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Office of Graduate Education Covid-19 Related Information

The University of Wyoming is closely monitoring the novel coronavirus and endeavoring to ensure the safety and health of its students, faculty and staff.  Please see UW’s Covid-19 website for the latest information on the university’s response:

UW’s Office of Graduate Education is committed to supporting graduate students during this complex time.

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Remote Meetings, Defenses and Exams
Submission of Graduate Forms and Signatures
Graduate Defense Deadline For Spring 2020 Graduation Extended Until May 21
Graduate Classes and Instructional Continuity
Graduate Assistantships and Fellowships
Graduate Application Deadlines Extended for Many of UW's Graduate Programs
International Graduate Students
International Graduate Student Applicants & English Proficiency
Office of Graduate Education Student Travel Funding
Working with the Office of Graduate Education

Remote Meetings, Defenses and Exams

Effective immediately for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester, all graduate committee functions including advisor-student meetings, advisor-committee meetings, prospectus presentations/defenses, qualifying and preliminary exams, and thesis/dissertation defenses should be conducted remotely via available services such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, etc.  Although still allowed, in-person meetings/exams/defenses are strongly discouraged and are not allowed if any single necessary participant requests remote participation.

Public announcement requirement.  For the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester, no public portion requirement will be in place for thesis/dissertation defenses.  Nevertheless, thesis/dissertation defenses must continue to be announced publicly at least two weeks prior to the date.

Submission of Graduate Forms and Signatures

Effectively immediately for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester, all graduate forms ( must be submitted electronically.  The Office of the Registrar is endeavoring to implement fillable Acrobat PDF versions of the graduate forms, and these and instructions for their use will be made available as quickly as possible.  Until then, all graduate forms should be completed by the originator and emailed to the next step in the signature chain.  Students and advisors should monitor the progress of the forms as they pass through the signature chain to ensure that forms are processed as quickly as possible.

Example: Graduate Committee Assignment Form (, the student will fill out all possible fields in the PDF file before emailing the form to the committee chair who will be responsible for collecting all committee members’ signatures.  Except in rare circumstances, all signatures should be collected electronically.  Once all members’ signatures are collected, the committee chair will then electronically deliver the form to the Department/Program Head for signature, and the Department Head will then email the signed form to the Dean (or designee).  The Dean (or designee) should then email the completed form to for review by the AVP for Graduate Education.  (Please note that some forms follow different signature authority chains than the example given here.)

Paper graduate forms that were in-process prior to March 19, 2020 will be processed as usual. 

Graduate Defense Deadline for Spring 2020 Graduation Extended Until May 21

In recognition of the disruption to graduate students’ lives caused by the coronavirus pandemic, UW has extended the last date to defend for Spring 2020 graduate defenses from May 4th until May 21st.  Students intending to graduate at the end of the spring semester, will now have until this extended deadline to defend their Plan B project, thesis or dissertation and still be eligible for May 2020 graduation.  Following from this extended deadline, the last day to submit final paperwork is May 26th.  Students should consult with their advisors as soon as possible regarding scheduling their defenses, if they have not done so already.  (Added 4/15/20)

Graduate Classes and Instructional Continuity

Beginning March 30, spring 2020 classes will be offered online, and there will not be any on-campus/in-person classes for the remainder of the spring semester.  UW’s is committed to implementing a complete transition to online instruction in a manner that ensures that students are provided sufficient opportunities to demonstrate their courses’ learning outcomes and ensures that students’ progress to graduation is not delayed.  Please see the Division of Academic Affairs’ Covid-19 Action Plan ( as well as the student ( and faculty ( resources webpages for more information.  Instructors will contact students regarding online delivery of classes.

Please endeavor to continue to progress on your degree.  If time on-campus (e.g., in lab, etc.) is required for you to continue to make progress, please consult with your advisor about arrangements that will also minimize the spread of the coronavirus. 

Graduate Assistantships and Fellowships

UW is committed to maintaining funding for currently funded graduate students for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester.  For graduate fellowship recipients, your funding will continue as planned.  Graduate assistants will continue to be paid their stipends and receive their tuition, fee and insurance (if selected) benefits.  Furthermore, graduate assistants are expected to continue with their duties albeit under different circumstances:
  • Graduate Research Assistants are expected to continue to conduct research as specified by their faculty supervisors. However, in only but exceptional circumstances where in-person presence is necessitated, graduate research assistants should conduct their work remotely.  This may require a shift in duties to report writing, manuscript preparation, etc. 
  • Graduate Teaching Assistants are expected to continue their teaching and teaching-support responsibilities. GTAs teaching their own classes need to work with their departments to move the class instruction online by March 30th and will then need to continue teaching their classes online. GTAs assigned lab or discussion sections are expected to work with their course supervisors to move lab/discussion section teaching completely online by March 30th.  GTAs with instructional support duties are expected to assist the supervising instructor in the transition to online delivery.  GTAs are crucial to the success of UW’s rapid online transition in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Graduate Administrative Assistants are expected to continue their administrative duties. However, wherever possible Graduate Administrative Assistants should work remotely.

