Coronavirus Information and Resources

This page provides information about academic issues and resources for students related to the COVID-19 crisis. Information will continue to be updated frequently. 

Additional information is available at the University's COVID-19: Information and Resources page.  

For all academic matters, students should continue to work with their academic advisors and advising offices, which remain open.

Last updated: May 14, 2020

Important Links and Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Vice Provost for Education Message Archive

 

 

Important Links and Resources

School COVID-19 Pages

Tips for Learning and Studying Remotely

Technology

  • Student Remote IT Support - 24/7 support, links and guides for tools such as Canvas, Zoom, and BlueJeans, and school IT websites

Library and E-textbooks

Other Resources

Will Summer 2020 courses be held online or in-person?

As of April 13, Penn's current remote learning plan will extend to all courses during all Summer Sessions, including the 11-week Summer Session and Summer Session I, scheduled to start on May 26, and Summer Session II, scheduled to start on July 2. All summer courses and in-person programs will be delivered remotely or online. There will be no summer programs offered in-person on campus, including summer camps and summer courses.This decision, while not taken lightly, arises from the indefinite stay-at-home order in Philadelphia and the need to resume campus activities only when it is considered safe to do so.

What courses will be offered in Summer 2020?

The roster of credit-bearing summer session courses is always subject to change, as it is based on enrollments and available instructors. Undergraduates, please check Penn in Touch for updated summer course information. Graduate and professional students, please consult your Schools and programs.

When does registration for Summer 2020 open?

Registration for Summer 2020 courses will begin on Tuesday, April 14, 2020.

Will all Summer 2020 courses be pass/fail?

The expanded Pass/Fail option offered in Spring 2020 will not be extended to online summer courses. Summer courses will be graded according to Penn’s regular grading policies. Individual school and program policies regarding pass/fail will apply.

I've never taken an online course. What should I expect?

Taking a class online could involve any combination of the following:

  • Watching a lecture or video(s), which may be live or pre-recorded
  • Submitting reflections on lectures or other course material
  • Participating in discussion boards
  • Participating in a class discussion virtually using Zoom or BlueJeans
  • Submitting assignments online
  • Taking quizzes or exams online

All instructors are being asked to communicate to their students about how the course will be offered online. Make sure you understand their expectations for participating in the course and submitting any assignments.

When will my course be scheduled?

Online course content can be provided synchronously (live sessions for the entire class at the same time), asynchronously (recordings or material that can be watched or completed at any time), or by a combination of both methods.

Penn is strongly encouraging instructors to deliver content asynchronously and record all content, including synchronous sessions, so it will be available to review at any time.

If your instructor chooses to provide synchronous content, it should be offered on the same day(s) and time(s) as your course is regularly scheduled during the semester (in Eastern Daylight Time). If you will be participating from a different time zone, please alert your instructor.

Your instructor will communicate any changes to the syllabus including revised deadlines for assignments or exams if applicable.

Additionally, the Policy on Secular and Religious Holidays is still in effect. If you have concerns about accommodations for religious observances, please contact your academic advisor or the Chaplain’s Office.

What if my course is a lab or studio?

All courses are being delivered remotely, including laboratory classes, studio classes, and classes that involve a performance component. Instructors have been asked to develop ways to deliver content for these courses online.

How will assignments and exams work?

Instructors will communicate to their students about how the course will be offered online, including how students should complete any assignments or exams. Assignments and deadlines may or may not be adjusted, but students are expected to continue completing the course requirements as outlined by the instructor. Make sure you understand your instructor’s expectations and ask questions if any expectations are unclear.

What hardware and software will I need to participate in online classes?

You will need a computer and reliable Internet access. The University is primarily relying on Canvas but instructors may also use other web-based tools including BlueJeans or Zoom. Some individual classes may require utilizing specific software and further information will be provided by your instructor.

Links and guides to the most commonly used tools are available on the Student Remote IT Support website.

I need technical support.

On March 20, 2020, Penn launched a Student IT Support website with information about PennKey and Two-Step Verification and guides to remote learning tools (Canvas, Panopto, BlueJeans, and Zoom). The website also lists Student IT Support for each of the University's 12 schools. Please bookmark this website and visit often.

As of March 23, 2020, Penn offers 24/7 Student IT Support for all enrolled students. Please visit Student IT Support for instructions on how to access this assistance. 

