Tag: Graduate Students

Graduate School Resources and Response to COVID-19

This post summarizes the response and resources available to graduate students beginning spring 2020. Resources that continue to be available as of fall 2021 are marked with an asterisk (*).

Health and Safety Resources and Responses

*HuskyFAN Food and Delivery

Michigan Technological University’s campus food pantry, or HuskyFAN, moved their operations to include an online food order form. Through this form students, faculty and staff, can request items to be packaged and delivered or arrange a pick up day and time. Starting mid-September the food pantry will distribute vouchers to be used at the local Houghton Farmer’s Market. These can be used to purchase fresh produce.

*Provided Masks and Other Wellness Supplies

At the beginning of the fall 2020 semester, all student groups were provided a time to pick up a wellness packet which included a washable mask, hand sanitizer, and information on health and safety during the pandemic. Areas on campus including HuskyFAN and Residence Education and Housing, and Center for Student Mental Health and Well-Being have continued to provide masks and other wellness supplies like cleaners, wipes, and hand sanitizer to all students upon request.


Michigan Technological University’s Center for Student Mental Health and Well-Being (CSMWWB) moved their operations online including the Graduate Student Support Group. Recognizing the need for additional mental health and well-being resources, the CSMWWB has launched another telehealth option through MySSP.

*On Campus Testing and Symptom Monitoring

Throughout the 2020-2021 academic year, Michigan Technological University encouraged, and at times required, all students to use the Daily Symptom Monitoring Form which provided the necessary offices with information to support students who felt unwell. On demand COVID-19 testing has continued to be available to students, faculty and staff throughout the academic year.

*Isolation/Quarantine Spaces

Throughout the pandemic multiple departments on campus (Residence Education & Housing Services, Graduate School, Dean of Students Office) worked together to ensure students had safe spaces if they were required to isolate or quarantine. During an isolation or quarantine period, students were contacted often to provide them with resources including food delivery, virtual engagement opportunities, mental health resources, assistance with children, and many other resources.

Financial Resources and Responses

*Emergency Funds

Even before the pandemic began, Michigan Technological University had a process in place for students to request emergency funds for extenuating circumstances. At the start of the pandemic, the decision was made to loosen the eligibility requirements of the emergency funds in order to allow as many students as possible the opportunity to apply. Over the last year and a half, Michigan Technological University has given out over $100,000. In addition, the Graduate School was gifted $100,000 which was distributed to graduate students in need.

Distribution of CARES Funds

For eligible students, CARES funds were distributed through block payments. Upcoming CARES funds will be distributed in a similar manner.

Daniell Heights

Policies regarding evictions and late fees were relaxed. Students with a payment plan in place could remain in their housing and late fees were waived.

Academic Related Resources and Responses

Deadline Flexibility

Many different deadlines including time for completion of an incomplete grade,and date for withdrawal with a “W”,  were extended for all students during the spring 2020, fall 2020, and spring 2021 semesters.

Course Retake Policy

The policy for the number and type of courses that can be retaken has been modified. Any courses taken during spring 2020, summer 2020, fall 2020 and spring 2021 will not count toward the limit of retaking a class a maximum of three times as stated in the University policy and may be repeated, regardless of the grade that was received.

Pass/Fail Grades

In the spring 2020, and fall 2020 semesters students were provided with the opportunity to choose a Pass/ Low Pass/ Fail Option as Michigan Technological University recognized that the alternative modalities for classes may not have been ideal for all types of students.


In spring 2020 the Graduate School amended the policy for Good Academic Standing and Dismissal to not penalize any students who may have been placed on probation, suspension, or dismissal.

Dissertation, Thesis, Report Deadlines

In spring 2020, the Graduate School extended the grace period and waived the fee to allow students to complete their degree without additional registration. In summer 2020, the grace period fee was also waived.

Scholastic Standards

Additional flexibility was offered for graduate scholastic standards. Pass (SCV) grades from spring 2020 and fall 2020 are allowed to be used to fulfill degree requirements, and programs have the flexibility to allow an additional 3 credits of pass (SCV) grades to be used toward graduate degree requirements.

*Electronic Forms and Processes

The Graduate School recognized that many forms and processes were not as functional once we transitioned to remote learning and work. All signatures on forms have been and will be accepted as an email from the signatory.  Other forms and processes were modified or moved online including:

  • Approval for a dissertation, thesis, or report
  • Application for an additional program (masters to PhD in same program)
  • Application for scheduling a dissertation, thesis, or report defense
  • Degree completion form moved to an updated format
  • Appeals of suspensions moved to an updated format
  • Report on final oral examination form moved to an updated format

*International Students

As the pandemic continues to affect international students, please continue to monitor the International Programs and Services and MTU Flex Portal webpages for information.

Additional flexibility was allowed by USCIS to permit continuing international students to take classes remotely or register for less than full-time to maintain their visa status.

*: Resources that continue to be available as of fall 2021.

