Coronavirus Updates for Graduate Students

This page contains information specific for graduate students and their advisors. Find official Oregon State University COVID-19 information on the coronavirus website.



OSU Pledge


If you were on track to graduate at the end of spring term 2020, and your graduation is impeded by Oregon State’s COVID-19 response, you will receive academic support to complete your degree requirements this spring or a scholarship to cover tuition for remaining credits in a subsequent term. If you were unable to graduate spring term 2020, the application closed May 22. The OSU Pledge will be extended to those unable to graduate summer term 2020; the application will open during the summer term.

Learn more about the OSU Pledge


Please note that part of determining if a student is ready to finish during a given term is having the fully approved program of study on file at the very latest during the first week of that term.


Policy updates


For a graduate committee meeting or examination, the requirement to obtain advance agreement from all committee members to meet remotely is waived.

Students who defended their thesis at the end of winter term, but are facing hardship, will have additional time to finish last steps.

We have temporarily amended the residence policy for doctoral degrees, which states that a student must spend at least three terms “on campus” so that now any location is acceptable during spring term.

We have amended the policy on written comprehensive examinations to state that programs must permit examinations to be taken remotely.

S/U grading for spring term 2020

To ensure the highest level of flexibility for student learning and academic progress during this term of fully remote instruction, the university has extended the deadline for students to select the S/U grading option for courses taught in spring term that use the normal grading mode (A-F). Students now have through week 10 to select S/U.

An “S” stands for a grade between C- and A. The Graduate School sets a minimum of C for courses on the program of study, but some academic programs establish a higher minimum. With the adoption of this temporary policy, an S/U in spring 2020 has a different meaning at the graduate level: it means an S grade can be used regardless of whatever the usual minimum grade is for that student’s graduate program. These grades cannot be used when calculating grade point averages.

Students and their program should discuss together whether the S/U is necessary. Some points to consider:

  • The university will not retrieve the grade “behind” the S, even if it is a high grade.
  • For students, if the final grade is an “S” the grade will not be included in GPA calculations, even if you later decide you want it to be.
  • For students, consider how many “S” grades you want on your transcripts and think about whether it could affect any future plans, reimbursements from companies, etc.
  • For faculty, allowing an S on the program creates the possibility that a student may earn a grade as low as a C- and will be able to use that on the program of study.

To submit the form:

  • Download the form from the Registrar’s Office.
  • Add the major professor’s or graduate program director’s signature.
  • Submit the form to the Graduate School by emailing it to
  • The Graduate School will store a copy in the student record for future reference and then send the form to the Registrar.


Submit graduate student COVID-19
issues and concerns to



All graduate students (except in some cases Ecampus)


Emergency financial assistance

Using funding through the federal CARES Act, institutional funds and philanthropy, Oregon State has assembled emergency financial assistance for currently enrolled students. If you need help, please reach out right away. Contact the Office of Financial Aid (look for the chat box where you can make specific inquiries) or the in the Office of the Dean of Students at the Human Services Resource Center. Learn more about the CARES Act and who is eligible.

Academic progress

Stay in close touch with your advisor/program coordinator about continuing to make progress toward your degree.

Students facing significant new obstacles to timely completion as a result of the university’s COVID-19 measures should contact their program head about eligibility for tuition support.

Working and living on campus

The university is providing the following:

  • Keeping open residence halls, student family housing and dining centers.
  • Keeping open the Memorial Union for use of internet.
  • Keeping open Milne Computing Center for use of computers, printing and access to internet.

Printing and scanning

Are you looking for printing and scanning services? BeaverPrint stations are available at the following Corvallis campus locations.

Working from home resources

Internet: Learn options for low-cost or free internet access at home.

Laptops: For a loaner laptop, please email Student Multimedia Services directly with your name, OSU ID number, and mailing address. There is a limited supply at this time. SMS email address:

Other resources: Visit the keep teaching and keep learning websites for more.


