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 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 ‘pickup service’ to allow graduate students (and faculty) to acquire materials from the libraries. Please visit https://lib.unb.ca/


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.


The most recent information pertaining to who can travel to Canada is provided here:

https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/publications-manuals/operational-bulletins-manuals/service-delivery/coronavirus/temporary-residence/study-permit.html

New or continuing students with a study permit dated prior to March 18 may be allowed to travel. For new students, their travel must be demonstrated to be essential (i.e. remote start not possible) and must provide a detailed self-isolation plan upon arrival. Students with a study permit dated after March 18 (or pending) are currently not eligible to travel.

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, that has useful information about the fall term.


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.


Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has 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.

On July 14, an important update to IRCC policy was released. The temporary process will allow applicants to count the time spent studying online abroad toward their post-graduation work permit once they receive an approval-in-principle, as long as they are able to satisfy all requirements and receive the full approval of their study permit application at a later date. This approval-in-principle involves being accepted at a Canadian Learning Institution.

Students will receive final approval once they meet all admissibility requirements, including submitting necessary documents such as biometrics, an immigration medical exam and a police certificate.

Details are here:

https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/news/2020/07/minister-mendicino-announces-changes-to-facilitate-online-learning-for-international-students.html?fbclid=IwAR2Wb_4JUuKsYJczLFbazYwN0Ps_hNIWhv_cWPkrK9QMYIe3x0dMXpCjbWY