American Association of University Women (AAUW) fellowship application support

The Graduate School is offering writing support to assist graduate students in applying for American Association of University Women (AAUW) domestic and international fellowships.  Funding amounts vary from $6,000 – $30,000 and may be available for master’s, doctoral, and post-doctoral studies.  Applications are due November 1st – November 15th.  See https://www.aauw.org/resources/programs/fellowships-grants/ for more details.  Questions? Contact Sarah Isaacson, GLAS Program Director, at sisaacso@mtu.edu

Michigan Space Grant Consortium graduate fellowship application support

The Graduate School is offering support services to assist graduate students in applying for the Michigan Space Grant Consortium’s Graduate Fellowship, including a workshop and one-on-one writing support.

MSGC’s Graduate Fellowship opportunity supports graduate students from affiliate
institutions who are conducting research and public service projects relevant to NASA’s strategic interests as expressed in NASA’s 2014 & 2018 Strategic Plans, specifically, research focused on aerospace, space science, and earth system science. Graduate students working in other, related science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields are also eligible to apply. Starting this year, MSGC is piloting an expanded definition of STEM to include support for interdisciplinary projects that include art, so graduate students conducting research and projects relevant to NASA’s strategic interests in disciplines not traditionally considered STEM, such as the humanities or social sciences, are likewise encouraged to apply.

Fellowship recipients are awarded $5,000. To be eligible, applicants must be U.S. nationals, have a good academic record, and be in good academic standing. Women, under-represented minorities, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. Students currently receiving MSGC Fellowships are eligible to reapply.

Workshop information: Overview and tips from an MSGC Fellowship reviewer
Date and Time: Friday, September 17th, from 11:00 AM – 11:50 AM
Location: Admin 404
Presenter: Will Cantrell, Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate School
Host: Sarah Isaacson, GLAS Program Director, sisaacso@mtu.edu
Register here: https://forms.gle/RSPYtUHVD6Yjimou6
A recording of the workshop will be available beginning September 21st.

Wednesday, Nov. 3 at noon — Internal deadline for undergraduate and graduate fellowship proposals
Wednesday, Nov. 10 at 5 p.m. — Final materials, after review and approval by SPO, must be uploaded to MSGC by the applicant

For more information and specific application instructions, visit the MSGC website and the MTU Graduate School’s MSGC web page.

Transition to Health and Safety Level Two

Message from Dr. Koubek from August 5, 2021.

Since the onset of the pandemic, we have worked to create a healthy and safe on-campus experience for our students, faculty, and staff—one that we can flex in response to rapidly changing environments. We have also learned that technology (while great) cannot replace the experiential learning that happens in classrooms, labs, residence halls, and beyond. For these reasons, we are delighted to welcome our students back to campus for a normal start to the fall semester.

To best ensure the continuity of campus operations, Michigan Tech strongly recommends that all employees and students receive the COVID-19 vaccine, especially in light of the virulence of the COVID-19 delta variant. 

With all of this in mind and out of an abundance of caution, Michigan Tech will return to Health and Safety Level Two as outlined in our MTU Flex plan, effective August 15, 2021, for at least five weeks. This includes reinstating an indoor face covering requirement for all faculty, staff, students, and visitors (regardless of vaccination status).

During the first few weeks of the semester, we will continue to review available data to inform our pandemic mitigation strategy. Our hope is that Michigan Tech’s face covering requirement is short-term. Our goal is to return to a face-covering-optional environment once we have more information regarding the spread of COVID-19 within our campus community.  In the meantime, I ask that you continue to do your part to help keep our campus and community safe. I look forward to seeing you all on campus soon. 

Graduate School Announces New Tradition to Celebrate PhD Students Achieving Doctoral Candidacy

Advancement to candidacy is a major milestone for doctoral students. PhD students who have advanced to candidacy are deemed to have completed all formal requirements of their program, except the dissertation. Advancement to candidacy is an acknowledgment that the student is ready to undertake independent dissertation research and has the potential to successfully complete their PhD program. Formal requirements vary by program, they generally take two to three years after starting the program and include coursework, qualifying exams, and research proposal. To celebrate this milestone, the Graduate School at Michigan Tech has introduced a new tradition to recognize, applaud and celebrate doctoral students who attain this feat.

This new tradition will take the form of a ceremony that brings together candidates, their advisors and their families in celebration of students who have advanced to this stage in their studies. Candidates will be presented with certificates at the ceremony.

Commenting on this new tradition, Graduate School Dean Pushpa Murthy said, “The advancement to candidacy is a major milestone in PhD programs, it is an acknowledgment by the program that the PhD student has acquired the necessary advanced knowledge of the subject and demonstrated the ability to conduct research necessary for a dissertation.”

To be eligible for participation in this ceremony, doctoral students should have submitted the Petition to Enter Candidacy form. This form is submitted once the student has fulfilled the following requirements:

  • Submitted an approved degree schedule • Completed all relevant courses and course credits
  • Completed Basic and Advance RCR Training
  • Passed qualifying exams
  • Passed research proposal exams
  • Formed an advisory committee

Planning for the debut ceremony, which is scheduled for Feb. 26, is ongoing. More information about the new tradition and ceremony will be coming soon.