COVID-19 FAQ for Prospective, Admitted and Incoming Students | Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis
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FAQ for Admitted Students: 

As communities across the world respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we know each of our applicants and admitted students are experiencing unprecedented circumstances. For many of you, your final semester in undergrad or final months at work before returning to grad school, are taking monumental shifts. In our Office of Admissions & Recruitment, we are similarly navigating these temporary new norms. Our priority it to ensure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision about attending graduate school, and we’re thinking creatively about how to connect with you and keep introducing you to our outstanding community. 

These FAQs are related to the admission and registration process for incoming, first-year students at the Brown School. You’ll also want to be sure to read Dean McKay’s announcement about Fall 2020 coursework, sent on May 20, 2020. You may also want to watch the Fall 2020 Zoom Chat with the Office of Admissions & Recruitment, recorded on May 21, 2020. 

Information about the School's on-campus public health protocols can be found in our Student "Coming to Campus" guide and the general Student FAQ page. 

Is something missing from this FAQ? Let us know what questions you'd like us to answer by completing this short form.


Q. What’s the new registration and course enrollment timeline? 

The course registration timeline has been slightly revised. The new timeline is below: 

  • First Week of June: Receive Enrollment Packet via email, which will outline the course registration process, step-by-step, as well as list other “to dos” for summer 
  • Second Week of June: Receive email to create your WashU Email Address and a log-in credential called your WUSTL Key
  • Third Week of June: Receive introduction email from your Academic Advisor; work with your Academic Advisor to draft your fall semester schedule 
  • June 30: MSW Advanced Standing Students register for Fall 2020 courses 
  • July 2: All other incoming students register for Fall 2020 courses 

Q. What will the Hybrid Track look like?

Students in the Hybrid Track will enroll in up to two in-person classes, and the remainder of courses will be online. While some in-person classes may meet on-campus for the full semester, other in-person courses may split instruction to be partially in-person and partially online. Given current COVID-19 conditions, students who choose to do the Hybrid option should anticipate only being on campus to attend classes. Services previously offered on-campus (such as the Stat Lab, Communication Lab, advising appointments and research assistantships) will likely be moved entirely online (i.e. remote). 

The Brown School has convened a committee of public health experts to ensure that our buildings open carefully, prioritizing the health and wellbeing of our community. Later in the summer, once re-opening plans are finalized, they will be shared with you via email. 

Q. What will the Online Only Track look like?

Students in the Online Only Track will enroll in all online (i.e. remote) learning. Individual faculty members will decide if their courses will be totally synchronous, totally asynchronous, or a mix of synchronous and asynchronous. Given this is a decision each faculty member will get to make, the Brown School Office of Admissions and the Academic Advisors cannot guarantee a schedule that is "fully synchronous" or "fully asynchronous."

Q. When do I have to decide if I want to do the Hybrid Track of the Online Only track? Once I decide, can I change my mind? 

In the first week of June, you’ll be asked to complete a brief form indicating if you intend to complete the Hybrid Track or the Online Only track. Your response will guide conversations with your Academic Advisor when planning your fall semester schedule. After you register for courses, if you decide another track is a better fit for you, you’ll work with Academic Advisor to adjust your schedule. You will not be able to change your choice after the add/drop deadline in the fall. 

Q. How will I build community with my cohort? How can I connect to other new students?

The Brown School will offer many virtual opportunities for students to connect with other new students as well as second-year students. You'll also have the opportunity to join student groups. During the first few weeks of the semester, be on the lookout for emails with more details. 

Q. I am an international student, living in an area with travel restrictions. Can I plan to enroll in the Hybrid Track? 

In order to enroll in the Hybrid track, you must arrive to campus no later than September 15, 2020. If you cannot arrive to campus by that time, you will enroll in the Online Only track for fall. You will receive an updated I-20, adjust for you to arrive to St. Louis for spring 2021. 

Q. Are you still offering proficiency exams over the summer? 

Proficiency Exams will be offered throughout the month of July via an online proctoring platform. Additional details will be sent via email in mid-June. In the meantime, visit the Proficiency Exam page for the most up to date information.

