The Graduate School Advance to a Higher Degree

COVID-19 Announcements and FAQs

Below is a list of frequently asked questions, resources, and policy updates created for graduate students and faculty. University-wide updates and information can be found on the Protect Purdue website. In these unprecedented times, updates occur frequently. Please continue to stay aware of new developments by checking these pages regularly and keeping in touch with your advisor.

The Graduate Student COVID-19 End of the Semester Survey Report can be downloaded here.

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Contacting Us

For Spring semester 2021, The Graduate School office (Young Hall 170) will be open, starting January 19, on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. to noon and on Fridays from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.  If you have documents to deliver to the Graduate School, please arrange to do that during these times.

All staff members can be reached via email. For general inquiries, please email or contact a staff member. You can locate contact information in the Graduate School Staff Directory.

See the Graduate Program Heads, Chairs, Directors, and Contacts page for a list of contacts.

Spring 2021 On-Campus Experience

Yes, it will be possible assuming social distancing rules can be followed and everyone wears a mask. It is possible to do these virtually, and many students met virtually this past semester. It is up to you and the individuals that serve on your committee on how you would like to proceed. You might have individuals that have medical conditions that preclude them from coming to campus, and they might need to be virtual.

We believe that faculty are trying to do everything they can to support students. We would expect something like this to be rare, but if it does, you should report it. First report it to either the department head or chair of the Departmental Graduate Committee so they can take action on your behalf or report anonymously to the Purdue Hotline. Graduate education related issues reported to the hotline will come to the Graduate School, where we can investigate. We know that you might be worried about retaliation, but be assured, it will not be tolerated. Retaliation could be anything from not responding to emails, hindering your academic progress, or other things that negatively affect you. If you are not sure whether something could be perceived as retaliatory, contact your department head or the Graduate School.

These are difficult discussions and there has been no final decision made with respect to criteria for closure. The Protect Purdue Implementation Team is developing a range of contingency plans based on reasonably foreseeable scenarios as well as a process for responsive decision-making in the event of unforeseeable twists. These plans take into account surrounding healthcare and treatment capabilities, on-campus testing capacities and back-up providers, available isolation and quarantine spaces, and State of Indiana and Public Health guidelines. This planning is in close concert with state and local health authorities and healthcare officials. Existing efforts, such as building resilient pedagogies that can adapt if a student must be isolated following a positive virus test, support our contingency planning efforts. Existing federal rulings will allow current international students to continue their education should the University need to revert to online learning. 

Please discuss with your advisor early in the spring semester what you will do if a disruption occurs so that you are prepared. Prioritize your work schedule this semester with this in mind.

Common graduate student office space was reviewed when public spaces were reviewed and should be part of a departmental Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for common spaces. Most spaces will use a rotational schedule, but this is dependent on the specific design of the space.  Work with your advisor and other members of your group to make sure the approved SOP COVID-19 safety measures are adhered to at all times.

Instructors and students will be responsible for wiping down the desk or space they occupy. Wipes will be available in classrooms. Students and instructors will be able to grab a wipe or two and wipe down their desk. Building Services will perform expanded disinfection operations in the classroom each evening as detailed at Protect Purdue – Health, Wellness, and Prevention.

Lab-based courses will be planned and implemented differently by different faculty. There are two possible approaches. One approach might be a reduction of the number of labs and rotation of students to participate in smaller groups to allow each student to experience each lab (e.g., students will be able to complete all labs offered). Another approach might be a reduction of the number of labs with a portion of students completing some labs in-person and another portion of students doing different labs in-person and/or supplementing with virtual labs or simulations.  Instructors in these courses will provide separate SOPs for conducting instruction that requires close contact (for example demonstrating microscope use) and additional PPE may be provided.

Building Services. Information about Building Services’ expanded disinfection operation is available at the Protect Purdue— Health, Wellness, and Prevention.

Purdue’s Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) updated its guidance to reflect the University’s phased return to research operations process as outlined by the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships (EVPRP). PIs must submit a protocol modification to IRB before resuming in-person research. PIs must first have an EVPRP-approved COVID-19 Research Space SOP and provide this information to the IRB as a protocol modification before resuming in-person research. You can learn more about the process here.

For researchers seeking to resume face-to-face data collection, Principal Investigators must submit a modification in Cayuse IRB for each previously approved protocol. For a description of what must be included in the modification submission, see the guidance posted on the IRB website:

Each lab operates under an SOP that was developed by the lab’s PI and approved by Purdue’s Human Research Protection Program (HRPP). Students should work with their advisors to be sure the approved SOP COVID-19 safety measures, which includes social distancing, and reduced or rotational schedules, are adhered to at all times. If research can be conducted remotely, as it was during the partial shutdown, students are encouraged to request this after discussion with their PI. Certainly, many students can conduct research and writing remotely. If a student feels that the lab protocols are not being appropriately followed, they can anonymously report at the Graduate School report a concern.

