COVID-19 Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry Graduate Studies FAQs

Summary of the Departmental Question/Answer Session held on Friday, March 27th at 2:30 PM




What kind of options are being investigated for graduate student researchers that intend to graduate this year but did not have a chance to finish all of their experiments? What will happen to MEng research projects that have a small amount of experimental work complete?

We don’t know how long this will last. The best advice is to talk to your supervisor about what you should do; maybe you can take the time to start writing your thesis/ report. We may get back to the labs within a month so any experiments may be able to be finished then. If this lasts longer, you may have to discuss with your committee to adjust the scope of what’s expected. For MEng projects, you can discuss with your supervisor and get creative. Perhaps increase the amount of computation or literature review work in the project.

How will students starting their PhD/research be impacted in terms of timelines?

The longer the lockdown continues, some accommodations may have to be made to extend timelines such as qualifying exams. Right now, no accommodations have been decided yet. Make sure to keep working on other relevant parts of your research such as literature review no matter which stage you are at. Maybe write a review paper. A workshop may be available in the future on how to make it into a paper; this will give a chance for students to publish and practice writing.

How will the department and PI’s assess the impact of the shutdown on a graduate student’s progress?

Many factors go into this and they recognise that this is not a normal situation. This should be discussed with your supervisor and reading committee; they are understanding of the situation at hand and this will be considered in their decision making. They can provide some help into future assessment and what the impact has on your research.

How this situation would affect the coming committee meetings expected for this Summer?

Committee meetings will be held online and students are encouraged to keep the same timelines. Use this time to write reports catchup with committee meetings.

Will funding packages be affected by the shutdown?

Currently the answer is No. There are guidelines on the SGS website as well.

Will there be any extension to the PhD tuition fee payment deadlines? Will there be an extension to the deadline for final thesis submissions to the SGS in order to be eligible for June convocation (or at least to receive the degree by then)?

The physical convocation has been cancelled but we are unsure how that impacts the deadlines. This must be decided at the SGS level. We can get clarification on this in the near future.

Will postdoc salary continuity be affected by the shutdown? Will postdocs get extra months/ extensions to contracts to complete defined research work?

This is unsure at this point. Right now, it is on a case-by-case basis dependent on the PI’s availability of funding. More information in the future.

Will the department extend the funding duration for those whose progress may be delayed due to the COVID-19 shutdown?

No clear position yet. Possibly supervisor-dependent but there may be more clear information in the following weeks.

What will the summer courses look like? Will they be online as well?

Right now, all summer courses are planned to keep going all online. Additional courses may be added at grad and undergrad level – this is actively being worked on.

Will the summer Work-Study programs be affected?

We expect work-study programs will be restricted to online-only work.

How would international students trying to travel back home be affected?

There are many travel restrictions in place right now. The university does not have much control over this.

Can you please address the medical insurance (UHIP) situation? 

There are no changes to UHIP coverage.

I will be completing 6 courses this winter and was planning to take a long summer break by going back home. But considering that I won't be able to, is it possible for me to take up more courses?

As long as you are a registered student, you should be able to take courses now and in the summer too. If you have a registered leave, this is different.

Can you make previously recorded LLEs available to watch?

We will go back and check with Dan in IT to see which are recorded and we will add them to Quercus. Some have been recorded for sure.

Is the department/University donating PPE to hospitals? Is there anything we can do to help, with respect to preparing reagents for diagnostic, or supporting our communities/healthcare workers who may need support at this time?

It’s great that students are interested in helping the community. It is not clear what exactly is going on at the university yet and future opportunities will be relayed through CEGSA. We are looking into options for our research and facilities to help with the COVID response. There are many opportunities for students to help the community directly if you are interested: List of volunteer opportunities:



If people see opportunities to strengthen science and engineering (i.e. lectures), please share it.

The Department has prospective professors coming in and we will reach out to students to help assess their teaching.

CEGSA plans to host webinars and are accepting people who wish to host one on any topic (baking, sewing…etc.)

Graduate Office is still open, you can reach them through email if you have more questions or would like some advice. Reach out directly or through Prof. Mahadevan.