Q. I am an Advanced Standing MSW student. Are you still requiring the summer course: “BSW Intensive: Bridge to Brown”? 

Yes, the summer bridge course will still be required, and will be moved to an entirely online format. Coursework will be both synchronous and asynchronous. Additional information will be provided in the Enrollment Packet and via email later in the summer. 


Q. Are there going to be modifications for attendance policies in case I start in-person but then get sick? 

We are working with faculty so that accommodations may be made in case of illness. We certainly need all faculty, students and staff to stay off-campus when they are sick, so we will provide multiple ways to support students who may experience an illness.

Q.  What public health precautions are you anticipating? 

We are implementing a robust public health protocol that includes changes to our facilities as well as behavior modifications. These changes include regular health self-assessments, frequent hand washing, and universal masking.  You can find a student "Coming to Campus" guide here. 


Q. Are you still accepting applications? 

Yes, the Brown School is reviewing applications for admission and scholarship on a rolling basis. If you are interested in joining us for Fall 2020, we recommend submitting your application as early as possible.

Q. As an international student, what is the absolute latest I can apply for my visa? 

We recognize the difficulties of applying for a student visa when embassies are closed. We encourage you to follow the openings and closings of your country’s embassy closely so that you can schedule your interview at the earliest opportunity.

Q. I would like to visit campus before I make a decision. What are my options?

A: We wish we could welcome you to campus for a personalized visit. While access to campus is limited, we would be glad to schedule virtual visits, however, where you can request to talk to faculty, administrators and current students over Zoom, Skype, phone or similar platform. You can schedule a virtual visit via this online form. In addition, we’d encourage you to watch our playlist of Virtual Information Session. As additional virtual opportunities arise—and once our campus visit program re-opens—we’ll be sure to communicate with you via email. As always, you can reach the Admissions & Recruitment staff, and our team of student ambassadors, by emailing 

Until we open campus again, you may also want to look at the virtual campus tour. The tour covers the entire Danforth Campus (and parts of St. Louis).

Q. Are you extending your enrollment decision deadline?

A. If you anticipate any issues with enrolling by the May 1 deadline, please reach out to your dedicated admissions officer directly. You’ll find their contact information in your admissions letter. 

Q. Will the application process change?

A. We have not implemented any changes to the application process. For this, you can proceed as normal. We know some students may face new barriers in English Language Proficiency exam testing. Should this apply to you, we encourage you to reach out to us directly. 

Q. Will there be a delay in my application being reviewed?

A. We don’t anticipate any delays in the application review process. You can expect to receive an admissions decision within 4-6 week of submitting your completed application. 

Q. As an international student, will this slow down the review of my DCOF documentation?

A. We are continuing to review and process DCOF documents as normal. While we are unable to ship I-20s at this time, we will send you the SEVIS number so you can proceed with the visa interview as your embassy's allow. 

Q. My GRE test was cancelled due to test closure. Can I apply to the MPH without a GRE?

A. The GRE recently announced it would begin a "GRE at Home" option throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The Brown School will accept all GREs take through this option as an official GRE score.

Q. I am a graduating senior, and my university is offering that we can take my classes Pass/Fail in the Spring 2020 semester. If I take my classes Pass/Fail, will it impact my admissibility or review of my final transcript?

A. Classes taken pass/fail will have no negative impact on admissibility or review of your final transcript; the Brown School will accept Pass/Fail grades. Remember, that in the spirit of our holistic review process, GPA is only one considered factor for assessing admissions. 

Q. I'm applying as an Advanced Standing MSW student. In Spring 2020, the Council for Social Work Education (CSWE) reduced my required practicum hours. Will this impact whether I receive credit for my foundation-level practicum at the Brown School?

A. This will not impact your advanced standing status at the Brown School. So long as you complete all requirements assigned by your undergrad and in compliance with CSWE, and receive a passing grade, then the Brown School will accept this as your foundation-level practicum.

Q. What is the Brown School doing in response to the COVID-19 epidemic? 

A. You can learn more about the Brown School's COVID-19 response plan online