Frequently Asked Questions

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I’m an international graduate student. Should I should stay in the US or go back home?

Please consult the FAQ page set up by the international office. You can find information about the implications to your immigration status. For specific questions, please contact the Office of International Students and Scholars at 610-758-4859 or at


How will graduate student funding be affected by the closure of campus? 

We aim for TA/RA/GA financial support to continue uninterrupted as much as is possible. In light of the 3/20/2020 mandate to shut down Lehigh facilities, we are working to confirm continued funding for RAs and GAs, including GAs and other graduate students who are paid hourly. TAs should not be affected by the shut down since they are already teaching remotely. Check back for more detailed information.

I spent money on a conference that got canceled. Can I still get reimbursed through my GSS Travel Grant?

Yes! The GSS is still reimbursing students who have spent money on conferences and were not able to attend due to conference cancellations or chose not to attend as a precaution during this time. We recommend that you first reach out to the hotel/organization and request a refund. Many organizations are making changes to their refund policy given the disruptions caused by COVID-19. If you are unable to get a refund, reach out to our Travel Grants Officer, Junior, at for more information on how to get electronically reimbursed. We’ll continue with this policy until further notice.


Will the grading system for graduate students change?

The existing graduate grading system has enough flexibility built in to address the challenges students might face during the Pandemic. Please see this archived email for additional information and explanation of that flexibility.

How does the SP (Satisfactory Progress) grade work?

R&P states: “The grade SP may be assigned for coursework or projects that do not conform to standard terms (e.g., thesis, research courses, open learning, or multi-term project based learning coursework, etc.) when the student is making satisfactory progress; otherwise, the student should be assigned and F” (86). In Spring 2020, the SP is also available to any graduate course, even standard courses, if students are unable to complete course work or projects due to the change to on-line learning. “An SP grade will not be converted automatically but rather will remain until changed by the instructor or department chair when instructor is not available. SP grades count towards credits completed but do not affect GPA until converted” (86). SP grades must be converted on the transcript for a student to graduate. Normally, “programs that want to apply the SP option need to designate the courses eligible for SP grades through the course curriculum approval/change process,” but for Spring 2020, this rule is lifted and the grade is available to any graduate course (86).

Can a graduate student taking an undergraduate course choose the CR grading option?

No. The CR grading option is not available for graduate students taking undergraduate courses. The CR grading option does not fit well with requirements for graduate courses, good standing, and graduate degrees. As Provost Pat Farrell and Deputy Provost Beth Dolan explained in their message, the current graduate course grading structure provides flexible options to accommodate graduate students' situations.

Can an undergraduate student taking a graduate course choose the CR grading option?

Yes, but they should carefully think through the consequences of choosing this option. While we can assure a student that a course earning a CR grade will apply to Lehigh's undergraduate degree requirements, we do not make that same assurance for Lehigh's graduate degree requirements. If there is any possibility that an undergraduate student might want to count a course toward graduate program requirements, we advise against selecting the CR grading option.


What is the deadline for ordering graduation regalia? Is there a late fee?

Herff Jones and the Lehigh University Bookstore are waving the late fee for graduate regalia orders received after March 23. The deadline is now April 6. Please order directly through the bookstore.

Have the May graduation deadlines been extended for Masters and Doctoral students?

Yes. RAS is able to extend the deadlines for May degree conferral by two weeks. Thus, the April 10th delivery of theses and dissertations will be extended to April 24th, and the May 1st deadline for all paperwork and uploading the dissertation will be extended to May 15th. If you find that you are not in a position to meet the new deadlines for the May degree conferral, please consider aiming instead for the dates associated with the August 25th degree conferral. Consult your individual college websites for specific due dates for August.

How do I plan a virtual dissertation defense? 

LTS recommends using Zoom for remote defenses. Faculty, doctoral students, or staff should contact LTS Help for assistance in preparing to set up the Zoom session for the defense or for support during the defense itself. The LTS Help Desk is aware that these are especially high-stakes moments and will be prepared to offer extra support. If the presentation is followed by a confidential committee discussion, you will need to set up two different Zoom conferences. It is up to individual programs and advisors to decide whether to include audience members—such as other students, other faculty, and family members—in the Zoom defense.

How will I submit my paperwork for graduation?

We are working with Registration and Academic Services (RAS) and the Graduate Managers (or designees) in each college to develop mechanisms for the electronic submission of required paperwork for those finishing theses and dissertations. More information about the process will be available next week.

Has the registration date for Fall semester changed?

No. It is still April 13th.


Can I still use the ILL and PALCI systems? And what if I need to return ILL or PALCI books?

Articles, book chapters, other non-book materials that can be delivered electronically are still available for request through ILLiad: Because the PALCI system has been suspended, books will not be available through interlibrary loan. If you currently have ILL or PALCI books that are due, please keep them or return to FML. All due dates have been extended until Universities are back in session. No fines or fees will be charged for these materials.

Will the Graduate Life Office still host events virtually?

Yes! Please check the Graduate Life Office page for virtual events. A sense of community is more important now than ever. 

Will I be able to access Counseling and Psychological Services?

Counselors are available and invite students to call the center to schedule an appointment to help address their concerns, and to help with anxiety and coping. The University Counseling Center can be reached at 610-758-3880, Mon. - Fri. 8am-5pm. Overnight on-call services are also available and students can be connected to a clinician calling this same number.

Will I be able to access other university services as well? 

All university administrative offices are open and conducting business on-line (Bursar, RAS, Deans Offices, Graduate Life, etc.). Even the gym is offering some on-line classes. Please check specific websites for more information about on-line offerings. 


What do I do if I’m struggling financially during this time?

Small, interest-free loans of $500 are available from the Graduate Life Office. Contact Kathleen Hutnik or Amy McCrae. If you plan to return to your home and need financial assistance with travel funds, the university has emergency aid to help you with that. Please get more information here. (Ignore reference to “undergraduate students” in the form. You are eligible to apply.)

What if I become sick or quarantined?

If you are sick, call the Health and Wellness Center (610-758-3870) and follow their instructions. If you are a stipend-based TA/RA/GA your funding will continue during a short-term illness or quarantine. If your illness becomes long term, you might consider taking a leave of absence (contact Kathleen Hutnik).

I’m having trouble obtaining food because I’m sick or in quarantine. What can I do?

Contact the Graduate Life Office and we will brainstorm ways to address your individual situation.

Email Archive

  • Visit the Email Archive page to view University emails in regards to the Covid-19

Additional Support for Lehigh Faculty and TAs (Thursday, March 12) 

Covid 19 Information


Elizabeth A. Dolan
Deputy Provost for Graduate Education