Have any registration dates changed?

Yes. The course registration deadlines for the remainder of the Spring 2020 term have changed. You can continue to check the Academic Calendar for the most up to date information.

  • Advance registration for the Fall 2020 term is now April 14 through April 24.
  • Registration for Summer 2020 Sessions now begins Tuesday, April 14.
  • The last day to change the grade type in a Spring 2020 course is now Wednesday, April 29.
  • The last day to withdraw from a Spring 2020 course is now Monday, April 13.

How do I access the library or course materials?

Penn libraries' digital resources and services as well as librarians are still available. Visit COVID-19: Libraries Access and Information for the most up to date information and instructions on how to access materials and resources. Millions of items are available online in the Libraries' catalog, Franklin. Penn Libraries has also published a list of online journals and eBooks, including textbooks, that have been made available for free.

Additionally, all Penn students now have access to an expansive catalog of free digital textbooks through VitalSource for the remainder of the semester. Access to VitalSource is available through Campus Express Online

I need help learning and studying remotely.

The Online Learning Initiative offers Remote Learning: Tips for Students with guidance on developing a study plan, creating space for learning, connecting with other people virtually, and other ideas for how to adapt to remote learning. Weingarten Learning Resources Center also has a list of Resources for Remote Learning and offers virtual individual consultations.

Can I be anywhere I want when I take my class online?

Yes, but remember that you should continue to be professional during synchronous sessions just as you would in an in-person class. You should be appropriately dressed and sitting down in an area where you can focus. Be cognizant of what is in the background. And we really hope we don't have to remind you not to "Zoom and Drive."

I currently have accommodations, or will need them to participate in online classes. What should I do?

Please contact Student Disability Services as soon as possible. If you have had accommodations this semester, contact your SDS advisor to discuss how your accommodations will continue to be implemented for the remainder of the semester. If you are making a first-time accommodations request, complete and follow the instructions on the Self-Identification form online. 

What if I get sick and cannot participate in my online class?

If you are sick and cannot participate in the class or finish assignments, notify your instructor via email or Canvas as soon as possible. For undergraduate students only: the Course Absence Report system remains open for the remainder of the Spring term and you should continue to use it if you are not able to participate, just as you would prior to courses being delivered remotely.

Can I take all of my Spring 2020 courses pass/fail?

On March 20, 2020, the University announced that all undergraduate students (including those on Penn-sponsored abroad programs), research master's students, and PhD students may choose to designate any currently enrolled course pass/fail for the Spring 2020 term.

Spring 2020 courses that have ended or for which a course grade has been posted may not be changed to or from pass/fail. You may take as many of your Spring 2020 courses pass/fail as you choose. All students will have until the end of the day on April 29 to decide whether to take any course on a pass/fail basis.

You must "opt in" to this expanded pass/fail option, and any courses taken on a pass/fail basis during Spring 2020 do not count against the total number of courses you may take pass/fail according to the policy of your School. Courses you select as pass/fail during Spring 2020 will count towards any of your undergraduate, research master's, or PhD degree requirements, including undergraduate requirements in your major, concentration, and minor. A final grade of Pass will not affect your GPA. A final grade of Fail will impact your GPA the same as an F.

Professional degree programs may or may not offer a similar pass/fail option for their students. Please ask your Dean if you are unsure.

How does taking some or all of my courses pass/fail impact my GPA?

If you pass a course you took pass/fail, a grade of "P" appears on your transcript for that course. A grade of "P" does not impact the GPA. However, if you fail a course, a grade of "F" appears on your transcript for the course and impacts the GPA, whether or not you were taking the course pass/fail. Speak with your academic advisor before making any decisions about whether to take any of your courses pass/fail.

Can I just take incompletes?

An incomplete in a course is rarely a good solution for difficulties you are having with a course. You should reach out to your academic advisor if you have concerns about completing a course. School advising offices are still operating.

The learning instructors at the Weingarten Learning Resources Center and the staff at the Tutoring Center also remain available to assist students during this time. 

Can I withdraw from my courses?

Each school's policies continue to apply regarding withdrawing from a course. You should reach out to your academic advisor if you have concerns about completing a course. School advising offices are still operating.

How do I submit my dissertation remotely?

