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.


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 and English language test scores for purposes of application and original admission.


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 your original admission was to begin your program May 1, 2020 this may remain possible. Please contact your prospective department and supervisor to confirm.


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

The normal March 30 deadline will be extended to May 1.

Although there will be no Enceania ceremonies in May (they will be rescheduled to Fall), students will have their degrees officially conferred and parchments printed according to the original Enceania timelines (May 27-29) following the standard required approvals by the Senates and the Board of Governors before that. This will ensure that students can confirm their formal degree completion for other Universities, potential employers, or other bodies requiring that certification in the absence of an official graduation ceremony.


The normal April 30 deadline will be extended to May 31.

Students requiring the month of May to complete thesis revisions should register for the Summer term to ensure continuity of services (health care, email, library access for thesis archiving) but will not have to pay summer tuition. They will be eligible for Convocation in the Fall ceremonies but can receive a letter certifying degree completion prior to that.

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.

Our current focus is to minimize delays in degree completion and financial impacts by encouraging students to work with their supervisor to find alternative research activities that can continue remotely. We are waiting for news from several funding agencies on the long-term supports which may be available for students whose research cannot be continued due to COVID-19. If your research is directly and significantly impacted by COVID-19, please work with your supervisor on the individual approach that makes the most sense for your specific situation.


Although library buildings are closed, most library services and many of its collections are available remotely, including e-books and e-journals. Some items from physical collections can also be made available by contacting library staff who are standing by to assist with this and other research questions via UNB Libraries - AskUs.


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


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.


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.


A summary of COVID-19 information for International UNB students is located here.

Global Affairs Canada’s International Education Division has provided information and guidance that may be of assistance to international students. The resources listed provide information on study permit-related issues, as well as travel restrictions and exemptions that may affect international students, and Government of Canada programs for which international students may be eligible.

For more information, check out the GAC information for international students.


On May 14, IRCC made temporary and time limited policy changes to the PGWPP for students starting or continuing programs outside of Canada in the spring/summer/fall 2020 semesters to have the time spent studying outside of Canada (until December 31, 2020), to count towards PGWP eligibility and length of the PGWP issued, provided that the student completes 50% of their program in Canada, meets all the other program criteria, and has a study permit or study permit approval prior to commencing their program. If the student is not approved for a study permit before commencing their program, the time spent studying outside of Canada will not count towards their PGWP eligibility or the length of the PGWP.

More details can be found here.