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Resources for Graduate Students in Response to COVID-19

Below, you can find resources and information of specific interest to graduate students during the evolving situation with COVID-19. This page will be updated promptly as new information becomes available, so please check back frequently.

Adjusted 2023 Winter and Spring-Summer Term Academic Deadlines

In light of continuing pressures on students and faculty resulting from COVID-19, the Rackham Executive Board has approved adjustments to the following academic deadlines for the 2023 winter and spring-summer terms:

For doctoral students:

  • The grace period for conducting the defense, filing the dissertation, and completing all requirements under the 2023 winter registration is extended to Tuesday, August 15, the last day of classes in the summer half-term.
  • The in-term deadline for conducting the defense, filing the dissertation, and completing all final requirements under the 2023 spring-summer registration is extended to Tuesday, August 15.
  • The deadline for completing candidacy exams under the 2023 winter registration is extended to Friday, August 18.
  • The grace period for conducting the defense, filing the dissertation, and completing all requirements under the 2023 spring-summer registration is extended to Monday, September 18.

For master’s and certificate students:

  • The deadline for applying for graduation at 2023 Spring Commencement and having the name appear in the graduation program is Monday, March 13.
  • The deadline for applying for graduation at 2023 Spring Commencement is Tuesday, April 18, the last day of classes.

International students who intend to use the winter 2023 extended grace period must consult with the International Center and their program about their plans to make sure they remain in immigration compliance.

Rackham has created a page with key information for international students who intend to make use of the adjusted academic deadlines.

Last updated at 10:45 a.m. on 1/23/23

Face Covering and Distancing Policy

Masks are optional for indoor spaces on the University of Michigan campuses with the exception that masks remain required in patient care areas (e.g Michigan Medicine, University Health Service and the Dental School clinical areas) and U-M Covid-19 testing sites.

Mask use is still suggested as an effective strategy for enhanced personal protection, especially for those with compromised immune status, those who are not vaccinated or up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations, and anyone with a perceived increased situational risk.

This policy applies to all students, faculty, staff, and visitors—regardless of vaccination status—on the Ann Arbor, Flint, and Dearborn campuses, as well as U-M controlled properties off campus. Certain units, such as University of Michigan—Health and the U-M Children’s Centers, may issue local level policies that supersede this policy and must be followed as applicable.

Helpful Resources

Last updated at 8:30 a.m. on 9/28/22

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement

All students, faculty and staff on the three U-M campuses, including Michigan Medicine, are required to be up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations (including a booster shot) and to submit their vaccination information. This includes all students and employees (regular and temporary), including:

  • Employees who are not currently working (e.g., off work on unpaid leaves of absence, in unpaid reduction-in-force status, no longer working in a temporary appointment where the termination hasn’t been processed yet).
  • Students and employees in fully remote situations.
  • Students in fully remote programs and located in international locations where the vaccine is unavailable. These students are advised to request a temporary postponement using the appropriate form on Wolverine Access.

Bargained-for University of Michigan employees who work in Michigan Medicine or in a health care facility must comply with the federal COVID-19 vaccination mandate. Employees must have received their first dose or submitted an exemption request by January 27, 2022, and have received their second dose or an approved exemption by February 28, 2022. Additionally, some bargained-for employees have additional requirements pertaining to the booster; any bargained-for employee who is uncertain what is required should consult with their union representative for further information.

Last updated at 4:30 p.m. on 9/22/22

Student Well-Being

  • Resources to support student well-being will continue to be available. Graduate students can request an appointment with Laura Monschau, Rackham’s Embedded Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) counselor. In addition, CAPS is maintaining avenues for support during regular business hours, with after hours urgent support available by calling 734.764.8312 (press 0) at night and on weekends.
  • The University Health Service is open during usual business hours, providing health care in new ways to meet student needs.
  • Rackham’s Graduate Student and Program Consultation Services will continue to respond to student academic concerns and conflicts. Students should use the “Request a Meeting” button on the website. All consultations will take place remotely, either by phone or via video conference.
  • Ph.D. students may request a leave of absence when certain life events prevent continued active participation in their degree program. The leave of absence enables a student to officially suspend work toward their degree for a limited time. Students needing to suspend their studies due to COVID-19 related reasons are encouraged to contact for help navigating the leave of absence policy.
  • As mental health challenges continue to pose difficulties for graduate student health, well-being, and academic progress, Rackham formed the Graduate Student Mental Health Task Force in June 2019 to identify and implement specific changes in the U-M graduate student experience. Their reports outline recommendations to better support graduate student mental health at individual, program, and institutional levels, as well as a call on Rackham and individual graduate programs to prioritize graduate student mental health and well-being alongside academic success
  • Rackham has announced the creation of the Rackham Committee on Graduate Student Mental Health and Well-Being. This new, standing committee is working to implement the recommendations of the Graduate Student Mental Health Task Force (which ran from 2019 to 2021) and is also developing resources that departments and graduate programs can use to promote graduate student mental health and well-being. The committee has created the resource below to summarize the major stressors students are facing, and to provide guidance on principles, approaches, and strategies that mentors and graduate programs can use as they support students during these extremely stressful times.