Any person that is not associated with the university is considered a visitor and subject to visitor rules.  If you recruit from Purdue students and staff to participate in your research, they would not be considered visitors.

There has been no claim of protection from liability if Purdue staff or students contract COVID-19 after returning to in-person instruction and operations.

Decisions at the University are made by individuals in leadership positions who engage with faculty, staff, and students, not by committee vote. The concerns of graduate staff and students are solicited through many channels, including the following:

  • The Purdue Graduate Student Government, as the official advocate for graduate students at Purdue University, has a voice with senior Purdue administrators, including the provost and the dean of the Graduate School. The provost has a standing monthly meeting with the president of PGSG; these have increased to weekly meetings since the COVID-19 crisis began as PGSG has joined with other organizations in meeting with the provost. The PGSG president also meets monthly with the dean of the Graduate School and with the Graduate School dean’s cabinet and when needed through phone calls. At these meetings, graduate staff and student concerns regarding COVID-19 and systemic racism have been represented. The advisor of PGSG, an associate dean at the Graduate School, also meets with PGSG regularly and attends the PGSG executive committee and the senate meetings.

  • Several town halls have been held, including two hosted by the Graduate School, one of which was focused on returning to research operations and was led by the executive vice president for research and partnerships, and several by the provost. These town halls were offered to give the Purdue community detailed updates on COVID-19 considerations and decision-making and to address questions submitted by the Purdue community. Questions that were submitted in advance and during these town halls were factored into subsequent discussions and decision-making. Graduate students are welcome at all University town halls, including provost discussions, senate meetings, and research and teaching town halls. Notice of many of these have been included in the Graduate School and PGSG weekly newsletters.

  • Dean Linda Mason invites graduate students to email her directly with questions and concerns. In addition, Dean Linda Mason meets with any group that has an interest in a dialog.

  • Via the Graduate School’s Report a Concern page or Office of the Dean of Students Student of Concern Reporting link.

  • Dean Mason also supports graduate assistantships in each of the five cultural centers and meets during the semester with these students to hear about concerns and activities supporting graduate students at the centers.

Health, Sick Leave, Insurance

Students or graduate staff on insurance through Anthem have access to the Anthem network outside of Indiana.

It depends on how the student got COVID-19. If it can be proven it was through the workplace, it would go through workers compensation. This would be hard to prove, but an investigation would be done just as any other potential on site injury/illness must go through. 

Domestic, international and graduate staff students on the University’s full-insurance Anthem health plan who need care as a result of COVID-19 will be covered. Anthem will also waive out-of-pocket expenses for the focused test used to diagnose COVID-19 for fully insured, Individual, Medicare, and Medicaid members. You can call the number on your ID card to confirm coverage. You will pay any other out-of-pocket expenses the plan requires, unless otherwise determined by state law or regulation

Follow the instructions at: Protect Purdue – What to do if you are sick. Be sure to keep your advisor informed.

If you need COVID-19 accommodations to fulfill your job duties for your Graduate Teaching Assistant, Graduate Research Assistant, Graduate Professional, or Graduate Lecturer position take the following steps:

  1. Visit the following website:
    All communication with HR should occur through the form and not through an email.
  2. Click the West Lafayette Campus button.
  3. Fill out the intake form that will go directly to Human Resources. Once they have received your form, they will contact you. They will discuss your workplace, work assignments and potential adjustments/accommodations to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure. 

Some examples include:

  • Remote work
  • Alternative work schedules
  • Specifically fitted personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Physical alterations to work station, office, or classroom environment

After Human Resources and you have discussed workplace adjustments and potential workplace accommodations, your supervisor will be contacted to confirm the adjustments/accommodations are reasonable for the specific work environment. This entire process may take one to three weeks to reach a solution. 

If you find the adjustments or accommodations offered are insufficient, Human Resources will work with the you to obtain medical information and engage in a full interactive process under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This process is handled through the University. This process will help you, Human Resources, and the employing department identify workplace accommodations. In most cases a solution can be found which is acceptable to all parties. However, if a graduate student is unsatisfied with the proposed accommodations, it could result in a period of leave from work or job reassignment. If you have questions or concerns about the process, do not hesitate to contact the  Office of Graduate Assistance.

If a student is does not have a graduate staff appointment, they should talk to their major professor about what accommodations they need and if they can work remotely. 

No,  the assessment to protect those most vulnerable is only for employees who believe they are medically vulnerable and need additional assistance on campus.

