COVID-19 Graduate Student FAQ

Admissions Incoming New Students International Students
Academics Coursework Financial Support and Employment
Teaching Research Work-Life and Wellbeing
Campus Operations Professional Development

ADMISSIONS

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Please look for the email, phone number or website for the program you're interested in on our Contact Programs list. Individual graduate programs can give you information about their admissions process and requirements.

If you have questions about how to apply in general to UC Santa Cruz graduate programs, please see the Application Info page, and our Admissions Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

You can check if the program you are applying to requires the GRE on our Test Scores website.

We accept the TOEFL iBT (in-person or at-home exam), and the IELTS Academic (in-person). Test scores from Duolingo, and TOEFL ITP Plus China Edition are not accepted at UC Santa Cruz. Information about those options is available on the Test Scores website.


INCOMING NEW STUDENTS (DEFERRED/EARLY ADMIT)

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On January 11, 2021 the University of California President Michael Drake announced that all 10 campuses are planning for a return to primarily in-person instruction for fall 2021. Campus planning for the fall will continue to incorporate all local and state health guidelines. Latest updates can be found on campus COVID-19 news and updates page.

Graduate Studies is currently encouraging all students who have attended U.S. colleges and universities to submit those transcripts electronically if that service is offered by the academic records office at your institution. Transcripts must be ordered and emailed to gradadm@ucsc.edu from the school directly (not forwarded from you). For students sending academic records from international institutions, please see our Transcripts & Admissions Requirements page for specific instructions about sending your documents to us so that we can process them as quickly as possible.

Due to the University of California’s efforts to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, our on-campus office is closed. Therefore, transcript and test score processing has been delayed at UC Santa Cruz and almost every UC location. Estimated processing time for electronic transcripts is 4-5 days after receipt by Graduate Studies. Physical transcripts may take weeks to arrive and be routed to Graduate Studies, and will then take a minimum of 5-10 business days for processing once received by our office.

This applies to admitted students only, not to applicants; applicants need only to upload unofficial transcripts to their application. You may register for classes for your first quarter of attendance, but if you miss the deadline for submitting your official transcript to verify your degree(s) you will have an enrollment hold placed on your next quarter. If you are still having trouble obtaining transcripts, email gradadm@ucsc.edu and explain the situation and steps you have taken so far.

Students who have not already enrolled may request to defer by contacting their graduate program directly. It is up to the graduate program to decide whether or not to grant you a deferral of your admission.

If you have already enrolled at UC Santa Cruz, you can no longer defer. You will need to request a Graduate Student Petition to Withdrawal from the Graduate Division; read more at the Graduate Student Handbook.

New first quarter graduate students employed as TAs or GSRs will receive their first paycheck on November 1. Domestic student fellowships are paid out of Financial Aid and myUCSC at the beginning of Fall term. Disbursement dates are listed on the Academic and Administrative calendar. Financial Aid and Scholarships has no-interest Emergency, Short-Term, and Graduate Assistance Loan programs. Learn more by visiting the Loan Programs webpage. Slug Support may also be useful.

Yes, the NRST policy has not changed. Non-California residents will be charged NRST. If your program has agreed to pay your NRST as part of your financial offer letter, your billing account will be updated once payment from the program has posted.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, UCOP issued temporary guidance for UC students enrolled during 2020-21 regarding the process of fulfilling physical presence and intent requirements as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. Since the University plans to conduct instruction primarily in person for 2021-22, these temporary amendments have been rescinded, effective June 2021.

For 2021-22, the University will return to its regular definitions of residency. Residence is established through 1) physical presence in California for more than a year (366 days), 2) demonstrated intent to stay in California, and 3) financial independence (assumed for graduate students unless your parents claimed you on their 20-21 taxes).

You may contact the Residence Deputies at reg-residency@ucsc.edu or view our Residency Information page for additional information.


INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

It is imperative you stay in contact with your graduate program and International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS).

Visit the ISSS COVID Updates Page Announcements for the latest Updates.

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  • A) Yes, this is covered in the current ICE guidance.
  • B) The temporary exception permitting UC employees to live and work remotely from an international location ends after summer 2021. However, the University understands that there will be proposed academic appointees who are not able to arrive in the US by the start of fall quarter, due to continued visa processing barriers or international travel restrictions. In such cases, the individual may seek an exception that would permit them to temporarily work remotely from abroad, up until the end of December 2021. Exceptions will only be granted to requests that clearly document visa processing barriers or international travel restrictions, and require approval from the Academic Personnel Office. Those who wish to request an exception must complete and submit this form as soon as possible, no later than August 16, 2021.
  • C) Yes, you may be employed without a SSN and/or US bank account. You can apply for a SSN and self-report the information once issued. If employed without a US bank account with direct deposit, wages will be mailed via check from UCPath to your domestic or international address on file.
  • Check with your department about questions regarding your employment.