For students with scheduled final oral or preliminary exams, please use video connections like Zoom. Review the existing policies for remote participation of committee members.

Submitting documents

The graduate student service desk in Heckart Lodge is now closed. Please scan the document or email a photo to


OSU has placed restrictions on travel.

Support services

Students who need help meeting their basic needs should contact the Human Services Resource Center (HSRC). 

Spring term academic support services at the Graduate Student Commons (including the Graduate Writing Center, CAPS and others) are making adjustments to provide their services virtually to students.



International students


On March 13, 2020, the U.S. federal government provided an update revising the March 9 accommodations allowing U.S. institutions to temporarily allow international students – based upon the COVID-19 situation – to participate in remote delivery of course material, Ecampus online or a combination of both course delivery options. Under the March 13 guidance, international students at Oregon State University will be able to maintain their immigration status during spring term 2020 while enrolled in traditional on-campus classes delivered remotely, or through Ecampus online classes, or a combination of both to meet their full-time enrollment requirements. Please direct questions to the Office of International Services.



Graduate assistants (GTA, GRA)


If you have questions about the policies concerning sick leave with pay, please refer to page 28 of the CGE contract.

Graduate Employees on an active appointment may irrevocably donate up to 30 hours of accrued sick leave to other Graduate Employees on an active appointment. More details related to this program can be found in the CGE contract. For specific questions related to donating or applying for donated sick leave with pay, please submit questions to


Priorities (in order of importance)

  1. Stop the spread of the novel coronavirus
  2. Protect the health, safety, and wellness of OSU students, staff, and faculty
  3. Allow graduate students to continue to make progress toward their degrees
  4. Enable research groups (laboratories, etc) to continue to function
  5. Meet the terms of the research award


  • First and foremost, follow practices intended to protect their own health and stop the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and adhere to the Governor’s Executive Order
  • Graduate students conducting research should talk with their advisor about remote access to data, software, and any other resources needed to make progress toward timely degree completion without requiring physical presence in research facilities.
  • Communication is key. Graduate students and their advisors should establish a clear communication plan including frequency, time, and modes of communication (e.g., Zoom, phone, email).
  • Graduate assistants and their supervisors should work to determine how work can be accomplished (e.g. data analysis and scholarly writing). Written agreements of decisions regarding alternate working conditions are essential. If a lab must stay open (e.g. to preserve animals or live cells), the supervisor should create and monitor adherence to a social distancing plan (e.g., scheduling access to the lab).
  • Graduate students who may be considering a request for a leave of absence (see above) should discuss this option with their major professor. The deadline for requesting a leave of absence has been extended until April 6, and any student who takes a leave of absence spring term will be exempted from the time-to-degree clock during that quarter.
  • Students with graduate fellowships or traineeships, who encounter challenges in making timely degree progress, should confer with their advisor or the Graduate School.

Please also review the FAQs for researchers and information from the Research Office IRB. Find updates from the Task Force for Research Continuity and Resilience and policies on resuming on-site and field-based research activities.


Find guidelines for all instructors on teaching remotely.

We are mindful of the added stress that exists in this public health crisis, and if the Graduate School can support you, please reach out.

Each and every employee at OSU, including our Graduate Teaching Assistants, are required to adhere to the Governor’s executive order 20-12 in which she requires Oregonians to work from home to the maximum extent possible. Additionally, all employees and students are required to adhere to OSU’s Social Distancing Policy.

We recognize that there may be situations where you are not able deliver your remote teaching responsibilities at home, such as not having an adequate internet connection. Resources are available to support your teaching delivery, and I encourage you to continue to visit the “Keep Teaching” website. If you cannot carry out your GTA duties from home, please confer with the faculty member in charge of the course for which you are a GTA, and if you are absolutely unable to perform your remote teaching from home, I encourage you to request your instructor of record to make a request to the dean for options. Classrooms in two campus buildings have been set aside for remote teaching and will be cleaned after each class. While exceptions must be rare, we are committed to ensuring you have the resources you need to be successful.