If a family member living with you is in the high-risk vulnerability category, follow CDC guidelines for households living in close quarters. These practices include the basics associated with practicing good social distance practices, wearing a face mask, frequent hand-washing, and avoiding public transportation. Review this guidance and discuss with your advisor or supervisor if you have concerns. You also have the option to defer registration. See “Options for Not Returning to Campus/Deferred Enrollments/Extension.” 

If someone lives off campus and can't quarantine in their own location, we will offer a space to quarantine. There is no charge to stay in on-campus isolation and quarantine space. Students no longer receive a bill for this service.

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 provides provision for time off for an employees own serious health condition, to take care of a family member (child, parent, or spouse) with a serious health condition, to give birth, to adopt, or to place a child in the employees home for foster care. In order to be eligible for leave, under the FMLA, graduate staff must have been employed at Purdue for 12 months, consecutive or non-consecutive, and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months preceding the date leave commences. A graduate student on only a 0.5 FTE generally would not accumulate enough hours, but graduate students that had at least a 0.6 FTE or greater fiscal year appointment (For example - maybe a 0.5 FTE in one department and 0.20 in another department) generally would accumulate enough hours for this benefit. International students with staff appointments are not permitted to work more than a .5 FTE appointment and thus would never be able to accumulate enough hours for FMLA.

FMLA states that up to 12 work-weeks of leave per year are available. If the leave is taken for an employee’s own serious health condition or a family member’s serious health condition, and the employee has accrued unused paid sick leave and qualifies for paid sick leave, the employee must use the paid sick leave during the FMLA leave. A request for FMLA leave should be initiated through Human Resources. Further information on FMLA is available by contacting Human Resources – Employee Benefits at 765-494-2222 or e-mail at Graduate students that are not employed are not eligible for FMLA leave.

For those who need to file new requests, please access the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) forms via the Human Resources “  Forms  ” web page, “Benefits” tab. The “  Request and Notice   ” and “  Medical Certification   ” forms are required to be completed and returned before FMLA leaves can be approved. 

Emergency FMLA is different than regular FMLA. Regular FMLA is unpaid leave and Emergency FMLA is paid leave. Emergency FMLA is for public health (COVID) related school or childcare closure and is not based on number of hours worked (except you must be in service for at least 30 days) or if your appointment is benefits eligible. Benefit ineligible appointments may qualify for Emergency FMLA. Time used as Emergency FMLA counts toward and decreases any future regular FMLA leave.

Students on some fellowships are not considered employees, so they do not get employee benefits. You need to check with your business office to see how your fellowship is administered to determine if you are considered an employee. If you are concerned about working next semester, first seek accommodations through Human Resources, but if you consider that this is too high of a risk, you should not return to campus until you feel safe to be around other individuals. Students may delay their return, or start, up to three semesters.

Relevant Definitions:
  • "Emergency Leave" – allows up to 2 weeks of paid leave for employees who encounter a COVID qualifying event.

  • "Emergency FMLA" – must be employed for at least 30 days to be eligible.  Allows additional 50 days of paid leave for employees who must care for child(ren) due to school or daycare closure due to coronavirus.  If any regular FMLA time has been taken over prior 365 days, it will reduce the amount of Emergency FMLA available.
Emergency Leave – always used first up to 10 days – for any COVID qualifying reason.
Emergency FMLA – follows use of Emergency Leave and only for school/childcare closure – allows up to an additional 50 days.

, graduate staff, regardless of appointment (academic or fiscal year, any FTE amount; you do not have to benefit eligible) are eligible for Emergency FMLA leave and emergency leave in certain circumstances.  The following tables show the options available: 

For Emergency FMLA, once you have been employed for at least 30 calendar days of service, and if you cannot work or telework, you will qualify for Emergency FMLA, which makes you eligible for up to 60 days of paid leave (includes 10 days of emergency leave and 50 days of EFMLA) to care for a child if the child’s school or place of daycare has been closed and/or childcare provider is unavailable, due to a public health emergency – COVID-19.  If you have been employed for more than a year AND have worked 1250 hours over the past year, your eligibility for the Emergency FMLA is determined by reviewing if you have used any regular FMLA time in the last 365 days. 

To apply for Emergency FMLA, you should complete the  Emergency FMLA DocuSign Form to request this benefit.  This form requires the employee’s name, PUID, start and end date of leave.  It will be routed to your supervisor for approval and is processed in Human Resources.

If you do have leave benefits employees should follow instructions found here to request Emergency FMLA that is available through December 31, 2020. Employees may be asked by HR benefits or HR business partners to provide documentation when requesting Emergency FMLA.