Review the UCSC ISSS page for information about Spring and Summer enrollment requirements for International Students.

New students who enter the US for Fall 2021 in SEVIS Initial status will be required to enroll in at least one in-person course.

US Universities will continue to follow the March 9, 2020 guidance and March 13th guidance offered by SEVP, which allows continuing students who are presently in the US to continue their studies, even if they will pursue a remote course of study.

Use the checklist in MyUCSC to see how to remove the hold. If you have questions, contact the Student Health Center through Health e-Messenger. Select Messages, then New Messages, then Immunization - Required Immunizations and TB Risk Screening Questions. Remember that as of Fall Quarter 2021, you need a COVID-19 and a flu vaccine to avoid an enrollment hold.

All students must be insured per UC Policy. You are automatically enrolled in UC SHIP (Student Health Insurance Plan) unless you’ve been approved for a waiver. If you have your own insurance, you can apply for a UC SHIP waiver. Check the eligibility criteria before you apply.

  • International students who are in Santa Cruz, CA - you can access the full services available at the Student Health Center.
  • If you are in the US, but outside Santa Cruz: Telehealth appointments can be made. Learn more at the Student Health Center Services Overview webpage.
  • If you are outside the US - When outside the US, your UC SHIP plan acts as an out of network plan. This means you pay up front and file a claim for reimbursement. See more at the UC SHIP Off-Campus Care website, section 4 “International Health Care.”.

You will be required each quarter to update/review your biographical information including your address. ISSS will email you more information at the beginning of the quarter.


ACADEMICS

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For questions related to program degree requirements, course selection, scheduling, or questions about research and your major field, contact your Graduate Program Coordinator or a faculty Graduate Advisor in your program. Contact information for each program can be found here.

Questions for the Student Services team in the Graduate Division can be sent to: gss-group@ucsc.edu.

Extension to Normative Time: In recognition of the impact that pandemic-related closures have had on all graduate students, Graduate Council, with the support of the Graduate Division, has provided a one-year blanket extension of the time to degree in which one remains in good standing (six years in most programs, seven in a few--now seven and eight years, respectively). The quarters from Spring 2020 to Spring 2021 will not be counted against a graduate student’s normative time to degree.

Please note: the blanket extension of normative time to degree is not a guarantee of extended funding or employment. The Graduate Division is working closely with programs and campus partners to explore potential financial support options.

Extension of In-Candidacy Fee Offset Grant (ICFOG): Once a student advances to candidacy within normative time, they will automatically receive the In-Candidacy Fee-Offset Grant (ICFOG) that waives the campus quarterly fees for two calendar years (six quarters) following advancement. Given COVID-related disruptions, all students receiving the ICFOG from Spring 2020 to Spring 2021 will have their ICFOG eligibility extended for three additional quarters.

NRST (Non-resident Supplemental Tuition) waiver extension: Due to pandemic-related disruptions, in September 2020 Chancellor Larive and CP/EVC Kletzer agreed to a NRST waiver extension for three additional quarters (beyond the usual three calendar years) for international doctoral students advanced to candidacy during COVID-impacted quarters (spring 2020-spring 2021). This additional financial commitment is made to help ease the fiscal strain of degree/thesis delays for international students produced by the COVID crisis.

System-wide extension of 18 quarter TA Rule In June 2020, UC Provost Michael Brown announced a temporary extension of the total length of service for academic student employees (ASE) up to 21 quarters, for matriculated students during the quarters in which instruction is substantially impacted by COVID-19. In August 2021, the terms of this extension were expanded to include AY 2021-22. This means that students who enrolled in any of the affected quarters between Spring 2020 and Spring 2022 can receive permission to extend their total length of service to a maximum of 21 quarters at any point in the future.

Students who need to take a leave or break have a number of options:

Leave of Absence Status (LOA)

LOA is a leave from your academic studies at UC Santa Cruz for up to one year. Extensions beyond one year will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. To apply for LOA, submit the filled out form to your Graduate Program Coordinator. Be sure to review all the information on the LOA guidelines before submitting. Please pay special attention to restrictions on UC SHIP (health insurance). LOA applications for international students are also required to be approved by an ISS advisor. Students who are enrolled and submit a LOA request after the first day of instruction are subject to the Schedule of Refunds, and must pay a percentage of the quarter fees based on the date the LOA was initiated (documentation required).

