Forestry Graduate Student Information: COVID-19 Updates

Last Updated: April 7, 2020

The following message contains important information for MASc, MSc and PhD students, and their supervisors:

For students who have recently completed their defense / doctoral exam, or are scheduled to defend soon:

  • May 1, 2020 (extended from April 17, 2020) – deadline for acceptance of final, approved master’s theses and doctoral dissertations and for students to complete all program requirements for May 2020 graduation. For students who may not have applied to graduate yet, the application may now be submitted up until May 1, 2020 (extended from April 17, 2020) https://www.grad.ubc.ca/forms/may-2020-late-graduation-application-form
  • May 15, 2020 (extended from April 30, 2020) – deadline for acceptance of final, approved master’s theses and doctoral dissertations and for students to complete all program requirements with a program completion date of April 30, 2020. Program completion will be back-dated to April 30, 2020 to avoid tuition and student fees for Summer 2020. IMPORTANT: the deadline for students who wish to have their degrees conferred in May 2020 is May 1, 2020.

2019 Winter Term Graduate Student grades

  • May 6, 2020 – deadline for instructors to submit final grades for 2019W2 courses via SIS.

2020 Summer: Current Students

  • June 15, 2020 (extended from May 15, 2020) – deadline for students to pay their Summer 2020 tuition and student fees if they wish to avoid late fees and interest charges.

Tri-Council Scholarships

  • Canada Graduate Scholarships – Masters (CGS M). The opening of the Research Portal for students to accept or decline awards has been delayed until April 15, 2020.
  • Doctoral (PGS/CGS-D). The release of results from the 2020 PGS/CGS–D competition is proceeding as planned and results are expected to be announced soon.
  • Further information:

Students in Financial Distress

  • Both domestic and international grad students who are experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 situation (extraordinary expenses, loss of employment, etc.) are strongly encouraged to schedule a confidential advising appointment with an Enrolment Services Advisor. As of Friday, March 27, 2020, the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training (AEST) has provided UBC with a limited amount of emergency financial assistance funding for students, including graduate students, who are experiencing financial hardship.
  • Grad students who have met with an ES Advisor and still have unresolved financial concerns should contact me to discuss further.

Professional Development Opportunities 

G+PS is doing a fantastic job of keeping the professional development section of their website continually updated as new online opportunities for students arise. Recent additions include:

  • The Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication is continuing to offer writing consultations and to host an online writing community on Tuesdays (9-11 am) and Wednesdays (2-4 pm).
  • The Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology will be hosting the Graduate Students in Teaching Mini Conference completely online on April 27 & 28, 2020. This is a free professional development opportunity for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to focus on their present and future roles in teaching. Conference topics will include vulnerability in teaching roles, building inclusive classrooms and more.
  • Subscribe to GradUpdate weekly emails (forwarded to the Forestry Grad listserv each week) or follow on Twitter @UBCGradSchool.

March 17, 2020 UPDATE

Dear Forestry Graduate Students and Supervisors,

In keeping with the University’s lead and guidelines, staff in the Forestry Graduate Program Unit are now working remotely but are still available to assist you. Please do not hesitate to contact us!

As we continue to navigate through these challenging circumstances, please stay up-to-date and avoid confusion by taking note of the following websites and services:

  • UBC Home Page: this is the primary source for university updates and general FAQs.
  • The Faculty of Graduate & Postdoctoral studies COVID-19 FAQ page that is regularly updated with details specific to graduate students.

We will also continue to keep you informed about information specific to graduate students. It is important for Forestry graduate students to remain subscribed to our listserv, as this is our primary way of disseminating information. Please contact us if you are not on the listserv or need to update your address.

Graduate student misc. forms, Gradbook policy manual, committee meeting/progress reports, defense/exam info, handbooks, and links are available on our Resources & Forms page.  Please scan and submit documents to Gayle Kosh via email. For forms requiring original signatures, we will provide leniency whenever possible by accepting a cc’d message in lieu of signature.