The Emergency Leave benefit is for full or part time employees that cannot work or telework due to: Self-isolation due to coronavirus; Awaiting a medical diagnosis while experiencing symptoms of coronavirus; Self-quarantine due to order of a public official or recommendation of medical provider due to: Coronavirus exposure or symptoms; care for family member with coronavirus exposure or symptoms, or to care for child due to school or childcare closure on account of coronavirus. Emergency Leave provides employee with up to 10 days of paid leave, once 10 days is exhausted, employee must follow Leave Policy if eligible. To apply for the emergency leave employees should follow instructions found here to request Emergency Leave that is available through December 31, 2020. Employees may be asked by HR benefits or HR business partners to provide documentation when requesting  Emergency Leave.

For more information go to the Working through COVID-19 website.

If the Emergency Leave and Emergency FMLA is not sufficient for your needs, other leave could potentially be available, if needed. We encourage you to work with your instructors and graduate registration advisor/graduate contact regarding courses and registration. Remember, that taking an incomplete may be one option or potentially adjusting research registration may be another for situations where you must be away from classes for an extended period. If you feel it is unsafe to return to campus, a discussion with your advisor is appropriate to determine if a break from school is necessary.

Graduate Staff are eligible for  10 days of paid Emergency Leave for all staff who cannot not work or telework due to: self-isolation due to coronavirus; awaiting a medical diagnosis while experiencing symptoms of coronavirus; self-quarantine due to order of a public official or recommendation of medical provider due to: coronavirus exposure or symptoms; care for family member (child, parent, or spouse) with coronavirus exposure or symptoms; or to care for child due to school or childcare closure on account of coronavirus.  You may not need to use these 10 days if you can continue to work while isolating or during a self-quarantine. A conversation with your supervisor may provide options for telework, such as teaching online, grading, or writing, if your symptoms permit.   If you are benefits eligible,  you can also use 3 days of family sick leave, if you have a family member that is sick.  After the 10 days are exhausted, employees must follow the leave policy if appropriate to their position such as additional FMLA or Emergency FMLA.  Fiscal year benefit eligible graduate staff (those with 12 mo. 0.5FTE or more appointments) may also use any available sick or vacation leave accrued. 

In addition to Emergency Leave, the University provides up to 60 days of Emergency FMLA leave (50 days Emergency FMLA (after 30 days of employment) leave plus 10 days Emergency Leave) to graduate staff who must be off work due to child care/school closures related to COVID-19 reasons After the 60 days are exhausted, graduate staff would follow the normal leave policy if available. Potentially, other leave would then be available, if needed. We encourage you to work with your instructors and graduate registration advisor/graduate contact regarding courses and registration. Remember, that taking an incomplete may be one option or potentially adjusting research registration may be another for situations where you must be away from classes for an extended period. If you feel it is unsafe to return to campus, a discussion with your advisor is appropriate to determine if a break from school is necessary.     

Helpful links from HR:

Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) provides individual therapy from a brief therapy model, meaning that they assess the student’s clinical need and decide what clinical modality of intervention best meets that need. 

  • If it is individual therapy, CAPS makes a clinical decision about whether a meaningful piece of work can be accomplished in a time-limited or brief therapy format. They often can do a significant piece of therapy work in individual therapy, while also preparing the student for continued work (if they wish it) via group therapy.

  • If a student’s clinical need is such that they will need to be able to be followed over a long period of time by a clinician with whom they have an ongoing working relationship, CAPS talks about this with the student and works with them to connect them with a referral in the community. In these situations, it is not clinically indicated to begin a working relationship with someone then transfer mid-stream, so in these situations it’s important to identify that need early on and proceed accordingly.

  • If a student is clear that this is the kind of therapy relationship they want (or prefer), CAPS works with them to find a good referral for them in the community.

There are no session limits for group therapy.  This is how students can receive longer-term care at CAPS, if that’s what they wish.

We are aware that that this is a time of unprecedented uncertainty. You may be experiencing many emotions that you are struggling to process. You are not alone. There are many resources ready to assist you:

If you need assistance with coordinating your responsibilities while in isolation, your department’s graduate contact is a key resource available to you. New students to campus are encouraged to become acquainted with your graduate contact as you start your graduate program.

Even in normal times, but especially during COVID, you should prepare a sheet of contact information listing your major professor, employment supervisor if different than your major professor, instructors, lab mates, and others who may need to know if you are unable to participate in courses or work. Should you need assistance, you might need to share this information with your graduate contact or other individual who might follow up with these persons on your behalf, if necessary. All employees should have an updated emergency contact on file with the university.

Graduate Teaching Assistants and Graduate Lecturers are encouraged to know the steps to be taken should they be unable to teach a class, either in person or online. This should be provided by your supervisor but, if not, ask!  Leave policies are summarized on the Graduate School FAQ webpage.