Cancellation/Withdrawal

Students who need a longer-term academic break or wish not to continue at this time from their program can withdraw from the university. To withdraw, you should first review the policy, notify your program, then fill out the Graduate Student Petition for Withdrawal form (available by request from the Graduate Division). When you’re ready to return to your studies, you will complete the readmission form and request a signature from a graduate advisor. Please note, programs are not obligated to readmit you. If you are planning to withdraw and return, you should discuss your intentions with your graduate advisor. Enrolled students who withdraw after the first day of instruction are subject to the Schedule of Refunds.

Maybe, the eligibility requirements for In Absentia have somewhat changed:

  • Doctoral students must have advanced to candidacy, Master’s students must have completed at least three registered quarters.
  • Research or coursework must be directly related to the student’s degree program as evidenced by UC faculty approval.
  • Research or coursework must be of a nature that makes it necessary to be completed more than 200 km from Santa Cruz, CA for at least one full academic term.
  • Research or coursework must involve only indirect supervision appropriate to evaluating the student’s academic progress and performance (e.g., correspondence via e-mail or review of written work) from UC faculty.
  • Research or coursework must involve no significant studying or in-person collaboration with UC faculty.

If you meet those requirements, you may submit an In-absentia form to your Graduate Program Coordinator for review by your Graduate Studies Senior Academic Advisor.

Students must email their forms to their Graduate Program Coordinators according to their department process. Graduate Program Coordinators are responsible for sending completed forms to the Graduate Division.

All form fees will typically be charged to your student account.

Please carefully read the information and instructions about submitting your dissertation on our Applications and Forms page.

In order to be eligible for filing fee status, you must have advanced to candidacy and completed your required coursework. Students writing a thesis or dissertation should only apply for filing fee once they’ve finished a complete draft of their paper. In these uncertain times, delays are common and difficult to foresee. We encourage you to consider your individual circumstances and be realistic about your timeline to completion. Also keep in mind your committee members are facing similar challenges and may not be able to provide timely feedback. Prior to applying for filing fee, discuss your remaining work and timeline with your committee.

Once on filing fee, you have until the last day of the quarter to complete the degree by passing your comprehensive exam, finishing your project, or filing your thesis/dissertation. Filing fee is only for one quarter: extensions are typically not granted.

Yes, all exams may be conducted fully remotely, until further notice.


COURSEWORK

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Please see the Information Technology Services website for information about how to get assistance with Zoom, Canvas, loaner laptops, internet access and more. Tech Support is available as well via online at https://itrequest.ucsc.edu, via email at help@ucsc.edu, or phone at (831) 459-HELP (4357).

On January 11, 2021 the University of California President Michael Drake announced that all 10 campuses are planning for a return to primarily in-person instruction for fall 2021.


FINANCIAL SUPPORT AND EMPLOYMENT

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Unfortunately the campus is not able to extend the five-year funding guarantee, though a one-year normative time extension has been granted for all students, which will extend student eligibility for financial aid.

In June 2020, UC Provost Michael Brown announced a temporary extension of the total length of service for academic student employees (ASE) up to 21 quarters, for matriculated students during the quarters in which instruction is substantially impacted by COVID-19. This means that students who enrolled in any of the affected quarters between Spring 2020 and Spring 2022 can receive permission to extend their total length of service to a maximum of 21 quarters at any point in the future.

Enrolled domestic students may be employed while away from UC Santa Cruz and working remotely. Additional information is available on the APO website.

For graduate and undergraduate students who do not have a functioning laptop and/or are struggling with poor or no internet, please contact Slug Support:

Preferred method: email the Dean of Students office at deanofstudents@ucsc.edu

Alternative method: phone the Dean of Students office at 831-459-4446 and leave a detailed voicemail including name, student ID, and a telephone number at which they can be reached.

For additional information including hours of operations, visit the Slug Support COVID-19 operations website page.

Information on COVID-Related Leave for Academic Employees can be found here. Please refer to the links on the left pertaining to your specific academic employment category (i.e. TA/GSI, Reader/Tutor, GSR, etc.)


TEACHING

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Keep Teaching is the UC Santa Cruz hub for resources related to remote instruction during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. A comprehensive teaching guide, specifically tailored to graduate student educators, can be viewed here.

