granted to these individuals (to the end of Spring/Summer 2020).

    If you are a Master’s or PhD student with a current program extension in place that is set to expire, please email SGPS to advise of your plan and timeline moving forward and to describe the impact of the current measures on your timeline.

    If you do not complete your program/defend your thesis in the spring/summer term, a program extension request must be submitted to SGPS by August 24, 2020

    Note: students that request / require a program extension are still responsible for tuition and ancillary fees in each semester they are registered.

  • Am I still required to drop off a post-defence thesis package by the thesis submission deadline in order to be eligible to graduate?

    As per the graduate academic calendar language, once a student's thesis, project or major paper has been approved, the student must submit the work formally. Normally, SGPS must receive a physical thesis package in order for students to be eligible to graduate. However, since the university is currently unable to obtain the physical packages, the following conditions apply in order for SGPS to confirm the thesis is complete:

    As per the thesis package checklist, students must upload the approved post-defence thesis (see thesis template for specific requirements), certificate of approval and signed submission form to the shared google drive. Please ensure the abstract adheres to the library requirements.

    NEW: The following must also be uploaded to google drive: the thesis non-exclusive license, ProQuest (if applicable), and withhold form (if applicable) with original signatures (not digital).

    Note that students will still be responsible for providing SGPS with a hard copy of their thesis, the non-exclusive license, and submission form but at a later date. Delivery of the physical thesis package will not delay graduation, as long as all other degree requirements have been met.

     

  • When does the physical thesis package need to be submitted to SGPS?

    At this time, we cannot provide a date as to when the final thesis package should be submitted to SGPS as we do not know when we will be reopening. If comfortable, students can mail their thesis package to SGPS at their earliest convenience.

    Once SGPS receives notification as to when the office will reopen, an email will be sent to advise of the deadline. Otherwise students can drop off their thesis package once the office reopens. Please email gradthesis@ontariotechu.ca to let SGPS know your preferred method.

  • I would still like to have a personal copy of my thesis bound. Am I able to do this during the university closure?

    The third party company, Wallaceburg Bookbinding, who binds Ontario Tech theses, has confirmed they are still operating. At this time, students can utilize their Self-Serve Binding Options. This means students can send an electronic copy of their thesis to bindery for printing and binding. See the Library Website for instructions and the Wallaceburg Thesis Binding Direct Form.  Please note that while Wallaceburg Bookbinding is operating, production is sporadic and delivery timelines are delayed. For more information about thesis binding delivery times, please email them directly. 

Tuition and Finance

Leave of Absence (LOA)

  • Information regarding LOA

    Students applying for LOA because they no longer have access to the campus, as per the University’s COVID-19 health and safety measures, are encouraged to consider specific alternate academic/research activities in consultation with their supervisor and carefully think about the implications of the LOA on their academic progress.

    If you are applying for an LOA due to the COVID-19 situation, please explain which specific alternate academic/research activities have been explored and found impossible to pursue.

    During the LOA period:

    You may not undertake any academic or research work, or use any of the university's facilities.

    • If you are receiving a GRA, you are encouraged to have a discussion with your supervisor, if you have not already done so. Your supervisor or SGPS will stop payment of a GRA while you are on a Leave of Absence.
    • You are not eligible to receive scholarships or assistantships from the university. In the case of other graduate student awards, the regulations of the particular granting agency apply.
    • Your university health insurance plan may also be affected.
    • International graduate students are responsible for being aware of the impact of an LOA on their existing study permit. They are advised to consult with the International Student Advisor.
    • You will inform the university immediately upon return.

    Other conditions, as outlined in the LOA Student Handbook, may still apply. The deadline for submitting an LOA can be found in the 2019-20 Academic Schedule.

International students

Postdoctoral Fellows

Additional Resources