COVID-19 FAQ | Graduate Studies | UNB

Graduate Studies: COVID-19 FAQ

Office Operations

Not at the moment. Following New Brunswick Public Health directives, the School of Graduate Studies has moved all in-person services to an online format. If you require service, please email gradschl@unb.ca with your name, student ID number and the nature of your request. For more specific requests related to particular programs of study, please visit our website and contact the appropriate Graduate Program Officer. We will respond as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

Students who need to provide official documents in support of their programs (e.g., official transcripts, foreign language scores) are invited to take a photo of the documents and send them electronically to the appropriate program officer in the School of Graduate Studies for immediate processing and then mail the original paper documents to the School of Graduate Studies to ensure full review and handling. Our mailing address is:

School of Graduate Studies
3 Bailey Dr.
Sir Howard Douglas Hall
Box 4400
Fredericton NB, Canada
E3B 5A3


Applying to UNB

Yes, UNB is still accepting applications and expects to accept new graduate students for the September term. The university is adapting the delivery of its programs to meet the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. If you find you are unable to travel to UNB in September, there may be options to study through alternative delivery methods until you are able to travel to UNB to study. Please contact your prospective department and supervisor for more information.  

When applying, please note that we are making accommodations for the official documents required. See the questions that follow for more information. 


UNB is currently making allowances for applicants living in regions experiencing university, test centre and/or postal service closures. If this affects you, UNB will accept unofficial transcripts for purposes of application and original admission.

If you are in a region impacted by Pearson, IELTS or TOEFL test centre closures due to COVID-19, the university will temporarily accept the IELTS Indicator Test and the Duolingo English Test to meet our English Language Proficiency requirements for fall 2020 term admission.

The test scores required for admission to graduate studies is as follows:

  1. IELTS Indicator (7 in all categories)
  2. Duolingo (score of 120 or higher)

Notwithstanding the above, individual graduate programs reserve the right to require a further demonstration of English language proficiency.


If your referee is unable to send their reference letter, contact the specific Graduate Program Officer for your field of study.


Late applications will be accommodated where possible. Please contact your prospective department or program to confirm that they are accepting late applications for admission.     


The School of Graduate Studies will allow students to defer their acceptance a second time with the approval of their prospective department. Please connect with your prospective department and supervisor to make the request.


If students accepted to the MBA program in Saint John are somehow unable to commence the program in Fall as they planned, they will be provided a full refund of their program deposit fee ($1,000) upon request.


Beginning my program at UNB

If you begin your program remotely, then you are expected to relocate to UNB when travel restrictions are lifted. Please stay in contact with your home department and supervisor regarding travel plans.


Current students continuing at UNB

Transitioning to a work-from-home environment:

  • Establish a daily work schedule and plan to take weekends off. If possible, designate a home working space.
  • In consultation with your supervisor, make sure you have transferred or have remote access to appropriate resources from your study or research spaces on campus.
  • Ensure IT supports are in place to access data/resources.
  • Ensure any data or information related to your research is safely stored and not accessible by others.
  • Ensure that your supervisor has up-to-date contact information for you.
  • Make yourself accessible to safe and secure telecommunications via such tools as Teams/Skype/Zoom, FaceTime or phone.   
  • Communicate your work schedule to people staying with you at home and adhere to it.
  • Take breaks.
  • Remember to maintain online interactions with friends and family.
  • International students may be especially vulnerable given their greater distance from family members. Please keep this in mind and reach out to support them.

 

Practical research considerations:

  • Work with your supervisor to develop a personalized plan that allows you to conduct research remotely to the fullest extent possible (e.g., performing data analysis, literature review, modeling and computation, writing manuscripts and applications, and planning).
  • Prioritize activities, and discuss which activities can be ramped down, curtailed, or delayed and possible alternatives that can limit potential research interruptions.
  • Discuss possible impacts on activities and deadlines involving external collaborators or partners as well as planned research-related trips. Develop strategies to deal with these while working from home.
  • Share your research plan with your Director of Graduate Studies to keep them apprised of your plans and activities.

The university is developing plans to strategically provide access to facilities in a manner that is prioritized and provides a safe environment for everyone. Please consult with your supervisor to learn more about how your needs fit into this planning exercise.


UNB Libraries has implemented a ‘curbside pickup service’ to allow graduate students (and faculty) to acquire materials from the libraries. For the Fall term libraries will also be open to allow students to be in the library for study purposes. This will require booking time-slots in advance to allow management of numbers and spaces in the library. Details are available here: https://lib.unb.ca/services/bookings


Please work with your department and supervisor to identify the course that meets your needs and submit a Graduate Course Transfer Agreement request to the specific Graduate Program Officer for your program of study.


Yes, doctoral defences that have already been scheduled will go ahead and will continue to follow School of Graduate Studies guidelines but they will be conducted virtually and limited to the student and examining committee to ensure smooth virtual connections for participants.


If you prefer to place your studies on temporary hold, you can request a leave of absence. Please discuss this option with your department and supervisor before the next academic term. 


