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COVID-19 Updates and Guidance for Graduate Students

The Graduate School continues to follow the guidance outlined on the University COVID-19 website

The information below provides guidance specific to graduate applicants, graduate students, and graduate education.

We are in this together, and we ask you to continue doing your part. Stay home as much as possible. Wash your hands—well and often. Maintain physical distance from individuals who are not a part of your household. Wear a mask when not home, and especially when unable to maintain physical distancing. Be an example for others.

Everyone is welcome.

We all belong to the UL Lafayette community, and the Graduate School wants to make sure that everyone is welcomed and respected.

Fear of the COVID-19 pandemic should not be misdirected against individuals because of an individual’s national origin, race, or other protected classes.

If you or someone you know has experienced discrimination or harassment, contact our Human Resource partners for support, reporting options, and additional resources at hrcompliance@louisiana.edu. All supervisors and managers are responsible for watching for, stopping, and reporting it. The University will immediately review any allegations of harassment, intimidation, or discrimination and take appropriate action. 

For consultation or training on promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in our learning and work environments, contact the Office for Campus Diversity.

How to Contact Us

While a few staff members have returned to our offices, Martin Hall remains closed at this time.  All support services, programming, and appointments for current and prospective students are being offered remotely.

The best way to contact the Graduate School at this time continues to be by email at gradschool@louisiana.edu.

Individual staff members also remain available remotely during regular business hours by email, direct telephone number, or Microsoft Teams.

Postal mail continues to be received only twice weekly. To ensure delivery, documents sent by courier service (e.g., DHL, FedEx, UPS) should use the following UL Lafayette Post Office address:

UL Graduate School
620 McKinley St, Room 138
PO Box 43716
Lafayette, LA 70504

When will the Spring 2021 semester begin and end?

The University has updated the Spring 2021 academic calendar.

See the full academic calendar here.

How will graduate courses be offered in Spring 2021?

The University goal is to continue to blend in-person, remote, and online learning in a way that preserves valuable on-campus experiences and reduces the potential for exposure to COVID-19 in Spring 2021.

The graduate student learning environment will look different depending on your program. Most programs will offer graduate courses on-campus (OC) or via hyflex courses that utilize a combination of on-campus learning with remote/online technology (HF) while others will offer hybrid (HY), remote (RM), or online (OL) graduate courses.

Definitions of these course delivery types are available here.

You should review the delivery type for individual graduate courses on the Schedule of Classes. Below is a general overview of how graduate programs plan to offer courses in Spring 2021.

Graduate Program Course Delivery Modes
Accounting (M.S.) OL
Applied Language and Speech Sciences (Ph.D.) HY
Architecture (M.Arch.) OC, HF, RM
Biology (M.S.) OC, HF (only BIOL 550, 551, 552 will be RM)
Biology, Environmental & Evolutionary (Ph.D.) OC, HF (only BIOL 550, 551, 552 will be RM)
Business Administration (Graduate Certificate) OL
Business Administration (M.B.A.) - online OL
Business Administration (M.B.A.) - on campus OC, HF, HY, RM
Cardiovascular Nursing (Graduate Certificate) OL
Chemical Engineering (M.S.E.) OC, HF
Civil Engineering (M.S.E.) OC, HF
Communication (M.S.) HY, OL
Computer Science (M.S.) - online OL
Computer Science (M.S.) - on campus OC, HF, RM
Computer Science (Ph.D.) OC, HF, RM
Computer Engineering (M.S.) OC, HF, RM
Computer Engineering (Ph.D.) OC, HF, RM
Counselor Education (M.S.) HF
Criminal Justice (M.S.) HF (only CJUS 410G will be OC)
Earth & Energy Sciences (Ph.D.) OC, HF
Education (M.A.T.) Elementary Education OL
Education (M.A.T.) Elementary French Immersion OL
Education (M.A.T.) Special Education HF, RM
Education (M.Ed.) Curriculum and Instruction - Instructional Specialist OL
Education (M.Ed.) Curriculum and Instruction - Special Educ. Diagnostician HF, RM, OL
Education (M.Ed.) Gifted Education HF, RM, OL
Education (M.Ed.) Educational Leadership HF, RM
Education (Ed.D.) Educational Leadership HF, RM
Electrical Engineering (M.S.E.) OC, HF
English (M.A.) OC, HF, RM, OL
English (Ph.D.) OC, HF, RM, OL
Environmental Resource Science (M.S.) HF
Francophone Studies (Ph.D.) OC, HF, RM
French (M.A.) OC, HF, RM
Geology (M.S.) OC, HF (only GEOL 450G will be RM)
Health Care Administration (Post-MBA Graduate Certificate) OC, OL
History (M.A.) OC, HF, RM
Informatics (M.S.) OC, HF, HY
Instructional Coach (Graduate Certificate) OL
Kinesiology (M.S.) HY, OL
Mathematics (M.S.) OC, HF, RM
Mathematics (Ph.D.) OC, HF, RM
Mechanical Engineering (M.S.E.) OC, HF
Music (M.M.) OC, HF, RM
Nursing (M.S.N.) OL + Clinical Experiences (OC)
Nursing Practice (DNP) OL + Clinical Experiences (OC)
Physics (M.S.) OC, HF
Petroleum Engineering (M.S.E.) OC, HF
Professional Writing (Graduate Certificate) OL
Psychology (M.S.) OC, RM
Speech Pathology (Communicative Disorders M.S.) HF
Systems Engineering (Ph.D.) OC, HF
Systems Technology (M.S.) OL
TESOL (Graduate Certificate) OC

