Associate Provost and Graduate School Dean Carlson: letter to graduate students

Author: Amanda Skofstad

Dear Graduate Students, Directors of Graduate Studies and Graduate Administrative Assistants,

I am writing as a follow-up to Fr. John’s letter to the Notre Dame community earlier today with additional information related to graduate studies. With the implementation of social-distancing practices to deal with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, I know that there are many questions about what to expect in the coming weeks in relation to graduate training. We offer below some immediate guidance. Please continue to refer to, which is the key site for updates, questions and answers and so on. We have included a link to this site on our graduate school website, and will send updates to that site frequently with common inquiries and answers.

Some initial guidance:

  • All classes, including those at the graduate and professional levels, are moving to online instruction starting March 23.
  • If you serve as instructor of record or as a teaching assistant, resources and tips and strategies for moving online are available.
  • The university is open, and research is being conducted normally. If your research requires you to be on campus, then you should continue to come to campus to do that work. You will continue to have access to campus, including your offices and lab facilities.
  • As per Fr. John’s letter about restricted university-sponsored travel, all prospective student recruitment events should be canceled, effective immediately.
  • Dissertation and thesis defenses may continue to be held, but should be restricted to the candidate and the committee (e.g., without an audience, for those disciplines that have such a practice). Candidacy and qualifying exams may continue as scheduled, with social distancing precautions considered.
  • Deadlines for graduation will continue to be honored as published. However, if you anticipate difficulty in meeting these due to the changed circumstances, please reach out to us and we can see what we can work out.
  • At this time, we continue to plan for the Graduate School Commencement Ceremony. Any changes to that will be communicated as circumstances change.
  • Please refer to the letter you received by Erin Hoffmann Harding regarding available student services.
  • Most offices serving students including the Graduate School will continue their normal business hours. Any departments or facilities operating with reduced or extended hours will be posted on

Please continue to prioritize self-care and follow the preventive measures established by the CDC: stay home if you are sick; avoid close contact with people who are sick; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available.

Take care of yourselves and each other. Please reach out to us at with questions or concerns. We are here to help.

Laura Carlson
Vice President and Associate Provost
Dean of the Graduate School
Professor of Psychology