Penn has instituted special dissertation defense and deposit instructions for Spring and Summer 2020. For May and August 2020 graduates, dissertation defenses must be scheduled and presented via remote conferencing. Electronic signatures will be allowed on all required forms for depositing, and a printed copy of the dissertation will not be required.

Where can I get resources as a Teaching Assistant?

The Center for Teaching and Learning has a website on remote teaching that TAs may find useful. For TAs who often use chalkboards in teaching, we have created a page with suggestions for teaching recitations or office hours online using virtual whiteboards, as well as information for those running asynchronous discussion boards.

In addition, Penn Libraries' Virtual Support page provides a range of guides, tutorials, and support services to help with virtual classes.

I am doing research in a lab and have been told I am "essential personnel."

As of March 17, all non-essential on-campus research activities have been suspended. A very few number of researchers have been designated as essential personnel. The Vice Provost for Research has a dedicated webpage for research continuity and guidelines for the safety of those essential personnel. No student should be designated as essential without their consent. If you are designated as essential and feel uncomfortable with that role, please send a note to provost-ed@upenn.edu to let us know and we will help ensure you are replaced in that role. Your safety is our first priority.

I have other concerns about my courses.

Students should contact their academic advisors and/or school-based advising offices, which remain open.

A note about academic integrity

As you return to classes, please keep in mind that the University remains committed to the standards of academic excellence outlined in the Code of Academic Integrity. You should continue to follow the expectations outlined in the Code, and are responsible for asking your instructor for any clarifications. If you have questions about how aspects of the Code of Academic Integrity relate to your classes in this changing landscape, ask your instructor. Remember that the Code states "If a student is unsure whether his/her action(s) constitute a violation of the Code of Academic Integrity, then it is that student’s responsibility to consult with the instructor to clarify any ambiguities."

Additionally, it is important to educate yourself around the University's copyright policies and how they apply in the online space. Please take a minute to read the policies and ask questions as needed.

Vice Provost for Education Message Archive

Important messages sent from the Vice Provost for Education about academic matters are archived here. For additional University announcements, visit the University Coronavirus Announcements and News Archive

PhD Students

PhD students -

We are writing as the Vice Provosts for Education and Research to follow-up on the Research Resumption Plan that was shared with the schools yesterday.  The plan was developed with input from several task forces and councils and with input from all of Penn’s schools. You may have already seen or heard about this but we wanted to reach out to you personally to let you know that the current plan is posted on the Vice for Provost Research (VPR) website here: https://research.upenn.edu/resources/resumption/. That website also includes several resources for planning and guidance, and will have forthcoming training modules and additional resources.  Please also note that given the nature of the current situation, regionally and on campus, plans are dynamic and will continue to evolve. The Vice Provost for Education (VPE) office will keep you and your Graduate Group Chairs and Graduate Deans updated.

In the meantime, we have highlighted some important points as they relate to PhD students and trainees.

The plan has (on page 2) some important language that states that :

“Participation of graduate students and postdocs is voluntary. As part of the Research Resumption Plan, Schools and graduate groups, in collaboration with the School’s Graduate Deans, are responsible for establishing processes for students to opt into research. The opt-in process should not involve faculty mentors; trainees should be allowed to decide independently. In addition, we strongly encourage scheduling flexibility in consideration of childcare, elder care, transportation concerns, and safety.   Students and postdocs with concerns about the School-based procedures can contact provost-ed@upenn.edu for students or vpr@upenn.edu for postdocs. Completion of the COVID-19 training module in Knowledgelink is required.”

The above text is more than just words – the process is designed to be opt-in and is voluntary.  While we understand that some of you may be very excited about the possibility to return to your research, others of you may be unable to and/or feel uncomfortable doing so.  You should not feel compelled to do so and if you have any concerns you should reach out to the Office of the Vice Provost for Education at provost-ed@upenn.edu to report any concerns.  Your health and safety are our primary concern and no one should be pressuring you to return to on-campus research activities.

In addition, please know that each school is working on their own implementation plans so you may also learn from your peers across programs that different actions are in place in different buildings and/or programs. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any concerns or questions you may have.