Updated 2020.10.19

Learn more about on-campus class size and safety protocols as well as disability services and accommodations here.

How will Graduate Student Orientations be available?

To ensure a safe and accessible environment for our students, the Graduate School orientations are now offered online, accessible via Moodle, here.

The New Graduate Student Orientation introduces the skills, resources, and networks of support essential to success in grad school at UL Lafayette.

The Graduate Assistant (GTA/GRA/GA) and University Fellow Orientation, included as the last module in the New Graduate Student Orientation, includes information on completion of hiring paperwork and mandatory University trainings.

Check with your graduate coordinator for details about a program-specific orientation for new students in your department. 

International students should review plans for the New International Student Orientation on the Division of Global Engagement on its COVID-19 Response & Updates website.

Delaying Graduate Enrollment Guidance

The Graduate School is committed to assisting you as you make decisions about enrollment in Spring 2021.

Recently-admitted graduate students who have not yet begun their graduate studies may defer admission, without fee or penalty, to a later semester. Find instructions for deferring graduate admission here.

Continuing graduate students may request an Official Leave of Absence by submitting a Leave of Absence Request Form found here.

If you have funding (e.g., an assistantship, fellowship, scholarship), discuss with your graduate coordinator or assistantship/fellowship supervisor how delaying graduate enrollment may impact your funding. Similarly, if you have received federal financial aid, you should consult with the Office of Financial Aid.

Graduate Assistantship and Fellowship Guidance

To ensure the safety of our University community, the University has turned to a risk-based assessment to guide the return to on-campus learning and operations. As part of this effort, the University has announced a multi-phased return to campus plan that is available on the UL Lafayette COVID-19 Response website.

Beyond the specific guidance provided below, graduate assistantship (GTA/GRA/GA) and graduate fellowship appointments are expected to adhere to the policies and protocols outlined in the University Return-to-Workplace Guide.

Graduate students appointed as graduate assistants or graduate fellows are expected to be in residence in Louisiana and available to be on campus in Spring 2021 unless a Temporary Graduate Assistantship Remote Work Request has been approved by the Graduate School. Unfortunately, because the University has determined that individuals who reside outside of the United States cannot be paid stipends, completion of remote assistantship or fellowship duties from abroad cannot be approved. 

In order to return to campus as a graduate assistant or fellow, you must complete the following:

Talk with your department head or assistantship/fellowship supervisor to determine how your position is part of the return-to-campus plan. 

In an effort to protect the health, safety, and welfare of our campus community, academic departments (or hiring units) and supervisors should make every reasonable effort to accommodate requests from graduate students for flexibility, physical distancing, staggered scheduling, and remote work options.

  • If the scope of assistantship or fellowship duties can be performed effectively remotely, supervisors may approve remote work until the easing of social distancing restrictions.
  • If the scope of assistantship or fellowship duties typically performed do not lend themselves easily to remote work, supervisors may assign alternate duties to accommodate such requests.

