UW Graduate School

Guidance regarding program adjustments in response to COVID-19

The Graduate School acknowledges that graduate programs may need to make adjustments to courses, program sequencing, or program requirements in response to UW’s shift to fully online instruction for Spring Quarter 2020 and for certain parts of Summer Quarter 2020, as well as in response to the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy  Order. Please consider the following guidance:

Impacts due to Spring and Summer Quarter 2020 remote learning/stay-at-home directives

  • The Graduate School will accommodate changes to program requirements that are needed to support graduate programs in response to mandated online learning or stay-at-home orders.
  • Programs are required to provide written clarity to all students about accommodations such as allowable course substitutions, changes to the curriculum, changes to required practicum or internship experience, etc.
  • Programs are not required to notify the UW Curriculum Office or the Graduate School for temporary shifts of coursework or other curricular elements to online format. Permanent changes must go through the normal approval process.
  • If an accrediting body has provided waivers to specific requirements for an accredited program, the Graduate School will align its requirements with guidelines from the accreditor.
  • Students facing individual situations (such as personal or family illness) that keep them from completing or progressing through their program of study should work closely with their program GPA and GPC to devise an individual plan. Programs should make use of the existing support options for students which may include a revised plan of study, on-leave status, or other mechanisms that address the student’s situation and ability to progress through the program. 

Petitions for Exceptions to Graduation Requirements

The chart at the bottom of this document indicates what level of review and approval is required for different scenarios. 

Where Graduate School notification or approval is required, petitions for individual students or a cohort of students must be submitted to Graduate Enrollment Management Services (GEMS). Petitions will be reviewed by GEMS who will consult with Academic Affairs & Planning (OAAP) whether the request compromises program-level goals and objectives. These petitions are temporary measures driven by current circumstances and should not be seen as repeatable in the future. If programs plan to make longer-term changes, they should follow the normal program change processes outlined at Creating/Modifying Programs.

  • Petitions for individual students are submitted in MyGrad and must include the following information:
    1. what exception to graduation requirements is being requested
    2.  quarter/year student is scheduled to graduate
    3.  statement of COVID-19 impact on student’s ability to graduate on time
    4. statement of how the proposed exception appropriately meets program outcomes/goals.
    5.  whether same exception is being petitioned for other students
  • Petitions for a cohort of students graduating in the same quarter are submitted to the attention of Nichole Fernkes, GEMS Interim Director at gemshelp@uw.edu and must include the following information:
    1. what exception to graduation requirements is being requested
    2. quarter/year students are scheduled to graduate
    3.  statement of COVID-19 impact on cohort of students’ ability to graduate on time
    4. statement of how the proposed exception appropriately meets program outcomes/goals
  • Petitions for a group of students graduating in different quarters should follow the process for individual students listed above.

The Graduate School recognizes Spring Quarter 2020 changes may impact individual students or a cohort of students who are scheduled to graduate after Spring Quarter 2020. Programs should submit those petitions as early as possible. Petitions will first be reviewed for students graduating Spring Quarter 2020.

Exceptions to Graduate School policies to mitigate Spring Quarter 2020 mandate for remote learning

Exceptions to Graduate School policies to mitigate Spring Quarter 2020 mandate for remote learning Program approval required? Graduate School petition required?If Yes, petition type to use in MyGrad Graduate School additional documentation and review may be required?
Remote course delivery (distance learning) No No No
Remote participation in doctoral exams No No No
Change to course sequencing Yes No No
Change to capstone requirement Yes YesWaive Graduate School requirements Yes
Course substitutions or other course-level requirement changes Yes No No
Waiver of graded credit requirement1(Memo 46 Yes YesWaive Graduate School requirements No
Lowering total dissertation credits (800) required (Memo 46) Yes YesWaive Graduate School requirements Yes
Lowering total credits required towards degree Yes YesWaive Graduate School requirements Yes
Extended the maximum time to degree (Memo 46) No YesMaster’s degree – Extend six-year limitDoctoral degree – Extend ten-year limit No

Courses offered Spring Quarter 20200 that are changed from numerically graded to CR/NC may be allowed to reduce the number of graded credits required by the Graduate School. S/NS will not be allowed.