COVID-19 Information for Graduate Students

Navigating Graduate School students through uncertain times

The following is specific to graduate students at Marquette University and aims to provide necessary information regarding campus and academic protocol during the COVID-19 risk reduction initiative. This is supplemental information; additional campus-wide information and real-time updates can be found here

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Online Instruction

Because campus has now moved primarily to a remote working environment, the Graduate School office in Holthusen will be physically closed from Wednesday, 3/18 until at least April 10th.

However, virtually we are open for business.  

Updated: 3-18-20

Alternative Grading Plan for Spring 2020 + FAQ for Students and Faculty

See Proposal

Read Frequently Asked Questions

Recognizing the extraordinary impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of students, faculty, and staff, the following alternative grading plan is proposed for spring 2020 only. The proposal is guided by our institutional commitment to cura personalis and the recognition that the abrupt transition to remote instruction may prevent some students from achieving the grades they would otherwise have earned.

Programs falling under this proposed policy include all graduate programs in the Klingler College of Arts & Sciences, College of Education, Diederich College of Communication, Opus College of Engineering, College of Nursing, Graduate School of Management, and Graduate School-based programs based in the College of Health Sciences and School of Dentistry.

Exempted from the proposal: Law School, and non-Graduate School programs in the College of Health Sciences and the School of Dentistry


  1. The Graduate School and Graduate School of Management will retain the current grading system of letter grades (A-C, F) as articulated in the graduate bulletin or Graduate School of Management bulletin as the default. At the end of the semester, faculty will enter the earned grade for the course into CheckMarq, using the current grading system.
  2. If a student wants to keep the letter-grades earned in the Spring 2020 semester, the student needs to do nothing further.
  3. On a course-by-course basis, students in the Graduate School and Graduate School of Management will have the option of replacing the letter grade they received for each course completed during the Spring 2020 semester with the associated option applicable only to this semester: High Pass, Pass, Not Pass (HP/P/NP). 

Definition of High Pass, Pass, Not Pass:

i. High Pass (HP): credit; a permanent grade indicating equivalent work of B or better in the course.
ii. Pass (P): credit; a permanent grade indicating equivalent work of B-, C+ or C in the course
iii. Not Pass (NP): no credit; a permanent grade indicating equivalent work of F or FW in the course

4. For any program-specific requirements for which students need a specific letter-grade in a course, students who earn a “High Pass” will be determined to have met that program-specific grade equivalents for that course. Students who earn a grade of "Pass" in a course will fulfill requirements as determined by individual academic programs. For purposes of meeting program-specific requirements, a grade of NP shall be considered equivalent to an F.

5. Students will have the choice of replacing letter grades with the HP/P/NP option until two weeks after grades are filed. After May 26, 2020, the choice made by the student (i.e., letter grade or HP/P/NP) for a course will become permanent.

The proposal outlined above has significant implications. The following are proposed to help clarify these implications and to mitigate potential negative consequences for students:

  1. All students are urged to work with their academic advisors prior to making any decision regarding replacing letter grades. This is particularly important for students required to meet criteria for certification, licensure, and those students seeking tuition reimbursement from an employer.
  2. Students choosing to retain the traditional letter grades they were assigned will have those letter grades included in the calculation of the GPA. In contrast, HP/P/NP grades will not be used in computing GPA.
  3. HP grades earned in spring 2020 will fulfill all degree and prerequisite requirements internal to Marquette. P grades earned in spring 2020 will fulfill requirements as determined by individual academic programs.
  4. For Spring 2020, undergraduate students taking graduate-level courses in the Graduate School will be subject to the modifications identified in this revised policy.
  5. For Spring 2020, graduate students taking undergraduate-level courses must adhere to the Graduate School policy identified in this revised policy. Graduate students who choose to use the HP/P/NP grading system and who have earned a C-, D+, or D in that undergraduate course would receive a grade of NP.
  6. The required withdraw for academic reasons (i.e., RWAR process) will be suspended for the Spring 2020 semester.
  7. Students are subject to Satisfactory Academic Progress for Title IV aid, as these are federal regulations and cannot be waived.
  8. Students currently on an academic plan due to the initiation of an RWAR or RWDP process or because they are not meeting the GPA requirement for Satisfactory Academic Progress from a prior semester will have their remediation plan automatically extended through Fall semester 2020, unless their Spring 2020 performance fulfilled requirements of the remediation plan, thus allowing them to successfully exit probationary status.
  9. Transcripts will have notification indicating COVID-19 pandemic to record the unique grading system employed in Spring 2020.

