Fall 2020

Frequently asked questions for graduate students

Additional information for international students, including details on travelling to Canada to study, is available from International Student Services.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced measures to support international students beginning their programs online this Fall. For more information, including details on study permits, post-graduation work permits and more, please visit the following links:

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

https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/news/2020/07/measures-to-support-international-students-during-the-covid-19-pandemic.html

  1. Study permits and travel to Canada

    I am an international student with a study permit that was approved before March 18, 2020. May I enter/return to Canada?

    • The Government of Canada has confirmed that current study permit holders, and international students who have been approved for a study permit before March 18, 2020, may enter/return to Canada. Learn more here.

    I am an international student with a study permit that was approved (or is pending approval) after March 18, 2020. May I enter/return to Canada?

    • The Government of Canada is currently restricting non-essential travel. International students approved for a study permit after March 18, 2020 are currently considered to be part of the non-essential travel group. International students are increasingly being asked by Visa offices to provide proof that their courses have an in-person requirement as a condition of travel to Canada. Please contact your program or supervisor to review in-person requirements for your program.

  2. Study permits and start of Fall 2020 term

    Will I be eligible to begin online classes if I don't have my study permit by the start date for my classes?

    • At the moment, there is no requirement for a student to have a study permit to attend online courses, and thus permit delays should not impact a student’s start date. However, should the student's study permit get refused, the student might not be able to complete the program when in-person delivery resumes in Canada. We would recommend the student defer to a later start date to avoid any such risk.
    • International students in programs of two years or less should obtain a study permit approval before starting programs remotely. 
    • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) states: “For applicants currently outside Canada who are scheduled to begin studying in spring, summer and fall but who do not have either a study permit or approval on their study permit application at the time they start their program/course, time spent studying online will not count towards their eligibility for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)."
  1. Tuition and fees for international students

    I am an international student and cannot be on campus. How can I pay my tuition and fees or per-course fees?

    • All graduate students can pay their fees through on-line banking. International students also have the option of paying by credit card. Learn more here.
    • CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce) offers CIBC Student Pay, which provides another online option for both course and thesis-based students. Currently, this payment method is only available to international students; we anticipate that it will be available for domestic students in August 2020. Learn more about CIBC Student Pay here.
    • Thesis-based students who are fully funded by their program and cannot be on campus, will normally have their fees automatically paid by their program.
  2. Funding and scholarships for international students

    I am a continuing international graduate student and cannot be on campus. Will I still receive funding and/or scholarships? 

    • Yes. Funding and/or scholarships will be paid out if you are not on campus.  

    I am a new international graduate student starting my program remotely from my country of residence. Will I still receive funding and/or scholarships? 

    • International students who are registered in a graduate program but are not in Canada due to COVID-19 travel restrictions are eligible to receive their guaranteed program funding and/or competitive scholarship funding while in their home country.  

     Information about your funding payments:   

    • Funding will be paid directly to your tuition account.  

    • Any credit accrued in the account will apply to future charges.  

    • Once you are in Canada, have opened a Canadian bank account and notified the Faculty of Graduate Studies, payments will be made to your Canadian bank account.  

    • Payment of this funding is conditional on you making academic progress while in your home country.  

    • If you cannot proceed unless your funding comes to you directly, you may defer or decline admission. Please contact your program to discuss these options. 

  1. Tuition and fees for Fall 2020

    Am I required to pay fees and tuition if I am not able to be on campus?

    • Tuition and fees are approved by the Board of Governors. Tuition rates (including per-course fees) will not change due to course delivery mode. 
    • The UPass program will not be available for the Fall 2020 term; students will not be charged the Fall UPass fee. 
  2. Federal government emergency funds

    As a graduate student, am I eligible for federal government emergency funds?

    • The Canadian Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) is available to Canadian citizens and permanent residents. For current information on the CESB program, including how to apply, visit the Government of Canada's page.