Graduate students requesting an adjustment to their assistantship or fellowship assignment should follow the established process in their academic unit (or hiring unit, if not an academic appointment) for identifying solutions.

Where there are requests for flexibility for reasons other than individual health considerations (e.g., age, caregiving responsibilities for or cohabitating with an at-risk individual, child care needs), graduate students are encouraged to work productively with their supervisors to identify solutions that balance individual needs with the needs of the University.

Academic departments, hiring units, and supervisors should not request documentation from graduate students to demonstrate high-risk conditions or justification for accommodation. Rather, they should notify the EEO/ADA Coordinator at hrcompliance@louisiana.edu of such requests.

If accommodation and/or alternate assistantship or fellowship duties cannot be mutually agreed upon by the academic department/hiring unit/supervisor and graduate student, the Graduate School should be notified. The Dean of the Graduate School—in consultation with the Academic Dean, the Dean of Students, and Human Resources—will facilitate resolution.

GRE, GMAT, and English Language Proficiency Requirement Updates

The Graduate School continues to make temporary changes to our application requirements and processes as a result of COVID-19 disruptions.

Stay informed by visiting our applicant FAQ page for guidance for applicants and recently-admitted students. Highlights include the following:

  • Some programs have made the decision to continue to suspend the GRE requirement for Spring 2021, Summer 2021, and Fall 2021 applications.
  • The Duolingo English Test will continue to be available as a temporary alternative to IELTS, TOEFL, and PTE testing options for those applying for all 2021 terms.

Milestone Requirement Reporting Guidance

The Graduate School will continue to require that preliminary/comprehensive/qualifying exams, foreign language proficiency exams, and defenses (prospectus/projects/thesis/ dissertation/synthesis projects) be conducted remotely through videoconferencing platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams (accessed through University licenses) during Fall 2020 and the period between the end of Fall 2020 and Spring 2021.

If it is not feasible to conduct an exam/defense remotely, the committee chairperson may petition the Dean of the Graduate School to conduct the milestone requirement in person. Chairs are asked to consult with department heads prior to making an in-person exam/defense request. Requests must include justification and identify all participants as well as the proposed location, date, and time. On-campus, in-person exams/defenses must follow all health and physical distancing requirements.

For graduate programs that require a public defense of theses/dissertations, this requirement will be reinstated beginning in Fall 2020. Public defenses should be made available through videoconferencing platforms such as Zoom.

In Fall 2020 and Spring 2021, the Graduate School will return to assigning outside observers to thesis, dissertation, and synthesis project defenses/presentations as required by University policy. Outside observers also may be requested using the Outside Observer Request Form.

Degree Completion Deadlines

Due to the announced changes to the Fall 2020 academic calendar, changes have been made to the deadlines for completion of graduate written/oral examinations, submission of defended theses/dissertation manuscripts, and final copies of manuscripts to the Graduate School.

Similarly, “clear prior” requirements and deadlines for students also have changed as a result of these academic calendar changes and, of course, this unprecedented time.

“Clear prior” offers a grace period to complete the final review and approval process to graduate students who have satisfied all degree requirements except submission of the successfully defended thesis/dissertation manuscript to the Graduate School. While the degree is not officially conferred until the following semester, students who meet the clear prior deadline are exempt from paying additional tuition and fees for the semester in which the degree is officially awarded. 

Requirements for clear prior will be modified temporarily in Summer and Fall 2020 to require submission of the successfully-defended, committee-approved manuscript for Graduate School review and approval by the following deadlines:

  • August 14 [updated]:  Clear Prior deadline to be exempt from Fall 2020 tuition and fees
  • January 8:  Clear Prior deadline to be exempt from Spring 2021 tuition and fees

During normal times, the final thesis/dissertation manuscript would be required to be not only successfully defended and committee approved but also completely through Graduate School review and approval by these deadlines.

Finally, given the significant time between the end of the Fall 2020 semester and the start of the Spring 2021 semester, faculty members are expected to be especially flexible and accommodating to graduate students working to complete theses/dissertations in time to meet the clear prior deadline in January.