In the meantime, wishing you all health and safety,

Beth A. Winkelstein, PhD, Vice Provost for Education

Dawn Bonnell, PhD, Vice Provost for Research

 

To Graduate and Professional Students,

Our community of students, faculty and staff continues to be faced with challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are so proud of and grateful for your ability to shift our courses to remote instruction, ramp down in-person scholarly research, empty our campus, and find new ways to pursue your scholarly and social connections under substantial constraints.

We know that graduate and professional students are experiencing unique needs during this period of disruption. In early April, we instituted Technology Grants to meet some of your immediate needs and ensure that you can continue making academic progress. We write today because we know that this crisis has also impacted graduate and professional students in other ways, and we want to share several new initiatives to address these broader issues and provide you with support both immediately and in the longer term.

  1. COVID-19 Emergency Funding: Through a generous partnership with GAPSA, we have established the GAPSA-Provost COVID-19 Emergency Fund to support full- and part-time graduate and professional students who have incurred unexpected expenses directly related to the COVID-19 disruptions of this semester, including moving expenses, travel, insurance, covering multiple rents, and other urgent needs as appropriate. The application for these funds will be open April 24-May 15; more information will be available on the Graduate Student Center website.
  2. Enhanced Summer Funding and Professionalization Opportunities: The University is developing teaching, professional development, and other competitive opportunities to enable graduate and professional students not only to continue to advance your skills and build your resumes but also to earn additional summer funding. We have robust summer programs for incoming first-year undergraduates and Philadelphia high school students that will be delivered online this summer and will have roles for graduate student mentors, TAs and/or instructors. If you are interested in being considered for these programs, please fill out the form provided by the Vice Provost for Education.
  3. Special Health Insurance Enrollment Period for Uninsured Graduate and Professional Students: The Penn Student Insurance Plan is offering a special enrollment period for uninsured Penn students and their dependents. This special enrollment period opened on April 13 and will remain open until April 30, with coverage provided for 4/1/2020 – 7/31/2020 at a reduced rate of $1,195 for a student, spouse or child (and $2,390 for two or more children). To enroll or ask any additional questions, please contact Deborah Olson at OlsonD3@aetna.com
  4. Extended Health Insurance Coverage for Recent Graduates: All graduate and professional students who are graduating in May or August of this year will be eligible to remain on the Penn Student Insurance Plan through December 2020. We are currently working with Aetna (our health insurance provider) and state regulators to finalize the details, which we will share as soon as they are available in an email, on the Graduate Student Center website, and via the Vice Provost for Education’s newsletter.

We will communicate further details about these initiatives in the coming days. In the meantime, please review the Graduate Student Center’s list of resources available to graduate and professional students during these challenging times. We are strongly committed to your health and well-being, and we know that many of you may have additional concerns related to health and wellness, visa compliance, travel restrictions, and career opportunities, among others. Please make use of the many units at Penn – including Penn WellnessPenn Global, and Career Services – that are here to help you. We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively to support you in all of your endeavors.

With support and best wishes,

Amy Gutmann, President
Wendell E. Pritchett, Provost
Beth A. Winkelstein, Vice Provost for Education

To all Penn PhD students:

I know that the past few weeks have been very challenging, and I am immensely grateful for your patience and mutual support of each other as we all navigate these unprecedented times. While I am encouraged by the ways in which our Penn community has come together to adapt to learning and teaching remotely, as well as balancing the demands that this pandemic has put on all of us, I also recognize that the disruptions to our semester have been, and will continue to be, substantial.

Along these lines, I am writing with some major academic updates related to this semester. We have decided to extend the deadline for all PhD students, across all Schools, to change the grade type in any course for the Spring 2020 term. You have until Wednesday, April 29 – the last day of classes – to choose to take any course pass/fail. You must “opt in” to this expanded pass/fail option, and any courses taken on a pass/fail basis during Spring 2020 do not count against the total number of courses you may take pass/fail.

Collectively, we encourage all students to take advantage of the expanded pass/fail option this term and want to ensure students will not feel penalized for doing so. We have heard concerns from students about feeling pressure to continue taking courses for a letter grade. I want to also notify you that there will be a notation placed on every student’s transcript to recognize and honor the extraordinary disruption to the Spring 2020 term and the changes in academic policies. While we expect that employers will take a holistic approach to reviewing students’ records, we want to ensure we have done what we can to note these policy changes on your academic records.