    Would receiving federal government emergency funds affect the funding I receive from my program?

    • At the present time, receiving federal government emergency funds will not affect your funding or scholarships.
  1. Fall 2020

    I am uncomfortable being on campus, or am unable to travel to Calgary to start my program. Can I defer my program start date?

    • Please contact your program. In most cases, deferral is an option but please be aware that deferring your program may impact your funding/scholarships. 
    • Remember, your program may start using remote delivery due to the pandemic. Many programs will not require students to be on campus starting in Fall 2020. Please contact your program to learn more. 
    • Some programs follow a cohort-based model, which may restrict your options for a deferred start date. 
    • If you are a current student, you also have the choice of taking a leave of absence or withdrawing from your program. 
    • Deferral may also carry the risk, though slight, of losing your admission due to unexpected changes in budget or supervision resources.
  1. Fall 2020 programs

    What will my classes/academic program look like this Fall, and how can I complete lab/field components of my program?

    • Faculties are currently reviewing the Fall 2020 schedule to determine the format (online, on campus, blended) and scheduling of different course components (lectures, labs, tutorials). Contact your program for the most current information on your course formats. For more information about online courses, please visit the university's general Fall 2020 term FAQ.
    • Discuss your academic progress with your supervisor and consider carefully your need to return to research or creative work on campus, in the field or in the community in order to progress in your program. If the need to return to research or creative activities justifies an Expanded Research Designation (ERD), your supervisor will submit your name and information to the office of the Vice-President, Research. Learn more about the ERD process here.
  2. Remote course delivery

    Will remote courses be offered on the same schedule as in-person courses?

    • Faculties are currently reviewing the Fall 2020 schedule to determine the format (online, on campus, blended) and scheduling of different course components (lectures, labs, tutorials). Contact your program for the most current information on your course formats. Go here for more information about online courses.

    Will courses be delivered live or are they recorded sessions?

    • We understand the concern of our students living in time zones different than that in Calgary. It is anticipated that most content that is delivered live will also be recorded and made available asynchronously.
    • Other than not being able to have in-person interaction with the instructors, the overall quality of the program will not be negatively impacted by the online mode of delivery. Given the current global COVID-19 pandemic, online mode is the best option for program delivery.
  3. Supports for remote learning

    What overall supports are available to help grad students navigate Fall 2020/support remote learning?

  4. Completed Requirements/Fail (CR/F) grades

    Is it possible to choose between CR/Fail or a letter grade for courses that are taught remotely (for terms other than Winter 2020)?

    • No, the option to choose CR/Fail or a letter grade was limited to courses completed during the Winter 2020 term.
  1. Returning to research/creative spaces

    I would like to return to or initiate research or creative spaces on campus, in the field or in the community. What should I do?

    • Some graduate students may be included in the university’s Expanded Research Designation (ERD), which allows you to conduct research or creative work on campus, in the field or in the community. 
    • Discuss your academic progress with your supervisor and consider carefully your need to return to research on campus, in the field or in the community in order to progress in your program. If the need to return to research activities justifies an ERD, your supervisor will submit your name and information to the office of the Vice-President, Research. Learn more about the ERD process here.
  2. Consenting to return to research, studio or field work spaces

    I am not comfortable returning to research or creative spaces on campus, in the field or in the community. What do I do if my supervisor still wants me to?

    • Graduate students must provide consent before returning to research or creative spaces on campus, in the field or in the community under the university’s Expanded Research Designation (ERD). Learn more about the ERD process here
    • Graduate students can refuse consent. If you are concerned that your supervisor still wants you to return to campus and you are uncomfortable doing so, please contact the Faculty of Graduate Studies’ student support team at grad.advisor@ucalgary.ca
    • Graduate students who provide consent to return to research or creative spaces on campus, in the field or in the community can choose to stop at any time if they no longer feel comfortable.
  1. In person exams (Field of Study, thesis defence)

    Can I undergo exams in person during the pandemic?