FAQs for alternative grading policy for Spring 2020

Recognizing the extraordinary impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of students, faculty, and staff, an alternative grading policy is enacted for spring 2020 allowing students to choose CLASS-BY-CLASS to have the earned letter grade recorded or have it replaced by a grade of High Pass/Pass/Not Pass (HP/P/NP). Here is the link to the policy in the Graduate Bulletin and the Graduate School of Management Bulletin.

See below for Student and Faculty FAQ

For Students

What should I do right now?

Do the best you can in all your classes. You put in good effort before break; use this time to get what you need out of the class. Learn the most you can – you are worth it.

When do I choose whether to keep my recorded grade or have it replaced with a HP/P/NP?

After faculty file grades for the semester using the standard letter grade scale (current deadline is May 12), you will have until May 26 to choose whether to keep the grade you earned or change it.

No student will be able to make a change to HP/P/NP until May 12th after grades are posted.

What do the grades mean?

  1. High Pass means you earned a grade of B or higher
  2. Pass means you earned a B-, C+ or C
  3. Not Pass means lower than a C (failing grade)
  4. HP/P/NP grades will not be computed in your GPA
  5. How do HP/P/NP differ?
    • High Pass will earn credit and fulfill program requirements
    • Pass will earn credit but may not fulfill program requirements. Your specific academic program will make that determination.  Contact your Director of Graduate Studies for guidance on this issue.
    • Not Pass will not earn credit or fulfill requirements

How do I decide whether to keep my letter grade or to convert it to HP/P/NP?Talk with your academic advisor or Director of Graduate Studies prior to making a decision about replacing letter grades. In some cases, letter grades may be required at a later time (e.g., when applying for disciplinary certification, licensure or tuition reimbursement) and you will not be able to switch between letter grades or HP/P/NP grades after May 26th.

What if I am an undergraduate student taking a graduate course?

If you are an undergraduate student taking a graduate course and you decide to convert your letter grades to the alternative grading format, you will follow the HP/P/NP alternative grading scale used by the Graduate School or Graduate School of Management.

What if I am a graduate student who is taking an undergraduate course?

If you select the alternative grading policy, you must follow the alternative grading policy employed by the Graduate School, not the undergraduate version. In such a case, if you earn a C-, D+ or D in the undergraduate course, you will earn a grade of NP.

Will my instructor know if I choose HP/P/NP?

No, because students exercise the option to change their letter grades to HP/P/NP after instructors file grades, instructors are not notified which students change to HP/P/NP.

What if my cumulative G.P.A. falls below 3.0 because of my work this semester?

In a typical semester, graduate students whose G.P.A. falls below 3.0 are required to withdraw for academic reasons.  However, this requirement will be suspended for the Spring 2020 semester.  Keep in mind, however, that if your G.P.A. remains below 3.0 after the next semester in which you take classes, the required withdraw process will be in place.  Also keep in mind that the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards for federal student aid eligibility have not changed. 

What if my cumulative G.P.A. was below a 3.0 and I was working on getting it above 3.0 in the Spring 2020 semester?

If the letter grades you earn this semester put your cumulative G.P.A. above 3.0, then keep the traditional grading system (i.e., do not choose the HP/P/NP option) and you will return to good standing.  Otherwise, if you are currently on an academic remediation plan from a prior semester that was supposed to have been fulfilled by the end of spring 2020, it will be automatically extended through Fall semester 2020

For Faculty member or Instructor of Record 

What should I do right now? Continue teaching and grading as per normal, while understanding that we are in a unique and challenging situation. Please be sure to file grades by the deadline. Students will have the option to convert their letter grades to HP/P/NP only after grades are filed.

What should I tell students who are worried about their grades now?

Encourage students to keep fully participating in your class and wait to decide on HP/P/NP until after they have their grades.

Will I know if students choose HP/P/NP in the class I’m teaching this semester?

No, students exercise the option to change their letter grades to HP/P/NP after grades are filed.

Updated: 4-3-20

Campus Availability

While our physical office location is closed, the Graduate School staff is working and available for you. Email is the best form of contact and you can also submit questions via our Contact Us page

Also, please note that forms can be submitted via e-mail at this point.

Updated: 3-18-20

COVID-19 Symptoms Protocol

If a faculty member, staff, or student has symptoms or has traveled to an area of concern, they should self-quarantine according to the policy set out by the University in the 3/12/20 Marquette Today announcement.

Updated: 3-13-20

Impact to Graduate, Teaching and Research Assistantships

 GA, TA, and RA appointments are still active, and GA/TA/RAs will continue to be paid.  GA’s, TA’s and RA’s should be in contact with their supervisor, DGS, and/or department chair to determine what their duties will be going forward. Please note that GA/TA/RA duties may be carried out on campus or remotely. I would ask that faculty always consider the well-being of the TA/RA/GAs when assigning duties, and show as much flexibility in getting the duties done as possible.  If a GA/TA/RA is self-quarantining because they are either ill or have been in an area that requires self-quarantine, I would ask that the student and faculty member be in communication about their duties, and when possible, set up a plan to do the duties remotely.  TA/RA/GAs are not at risk of losing their appointments because of self-quarantining for such reasons. 

