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Graduate Student COVID-19 FAQ

Thesis/Exam Information

The Office of Graduate, Online and Professional Studies (GPS), the Graduate Student Services Team and the university are monitoring the needs of our graduate students and, where possible, adapting policies to ensure continuity of learning and student success. We understand that you may have many questions and concerns and have compiled the following information to assist you. For more information continue to monitor the university’s Coronavirus Updates website.
If you have additional questions or comments, please email or the graduate coordinator for your academic program.  

How can I hold my defense during the time that face-to-face instruction is suspended?

The defense or hearing can proceed remotely and committee members can join the hearing electronically via Zoom or other online collaboration tools. 
If a student wishes to share their dissertation defense with others they can record the presentation in Zoom and share it electronically, or invite guests to join at the scheduled time.

Can I use an alternative collaboration tool for my defense?

Students can use any collaboration tool with the prior approval of their advisor.

What about the university requirement to hold a public defense?

The requirement to hold public defenses has been suspended; there should not be a public meeting for the defense. However, announcements should still be posted in Today@UMass Lowell.

How will I submit the signed “Signature Page” for my defense?

It is not feasible for students to secure committee member signatures on their Signature Page at the time of a Zoom defense. As a temporary measure, committee members may sign off on a copy of the thesis/dissertation signature page, and submit a scanned or photo copy of the page electronically. The signed signature page(s) should be sent to the Registrar’s Office at AND along with a confirmation email from the advisor. 
When the dissertation is electronically submitted, instead of including the signed signature page (or multiple pages), an unsigned page, which lists the advisor and committee members will be included.

My thesis/dissertation defense must be rescheduled due to coronavirus precautions, and now I can’t make the thesis submission deadline. Does that mean I can’t graduate?

Please contact with any questions.

My comprehensive exam is scheduled this semester. What should I do?

Comprehensive exams should also be conducted remotely if your exam is scheduled during the period of coronavirus precautions.
Because the form and structure of comprehensive exams are highly variable across departments and programs, not all comp exams will lend themselves to remote participation. Your department will advise you if your exam will be held remotely or rescheduled.


What if I need academic advising (course selection, etc.)?

The Office of Graduate Student Services and graduate coordinators are available by phone and online. Contact the Graduate Coordinator in your academic department.  
The Office of Graduate Student Services may be reached at or 978-943-2173. 

Who should I contact with questions about my registration, billing, financial aid related matters?

Please contact The Solution Center at 978-934-2000 or

What if I have an immunization hold?

Immunization Holds can only be released by Health Services.  Please contact or 978-934-6800.

What if I have questions for the Graduate Student Association?

GSA questions should be directed to the appropriate Executive Committee Chair.  A list of contacts can be found on the GSA website.

What if I have a question about admissions or my application?

Admissions-related questions should be directed to the Graduate Admissions Office at 978-934-2390 or