As with any emergency preparedness discussion, planning for all options is critical.  Just as you would have a few days of food available in case of tornados or seasonal flu, consider having appropriate food reserves and other household items that might be necessary. Additional medical supplies are very important.  We encourage you to read the CDC website for how to prepare for quarantine or isolation. This is a time to step up and help each other should a friend or lab mate need to isolate.  Please reach out and offer assistance if necessary.  

Compliance with the Protect Purdue Pledge

The biggest driver of this behavior is instructor expectations and classroom policies of the instructor. Students come to class ill if they fear missing points or if the instructor does not make it easy for students to get the material they missed. This is a big reason for our push for hybrid course delivery this fall. Instructors should have a robust representation of the class in the LMS – so that if a student misses class they can easily stay connected, follow along, get course materials, and not miss points. If a student or staff member repeatedly violates the policy, they will be referred to the Dean of Students or Human Resources, respectively.

In regards to policies around the enforcement of mask wearing, the first line of defense will be education and a request to comply. If students forget their masks, there will be emergency masks in the classroom. If students repeatedly do not comply, guidelines on managing disruptive classroom behavior, which includes failing to meet expectations outlined in the Protect Purdue Pledge, are available from the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. If a student is not complying with the Protect Purdue Pledge and instructors feel that their safety or the safety of the class is at risk, instructors have the right to dismiss class. Students who do not comply should be reported to the class supervisor and to the Office of the Dean of Students using the Student of Concern ReportSee also, Purdue adds violation of Protect Purdue Pledge to student code of conduct regulations.

In regards to the Black, immigrant, and disabled populations, we take seriously this concern. If students feel they are being treated unfairly, they should report it to the Office of the Dean of Students or Office of Institutional Equity. The issue will be investigated.

Handle this behavior just as you would any disruptive behavior in the class, such as talking, cell phone use, harassment, or failing to meet syllabus expectations. If you are uncomfortable confronting a disruptive student, either report the student and behavior to the supervisor of the class, or dismiss the class and report the student to the Office of the Dean of Students using the Student of Concern Report.

Absolutely. It is our expectation that everyone feel empowered and supported to enforce the safety measures we have put in place for campus. As the semester begins, we hope to instill and educate (each other about the requirements); ask (others to comply with them – do so kindly and helpfully); refer (to other campus authorities, including Graduate School; ODOS; Human Resources or anonymously via the Purdue Hotline. We are not asking anyone to do anything unsafe or that you are not comfortable doing – other offices can help you when others persist in unsafe behaviors.
If the person shares access to your lab and is not following the lab’s approved SOP or the Protect Purdue requirements, report the student to your supervisor and to the Office of the Dean of Students using the Student of Concern Report.

Options for Not Returning to Campus/Deferred Enrollments/Extensions

Newly admitted international graduate students admitted for Spring 2021 may ask to defer their admission to Summer 2021, Fall 2021, or Spring 2022 for any reason. Likewise, newly admitted international graduate students admitted for Summer 2021 may ask to defer their admission to Fall 2021, Spring 2022, or Summer 2022 for any reason. To defer to a later semester requires that a new application to be submitted. Admitted international graduate students who wish to defer their admission to a later semester must request that, in writing, to their departments. If approved by the department, the student’s request must be forwarded to the Office of Graduate Admissions so that the deferral may be processed and a new I-20 may be issued. International graduate students, admitted for Spring 2021, who know that they need to defer their graduate study may submit that request anytime through April 15 (earlier is better) in order to start in Summer 2021.  International graduate students, admitted for Summer 2021, may submit that request through July 15 for starting in Fall 2021 or by the end of the Summer session (August 6, 2021) for deferral to Spring 2022 or Summer 2022.

Newly admitted domestic graduate students admitted for Spring 2021 have the ability (without asking for a deferral) to register for Spring 2021, Summer 2021, or Fall 2021. If they need to start their programs in Spring 2022, they must ask for a deferral by requesting a change to that date in writing to their department. Likewise, newly admitted domestic graduate students admitted for Summer 2021 have the ability (without asking for a deferral) to register for Summer 2021, Fall 2021, or Spring 2021.  If they need to start their programs in Summer 2022, they must ask for a deferral  by requesting a change to that date in writing to their department.  In both cases, if approved, their department must forward the request to the Office of Graduate Admissions so that the deferral may be processed.

COVID-19 Policy Adjustment: For both of these above cases, the Graduate School will consider a second deferral — if the department requests on your behalf— on a case-by-case basis for admitted students who are unable to matriculate to the Purdue University Graduate School due to COVID-19-related reasons.

Currently enrolled students needing to defer registrations: If a current graduate student wishes to take a break from their program, they have three sessions of eligibility to register before they would have to re-apply for readmission into a program. Summer counts as a session. Students who do not register in their graduate program for three consecutive sessions will be asked to re-apply to continue study.