Support Resources for Graduate Students

General Resources and Support for Students

Face coverings are required on campus. While students are encouraged to wear their own face mask, masks will be available on campus.

Remote advising will be available to all graduate students.

Testing centers will be designated in large rooms/arenas to reduce the risk of exposure when taking in-person exams.

Wi-Fi has been extended into designated areas so students and faculty can drive up and access University internet services.

The Writing Center remains available to support graduate students. Review its website for current updates.

The Office of Disability Services remains available to support graduate students with in-person and virtual appointments and online accommodation requests. The ODS Testing Center is open to support in-person testing accommodations.

Student Health and Counseling Services

Student Health Services continues to see students who are ill and offers limited well visits with appropriate safeguards. Appointments are required at this time. Make an appointment by calling 482-1293.

The UL Lafayette Counseling and Testing Center is offering telehealth counseling sessions to help you manage stress and emotional wellbeing. Emergency in-person appointments are available. To schedule a telehealth session, call 337-482-6480 or email counseling@louisiana.edu.

Emergency Student Support

The Student COVID-19 Quarantine & Isolation Form must be completed if a student has been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting results or has been told to quarantine or isolate because of symptoms or exposure to COVID-19. If students have a non-COVID-19-related anticipated or unplanned absence, they will continue to use this webform to notify the Dean of Students.

Campus Cupboard, our campus community’s food pantry, is offering pick-up service from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. To ensure that orders are ready for pick up and to minimize face-to-face interactions, customers should complete this form.

The Certification and Agreement for the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides direct funds to eligible students. Learn more about eligibility and status of awards.

The Student Emergency Fund is a University resource (separate from CARES Act funding) that has provided limited financial assistance to currently enrolled students who are unable to meet essential and immediate expenses associated with their academic studies.

Health Insurance, Loss of Benefits

Reach out to the Office of Student Health Services for guidance about health insurance options and the loss of health insurance benefits due to unemployment.

If you are unemployed and have lost health insurance benefits, you may qualify for health insurance government assistance through Louisiana Medicaid or the Health Insurance Marketplace.

If you aren’t currently enrolled in coverage or have lost your benefits, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period through the Health Insurance Marketplace. You can access the Health Insurance Marketplace at healthcare.gov.

At any time, although depending on your income, you may apply for Louisiana Medicaid medical benefits. You can learn more and apply for Medicaid online at MyMedicaid.la.gov.

Employee Leave and Unemployment Insurance related to COVID-19

If you are a graduate assistant, fellow, or other kind of student employee who the University has deemed necessary to be away from the workplace due to COVID-19, it may be possible that you qualify for accommodation under the Families First Coronavirus Act (FFCRA). To learn more visit the COVID-19 Employee Leave Guidance webpage.

The state of Louisiana has implemented new measures concerning the special circumstance of COVID-19 as it relates to unemployment insurance. If your hours have been reduced due to COVID-19 or you are unable to work remotely due to the nature of your position, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance. Student employees who are otherwise not eligible for leave are eligible to apply for this unemployment insurance. Please note that these considerations do not apply to those who continue to be paid and/or who continue to work remotely.

Review the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) website for information concerning the special circumstance of COVID-19 for which employees may apply for unemployment insurance. While immediate relief may not be available due to the large number of applications being received, we recommend that students who think they may be eligible for this assistance begin the process immediately.

In order to file a claim, please visit www.louisianaworks.net/hire or by calling the LWC Claim Center at 866-783-5567.

Graduate School COVID-19 Updates

New Process for GTA/GRA/GA Appointments and PAFs Announced - 2020.05.04

The Graduate School has introduced a new process for submission of PAFs for graduate assistantship appointments.

Graduate coordinators and assistantship supervisors are invited to initiate GTA/GRA/GA appointments now using this form for Summer Intercession, Summer, Fall 2020, and the 2020-2021 academic year. Upon submission, the Graduate School will review the information, contact you if there is additional information needed, and route the PAF for the appropriate approvals. Know that we will be utilizing DocuSign to route and secure approvals for these GTA/GRA/GA PAFs.

Prior to submission of your appointments using the link above, we ask that you review your plans for graduate student hiring in your individual areas with your immediate supervisors.

