Graduate Studies Response to Coronavirus

The COVID-19 pandemic is the time to broaden approaches to the ways we generate and demonstrate knowledge. Graduate Studies encourages departments to:

  • Support graduate student mental health and well-being, which should be at the forefront.
  • Facilitate graduate student peer mentorship, especially between new and returning students to continue to foster cohort-building and community.
  • Launch online events, lectures, symposia, and webinars to cultivate and support graduate student research
  • Review and reconsider dates, deadlines, and delivery of milestone markers, such as comprehensive exams or defenses, to account for disruptions in preparation, changes to graduate student study conditions, or stressors on account of the pandemic. Now might be a good time to reassess the goals, outcomes, and assessments of milestone markers in general.
  • Encourage creative pandemic pedagogies among faculty and graduate instructors that tend to flexibility, equity, and innovative instructional models that make use of campus resources for dynamic delivery of classroom material at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
  • Remind faculty advisors to meet remotely often with graduate students to gauge and encourage degree progress
  • Invite graduate students to departmental conversations or decisions about changes to curricula, policies impacting graduate education, or expectations and responsibilities for graduate instruction.
  • Continue to support graduate research by funding remote conference presentations, advancing professional activities, or launching mini-conference events as venues for graduate students to remain engaged with their scholarship and research.
  • Provide sustained support, advising, and programming to help students research and apply for different job opportunities, research positions, postdoctoral fellowships, and alternative academic careers.

Please note the following information regarding Graduate Studies’ operations, policies, and guidelines as a result of the coronavirus:

  • Graduate Studies is working in office and remotely. Please contact staff by email. If you prefer to meet in person, appointments are recommended.
  • Many graduate students prefer to meet with Graduate Studies staff remotely. Remote meetings through Zoom and Teams are available.
  • Online workshops and in-person workshops are available.
  • Continue to check this page and Bringing Back the Pack for the most recent information on all campus resources.

  • Meetings, discussions, exams, and defenses may be done by video conferencing by agreement between graduate student and major faculty advisor.
  • As always, should be used for Announcements/Reports of Exam, Program of Study, and Application to Candidacy.
  • Please submit any other forms (Certificate of Final Form, Embargo Request, Petitions, etc) by email using your email, which will serve as your signature.
  • Graduate Studies urges all faculty to be particularly responsive, creative, and flexible in seeing their students to completion. Graduate Studies urges all faculty to be particularly responsive, creative, and flexible in seeing their students to completion. Regularly refer to Bringing Back the Pack.
    • With limited access to labs and studios, this is an extraordinarily challenging time. Graduate programs should encourage their thesis/dissertation committees to be flexible and strategically creative so that students are able to complete their graduate degrees in a timely manner.
  • The Spring 2020 semester will not be counted toward the time limit for completion of degrees.

  • Under federal law, new graduate students on assistantships must physically present the required I-9 documentation to Graduate Studies within 3 business days of the date of hire (see below for students on quarantine and for students with extenuating circumstances). To eliminate paperwork and minimize in-person contact, students will be given instructions to upload their documents to a secure site, ​after which students must schedule a brief 10-minute appointment to physically present the documents in person. 
  • ​Graduate Studies reminds students, faculty, and department chairs that students cannot begin work remotely without completing the I-9 process, and as required by federal law, final completion of the I-9 requires in-person presentation of qualifying documents. Moreover, the state of New Mexico's heath order should be checked for possible quarantine requirements or recommendations for people arriving out-of-state. We urge you to plan accordingly.  
  • If the new graduate student is subject to a quarantine order, Graduate Studies will use the COVID-19 ICE rule that allows for a limited exception. Students must upload their I-9 documents as instructed by Graduate Studies by their date of hire. Once the student's quarantine or lockdown period concludes, ​the student must physically present the same identifying documents in person to Graduate Studies. Students on the physical inspection delay due to quarantine will be notified by Graduate Studies to make an appointment.  
  • Some new students may have extenuating circumstances due to COVID where it might be necessary for UNM to assign the role of an authorized representative to an outside individual to physically inspect documents and complete section 2 of the I-9 form. In rare instances, a video conference call will be scheduled with Graduate Studies to walk the authorized representative through the inspection and certification process. 
  • Teaching and Graduate Assistants should refer to the Instructor Guide from Bringing Back the Pack. Check with the chair of the department for further instruction. 
  • Research Assistants and Project Assistants should continue research, although sometimes using alternative methods as advised by their graduate programs.

  • ETS has announced that the GRE and TOEFL can now be taken at home everywhere the tests are normally delivered by computer, with the exception of mainland China and Iran. For more information, click here
  • Holistic review for admissions are the best practice.  The Council of Graduate Schools has provided a statement on graduate admissions during the COVID-19 pandemic.