COVID-19 Policy Adjustment: The Graduate School will consider an extension beyond three semesters — if the department requests on your behalf— on a case-by-case basis for US citizens, permanent residents, and international students. International students must work with the International Students and Scholars office to regain status when they are able to resume their graduate programs.

Yes, especially if you were enrolled in the Online Learners Cohort in Fall 2020. If you are a newly admitted graduate student, you may request to be part of the Online Learners Cohort, if you are unable to come to campus. If you were an on-campus student in Fall 2020, a move to the Online Learners Cohort would need to be reviewed. Contact to make your request.

Many options are potentially available if students or their families are directly impacted by COVID-19. On a case-by-case basis, working with major professors and instructors, it may be possible to cut back on research registration, drop a course, or even to take an Incomplete, if necessary. The Office of the Dean of Students and the Graduate School both stand ready to listen and offer options, as needed, in these situations.  There is also sick leave and FMLA leave for benefit eligible employees.

Yes, the Graduate School will consider an extension beyond three semesters — if the department requests — on a case-by-case basis for US citizens, permanent residents, and international students. International students must work with the International Students and Scholars office to regain status when they are able to resume their graduate programs. Please communicate with your departments about your plans to take time off from your graduate program.

You are a vital part of the research community at Purdue and it possible that COVID-19 disruptions may slow or inhibit progress to your degree. We encourage all graduate students to have a conversation with their current research advisor to discuss how you might revise expectations for meeting graduate research credit requirements for Spring 2021 and graduation research requirements while working remotely. You might need to adjust your deliverables on a project, or adjust your research proposal objectives.

Please contact for assistance. 

No, the Graduate School is relaxing this policy. If you are ready to take your final examination in the semester after, or two semesters after, you take your preliminary examination, you may do so. In these situations, your department should notify, via supplemental note on the final exam request, the Graduate School’s Office of Graduate Records that you are ready to take your final examination and confirm that your examination has been impacted by COVID-19-related interruptions. No additional review or approval is needed. This option is available for students who take preliminary examinations during Summer 2020, Fall 2020, or Spring 2021. The Graduate School expects to see enrollment in research registration each session between the time of the preliminary examination and final examination. Beyond this special COVID-19consideration, we are always open, on a case-by-case basis, for requests from major professors (endorsed by your director of graduate studies or chair of your departmental graduate committee) to consider an exception to the normal policy.

The Graduate School has relaxed this policy during Summer 2020, Fall 2020,Spring 2021, and Summer 2021 due to the COVID-19 emergency. We will not limit the number of members, including the student, that can participate via electronic media.


Yes, you will receive a new letter reflecting your deferment. 

  • Allowances for second deferments -- case-by-case review
  • Allowances for three semesters of eligibility to register to be extended (due to lack of enrollment) – case-by-case review
  • Most admission-related documents for students who began Spring 2020, Summer 2020, or Fall 2020 are not required for submission until March 1, 2021. New students in Spring 2021 should contact for assistance.
  • Ability to take final examination in semester following preliminary examination or two semesters after preliminary examination, by noting COVID-19 impact on exam request form (For those taking preliminary examinations in Summer, Fall 2020, and in Spring 2021).
  • Through Summer 2021, all preliminary and final examinations may be held using electronic media.

An 0.5 FTE appointment should work 20 hours a week. If you are working over that, you should talk to your department head, the Graduate School, or supervisor to examine the appointment. In some departments there will be a need for more TA positions as we will have more sections offered in order to de-densify. Some departments might offer a change in appointment from 0.5 to 0.75 for some students, others might increase the number of TAs. This need has been considered by the administration and those who manage TA appointments are determining departmental needs and discussing allocations with supervisors.

Graduate students are a vital part of the research community at Purdue, and it is possible that COVID-19 disruptions may slow or inhibit progress to their degrees. We encourage all graduate students to have a conversation with their research advisor to discuss how they might revise expectations for meeting graduation requirements, including research expectations. Students might need to adjust their deliverables on a project, or adjust their research proposal objectives. The Graduate School does not have graduation timelines. If these exist in the department, they are usually connected to funding, which may or may not have flexibility. The Graduate School has encouraged graduate chairs to be as flexible as possible on objectives and requirements for graduate students, especially those close to graduation deadlines.

Yes, you are limited to three credits in either 69800 or 69900 if you are an online learner during Spring 2021. There is no limit for research registration (other than the normal maximum of 18 credits) for on-campus cohort graduate students.

All Purdue students, including graduate students, may drop a course through the extended deadline of Friday, April 30, 2021.  (Previously, the deadline was March 22, 2021.)  Per the Office of the Registrar’s Spring 2021 Registration Calendar, advisor approval is required through February 12 and the dropped course is recorded with a grade of “W”.  Beginning February 13, advisor and instructor approval are required. Beginning February 13, the instructor shall indicate whether passing or failing. Grades of "W", "WF", or "WN" will be recorded. Students submit requests via myPurdue Scheduling Assistant.