To ensure time for review and routing, take note of the following deadlines:

  • Summer Intercession PAF forms are due May 11.
  • Summer PAF forms are due May 22.
  • Fall (or 2020-2021) PAF forms are due June 1.

Please be reminded that no graduate student appointed as a GTA/GRA/GA may be permitted to work until official notification of PAF approval has been received. Unauthorized hiring may result in disciplinary action.

Policies governing assistantship appointments may be found in the University Catalog here.

Summer 2020: Submitting Milestone Forms, Notifications, and Approvals

Forms and milestone notifications (including comprehensive exam and defense notifications) should be sent to GradSchoolApprovals@louisiana.edu.

Forms (e.g., transfer credit requests, doctoral committee appointments, requests for an official leave of absence) and approvals are being accepted as follows:

  •     The student should initiate the process by completing all parts of the form and forwarding it by email to the appropriate faculty member in their department (most often the graduate coordinator) for review and approval.
  •     Upon review and approval, the graduate coordinator will convey approval to the Graduate School by sending the completed form as a pdf document to gradschoolapprovals@louisiana.edu.
  •     Approval signatures from required individuals will be accepted:
    • whenever possible, on the scanned form with actual ink hand-signed signatures
    • from a UL email account from which the approver indicates their approval on the form itself or in the body of the email to which the form is attached
    • from a professional email address of an approver external to UL Lafayette (i.e., outside committee member) from which the approver indicates approval on the form itself or in the body of the email to which the form is attached

    NOTE:  A new process for submitting candidacy forms and petitions for regular admission status will be announced shortly.

Final Reports for students expecting to graduate in Summer 2020 are being handled as follows:

  •     The chairperson of the committee must notify GradSchoolApprovals@louisiana.edu (using their UL email address) that a student has successfully completed all degree requirements (e.g., comprehensive exam and/or defense).
  •     No final report form will be emailed to you. Instead, in your email notification to the Graduate School please include the names of all committee members. If a committee needs to be updated, use the Committee Update Form.
  •     The Graduate School will then email each committee member and request individual approvals of this Final Report notification. Each committee member must provide approval using their UL email address (or, in the case of external members, an email address associated with their professional appointment).

Preliminary Approval Forms for thesis students and doctoral students expecting to graduate in Summer 2020 are being handled as follows:

  •     The student should complete all parts of the Preliminary Approval Form found on the forms website here and forward it by email to the committee chair for review and approval.
  •     Upon review and approval, the committee chair shall convey approval on behalf of the full committee to the Graduate School by sending the completed form as a pdf document to GradSchoolApprovals@louisiana.edu. Approval signatures from required individuals will be accepted:
    •  whenever possible, on the scanned form with actual ink hand-signed signatures
    •  from a UL email account in which the approver indicates their approval of the form. The approver may note approval in the body of the email to which the form is attached.
    •  from a professional email address of an approver external to UL Lafayette (i.e., external committee member). The approver may note approval in the body of the email to which the form is attached.

Approval Pages for thesis/dissertation/synthesis projects for those expecting to graduate in Summer 20202 are being handled as follows:

  •     No physical signatures will be required.
  •     Upon receipt of the Preliminary Approval Form at GradSchoolApprovals@louisiana.edu from the chairperson of the committee (via their UL email address), the Graduate School will email each committee member and request individual approvals of the defended manuscript.
  •     Using their UL email address (or, in the case of external members, an email address associated with their professional appointment), each committee member must respond to this notification offering approval.

Duolingo English Test Scores - 2020.05.14

International applicants should note that the Graduate School has approved the temporary use of the Duolingo English Test scores as an alternative to IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE scores. Please visit our applicant FAQ for details.

Important Graduate Application News and Applicant FAQs - 2020.04.27

The Graduate School has made some temporary changes to our application requirements and processes. Please visit our applicant FAQ page for details and guidance for applicants and recently-admitted students. Highlights include the following:

1. Select programs have suspended the GRE requirement for Summer 2020 and Fall 2020 applications.

2. Recently-admitted international applicants who require an I-20 may submit their financial documentation through the application portal.

3. Postal mail will be received twice weekly during remote operations. Documents sent by courier service should use the following address:

UL Graduate School
620 McKinley St, Room 138
PO Box 43716
Lafayette, LA 70504