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Info & Resources for Graduate Students on COVID-19 Impacts

This resource page provides regular updates on information and resources for graduate students related to COVID-19.

For information on our campus's response to COVID-19, please visit the Campus Ready website.

What to Expect On Campus


Policy and Procedure Changes Due to COVID-19

  • Emergency Educational Continuity policies approved by the Academic Senate remain in place through Fall 2021. These include the option for graduate programs to allow S/U grading for program-required courses, and blanket approval for graduate programs to extend normative times to degree as they see fit given the effects of COVID-19 on academic progress. Advisors and programs are responsible for working with students to identify funding sources if time to degree is delayed, and funding is not guaranteed beyond commitments made as part of admissions offers.

  • The UC Residency Policy and Guidelines (the “Guidelines”) currently provide that students must be physically present within California for a year prior to the Residency Determination Date (RDD) and that absences of six weeks or more in a one-year period disqualify a student from receiving in-state status.

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Guidelines were temporarily amended to allow students entering during the 2020-21 academic year to use remote instruction to stand in for physical presence. Students who studied remotely during 2020-21 may now qualify for residency in 2021-22 during terms in which they reside in California. Consistent with the amendment, these students will be asked to provide legal indicia demonstrating their intent to stay in California as soon as is practicable.

    Also consistent with the Temporary Amendment, all new students commencing enrollment in 2021-22 will be held to the standards and deadlines in the Guidelines.

    All stipulations in the Temporary Amendment issued in October 2020 are rescinded as of 6/3/2021. 

  • For Spring 2020 and Fall 2020, graduate students normally are limited to being employed as readers, teaching assistants, or teaching fellows for no more than 12 semesters total. This limit has been modified to exclude the spring and fall semesters. This modification means that graduate students enrolled during these semesters effectively have a limit of 14 semesters.

  • Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS) is pleased to announce new “Pay as You Go” daily parking to previous permit holders. If your work schedule requires returning to campus 12 days or less per month, contactless paid parking purchases can be made through the new FLOWBIRD mobile app. TAPS will send out more detailed information about the fall semester soon. For more detailed information about summer and fall 2021 parking, please visit the TAPS website. Please contact TAPS or 209-228-8277 with questions.

  • All academic personnel, including graduate students and postdocs, may now request access to campus for research and instructional activity (e.g. course preparation and zooming given that classes are not yet in-person). If you do not already have campus access through an approved operational research plan, and you have a space available for research or instructional activity, please use the ServiceNow research and instructional access form to submit your request for Tier 2 campus access. Note that all personnel who will regularly access campus need to do your part and adhere to campus health guidelines.

As COVID-19 conditions continue to improve, the campus is planning for a return to in-person instruction in the fall. Further information about fall planning is forthcoming, including information for all employees to request medical accommodations if needed. Assuming conditions continue to improve and vaccinations continue to become readily available to all community members, students will be expected to return to campus for in-person classes and other in-person academic activities.


Student Support

  • Health Services: If you are ill, but it isn’t an emergency, contact Health Services at 209-228-4192, between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, excluding holidays or campus closure dates. Students covered by UC SHIP can call the 24/7 nurse line 24-hours a day, seven days a week and speak confidentially to a registered nurse. These nurses are trained to help you make more informed decisions about your health situation. This number is also on the back of your member ID card. 

  • Childcare reimbursement is available for TAs, GSRs and students on fellowships that provide a full stipend and tuition remission. The University is providing a temporary exception to the ASE Childcare Reimbursement Program by adhering to the minimum requirements of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as to who qualifies as a “childcare provider” for purposes of reimbursement. 

  • The Office of Information Technology has provided strategies and tools to help students attend classes, do schoolwork and teach remotely.

  • Academic Counselor Maria Nishanian is available to assist graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who are experiencing challenges affecting their academic progress. She can facilitate communication between mentors and mentees, provide graduate students, faculty and postdocs with training on best practices in mentorship, and help with other issues common to graduate students, such as adjusting to graduate school, work-life balance, dealing with the imposter syndrome, etc. Please reach out to Maria by phone at 209-947-9358 or email mnishanian@ucmercededu.

  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) will again provide a weekly Graduate Student Support Group this semester. It is a free, confidential space for open discussion. Meeting details for the support group will be announced by email. No matter where you are in California, you can utilize CAPS services, 209-228-4266; Live Health: https://livehealthonline.com; and Therapy Assistance Online or TAO: https://counseling.ucmerced.edu/tao.

  • Graduate statistics and writing tutoring is available by appointment. Please email gradtutor@ucmerced.edu and puts “stats” or writing” in the header.


COVID-19 Risk Mitigation

  • When you come to campus, please do your part: Wear a face covering, clean and disinfect workspaces and maintain a distance of at least six feet from others, except for those with whom you share a primary residence. If you have COVID-19 symptoms or had known contact with someone who tested positive, please quarantine at home. If you need medical assistance, please work through your health care providers and health insurance as usual.

  • The UC Merced health check daily check-in has been rolled out to all graduate students, who should receive prompts via email or phone app (attestation forms are available for fields researchers and any one unable to access the online system). The check-in is designed to remind all community members to monitor their symptoms daily and take precautions if necessary.

  • Follow signs on campus directing foot traffic as part of efforts to social distance by avoiding close contact in spaces like stairwells and halls.

  • On campus, COVID-19 operations have expanded so that graduate students doing research as part of approved operational plans will be tested asymptomatically every two weeks

All students who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms are eligible for testing at Student Health Services. Here are the steps to setting up your appointment. Call 209-228-2273 for a telehealth visit and testing options will be discussed. Call 911 for life threatening emergencies. For more information, visit https://health.ucmerced.edu/covidtesting


The Graduate Division office is closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but still available remotely. The office will reopen for in-person business on July 6.

Contact Us

Graduate Division Main Line: 209-228-4723

Admissions: gradadmissions@ucmerced.edu

Funding: gradfunding@ucmerced.edu

Academic Services: gradservices@ucmerced.edu

Updated: June 24, 2021