If you are a TA or an instructor of record for a class, the Center for Teaching and Learning has a number of training opportunities for bringing courses and discussion sections online. You can join these if you would like.  Please make sure you are discussing your expectations with the faculty you are assisting.  If you are an instructor of record, please make sure you are discussing your course with your Department Chair.

Updated: 3-13-20

Dissertation and Thesis Defense Schedules

During this time, all dissertation/thesis/project proposal and defense meetings be held virtually.  Please note that dissertation defenses still require a public defense, and the student will be responsible for setting up the virtual defense (Microsoft Teams and Zoom are recommended).  Note that MU IT is only providing tech support for Microsoft Teams at this time, but the student could choose to use any videoconferencing platform.

Microsoft Teams Training Guide

Don’t forget that defenses must be publicly announced, so if being done by videoconference, the announcement should include instructions detailing how to join the videoconference. For more tips on effective practice for setting up your videoconference dissertation, visit the dissertation defense schedule page.

Links to the remote login option, as well as any needed instructions regarding how to login to the defense, should be emailed to so that we can include it on the dissertation defense schedule page

Updated: 3-30-20

Clinical and Experiential Learning

Some programs require clinical or other forms of community/business-based experiential learning.  How this gets implemented is up to the program and the home-college dean. 

DGS’s and department chairs should work with their home-college dean to determine how COVID-19 accommodations may impact these placements and then communicate plans to their students.

Updated: 3-13-20

Dissertation and Career Bootcamp Events

Right now, our Dissertation Boot Camp and Career Bootcamp are still scheduled, but we will continue to monitor the situation and will inform you if this changes.

Updated: 3-13-20

Submitting Forms

To facilitate the submission of forms, the Graduate School will now accept forms sent by e-mail from Marquette e-mail addresses, as described in a recent e-mail from Carl Wainscott.

  1. A completed pdf form and any required associated documents are required (e.g. outlines, ORC Protocol Summer Form, essays, etc.), which should be sent to your department for processing
  2. Signatures from required individuals.

a. These may be actual ink hand-signed signatures on the form that is then scanned, or;

b. From an MU email account, an email approval that the individual provides their approval of the form, and it is sufficient to note your approval in the body of the email to which the form is attached, or;

c. For individuals external to MU (those who do not have MU email accounts), an email approval from a professional email address that the individual provides their approval (such as an external committee member agreeing to an outline).

3. Departments should consolidate all approvals if those come in the form of multiple messages and potentially versions of the same form, then submit together on one email message to

Updated: 3-13-20

Raynor Memorial Libraries Services

  • To serve our students who remain on campus because they were not able to complete their remote studies elsewhere, Raynor Memorial Libraries is open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with limited services. Through Wednesday, March 25, patrons will be able to check out books at the main circulation desk and ask research questions at the information desk.
  • To limit the spread of coronavirus and practice vigilant social distancing, beginning next Thursday, March 26, all in-person services at the libraries will be discontinued. Raynor Library will be open only for use as a study and work space; there will be no access to Memorial Library. Check the Raynor Memorial Libraries website for more details. 
  • For the most current information about accessibility and hours for the library, please check the COVID-19 service updates on the library’s website.
  • For grad students who are working remotely, the library’s electronic resources are vast and include e-books, articles, newspapers, data sets, streaming videos, and digitized archival materials. Most of these are available via simple login from the library website, but a few require use of the university VPN. For the latter, see the library’s remote access instructions.
  • As always, librarians are available to provide a variety of research assistance. Feel free to reach out to your subject area librarian. Most will be working remotely and will be accessible through e-mail. They can meet virtually with Microsoft Teams.

Updated: 3-19-20

Academic Deadlines

All deadlines will continue as published.  Please continue to reference the Graduate School Academic Calendar for these deadlines.

Travel Awards

If you have received a Graduate School Travel Award and have incurred expenses for award-related travel, you will be reimbursed for up to your stated award level if you have supporting receipts.  This applies regardless of whether or not you actually attended the conference.  Thus if a conference was cancelled, you still may be reimbursed if you incurred expenses.

Given the travel restrictions listed below, we have made the decision not to give out any new Graduate School Travel Awards until the restrictions are lifted.  Anyone who has applied for a travel award in the last cycle will have their application when the awards are again available. 

