COVID-19 Division of Graduate Studies FAQs

We understand that current and prospective graduate students at the University of Oregon have many questions about how to cope in light of the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) interruptions to the academic year. Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers to help you navigate the current landscape. Take a look below, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out to us at

In addition to the Division of Graduate Studies FAQ, the university’s COVID-19 website is another great resource that offers information pertinent to graduate students. Please be sure to check both regularly as we continue to post graduate-related information on both sites.


Theses, Dissertations and Petitions

Q: My graduation timeline was delayed due to the COVID-19 situation. Do I still have to register and pay tuition for the next term?
A: Students whose graduation timelines have been affected by COVID-19 (for example, dissertation defense date postponed, data collection delayed, etc.) and who will need to graduate in a later term than originally planned have a couple of options, which are outlined here.

Q: I need to make one or more petitions to the Division. Does the $15 fee still apply during the COVID-19 crisis?
A: Effective March 27, 2020, until further notice, the Division will waive the $15 petition fee for all petition types.

Q: What do I do about approval signatures on petitions and other forms?
A: The Division will accept electronic signatures or approval emails (sent from a UO email address) in place of written signatures.

Q: Do I still need to have my entire committee physically present in the same room for my defense?
A: No. Until further notice there is no physical attendance requirement for dissertation defenses. The student and all committee members may attend the defense remotely.

Q: What about the public nature of a defense?
A: Until further notice, we are lifting the expectation that dissertation defenses be public and held on campus.

Q: Are there any changes to degree completion deadlines?
A: As outlined on our temporary policy changes page, the deadline for all Spring 2020 graduation applicants to complete degree requirements has been extended through September 11, 2020. Students may request an additional extension to October 30, 2020 by emailing and explaining their circumstances. This option is only available to students who filed an application for Spring graduation and who do not require registration in any credits beyond Spring 2020.  

For Summer and Fall term graduates, all published deadlines still apply. That being said, our goal is to be as supportive as possible. If you are having any issues meeting deadlines, please contact the Division at


Professional Development

Q: What type of programming is the Division offering during the pandemic?
A: We’re offering a wide variety of online webinars and opportunities for student engagement, skill building, professional and personal advising, community building, peer mentoring, and more. See complete list here.

Q: Are there resources for professional development that are available online?
A: The University of Oregon is an institutional member of the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. Graduate students can become individual members and access their online resources.

Q: What happens to the writing circles? How can I maintain contact with the members of my writing circle and maintain the schedule?
A: All students have access to Microsoft Teams which offers a hub for teamwork in Office 365. You could use the app to continue writing circles, meet and chat with other students, and share files. Visit the UO IT Service Portal for instructions on how to download and use Teams.


Students Applying for Admission to UO Graduate Programs

Q: I am unable to take the TOEFL/IELTS/GRE/GMAT or other required admission tests due to testing location closures. Are there alternatives?
A: Please work with your prospective program to determine whether there are options to be considered for admission without a test score on file. ETS, the agency that provides the TOEFL and GRE tests, has expanded the availability of home testing to the majority of the locations where the traditional tests are normally available. We encourage applicants to explore whether this option will work for them. The Division is temporarily accepting the Duolingo English Test as an option to fulfill the English Language Proficiency Requirement for International Applicants through Fall 2022.

Q: I am unable to submit an official transcript to fulfill the Division Division's official transcript requirement due to university closures. What are my options?
A: Applicants who have already been recommended for admission by their program should contact Lesley Yates-Pollard ( to discuss a credential exception. If approved, applicants will be required to submit official transcripts at a later date.

Q: I would like to defer my admission. What are my options?
A: Deferral policies vary by program. Applicants must work with their prospective program to determine whether deferring admission is a possibility. If the program offers deferrals, applicants must still submit a new UO application for the deferred term of admission. Programs that grant deferrals typically waive the departmental portion of the application. The Division will waive application fees for any applicants offered admission in who were offered admission for Summer/Fall 2020 or Winter/Spring/Summer/Fall 2021 but who have been approved by their prospective program to defer admission to Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall 2021 or 2022.

Q: Are admitted international students being issued I-20s?
A: Our International Student and Scholar Services Office continues to issue I-20s. Questions related to visas can be directed to

Q: I am interested in applying to a UO graduate program. My Spring 2020 undergraduate coursework was graded as Pass/Fail due to COVID-19. Will this affect my eligibility for graduate admission?
A: Each graduate program sets its own requirements for undergraduate grades, prerequisites, etc., so you should inquire with your prospective graduate program about their requirements and whether or not this would affect your eligibility for admission to their program.

***Updated 9/13/2021***