I am confident that our great Penn faculty, staff and students will continue the outstanding efforts of this semester and are mutually committed to supporting each other. At the same time, we know that many challenges still lie ahead. That is why we are providing these expanded academic supports for all PhD students this semester. We strongly encourage you to discuss your plan with your academic advisor in the days and weeks ahead.

Thanks to all of you as we together continue our most profound mission of education at Penn. We will continue to keep you informed as the semester moves forward.

 

Be well and be kind,

 

Beth A. Winkelstein, Ph.D.
Vice Provost for Education
Eduardo D. Glandt President's Distinguished Professor
University of Pennsylvania

 

To all Penn PhD students:

We are excited for classes to be back in session via remote teaching and learning. Your instructors and support teams in the Schools and across campus worked diligently over the extended Spring Break to prepare for remote delivery of our courses and are eager to re-connect with you for the remainder of the term. We are also grateful for your leadership in helping to make that transition for those of you who are involved as Teaching Assistants. There may have already been, or may still be, some bumps in the road, but the usual array of supports remain in place for you. Academic advising, the Weingarten Learning Resource Center, and all of the other academic resources normally available to you on campus have transitioned to remote delivery and stand ready to help.

For those of you who are settling back into your courses, we know that many of you are beginning to plan for Summer and Fall. We write with updates about Summer Registration and Advance Registration for the Fall. In light of the other changes to the remaining Spring term course registration deadlines, the dates for Summer Registration and the period of Fall 2020 Advance Registration also have been changed. Registration for Summer Sessions will begin on April 14 and the advance registration period for submitting your Fall 2020 course requests will be April 14-24.

You are strongly encouraged to discuss your course plan with your academic advisor and resolve any registration holds ahead of April 14 so that you are ready to submit your course requests for the Fall term when the advance registration begins.

We all remain committed to delivering an outstanding academic experience for you this term and will continue to provide updates as the term unfolds.

Be well,

Beth A. Winkelstein, Vice Provost for Education

PhD Students:

We sincerely thank you for your patience and understanding during the extreme disruptions we have experienced these past two weeks. We know many of you are still working to settle in to a new location or simply a new normal.  Nevertheless, we are hopeful that next week returns us to teaching and learning, which is our most important work together as a Penn community.

We are writing to provide you with an update about grading options for the rest of this semester. We have decided that all PhD students may choose to designate any course pass/fail for the Spring 2020 term. You may take as many of your Spring 2020 courses pass/fail as you choose, and you will have until the end of the day on April 13 to decide whether to take any course on a pass/fail basis. You must “opt in” to this expanded pass/fail option, and any courses taken on a pass/fail basis during Spring 2020 do not count against the total number of courses you may take pass/fail according to the policy of your School.

We are confident that, next week, our great Penn faculty and students will continue the outstanding academic experience of this semester. At the same time, we know that many of you have concerns about the shift to remote learning and the stresses of this unexpected global situation. That is why we are offering all students the option to choose how to handle your grades this semester. We strongly encourage you to discuss your plan with your faculty advisor(s) in the weeks ahead.

Thanks to all of you as we together navigate these unprecedented changes. We are determined to continue our most profound mission of education at Penn, and we will continue to keep you informed as the semester moves forward. Please stay tuned for more updates very shortly.

Be well and be kind,

Wendell Pritchett, Provost
Beth A. Winkelstein, Vice Provost for Education

To Penn PhD students – 

I know the last several days have been challenging with many messages, confusing information, uncertainty, and even disappointment. You may have learned already that Penn is asking all researchers to immediately prepare to discontinue all non-essential on-campus research activities on or before March 17.  This note provides additional information and guidance that I hope will help keep you updated and also provides clarifications around some questions you may have related to the news about non-essential research.

Because the University is prohibiting all non-essential laboratory work, PhD students conducting laboratory research should consult with their Principal Investigators and graduate group for guidance on how to continue with your research activities remotely. You should not be expected to enter labs unless in discussing this with your PI you are deemed to be essential to maintaining animal research or cell lines, etc.. All other students should be preparing to work on analysis, writing, etc..  We strongly encourage all PhD students to discuss with your advisor a plan for how you will conduct research remotely and you should actively make arrangements with your advisors to do so.

Please be reassured that if you currently receive a stipend, this will continue through the end of the semester as long as you continue in your coursework online and/or make the academic progress on your research that you and advisor agree is appropriate given this recent change. 