Please also review the Teaching Resources on the Graduate Division website.

The Slug Tech Program is available for graduate and undergraduate students who do not have access to adequate technology to participate fully in online teaching and learning.

Please see the Information Technology Services website for information about how to get assistance with Zoom, Canvas, loaner laptops, internet access and more.

Discuss any needs for office space with your Graduate Program Coordinator or Department Chair.


RESEARCH

See: Guidelines for UC Santa Cruz Research Ramp Up, and contact your program or research advisor.


WORK-LIFE AND WELLBEING

Even though we may be physically apart, Slugs are all in this together and students have a number of support and engagement services available to ensure their success. Student Health Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, Basic Needs support, CARE, Academic Advising, Learning Support Services, Slug Support, are open and providing services remotely. As COVID-19 restrictions are eased, more campus resources are being offered in person.

  • The McHenry Library and Science & Engineering Library buildings reopened on July 1, 2021 for print collections access and on-site services.
  • The pool is open to students for lap swimming and the East Tennis Courts are available for tennis on a reservation system.
  • The outdoor jogging path around the Upper East Field, the Disc Golf Course, and the West Tennis Courts are currently available for drop-in use.
  • The Stevenson Event Center has been designated as a remote-learning site for students. To use the space, make a reservation using the online reservation form.

The Keep Learning site provides resources and support for students who are learning remotely, and Information Technology Services offers useful resources to help students learn and study remotely and runs a loaner laptop program.

A full list of services and operating hours is available online. There are a variety of offices available to provide support and help to students.

The Graduate Student Association, the Graduate Student Commons and the Resource Centers are providing services remotely. For additional services please refer to the Support for Students on the Roadmap to Recovery.

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The University of California issued its COVID-19 vaccine mandate policy on July 15, 2021, requiring all employees and students who access any and all University locations to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of vaccination by the policy implementation deadline. For UC Santa Cruz, that deadline is Sept. 9, 2021. Individuals who believe they qualify for a medical or religious exception are required to submit those exception requests by the Sept. 9 2021 deadline. For additional information, to learn about which vaccinations qualify, and about where and how to get your vaccine once you arrive in the US, please consult the Student Health Center website and Health e-Messenger.

Unvaccinated students, including those who are approved for a medical or religious exception, will be required to wear face coverings at all times when on campus, and will be subject to regular COVID screening tests.

News and updates pertaining to COVID-19 vaccine availability can be found on the campus COVID-19 information page.

Please also refer to the FAQs, Campus Services and Resources sections for information specifically for students.

The Counseling and Psychological Services Center provides mental health resources through several formats. More information is available on the Counseling Services webpage.

  • Mental Health Crisis Services are available by calling 831-459-2628

Contact the Disability Resource Center for information on services and accommodations. The Disability Resource Center Team is available for phone or Zoom appointments. Email drc@ucsc.edu for additional information.

All students must be insured per UC Policy. You are automatically enrolled in UC SHIP unless you’ve been approved for a waiver. If you have your own insurance, you can apply for a UC SHIP waiver. Check the eligibility criteria before you apply.

  • Students who are in Santa Cruz, CA - you can access the full services available at the Student Health Center.
  • If you are in the US, but outside Santa Cruz: Telehealth appointments can be made. Learn more at the Student Health Center Services Overview webpage.
  • If you are outside the US - When outside the US, your UC SHIP plan acts as an out of network plan. This means you pay up front and file a claim for reimbursement. See more at the UC SHIP Off-Campus Care website, section 4 “International Health Care.”.

Please visit the following page for information on Graduate Student Child Care, Reimbursement Programs.


CAMPUS OPERATIONS

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The Graduate Studies offices are currently closed to the public in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. Although our physical location is closed, Graduate Studies will still continue in an operating status, with most staff working from home.

Contact information for Graduate Studies staff members is available on our Staff Directory.

The Graduate Student Commons is currently closed and plans to reopen in Fall 2021. Although their physical location is closed, the Graduate Student Commons continues to provide virtual programming. Email general questions to gscommon@ucsc.edu. Contact information for Graduate Student Commons Governing Board members is available on the GSC Governance website.


PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

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Graduate Horizons for Professional Development plans to return to in-person professional development events for UC Santa Cruz graduate students and postdoctoral scholars fall quarter 2021; however, events will be accessible online via Zoom for those attending UCSC 100% remotely, based at the Silicon Valley Campus or NASA Ames, or conducting research beyond Santa Cruz. Graduate Horizons also contains information about writing support and resources.