Graduate Application Deadlines Extended for Many of UW's Graduate Programs

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted many peoples’ lives, and many are facing uncertain futures.  Graduating seniors, including many of UW’s own, have been looking forward to job prospects that have now evaporated.  Others, whose jobs seemed stable, now find themselves unemployed.  UW has an essential role in helping these people find paths forward.  Some of these folks are or will be looking towards graduate or professional programs to help them find new opportunities, only to find that most of the admissions deadlines have already passed.  Therefore, many of UW’s graduate programs have extended their application deadlines to the summer.  If you are interested in graduate or professional study, please contact graduate programs to inquire about application deadline extensions.  For a complete list of UW’s graduate and professional degree programs, please see:  (added 4/15/20)


International Graduate Students

UW is committed to its international graduate students and to helping them continue to make regular progress on their degrees.  Given travel changes, we understand that some international students may be away from campus and not able to return.  Because all UW classes will move online on March 30th, overseas international students should be able to continue their coursework for the semester.  The Department of Homeland Security will allow students to maintain their F-1 or J-1 visas, even if they have returned to their home countries, as long as they participate full-time in their online coursework.  For those international students unable to return to campus following spring break who have graduate assistantship funding, your funding will continue as planned.  Please work with your GA supervisor to perform duties that can be done, remotely.

If you will leave the US, please complete the online survey and International Students & Scholars (ISS) staff will issue an updated Form I-20 with the outside-of-US notation and travel signature for your return later in the year.  You may pick this up if you are still in Laramie, or we can mail it to you at home at no cost.

F-1 and J-1 Visa Residency Requirement and Online Classes.  The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is currently allowing students on a non-immigrant visa (F-1 and J-1) to be fully enrolled in classes with no face-to-face instruction if the school you are attending has made that decision.  ISS will be sending a report to DHS notifying them that UW has decided to continue classes using online instruction beginning on March 29, 2020.

Please see the International Students & Scholars (ISS) website for additional information for international students:

International Graduate Student Applicants & English Proficiency 

Effective immediately for Summer and Fall 2020 graduate admissions:

Given current difficulties graduate applicants are facing with taking TOEFL and IELTS exams, international graduate student applicants may submit Duolingo English proficiency exam results in lieu of TOEFL or IELTS results.

A Duolingo score of 110 or higher is required to meet the English proficiency for UW graduate admissions. 

The Duolingo English exam is available at:

Some crucial information regarding the Duolingo test:

When an applicant selects to take the exam, they will be asked to create a Duolingo account.  Once logged in, they are prompted to take a practice test, which is highly recommended.  Following the practice test, they are asked to buy the test ($49). There will be two options: buy it and take it immediately or buy it and take it later.  We recommend that applicants read the FAQ and Duolingo test rules and requirements:  Test takers are strongly advised to follow the test rules exactly. 
(Added 3/20/20)

Office of Graduate Education Travel Funding

Given UW’s suspension of all university-sponsored travel through May 15, 2020, the Office of Graduate Education has suspended its Graduate Travel Awards ( program until further notice. 

For programs and colleges with Graduate Recruitment Initiative funding: the Office of Graduate Education understands that some GRI money was allocated to fund prospective student travel to UW and that some of this funding will not be spent because of Covid-19 related travel restrictions.  The Office of Graduate Education strongly encourages repurposing such funding for other recruitment efforts.  In particular, the OGE supports using such funding for search engine optimization and other digital marketing efforts.  Please contact Julie Sheldon ( if you’re interested in such efforts.

Working with the Office of Graduate Education

Effective for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester, Office of Graduate Education personnel will only meet in-person with students, faculty or staff under extraordinary circumstances (e.g., if an online or over-phone meeting is not possible and the meeting is deemed essential by the Office of Graduate Education).  Nevertheless, the Office of Graduate Education is committed to supporting graduate students, faculty and staff during the Covid-19 pandemic and will endeavor to be responsive to all student, faculty and staff inquiries.  Please contact us via email ( or phone (+1-307-766-4286). 

As needed, further information will be posted here.
Contact Us

Office of Graduate Education

Old Main 403

Phone: (307) 766-4286


1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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