I strongly encourage all students to update your information in Penn In Touch. Share your mobile number, home address, and family contacts (with phone numbers). If you have a temporary address, please update that as well with the dates you will be at that address.

The University has created a student FAQ that is continuously being updated. Please check it frequently to get answers to your questions. As you can imagine, there are still many issues that have yet to be resolved, particularly around student services. Even though instruction has moved online, the campus support offices are still working and remain open but providing services remotely. You should know that most gathering spaces will be or are already closed. As additional decisions are made, the FAQ will be updated.

We continue to work on guidelines for depositing your dissertation this semester and will distribute more information when it is available.

We intend to support you as you complete your academic requirements remotely. My office is developing an FAQ about online courses for students, and it will be posted at https://coronavirus.upenn.edu/students-families/student-faq shortly.

I know that this is yet another in a series of announcements that we are all adapting to.  I appreciate everyone’s flexibility as the University works through these unprecedented challenges. Please be sure to look out for your health and support yourself and each other.  

Be well,

Beth Winkelstein, PhD
Vice Provost for Education
Provost-ed@upenn.edu

To all Penn PhD students,

I am following up on the campus wide message you should have received indicating that the University is moving all coursework online and requesting social distancing practices in a number of large and small ways. I recognize that this is a complicated time and that for many of you there may be uncertainty about your academic journey. I want to reaffirm first and foremost that we are taking these steps for the safety and health of our students and the entire Penn community. However, we also want to ensure that you continue with your academic progress.

Below I provide some additional details as they relate specifically to PhD students. I am also coordinating with your Graduate Deans and Graduate Group Chairs.

Academics

Despite the disruptions on campus, we are committed to supporting students making progress towards academic milestones during the remainder of this semester.

Coursework and Ongoing Research

PhD students in coursework will participate in courses but they will be delivered online when classes resume on March 23, even if you remain close to campus. This includes all curricular and co-curricular PhD seminars (academic seminars, journal clubs, reading groups). You should receive more information from your instructors and graduate groups about classes.

PhD students on dissertation status and/or doing pre-dissertation research can continue to come to campus, as you are comfortable, to use the library and laboratory facilities. The library will remain open, although the availability and mode of some services may change. We will continue to update you as more information becomes available.

For students engaged in laboratory research for your dissertation, you should connect with your Principal Investigator and/or advisor to determine how to best continue your research activities while following social distancing guidelines and minimizing in-person group activities. The Vice Provost for Research has already issued guidelines about research continuity and lab safety during this time. We continue to work with the Vice Provost for Research to make sure faculty are aware of these efforts.

All PhD students are encouraged to continue regular meetings with your advisors and/or committee members. If you are away from campus, these meetings can occur remotely. If you are on campus, we encourage you to follow social distancing guidelines.

Other Academic Milestones

Students scheduled to take qualifying exams and/or hold annual committee meetings during the remainder of this semester should work with your graduate group and faculty to determine how these will best take place.

Other required presentations or oral examinations, such as lab rotation talks, should take place remotely or following social distancing recommendations as arranged by your faculty.

Dissertation Defenses & Submissions

Dissertation defenses should still consist of a public presentation via online delivery. Students who have defenses scheduled this semester should work with your committee and graduate group to have the presentation portion of the defense accessible remotely for colleagues, students, friends, and family to participate. Guidance on using remote conferencing tools is available from the Center for Teaching & Learning.

At this time, for the Spring 2020 semester only, we will waive the requirement that most committee members must be physically present and allow any number of committee members and/or the student to participate in thesis defenses remotely if necessary or desired. As a reminder, electronic signatures on required forms are accepted. At this time, all other rules regarding dissertations as outlined in the Academic Rules for PhD Programs still apply.

Students may deposit their dissertations electronically for Spring 2020 only. Details on this process are still being finalized, and I will follow up shortly.

Teaching Assistants

Since all classes at the University are moving online, TAs should reach out to your course instructors to assist with moving course content online to ensure that you can deliver your content online as well. In support of online instruction, the Center for Teaching & Learning has provided resources for this transition. 

Dual Degree Students

If you are a dual-degree student in a combined PhD/professional program, you must also adhere to the recommendations of your professional program this semester. 

