The Graduate School staff is available to help you. Contact us at with questions and concerns that are not already addressed on this page.

Updated: August 11, 2021

Academic & Graduation Processes

Are there on-campus study spaces available to graduate students?

The university provides several options for reserving quiet study spaces, and graduate students are encouraged to utilize these resources:

How should qualifying/preliminary/comprehensive examinations or final examinations/thesis defenses take place during the spring semester?


Qualifying/preliminary/comprehensive examinations and final exam/thesis defenses for graduate or honors students are teaching occasions, even if they are not credit bearing, and they are subject to the campus strictures on in-person teaching in effect at the time taken. 

During times that the university allows in-person instruction, including spring 2022, students can take an examination or defense in person. Any requirements of the university or public health orders at the time of the exam must be observed.

Remote or hybrid examinations/defenses are also allowed.  It is recommended that each examination be thoughtfully considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the circumstances affecting both the stuent and each committee member.


Can my time limit be extended if I need additional time to complete my degree?

For some students, the disruptions of the past year may necessitate extending their time to degree; for those students, the Graduate School will approve a one year increase in the time limit.

As a reminder, the Graduate School’s time limit is six years for doctoral students and four years for master’s students. Students who may need an extension should request that through the existing process. International students should consult with the ISSS with regard to extensions of immigration documents.

What if I need to take a leave from my graduate program?

We recognize that some students may need to take a leave of absence due to extenuating circumstances, and they may do so via the normal leave-of-absence process. Doctoral students who have passed the comprehensive examination are also eligible to request leave related to COVID-19 circumstances.

Will a course taken Pass/Fail during spring 2020 at another accredited institution, or at CU as a non-degree student, be eligible for transfer to a graduate program at CU?

CU Boulder and many other colleges and universities around the country have instituted either widespread Pass/Fail options or mandatory Pass/Fail grading for the spring 2020 semester or quarter.

  • Assuming a course is eligible for transfer credit, CU Boulder will accept a P or S grade (or equivalent) earned in the spring 2020 semester or quarter in transfer credit, regardless of the underlying grade represented by the P or S.
  • Those colleges and schools that use specific letter-grade thresholds for specific courses for transfer admission should accept a P or S grade earned in spring 2020 for any of those courses in lieu of a letter grade.
  • All other minimum standards and restrictions related to transfer of credit for graduate students will continue to apply.
How can I submit forms for graduation and other requests?
  • Forms are available on the Graduate School website. Many forms have a built in electronic workflow for submission.
  • For others without this functionality, the Graduate School is accepting forms via email. Please work closely with your graduate program assistant and faculty advisor to submit forms appropriately as noted below.
    • Examination forms for committee approval, leave of absence forms, registration forms, transfer of credit requests, academic recovery plans, and others:Graduate programs should send to from a account.
    • Candidacy applications, completed examination forms, requests for letter of completion:  Graduate programs should send to from a account.
  • Thesis/dissertation and thesis approval form submission is handled through an electronic submission process.  Links and guidance are provided on the thesis/dissertation submission website.
For those forms without an electronic workflow process, how do I get them signed?

Forms listed above may be signed in the following ways:

  • Adobe pdf signatures (forms on our website are already created with signature tags)
  • Docusign signatures (please route and then e-mail the final pdf to the Graduate School)
  • Scanned (if signatures had previously been obtained)

Graduate Appointments

If the labs close again, will the closure affect my RA or pre-doc trainee appointment?

Graduate students employed as research assistants are expected to continue their work on research and proceed toward academic goals to the extent possible while working remotely. They should work directly with their faculty advisor or P.I on ways in which they can continue to contribute to research off-site. Faculty members are encouraged to explore alternate duties that students can perform that benefit the project such as writing literature reviews, maintaining and updating laboratory notebooks, organizing and/or analyzing data, acquiring new research or analytical skills, and professional development. The salary or stipend support and benefits currently offered to graduate research assistants and pre-doctoral trainees should not be interrupted as they work remotely and except in extraordinary cases the payments will continue from current funding sources.

Will GPTIs and/or TAs be able to choose to conduct their class/recitation online?

It depends. Departments need to determine which classes should be remote/online, and which should be in person using specific guidelines that stem from our commitment to multiple teaching methods and maintaining flexibility for students. The TA/GPTI decision tree should be utilized when making these decisions.

What support is available to help prepare to deliver courses in different modalities?

The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and the Office of Information Technology (OIT) are continuing their intensive work to expand technology support for all teaching modalities. 

As a graduate assistant, will I be eligible for sick leave if I come down with COVID-19?

Yes, under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) graduate assistants may be eligible for paid leave if they become sick due to COVID-19.  See the COVID-19 HR Processes for full details on leave policies.

If I become ill with COVID-19 and take sick leave, will I still be eligible for my tuition waiver?

Yes. As long as the sick leave is related to COVID-19, it will not impact the 12-week minimum work requirement for tuition remission eligibility.

Professional Development & Writing Support

What online support services are currently being offered?

Check out our calendar for a full listing of our upcoming online events. We are currently offering the following virtual support services:

Check out our professional development page for the full suite of programs and services we offer.

Where can I get more information on the Graduate School's online seminars?

For graduate students looking for structure and community, join us for online seminars. Our accountability seminars help students set goals and maintain good writing habits, while fostering relationships with peers across disciplines. 

Contact Leslie Blood with any questions.

