COVID-19 dissertation completion funding

This e-mail was sent to graduate faculty members on 9/1/2020 by Graduate School Dean Bill Karpus.

Research is a critical component of graduate education. In the wake of COVID-19, many graduate students had to adjust, postpone, or reimagine their research activities. Among other setbacks, laboratories and libraries closed, travel plans were delayed or cancelled, longitudinal studies lost precious data points, student parents and caretakers took on intensive new responsibilities, and some students endured direct effects of the virus on themselves or their loved ones.

In recognition of the difficulties that COVID-19 placed on our graduate students’ dissertation completion, the Graduate School is providing additional funding support to PhD and MFA students who are close to completion but whose progress was delayed by COVID-19. This funding support will be provided as a single-semester fellowship.

Faculty advisors can nominate eligible PhD or MFA candidates for this single-semester fellowship by completing an application at by September 30 at 5:00 pm.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Student planned to complete a PhD or MFA by January 2021 but research, writing, or defense directly and unavoidably delayed by COVID-19
  • Student now plans to complete PhD or MFA by August 2021
  • Student has been continuously funded for the past 3 years through an internal appointment or on an external grant
  • No other funding available for spring semester 2021 (e.g. assistantships or endowment funds)

In addition to certifying that the student meets all eligibility criteria, advisers will be asked to provide details on how the student has been funded in the past (the last three years for PhD students, and two years for MFAs). Advisers will also be asked to upload a student statement addressing the following questions:

  1. What was the original plan to complete graduation requirements before January 2021?
  2. How did the COVID-19 pandemic make it impossible to fulfill this plan? Please note that voluntary delays because of job market or other concerns will not make a student eligible for this emergency funding.
  3. What is the new plan for completing graduation requirements by August 2021?

Please direct any questions about this program to Associate Dean Lisa Martin (

We appreciate all that faculty and program staff are doing to support their students through this pandemic. We hope that this additional funding will help your students complete their research and attain their degrees in a timely fashion.


William J. Karpus
Dean of the Graduate School
Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine


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