COVID-19 Response

Guidelines from Graduate Studies

Can graduate assistants request alternative work arrangements?

Yes. As employees of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, GTAs and GRAs may request alternative work arrangements by following the guidelines and procedures at: https://covid19.unl.edu/alternative-work-arrangements

I am planning to graduate this semester. What is the deadline for my final oral examination?
  1. April 8: Last day to submit preliminary copy of your dissertation or thesis to your supervisory committee AND to the Office of Graduate Studies. Additional instructions can be found below.
  2. April 22: Last day to complete the final oral examination (thesis/dissertation defense) or the master’s written comprehensive exam (if applicable).
  3. April 23: Last day to deposit the thesis or dissertation. Pay final deposit fee via credit card.

    A couple of important points:

    • The notification that students are eligible to pay the final deposit will appear on their "To Do" list in MyRed once they have been cleared by the Office of Graduate Studies.
    • Students will receive a confirmation email indicating the payment was successfully received with their credit card information.
    • If a student has recently submitted a check for the payment, no action is necessary as those payments will be recorded as they are submitted.
    • Please direct any questions to graduate@unl.edu.

    Additionally, check or money order payable to “University of Nebraska-Lincoln” displaying the student's NUID number can be mailed to:

    Office of Graduate Studies
    101 Seaton Hall
    1525 U Street
    PO Box 880619
    Lincoln NE 68588-0619

    Use either U.S. mail or campus mail. The fee amount is described in our Degree Requirements pages.

These dates are necessary to ensure all 800 graduate students who are planning to graduate will achieve their goal.

Students who applied to graduate this semester, but cannot meet the deadlines, will have the option of changing their graduation term to Summer 2021. Graduate students can complete degree requirements any time after the Spring 2021 deadline dates and prior to Summer 2021 deadlines. In such cases, the following conditions apply:

  • The “Application for Graduation” term will automatically be changed to Summer 2021. Students do not need to reapply.
  • Additional application fee is not required.
  • Registration for courses in summer term is not required.
  • The Dean of Graduate Studies will provide, upon request, a letter verifying completion of all degree requirements. This will allow students to pursue career opportunities at the earliest possible moment.
Should oral examinations for master’s and doctoral students proceed as scheduled?

Yes. The examination deadlines for spring and summer semesters have not changed. Thesis and dissertation final oral exams, comprehensive oral exams (if required by your program), and non-thesis final projects are requirements of the Graduate College.

Am I required to have my oral exam in-person?

No. Students and faculty should conduct oral exams remotely. All participants may determine their preferred option for participation. For more information see the Modification of Oral Exams announcement.

How should paperwork requiring faculty signatures be handled?

The Office of Graduate Studies will accept signed forms by email attachment or by regular mail. The Office of Graduate Studies is closed and cannot accept in-person deliveries.

Electronic signatures are acceptable. Hand-signed and scanned documents are acceptable. Individually signed forms from each committee member are acceptable (in other words, all signatures are NOT required to be on the same page). Forms can be located through our Degree Requirements pages.

Master’s program forms – Students and committee members should submit signed forms to Terri Eastin at teastin1@unl.edu (402-472-8665). After review and approval of the “Final Examination Report” forms, Terri will send an email to the student, the committee chair, and support staff with further instructions.

Doctoral program forms – Students and committee members should submit signed forms to Kelsey Sims at kelsey@unl.edu (402-472-2876). After review and approval of the “Application of Final Oral Examination” forms, Kelsey will send an email to the student, the committee chair, and support staff with further instructions.

How is my visa affected? 

On June 22, the U.S. President issued a proclamation that suspends the issuance of visas for certain immigration classifications. This proclamation does not affect international graduate students in the F-1 and J-1 immigration statuses who need to apply for a visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Some students from the People's Republic of China may be impacted by a separate proclamation that was issued earlier in June.

Please visit the ISSO website for further details: https://globalnebraska.unl.edu/isso/important-immigration-updates..

International Student Admission

Graduate Studies will continue to provide I-20s to F-1 students and DS-2019s to J-1 students in the expectation and hope that they will be able to travel to the United States by the beginning of the Spring 2021 semester; however, it is possible that travel restrictions or limitations on the capacity of U.S. embassies and consulates to process visa applications could impact students’ ability to enter the U.S. UNL will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates to students when available.

Will research activities continue? 

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is transitioning to allowing only critical research activities to occur until further notice, in alignment with the University of Nebraska’s decision to further restrict campus activity to protect the health and safety of researchers and the community at large.

Effective April 8, the university will conduct only critical research activities. Please refer to the Office of Research and Economic Development COVID-19 webpage for guidelines and definitions related to critical research.

Can international students receive an assistantship or fellowship?

The answer is “no” for international students who have not been issued a visa and are not in the US. To receive an assistantship or fellowship, international students need to have a social security number (SSN), and they cannot get that until they are physically in the US for 10 days. Having a visa alone is not enough; they need to have the SSN. Departments can still cover the cost of tuition and fees for international students.

For continuing international students who have an active payroll record, even if they returned home, they can continue to have an assistantship or fellowship.

For further assistance, please contact Caroline Knuth (caroline.knuth@unl.edu) or Donna Hahn (dhahn1@unl.edu) in the Office of Graduate Studies.

Can departments cover the cost of tuition, health insurance premiums and fees for international students not in the U.S.?

Yes. Departments may choose to fund any of the following: Graduate tuition (in full or in part); up to 79% of the student health insurance premiums; and some fees (such as UPFF, Library Fee, Technology Fee, Registration Fee, Ncard Fee and Course Fees). To cover any of these costs, departments must use an Agreement to Fund (ATF) form.

Charges not covered by the ATF are the responsibility of the student.

Are there other funds for graduate students? 

Questions regarding funding should first be directed to the student’s department (their major advisor, graduate chair, or department chair). In addition, the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA) is available to support students and families and will make every effort to mitigate financial burdens created by this extraordinary situation. If you have incurred, or will incur, additional expenses or severe financial hardship, please contact Husker Hub at 402-472-2030 or huskerhub@unl.edu to request a financial aid review for the Spring 2020 semester.

Is administrative leave available to graduate student employees?

Yes. As announced by University of Nebraska President Carter, the current situation provides for administrative leave for employees, including graduate students employed by UNL. The amount of administrative leave is prorated, based on a student’s FTE or average number of work hours per week. For example, graduate assistants with 49% FTE would have 78 hours of administrative leave available. More information is located at: https://covid19.unl.edu/employees.

Graduate student employees do not normally earn administrative leave, so Firefly (ESS) is not set up for graduate students. Department or college business centers will need to manage within their units. It is recommended they keep a centralized record of student leave requests. The business center staff should enter the leave in SAP using the code ADM.

Event cancellations and postponements

Grad Expo 2021

A date for Grad Expo 2021 has not been set. More information will be posted soon.