How do I connect with a writing consultant?

All graduate Writing Center sessions will be conducted online. Appointment times and weekly hours will remain the same. Contact Eric Klinger, with specific questions.

Graduate Student Career Services

Where can I get advice and direction on my job search?

Individual advising sessions are available via Zoom, phone or email. Please schedule through Handshake, and wait for your career services advisor to then reach out to arrange details for connecting remotely.


What's the university's policy on travel?

Be sure to follow the university’s guidance related to CU sponsored and personal travel and study abroad.

When can I apply for a travel grant?

Applications for the Graduate School travel grants have been postponed until further notice. 

I already won a grant, but my travel got cancelled. What do I do?

For Travel Grants previously awarded from The Graduate School, we will allow submissions for reimbursement of non-refundable prepaid travel expenses in lieu of the already awarded fellowship. This only applies to students who have already applied and received notification of their award. Proof of non-refundable status will be required with submissions. Students who reschedule their trips can apply for a new fellowship in the next academic year. 

International Student & Scholar Services

I am an international student, where can I find the most current information on visa and immigration matters?

For information regarding international students related to online classes, registration, or travel, visit International Student and Scholar Services or contact an ISSS advisor with specific questions. Information on COVID-19 related updates may be found in ISSS News.

I am international student who will not be doing my work from outside of the U.S. Am I still subject to the requirement that all students have health insurance?

Students studying on-line, outside of the U.S. for the fall semester, will not be required to complete the insurance waiver requirement. Students will need to reach out to if this is their situation, so they can be removed from the requirement.

Housing, Food, Financial Information

I live in graduate student housing. Where can I find information?

Information for those living in graduate student housing may be found on the Spring 2021 FAQs for Housing and Dining.

I have questions regarding food assistance.

Here is information that was created for food assistance - whether you wish to donate to or recieve food assistance.

I live in graduate student housing and my roommate is not complying with social distancing regulations. What should I do?

Email Graduate & Family Housing at or to call them at 303-492-6384. Explain your situation. If need be, the office will give the resident not complying with social distancing orders a warning letter. If you are dealing with an unruly neighbor or roommate who is not complying with social distancing, you can also call the CU Police Department at their non-emergency line: 303-492-6666. Ask to talk with the current patrol supervisor. Explain the situation. That supervisor can then help evaluate the situation and advise on how to best support them.

Where can I get current information about tuition and fees?

The Bursar's Office has a COVID-19 Information page that answers questions about tuition, fees, room & board credits, payments and refunds. For any financial questions that are not addressed on this information page, students are encourged to contact the Bursar's Office at or 303-492-5381.

I live in on-campus housing and am arriving from outside of the U.S., do I need to quarantine?

Yes, following CDC guidelines, the university is adoptiong a 14-day off-campus quarantine before any in-person, on-campus contact is made. Information regarding courtesy blocks of rooms at local hotels where both international and domestic students may self-quarantine can be found on the Housing website.

Emergency Funding

Where can I find information on emergency funding options?
  • The Graduate Student Emergency Aid Fund - Intended to help meet the financial needs of Boulder graduate students who encounter an emergency situation resulting in unforeseen expenses during their degree program. Please submit any questions or applications to
  • The Medical Expense Assistance Fund - The Student Health Board’s Medical Expense Assistance Fund (MEAF) is designed to financially assist students who are unable to pay incurred medical bills or prescription costs. 
  • The ISSS Emergency Financial Grant - For International students, grants vary according to available funds and demonstrated need.
  • If you are an international student who has had to move your defense from spring 2020 term to summer 2020 due to COVID-19 you may be eligible to apply for up to $2,000 in tuition support during the summer term.  If awarded, the funds will be applied directly to the student bill. Applications are open through May 27, 2020.
  • The CU Boulder Student Relief Fund Emergency Grant - Designed to assist enrolled students with a financial emergency in the current term that is impacting their ability to stay on track towards graduation.

Research, Lab & Library Resources

What steps are being taken to ensure grad students have access to labs while maintaining social distancing guidelines?

Requests to return to on-campus research, creative work and fieldwork will be initiated by the principal investigator completing the Request to Return form available on RIO’s web site. Criteria to be considered include: the critical nature of the research; implications of further delay; the full range of risks associated with returning to the activities; and target occupancy densities at a range of levels (room, floor, building, campus, etc.). This form will be forwarded to chairs/institute directors, who will evaluate the request based on the above criteria.

How will I work on my research project if I cannot access the lab or do fieldwork?

Contact the faculty member who is supervising your research and work with them to focus on different aspects that can be completed remotely (e.g., data analysis and conducting tests in virtual environments) if progress on your research project is affected by the campus moving to a “limited” or “remote” operating mode, your own illness, or because you are in quarantine or in self-isolation

What resources are available to graduate students through the University Libraries?

Graduate suite and graduate student study carrels in Norlin Library will open for fall 2021. Students can reserve socially distant, individual study seats in both Gemmill Library and the Business Library weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Study seats can be reserved in 45-minute increments for up to 135 minutes. Reservations can be made up to 14 days in advance.

Additional information about print materials, Norlin stacks, special collections/archives and research/teaching support for gradaute students can be found on the University Libraries website.

Securely access the libraries’ remote resources with CU Boulder’s Virtual Private Network (VPN) service. With VPN, students and researchers with a secure connection to the campus network from any location. All you need is a reliable internet collection, and the rest is easy.