COVID-19: Information for Doctoral Students | Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis
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COVID-19: Information for Doctoral Students

We have anticipated as much as possible the various scenarios specific to our doctoral programs. Right now, our first priority is working with faculty and administration to assure that decisions made regarding  COVID-19 do not disrupt your educational progress. Equally important, we want to be supportive during this time. We will share resources and communications as new developments arise. 

For a full list of FAQs regarding the fall semester, including on-campus public health protocols, illness policies and more, visit this page. 

What will happen to my courses?
We assure that you are able to complete courses in the fall semester. Instructors are retooling courses for online learning. This page offers more information on remote learning resources.

If I want to take my qualifying/area exam this summer, what is the process?
Given the situation, all qualifying/area exams should be taken remotely, using the honor system:

  • Students should select their exam dates and inform the program manager, as usual
  • The student’s chair should email the questions to the program manager in advance, also as usual
  • Program managers will email the questions to the students on the exam day, a few minutes before the exam start time
  • At the end time, students should email the responses back to the program manager

Students who choose to do two-day remote version will need to add a statement in their response, saying that on their honor, they have not accessed internet or hard copy resources to complete their answers. Students who choose the seven-day exam option is open book, so this arrangement does not apply to them.

Can I complete my research and teaching assignments?
We will be reaching out to our faculty who are advisors of research and teaching practica to assure we are all on the same page regarding alterations, as needed, that will allow credit completion for those courses.

What about my stipend or fellowship funding?
Stipends and fellowships will not be impacted; these funds will be dispersed as usual.

What if I am out of town now or planning a trip? What about my visa?
Please review the university policy regarding travel and keep an eye on your inbox for emails from Dean McKay regarding updated travel information. If you have questions regarding your visa status, please check the International Students Resources section of the student FAQ page.

What about doctoral offices and computer access?
IT has secured free access to software needed for Brown School courses, as well as set up a virtual computer lab where you can remotely access machines from Goldfarb 330. You can find more about these options in the Student Remote Learning Resources page. 

What about data collection/ research tasks for projects?
We have to think of both our own well-being and that of our community partners and stakeholders, and the situation is quickly evolving.  PhD students should work with their supervisors and/or center directors to determine the next steps for any current data collection practices.

What about meetings with mentors?
To the extent possible, please use the phone, internet, Zoom, etc. to handle weekly meetings and make arrangements for the best means to exchange drafts and products.

How do I practice self-care?
We urge all students to abide by the best practices made available by the CDC and campus approved communications. Practice personal preventive hygiene which includes frequent hand washing, avoiding physical contact while in public spaces, and staying home if you are sick. For more information on these and other precautions, see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Finally, we realize doctoral education can be both stressful and exciting and that this situation adds another layer of stress. There are a number of university initiatives underway to provide remote support to students that we will be sharing as soon as they become available. If you have questions about how WashU services have been altered to remote offerings, please visit the On-Campus Service Availability page.  Program directors and program managers will be available by email/phone/etc. to answer questions and assist with issues that may arise. If we do not have an immediate answer we will get one as quickly as possible.

We are very proud of all of you and the progress and contributions you are making and will continue to make. We will get through this together.