University Travel Restrictions - effective 3/11/2020 

Marquette is restricting all new, non-essential university-sponsored travel (domestic and international) until further notice. If you are currently on a trip, you do not need to come back, immediately, but if you have a planned, non-essential university-related trip, you should not continue with that travel until further notice is given.  This difficult decision was made in consultation with our campus’ infectious disease experts in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.  As you think about travel for a University purpose or for personal purposes, please note that any faculty, student or staff who has traveled internationally, including cruise ship travel, or from any domestic states with known community transmission) MUST SELF-QUARANTINE for 14 days before returning to campus. Those who are 14 days symptom free may return to campus.

Updated: 3-13-20

Counseling Services

We understand the pressures graduate students may be facing during time. Counseling service information can be found on the Counseling School website

Updated: 3-17-20

Disability Services

If you need accommodations during this period, please reach out to the Office of Disability Services

Computer Access Help and Free Internet Services through Spectrum

Computer access for those in need

Graduate Students that do not have access to a computer or reliable internet may contact the Help Desk for possible assistance.  Call 414.288.4000 or email for more information.

Charter/Spectrum is offering free internet access for 60 days.   

Students in need and faculty in need with students in their home should contact their local network service provider for free 60 day service. 

Offer Details

  • ~50Mbps service free for 60 days, cancel before 60 days to avoid a bill sent to address
  • Need to have NEW service (no spectrum the last 30 days at the residence) and a student pre-k -> college
  • No CC card is required, an account would be created based on address and a login would be assigned (just like when signing up for standard spectrum residential service)
  • Spectrum provides the equipment (modem/wifi-router) and doesn't charge for installation (but an individual should double check that when signing up), they will charge if you cancel and then don't return the equipment to a spectrum store or via UPS store.
  • Spectrum is available in most of Wisconsin, but is not available in Illinois. Illinois is Comcast territory. It looks like there is a similar offering coming from them that I will look at and call them when I can.
  • You will need to cancel on day 59 to protect against getting a $54.99 bill for the next month of service.
  • Link to news brief:

Deadline Extensions

  • The Graduate School has extended its deadlines for theses, professional projects or essays. The former deadline was 4/13/2020, but has been extended one week to 4/20/2020.
  • The Graduate School has extended its deadline for Comprehensive Exams (when results are due to the Graduate School). The former deadline was 4/17/2020, but has been extended to 4/24/2020.

Graduate School Time Limitations Policy

Spring 2020 Modification: Policy on Time Limitations

  • Currently the policy states, “Students are expected to complete all requirements for their degrees in the time allowed: six years for master’s degrees and certificates, and eight years for doctoral (Ph.D. and D.N.P.) degrees. The time period begins with the date of admission to degree status, or with the date of admission to non-degree or temporary status in the same or closely-related program. The start of the time period is not affected by transfer credit taken prior to admission to Marquette.”
  • Proposal is that students who were enrolled in the Spring 2020 semester will have their time limitations extended by ½ year.
  • This policy is presented independent of any recommendations to extend periods of TA/RA/GA funding for students. Funding decisions are made at the Departmental level and are unrelated to the current policy or these proposed revisions.

Policy Addendum for Spring 2020 Semester Only 

Graduate Students enrolled during the Spring 2020 semester are expected to complete all requirements for their degrees in the time allowed: 6.5 years for master’s degrees and certificates, and 8.5 years for doctoral (Ph.D. and D.N.P.) degrees. The time period begins with the date of admission to degree status, or with the date of admission to non-degree or temporary status in the same or closely-related program. The start of the time period is not affected by transfer credit taken prior to admission to Marquette.

Graduate School Incomplete Policy

Spring 2020 Modification Incomplete Policy

  • Currently the policy stipulates, “Once the deadline has passed to change the I, IE or IC to a permanent grade and the temporary grade has not been cleared, these grades become a permanent grade of F.”

Policy Addendum for Spring 2020 Semester only.

Once a final letter grade is awarded to any Incompletes taken in the Spring 2020 semester, students will have two weeks to elect to change those grades to HP/P/NP.  Incomplete grades that are not cleared or changed to IE by the date specified in the Academic Calendar will be turned into a permanent grade of NP.

Graduate School Transfer Policy

Transfer Policy

  • Currently the policy stipulates, “Only courses in which a grade of B or above is earned may be transferred for credit into a master’s program or used on a Doctoral Program Planning Form.”

Policy Addendum for Spring 2020 Semester Only

Courses completed at other institutions during the Spring 20 semester will be accepted for credit or used on a Doctoral Program Planning Form as long as the transcript clearly states that the equivalent to credit was  awarded at the sending institution, and performance in that course was deemed acceptable by the Marquette program to which the student is transferring.   Courses completed at Marquette during the Spring ’20 semester may be accepted for Graduate Credit or used on Doctoral Program Planning Form if the grade earned was a High Pass (HP).