  2. Remote exam support

    I don't have access to a stable or reliable internet connection. how will the university support me taking my exam remotely?

    • The Taylor Family Digital Library has space available for graduate students who require a stable internet connection for conducting a remote exam. Please contact FGS at graduate@ucalgary.ca for more information.

    Is there technical support for Zoom meeting arrangements?

  3. Library resources for Field of Study exams

    Can I have access to library resources that I need to prepare for my examinations?

  1. Rights and responsibilities of academically employed graduate students

    What are the rights and responsibilities of academically employed students? 

    • The Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) of the University of Calgary represents the collective interests of graduate students. The rights and responsibilities of academically employed graduate assistants and their employers are outlined in the Collective Agreement which is negotiated with the University by the GSA on behalf of UCalgary graduate students. See the collective agreement here.
  2. In-person appointments

    If my Fall or Winter GAT appointment requires me to participate in person, am I able to refuse the appointment if I am not comfortable due to COVID-19? Will I be offered another appointment instead? 

    • The University will take all reasonable precautions in the circumstances to ensure the health and safety of faculty and staff who return to work on campus. If you have health and/or safety concerns, please speak to your course instructor, researcher, graduate program director or department head or equivalent to review the concerns and determine whether any accommodations are required. 

  3. International students and academic employment

    If I am a new international student starting my program at UCalgary, can I apply for graduate assistantship appointments? 

    • UCalgary can only offer employment appointments to international students who have obtained a social insurance number as well as a work and/or study permit.   

    If I am an existing international student with an active SIN and study and/or work permit, can I continue working remotely in my graduate assistantship appointments in the next academic year? 

    • Yes. Continuing international graduate students can work remotely in GAT/GANT/GAR appointments if they have an active SIN. Net pay will continue to be paid into students’ existing Canadian bank accounts. 

  4. Support for GATs

    What support is available to support GATs in online, remote and face-to-face environments?

    • The Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning provides a variety of supports and resources for GATs including resources specific to the transition to remote and online learning. Learn more.
    • In addition the TI has developed a variety of resources and sessions for graduate students and academic staff related to teaching and learning in online, blended and face-to-face context will continue to be offered throughout the fall semester.  Further information can be found at https://taylorinstitute.ucalgary.ca/.
  5. Additional GAT opportunities

    Will additional GAT opportunities be available for online courses in Fall 2020? How can students apply for these opportunities?

    • Yes. The University will be providing additional opportunities for GAT positions in the fall semester. Please connect with your department for further information related to the specific opportunities available in your area. The Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning will also be hiring graduate student learning technology coaches to support academic staff teaching in online, remote and blended contexts in the fall semester.  These opportunities will be posted via Career Link.
  1. Work placements and internships

    Is it still possible to pursue a work placement or internship during my graduate program?

  2. Professional development resources

    Are there any additional or alternate PD resources or workshops available to graduate students during the pandemic?

    • Yes! The Faculty of Graduate Studies' My GradSkills program has collated the numerous online, at your own pace or 'live' workshops and training resources available to graduate students. Check back often as the resource is updated regularly.
    • Thesis-based graduate students also have the opportunity to take part in select Continuing Education courses (Spring/Summer 2020). Courses are filling up fast so act quickly.
  1. Work permits

    What impact will changes to program delivery formats have on my Post-Graduation Work permit?

    • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced a temporary process that clarifies how online study is counted toward a post-graduation work permit. Get more information from IRCC here and here.

     

     

     


Other UCalgary COVID-19 FAQs

Get more information about how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect the Fall 2020 term across the university.


International student services FAQ

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Research services FAQ

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Faculty and staff FAQ

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Academic staff FAQ

Includes information about course materials, learning technologies, face-to-face classes and more.

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Fitness Centre and Active Living FAQ

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Residence Services FAQ

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General FAQ for current students

Includes information about services, resources, textbooks, medical notes and more.

Learn more