Counselling Services at UNB offers a number of online support groups to help students manage general stress and anxiety, build resilience and share beneficial mental health strategies.  Further information, including details about specific online support groups, is available at: https://www.unb.ca/fredericton/studentservices/health-wellness/counselling/

In general, staying connected to networks of colleagues, friends, and family members by using available communications technologies is one important way to manage stress and anxiety.  This social activity becomes especially important when we are required to practice physical distancing.  Making sure you get enough sleep, are getting exercise, and maintaining a good diet also support good mental health in the day-to-day. 

Counselling Services also continues to schedule one-on-one meetings even during the campus closure through remote counselling by video conference or telephone.  For further information, or to make an appointment, please contact counsel@unb.ca

A new Graduate Student Peer Support Program has been developed. For details please visit:

http://blogs.unb.ca/myunbnews/2020/07/Graduate-Student-Support-Group-FR-and-SJ.php


Financial support

The Canadian Government announced several programs intended to support students during the summer months. You may qualify for either the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB). Eligibility criteria and application details can be found on the Government of Canada Emergency Benefits Website.


No, the School of Graduate Studies is currently processing scholarship payments for the summer for registered students.

Tri-Council agencies (SSHRC/NSERC/CIHR) have announced that awards ending between March and the end of August will be extended by four months if an application is made to explain how COVID-19 has delayed program progress

https://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/news_room-salle_de_presse/latest_news-nouvelles_recentes/2020/tri-agency_extension-prolongation_trois_organismes-eng.aspx


Yes, you are eligible to defer scholarships managed by the School of Graduate Studies for up to 12 months. Please contact your department and supervisor to submit a request for deferral. 


International students

Yes, if you have determined that you will be able to take your courses through alternative delivery methods, or have established how you will pursue your research remotely with your supervisor, you will be able to access your scholarship. We are unable to make direct deposits to bank accounts outside of Canada, so alternative arrangements will be made. For details, please contact the relevant Associate Dean of the School of Graduate Studies for your program.


Temporary residents in Canada whose immigration documents will soon expire may extend their status online (https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/study-canada/extend-study-permit.html). Those who have applied for an extension can stay in the country until a decision has been made, even if their original status documents expire while they are waiting for that decision. IRCC has also clarified that the transition to remote courses due to COVID-19 will not impact a student’s eligibility for the Post-Graduation Work Permit program.


October 20, 2020: The Canadian Federal Government (IRCC) announced an important relaxation on travel for International students that will facilitate travel to Canada for students and family members. Effective October 20, it allows travel for all International graduate students holding a valid study permit, regardless of where they are travelling from or when their study permit was approved.

Asymptomatic international students who have the appropriate documents to enter Canada will be considered to be non-discretionary and non-optional. Furthermore, immediate family members may be able to accompany an international student to Canada.

Further details can be found here.

Traveling to UNB

UNBs International Student Advisor’s Office has developed material that provides direction to those that can travel and subsequently must self-isolate.

This includes a link to a flyer with a complete agenda of useful information.

UNBs International Student Advisor’s Office also has a general FAQ page for international students, both undergraduate and graduate.


Yes, the SGS supports Departments and Faculties in making alternate arrangements and providing online/remote learning options for Fall 2020.  The type of accommodation will depend on the structure of your program, however.  Please contact the Director of Graduate Studies for your Department of Faculty for details specific to your Graduate Academic Unit.


August 26, 2020: Important new measures on post-graduation work permit eligibility for students beginning programs online

The Canadian government has implemented temporary changes to provide more flexibility on eligibility rules for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program for students who need or want to start their Canadian study program online from abroad. Three recent changes include:
• Students may now study online from abroad until April 30, 2021, with no time deducted from the length of a future post-graduation work permit, provided 50% of their program of study is eventually completed in Canada.
• Students who have enrolled in a program that is between 8 and 12 months in length, with a start date from May to September 2020, will be able to complete their entire program online from abroad and still be eligible for a post-graduation work permit.
• Students who have enrolled in a program with a start date from May to September 2020 and study online up to April 30, 2021, and who graduate from more than one eligible program of study, may be able to combine the length of their programs of study when they apply for a post-graduation work permit in the future, as long as 50% of their total studies are completed in Canada.

Details are here:
https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/news/notices/pgwp-eligibility-measures.html

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has made a number of temporary policy changes intended to support international students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the study permit application process.

  • Students who have submitted a complete application will receive priority processing and will be ready to travel to Canada soon after travel restrictions are modified.
  • IRCC has introduced 2-stage study permit processing for students who can’t submit a complete application. This includes a first-stage eligibility assessment and a final decision based on admissibility requirements in the second stage.
  • This allows applicants who have been unable to provide biometrics, police certificates or the results of an immigration medical examination to get an initial assessment. If approved, they can feel reassured that they have already met most of the criteria for a study permit.   
  • IRCC aims to process all first-stage eligibility assessments before the start of the fall semester. When a student is approved through both stages, they will be ready to travel to Canada once travel restrictions are modified.  

 

Details are here:

https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/news/2020/08/facilitative-measures-to-support-international-students-affected-by-the-covid-19-pandemic.html