All Purdue students, including graduate students, may change to Pass/No Pass grading option through the extended deadline of Friday, April 30.  (Previously, the deadline was March 22, 2021.)  To change the grade mode through February 12,  the Office of the Registrar requires approval by your advisor and instructor.  Beginning February 13, the head of the department (in which the course is listed) must also approve.  You should submit the request using the myPurdue Scheduling Assistant.  Importantly, you are reminded that only graded courses may be used on Graduate School plans of study, other than during Spring Semester 2020, when the Graduate School allowed some use of courses in which P grades had been earned. As a graduate student, consider very carefully before changing to P/NP grading options.

Funding, Fees

Any University employee who seeks accommodations will need to work with Human Resources, their supervisor, and other relevant parties to ensure that the accommodations are both effective and reasonable. TAs are encouraged to go through the accommodation process.  Options might include a shift in duties to all grading or virtual class sections. Because there are multiple ways students are funded, there is no single answer to the funding question. We have asked colleges to use their unfilled recruitment scholarships to cover some gaps in funding, and the Graduate School created a limited number of Emergency COVID-19 assistantships for fall and spring. 

The Graduate School developed a procedure for awarding the fee remit portion of an assistantship/fellowship offer for incoming students that, because of visa issues, cannot make it to campus this spring. There are very specific guidelines on how this can occur and on which type of funds could cover this. We are encouraging awarding fellowships even if off campus if the duties associated with the award can be completed remotely. For all assistantship holders, there might be teaching accommodations for teaching online or virtual work for other types of positions. You should discuss with your supervisor about what options are available. For work off campus that will last more than 22 days, a Change of Duty Station form must be on file. Those on the West Lafayette campus should notify their business office or payroll center to initiate the change of duty station form. The business office or payroll center will initiate the form in DocuSign, then it will route to the employee. PNW or PFW can contact their business office or human resources department to find out who should initiate this form.

No, there is no hazard pay. But in both of these examples, you should receive guidance on protecting both yourself, students, and others in these situations. If you are uncomfortable with what is happening, it needs to be reported to the Purdue Hotline.  If you need accommodations, please start an intake form with HR, so your individual accommodations can be determined.

Unfortunately, given our budgetary constraints there are no new resources for this type of program across the University. However, if your job/position requires that you work from home, the department should provide you with the basic needs to do your job. You may ask your own advisor or graduate director for specific questions if you have a need that they may be able to facilitate.

Yes, it is changing only for those students who enroll in the Online Learners Cohort; there will be no wellness fee for online students.  College differentials will stay the same. Fees have not changed for students who will be on campus as the University plans on offering services.

You should complete the intake form for employees on the HR website to start the accommodation process and also talk with your department/TA supervisor to determine if there are work adjustments that could be made such as online teaching or grading from home.

Graduate staff appointments may be assigned within the designated hours and duties that, in the past, may not have been part of their normal assignment. Additionally, they may be asked to work different hours than normal due to the particular assignment. For example, if a graduate student taught in a face-to-face mode previously, some of the work hours were tied to the time of the class instruction. If a student is now assigned an online course, there may be variable hours. If graduate staff members cannot perform those duties as assigned, they must initiate a conversation with Human Resources to discuss possible job modifications. If you have a question about your job duties or expectations, please consult with your immediate supervisor and refer to the terms in your employment letter. International students must abide by Federal Regulation [8 C.F.R. 214.2(F)(9)(i)] that pertains to on-campus employment eligibility in that they must not exceed 20 hours a week while school is in session.

International Student Concerns

No, per Department of Homeland Security guidance.

  • Yes, but not later than the 29th day after the start of classes (February 15), per Department of Homeland Security guidance. If you are unsure if you will be able to make it campus for the start of classes, you might consider the online option until your visa situation is determined.

Depending upon the entry dates that your department allows, you can request a deferral to Summer 2021, Fall 2021, or Spring 2022. You can initiate that by making a request to your department. For Summer or Fall of 2021 starts, your department’s request is needed by the last day of the Fall semester.

Unfortunately, there is nothing that Purdue University can do to intervene on visa applications for students or their dependents. When a current student asks ISS for assistance with obtaining dependent visas, we will refer the student to outside legal assistance, and Congressman Baird’s office (4th District).

There are two reasons why Purdue has not hired an immigration lawyer to represent all international students: complexity of cases and conflict of interest. 