Academic & Wellness Support Services

Although we are moving instructional activities online, academic and campus-wide partners will continue to operate providing services remotely and in person. CAPS and Student Health will remain open during this time.

We recognize this may be a stressful time academically and personally and encourage you to take care of yourself.

Questions & Updates

Your graduate group should be able to assist you with any questions you have about your classes and other academic requirements. For other questions, please contact the Office of the Vice Provost for Education at provost-ed@upenn.edu.

You can find the latest University news at https://coronavirus.upenn.edu/ and wellness information at https://wellness.upenn.edu/coronavirus/.

My office is here to support you during these challenging times, and I will continue to send updates over the next few days, weeks and during the remainder of the semester.

Beth A. Winkelstein, Ph.D.
Vice Provost for Education
Eduardo D. Glandt President's Distinguished Professor
provost-ed@upenn.edu

Research Master's Students

To all Penn research master’s students:  

I know that the past few weeks have been very challenging, and I am immensely grateful for your patience and mutual support of each other as we all navigate these unprecedented times. While I am encouraged by the ways in which our Penn community has come together to adapt to learning and teaching remotely, as well as balancing the demands that this pandemic has put on all of us, I also recognize that the disruptions to our semester have been, and will continue to be, substantial. 

Along these lines, I am writing with some major academic updates related to this semester. We have decided to extend the deadline for all graduate students, across all Schools, to change the grade type in any course for the Spring 2020 term. You have until Wednesday, April 29 – the last day of classes – to choose to take any course pass/fail. You must “opt in” to this expanded pass/fail option, and any courses taken on a pass/fail basis during Spring 2020 do not count against the total number of courses you may take pass/fail. 

Collectively, we encourage all students to take advantage of the expanded pass/fail option this term and want to ensure students will not feel penalized for doing so. We have heard concerns from students about feeling pressure to continue taking courses for a letter grade. I want to also notify you that there will be a notation placed on every student’s transcript to recognize and honor the extraordinary disruption to the Spring 2020 term and the changes in academic policies. While we expect that graduate schools and employers will take a holistic approach to reviewing students’ records, we want to ensure we have done what we can to note these policy changes on your academic records. 

I am confident that our great Penn faculty, staff and students will continue the outstanding efforts of this semester and are mutually committed to supporting each other. At the same time, we know that many challenges still lie ahead. That is why we are providing these expanded academic supports for all graduate students this semester. We strongly encourage you to discuss your plan with your academic advisor in the days and weeks ahead.

Thanks to all of you as we together continue our most profound mission of education at Penn. We will continue to keep you informed as the semester moves forward.

Be well and be kind,

 

Beth A. Winkelstein, Ph.D.
Vice Provost for Education
Eduardo D. Glandt President's Distinguished Professor
University of Pennsylvania

 

To research master’s students:

We are excited for classes to be back in session via remote teaching and learning. Your instructors and support teams in the Schools and across campus worked diligently over the extended Spring Break to prepare for remote delivery of our courses and are eager to re-connect with you for the remainder of the term. We are also grateful for your leadership in helping to make that transition for those of you who are involved as Teaching Assistants. There may have already been, or may still be, some bumps in the road, but the usual array of supports remain in place for you. Academic advising, the Weingarten Learning Resource Center, and all of the other academic resources normally available to you on campus have transitioned to remote delivery and stand ready to help.

For those of you who are settling back into your courses, we know that many of you are beginning to plan for Summer and Fall. We write with updates about Summer Registration and Advance Registration for the Fall. In light of the other changes to the remaining Spring term course registration deadlines, the dates for Summer Registration and the period of Fall 2020 Advance Registration also have been changed. Registration for Summer Sessions will begin on April 14 and the advance registration period for submitting your Fall 2020 course requests will be April 14-24.

Please note that this information is applicable to research master’s and PhD students. If you are a dual-degree student currently completing requirements for a professional degree program, you should follow the guidance from your professional program as they may have different deadlines.

You are strongly encouraged to discuss your course plan with your academic advisor and resolve any registration holds ahead of April 14 so that you are ready to submit your course requests for the Fall term when the advance registration begins.

We all remain committed to delivering an outstanding academic experience for you this term and will continue to provide updates as the term unfolds.

Be well,

Beth A. Winkelstein, Vice Provost for Education