Last updated at 10:15 a.m. on 9/24/20

Research and Scholarship

COVID-19 has impacted nearly every facet of U-M’s research enterprise. These changes in the availability of resources for research and scholarship have caused significant stress and uncertainty. Research leadership from across the University of Michigan campuses have worked together to safely reengage research and scholarship, in accordance with state regulations.

The University of Michigan Office of Research (UMOR) has developed guidance on human research during COVID-19 to assist faculty, postdocs, staff, and graduate students.

Faculty who have master’s and doctoral students working in the lab or elsewhere for academic credit—including independent study and dissertation credit—must work with each of their students to develop a plan for continued research progress appropriate to the degree or credit pursued. It is important to recognize that these new plans will necessarily look quite different than prior expectations due to the circumstances of the moment. In most cases, flexibility will be needed because research activities, methods, and outputs will be substantively altered and attenuated.

Last updated at 4:30 p.m. on 10/27/22

Extended Time to Degree

Rackham has implemented a process in which each doctoral program created and reported to Rackham a policy or procedure through which students may receive an additional term or terms of stipend, tuition, and benefits if their degree progress was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the funding committed by offer letter has been exhausted. The decision to extend funding will be a collaborative decision of the faculty mentor, the doctoral student, and the Rackham program. Rackham will update its Academic Dispute Resolution Policy to resolve cases in which faculty, student, and program do not agree on the need for extended funding.

Last updated at 11:00 a.m. on 8/27/21

Student Parents

  • Licensed child care expenses of students are currently supported through the campus Child Care Subsidy, administered by the Office of Financial Aid (OFA) with eligibility and subsidy amounts described on their website. The subsidy can be received by qualifying students for eligible expenses paid to licensed child care providers.

  • Doctoral students needing to suspend their studies due to COVID-19 related reasons are encouraged to contact for help navigating the leave of absence policy. Students with child-care/caregiver responsibilities can apply for a leave of absence for family necessity/dependent care for a single term and up to two consecutive years before needing to register. Students are not registered when on a leave of absence, so there is no tuition assessment, which is typically tied to GradCare funding. Students may continue GradCare like coverage during a leave of absence; students are encouraged to contact rackham.loa@umich.eduto discuss support in covering GradCare fees during an approved leave of absence period.
  • The Rackham Grad Parents Facebook Group serves as a forum for students to share resources with colleagues, build community, and receive updates from Rackham.
  • For additional information about the above resources and/or any student parent concerns, please contact Ida Faye Webster.

Last updated at 3:45 p.m. on 4/30/21

Dissertation Defenses

In line with the university’s goals to fulfill its educational mission while protecting health and safety by minimizing the potential spread of COVID-19 in the community and broader society, dissertation defenses may be held wholly online. Defenses that are held in person should be conducted in conformity with the University of Michigan’s health protocols and policies regarding limits to the number of in-person participants, social distancing, and other measures to safeguard health. Please visit the Completing the Doctoral Degree Requirements page for further details.

Last updated at 11:00 a.m. on 9/2/20

Issues Affecting International Students

Last updated at 3:45 p.m. on 2/9/21

Rackham Programming

Rackham Student-Initiated Grant Programs

All Rackham student-initiated grant programs (e.g., Rackham Graduate Student Research Grants, Rackham Conference Travel Grants, etc.) remain open and are accepting applications. However, the ability to use funding, if awarded, is contingent on current and future restrictions imposed by U-M, countries and/or institutions being visited, and the federal government.

Academic and Professional Development Programming

Rackham is currently offering a range of remote learning options for Rackham academic and professional development programming, along with a small number of in person events. Updates are reflected on the Rackham events calendar. In addition, through the university, students have access to premium content from Versatile PhD, a supportive, web-based community that provides resources and information on non-academic careers for Ph.D.s, candidates, and master’s degree holders.

Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshops (RIWs)

When deciding to hold, move, or cancel Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshops (RIWs) events, RIW coordinators should connect with their faculty mentor and department administrator, and follow meeting policies developed for their department and the scheduled meeting location. Rackham will waive the requirement of having a culminating event this year. Unused RIW funds cannot be carried over to next year. However, it will be possible to repurpose assigned funding to another use with advance approval from Rackham.

Last updated at 3:35 p.m. on 1/14/21

The Rackham Building

Rackham Study Spaces

Rackham study spaces are open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. The front doors of the Rackham Building will be open during those hours, so there is no need to use your Mcard to gain access.

How Can We Help?

If you need assistance, please contact one of the following offices:

Conflict Resolution and International Student Support
Associate Deans Support and Scheduling
734.764.8221 or 734.763.0172
Dean Solomon’s Support
Development and Alumni Relations
Professional and Academic Development
Academic Records and Dissertations
Financial Aid and Fellowships

Last updated at 3:35 p.m. on 9/27/22

COVID-19 News and Updates

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