Message from Dean Loebel - FGS Information for Grad Students

Message from Dean Loebel - FGS Information for Grad Students

Information in response to COVID-19 continues to be updated on the YorkU and FGS websites regularly. This communication compiles and clarifies the various supports available to you currently.

The YorkU COVID-19 website is the central source for all information:

The FGS COVID-19 site relays the central information and combines it with other resources for students and programs:

FGS GradConnect Wellness Services remain operational with remote delivery and are highly important. Appointments are now available between 8:00am – 6:00pm. Monday-Friday:

Seeking to Graduate at the end of Winter 2020?
Students have up to 60 days into the summer term without charge to complete all final requirements for degree completion, including thesis & dissertation defences and other final assignments.


  • Register for summer 2020.
  • A part-time tuition charge will appear in your student account; however, nothing is due. No action or payment is required from you.
  • No interest is being charged on balances within the student account.
  • Complete & submit all final degree requirements, e.g., depositing dissertation electronically.
  • Tuition charge is reversed, 100%.
  • Currently, after 60 days there is a sliding scale of PT tuition rebate. Contact FGS in advance to inquire as to whether any additional supports have appeared in the interim.

Within the Degree Program, Completing F/W 19-20 and Winter 2020 Courses
While the dates of the winter 2020 term have not been extended, professors have been extended various provisions with courses and grading to help enable students’ course completion.

Various Supports for Coursework:

  • course extension (“an incomplete”). The student and professor agree upon a due date for final assignments beyond W20 but before the end of the summer term:
    We are asking professors to be as accommodating as possible.
  • pass/fail grading option. Graduate students have until 30 May 2020 to request that a P/F grading scheme be used for courses ending in W20, including those with a course extension.
    • Students in the Nurse Practitioner (PHCNP) MScN program are excepted from this option, because progression and accreditation requirements cannot accept P/F grades.
    • Students in the Osgoode Professional Development program must consult their GPD and follow OPD’s process to opt for P/F in OPD courses.

The P/F option form can be found here:

  • What to do? If you are very concerned about your final course grade,
    • first wait to see what your evaluated final course grade is. The deadline for grades to be reported by professors/Programs is 15 May 2020;
    • consult with your professor, supervisor, and/or GPD about the implications of P/F in order to make an informed decision by 30 May 2020;
    • To opt for P/F, click the P/F option link (above) and fill out the form.
    • Students with a course extension can also use the form, above. Students should consult with their professors for their advice about P/F relative to the evaluated final grade.
    • Since course extension deadlines are individual, FGS will work with the Registrar’s Office to follow through to enact the P/F option. Contact the FGS Associate Director, Graduate Student Affairs, Anne Stebbins,, when you submit the form.
  • Can I Change my Mind in the Future? Yes.
    A request to Change from Pass/Fail to Graded Notification does exist:

    • If you decide to opt back out of P/F, including those students who took a course extension, please use the form, above, but also contact the FGS Associate Director, Graduate Student Affairs, Anne Stebbins,, so that FGS can ensure manually that the P/F is changed to the evaluated course grade.
    • Caveat with P/F
      We ask all students to seek the advice of their professors regarding their current course grade (to date or final) as well as their supervisors and/or GPD regarding the impact of P grades on a transcript in the future; for instance, with any program progression requirements, external accreditations, scholarship/award adjudication, or additional degree applications.

Research During COVID-19 Emergency Restrictions
Public Health restrictions of physical distancing, travel, and other limitations have rendered on-campus and other research spaces, among many other spaces, inaccessible until further notice. Programs are working with Faculty Deans’ Offices currently to identify the impacts on program delivery and research progress as well as to explore if, where, and how some research can continue via alternate and alternative means. Stay Tuned. Everyone is working on it.

Other types of research may be able to continue, but no one can deny that adhering to physical distancing and spatial isolation presents multiple challenges of adaptation, given our many roles and responsibilities in life. The sudden transition makes finding focus difficult, even to assess which elements of our research can occur at home, if sometimes in odd order and in new ways. Connecting with peers via zoom or other electronic means to create reading and writing groups may help to regularize and structure our new timeframes and multiple responsibilities. Always keep in touch with your professors, supervisors, and Program Directors for guidance and support.

Of special note is the help that the Libraries can provide. While physical access to the Library is not possible at this time, library service is accessible online. Our Library has been a leader in working with other libraries and publishers nationally and internationally to make materials previously accessible only in physical form now accessible in electronic form, including archival material. Is it suddenly the realisation of Google’s early fantasy of “every book digitised and available online”? No, but the new content, growing every day, supplements the already wide array of materials available via electronic access.

If you have never worked with a subject librarian, now is a good time to meet online. Please let the subject librarians know your needs, so that they can help as much as possible.

For all matters involving research ethics, including “halting” research and revisions to ethics protocols, visit

No Fees Charged

  • Any COVID-related blocks to registration
  • Late registration for summer
  • Any leaves of absence. Elective leaves can be for up to two terms; leaves for exceptional circumstances are for 3 terms. Leaves “stop the clock” of your funded program. Your funding remains for you when you return.

Government Support for Eligible Recipients

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
Explore your eligibility for this temporary income support, which provides $500/week for up to 16 weeks.

Employment Insurance (EI)
Investigate your eligibility through the Government of Canada website.

Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)
Particularly important for those with OSAP loans and who may be graduating, from March 30, 2020 to September 30, 2020, the Ontario Government will not require loan repayment. Interest will not accrue on your student loans.

Canada Child Benefit (CCB)
Eligible recipients will receive $300 more per child with their regular May CCB payment. If you have previously applied for the CCB, you do not need to re-apply.

Thomas Loebel,
Dean & AVP Graduate
Faculty of Graduate Studies,
York University