Doctoral Candidates planning for their final oral examination:  The G+PS Doctoral Examination Unit continues to schedule exams. Their exam protocol now accommodates fully remote attendance. Please refer to their Scheduling Info page (scroll down to Remote Attendance heading) for information.  For those of you in the earlier stages of doctoral exam planning, keep in mind that regular G+PS scheduling deadlines remain in effect! Refer to their deadline page for more info, and contact Gayle Kosh if you have any questions.

Master’s Defenses: similar to doctoral exams, we have updated our defense protocol and procedures to accommodate fully remote attendance. Information is posted on our Resources & Forms page.

PhD Comprehensive Exams: Students with a comp exam date already booked have been contacted and we will continue to keep you informed about updates to remote accommodation protocol.  For doctoral students in earlier planning stages, keep in mind that a pre-comp meeting is still required which we will schedule remotely. Refer to the Forestry Gradbook for more information (page 26).

On April 1, 2020, UBC released a Broadcast Update regarding remote working opportunities, which includes graduate students.  We encourage all grads to review this broadcast and work with their supervisors (thesis students) and program leaders (professional master’s students) on how best to continue their work in a safe manner.  Refer to UBC’s Research + Innovation website for Research FAQs relating to COVID-19.

International students: The International Student Advising office is your best source of up-to-date information and advice regarding study and work permit concerns, worries about your status in Canada if your travel has been restricted, changes in work permit eligibility due to COVID-19, health coverage, etc. Please rely on their expertise.  Remember to put your UBC student ID number in the subject line of your email inquiry to avoid delays in response time: isa.students@ubc.ca. You may find an immediate answer to your question on their website: https://students.ubc.ca/about-student-services/international-student-advising

Summer Award Payments: The May 2020 instalment of graduate scholarships that are paid through the Student Service Centre will be assigned and pay out as expected for students who are registered for the May to August 2020 session. If you haven’t already done so, be sure to register for Summer Term and make sure you have set up direct deposit.

COVID-19 Related Financial Hardship: The current environment entails significant economic hardship for many. We advise you to communicate with your faculty supervisor (thesis students) or program leader (Prof. Master’s students) regarding your circumstances and needs, to identify possible solutions. Please also refer to the G+PS funding information FAQs.  If you are experiencing financial distress not alleviated by these avenues, please contact our office.

Thesis Student Funding Packages: Students with GRA and/or GTA positions, as well as university awards/scholarships should expect these to continue. If you have any concerns about this please contact our office.

Academic Progress: The research plans and timelines for many graduate students will be affected by the restrictions implemented in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including UBC’s decision to curtail on-campus research activities on its Vancouver and Okanagan campuses, restrictions on research involving human subjects (see bulletins linked from https://ethics.research.ubc.ca/), off-campus fieldwork and travel restrictions. Communication is crucial at this stage: please be in touch with your supervisor to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 restrictions on your research and to consider the most appropriate way to proceed.

If your supervisor has applied for and received a research curtailment exemption so that your research project may continue, the exemption form and exemption permission must be shared with you. If you have concerns about continuing the research project, or the ability of the team or lab group to maintain social distancing protocols, please contact Associate Dean Dr El-Kassaby.  You may also contact G+PS Associate Director (Mei Ling Chu) for further advice.

Both G+PS and the Forestry Graduate Program are viewing academic milestone deadlines from a stance of flexibility wherever possible.  G+PS thesis dissertation and program completion deadlines currently remain as-is, but we will let students know if this changes.

Links to other support resources:

Once again, please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.

y.el-kassaby@ubc.ca – Yousry El-Kassaby, Associate Dean of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies

gayle.kosh@ubc.ca – any current student inquires, including financial hardship, academic progress concerns, comp exams, master’s defense planning, doctoral exam planning, awards,etc.

julie.morey@ubc.ca – MIF, MSFM programs

lee.yupitun@ubc.ca – MF, MGEM programs

robin.poirier-vasic@ubc.ca – thesis program admissions, master’s defense scheduling