  • Complexity of cases: Immigration law is specific and complex. Some immigration cases may seem relatively simple, but in reality, they are very complex.
  • Conflict of Interest: In most countries, people who specialize in legal representation (lawyers, attorneys, solicitors, etc.) have an obligation to focus their skills and attention on their “client”. At the same time, in most legal situations, it is very common for situations to arise where information must be shared with the legal representative but which, if shared with another party, might create a “conflict of interest”. Immigration law is especially prone to this. Students should retain their own attorney so that the attorney is required to provide legal counsel that is in the student’s best interest.
  • Purdue can refer students to qualified immigration attorneys based on the particulars of their unique case, however attorneys practice in different types of immigration law and no one attorney can practice in all areas of immigration law.

Update: Purdue Graduate Student Government hopes to engage with an immigrant attorney to make presentations and meet with students during Spring 2021.

Purdue recommends the following guidelines for international students making fall 2021 travel plans to Purdue’s West Lafayette campus:

  • Get vaccinated if you can AND KEEP your vax document. It is possible, but not guaranteed, that if you've been vaccinated you may not need to quarantine.
  • Plan on some period of quarantine (7-10 days) if arriving from an international location and you've not been vaccinated.
  • It would be best to avoid having parents and other non-dependent family members (other than your spouse or minor children) join you on-campus. Purdue is unable to clear non-dependent family members to engage in activities that take place on campus and in campus buildings, including University residences.

 As the CDC guidelines continue to evolve and influence Purdue policies, please keep up with the latest updates on international travel at the Protect Purdue site:

Graduate Student Life

We recognize that we are in the midst of uncertainty as we deal with the consequences of COVID-19. University Residences will have on-campus housing at Purdue Village available for future occupancy. As part of University Residences, you would not be required to pay rent for housing at Purdue Village if you contract for it but are unable to enroll at Purdue University and be on campus due to a COVID-19-related change of plans. As of December 10, 2020, limited housing is available for Spring 2021 at Purdue Village. To inquire, contact

As you make plans for housing at Purdue University, please remember that, if you sign a lease for an apartment or other housing, you are obligated to follow-through with rent payments, even if you are unable to use it. (The exception may be if you or your landlord is able to find another tenant for the space for which you have signed a lease.)

Purdue employees may not engage in outside employment and other outside activities that would conflict with their University duties. If it does not conflict with your University duties, it is permissible. Employment off campus is not available to international students unless authorized for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT). Graduate student employees are required to file a Disclosure of and Application for Permission to Engage in a Reportable Outside Activity form before engaging in any reportable outside activities. Such outside reportable activities include employment and connections with business enterprises, public offices, professional associations, educational institutions, and foundations. See the Vice President for Ethics and Compliance webpage for the Reportable Outside Activity Form Guidelines.

Below are the parking permit options, along with annual costs, available each academic year and also additional options made available this year due to COVID-19 and its impact on campus parking utilization.

All annual costs listed will be prorated based on the month of purchase. Prorated amounts will be shown in the online parking portal during the purchase process. Employed graduate students are eligible for payroll deduction for any type of permit purchased.

Standard Academic Year Parking Permit Options

  • Graduate students employed by Purdue at least three-quarter time (30 hours per week) are
    eligible to purchase an A ($250) or B ($100) parking permit upon request and by submitting
    position verification from the department.
    • Request through the online parking portal:
    • Choose “Special Permit Requests”
    • Login using Purdue BoilerKey credentials
    • Select “Employed Student A/B Permit Request” from the drop-down menu; click Next
    • Download, complete and upload the linked application
    • If you meet the requirements, Parking Facilities will send you an approval email that authorizes you to purchase this permit
    • Visit the online parking portal to purchase the A/B permit
  • Graduate students living at least 1.5 miles from campus are eligible to purchase a C ($100) parking permit. A limited number of C-garage ($250) permits are available each year providing access to one garage and all C lots. See additional information in the next section.
    • Request through the online parking portal:
    • Choose “C Permits” and click the link to apply on the pop-up window
    • Login using Purdue BoilerKey credentials
    • Follow the prompts on the screen
    • Upload verification of your local address
    • The request will be reviewed, and Parking Facilities will email you when you are eligible to purchase a permit
    • Visit the online parking portal to purchase the C permit

Special Parking Permit Requests: 2020-21 Academic Year:

If you do not meet the requirements for one of the parking permit options listed above, or you would like to take advantage of the additional C-garage ($250) permits available this year, submit a special parking permit request to Parking Facilities through the online parking portal:

  • Choose “Special Permit Requests”
  • Login using Purdue BoilerKey credentials
  • Select “Student Exception” from the drop-down menu; click next
  • Provide any relevant notes, and upload supporting documentation for your request
  • Parking Facilities will email you when your request has been reviewed. The email will provide an appropriate parking permit option for purchase
  • Visit the online parking portal to purchase the appropriate permit

Contact Parking Facilities at (765)-494-9497 or