Outlook for 2021

Before you start

University information: These FAQs only address issues pertaining to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. For the latest updates on the university’s operations during the pandemic and information that affects all Dalhousie students and the wider university community, please see this page.

International students

If you’re an international student in need of information about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted travel to Nova Scotia, please see this page on Dalhousie’s International Centre website. For questions about how COVID-19 has impacted Post-Graduation Work Permits, please see this page. If you have specific questions about study or work permits, please book an appointment with an International Centre advisor.

International postdoctoral fellows with questions should contact academic.staff.relations@dal.ca.

Office operations

Can I get assistance in person at the Faculty of Graduate Studies office?

The Faculty of Graduate Studies office is closed for in-person service until September 2021. If you require service, please email Graduate.Studies@dal.ca with your name, student ID number and the nature of your request. We will respond as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to serve you remotely. 

How do I request confirmation letters?

Please submit the request form via email to graduate.studies@dal.ca. A completed confirmation letter will be sent to you via email.


Applying to Dalhousie

How does the Faculty of Graduate Studies want to receive my final transcripts after I have been accepted?

The Faculty of Graduate Studies does not require paper transcripts for the Fall 2021 term. They can be received as:

  • Electronic file-transfers from the issuing institution and from services such as Parchment, National Student Clearinghouse, eScript-Safe, or TranscriptsNetwork. Electronic transcripts are to be sent to graduate.studies@dal.ca.  
  • PDFs sent by email directly from the issuing institution. These emailed transcripts are to be sent to graduate.studies@dal.ca

If you are unable to have your official transcripts sent from your home university, you may email an unofficial copy of your transcripts to graduate.studies@dal.ca. You may be required to provide proof of this inability. Transcripts must include your first and last name, degree and program type, and name of degree issuing university. 

As always, your final transcripts will be required within 90 days of the start of your program. 

*Please note the above information only refers to the final transcripts required by the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Your department may have different requirements for the transcripts that they request as part of your initial application. Please contact them for their specific requirements.

How does the Faculty of Graduate Studies want to receive my ESL test results?

  • Applicants must send verifiable ESL test results as PDF documents to graduate.studies@dal.ca.
  • The applicant must request their testing centre make their results available to Dalhousie University.
  • FGS will contact testing centres to verify the results provided.
  • You will not be able to register for classes until your ESL scores are verified.

I deferred my acceptance to a graduate program once and would like to request a second deferral because of issues associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Is this possible?

The Faculty of Graduate Studies will temporarily allow you to defer your acceptance a second time with the approval of your department. Please connect with your department to make the request.  

Research and supervisory relationships

What advice can the Faculty of Graduate Studies provide to faculty, students and postdocs for maintaining and strengthening remote supervisory relationships ?

The Canadian Association for Graduate Studies (CAGS) has held webinars on the topic of remote graduate student supervision. Recordings of the webinars are accessible here. 

As supervisors and trainees meet it’s important to do the following.

Set the tone 

  • Be clear about expectations and willing to adapt as the situation changes.  
  • Be cognizant of your emotions. Negativity can lead to increased anxiety and stress. Try to be positive in your interactions. Focus on opportunities.
  • Do not feel guilty if you need to occasionally prioritize yourself over other obligations but be sure to articulate your needs on an ongoing basis.
  • Take into consideration that remote communication is not a perfect substitute for in-person meetings. Feedback, enquiries and answers should be formulated clearly.   

Adjust expectations

  • Do not expect increased productivity from yourself or others. While the absence of regular university life may make it appear that we have more time, many are dealing with increasing home-life complications and heightened levels of stress.
  • Documenting decisions in writing can be helpful to provide ongoing agreement of a student’s research direction. 
  • Have an open discussion about how your student has progressed and what is possible based on their individual circumstances. 
  • Agree on smaller, manageable deliverables rather than focusing on big projects. 

Provide ongoing structure

  • If you have not done so already, establish regular meetings.
  • Schedule frequent individual check-ins.
  • Try to maintain regular business hours for deadlines and meetings. 
  • Preserve contact and interactions within the research team to help boost morale and social support. 
  • Discuss and evaluate the communications platform(s) that are being used and adjust accordingly.

Support each other

  • Remember to find moments to discuss the supports that are available through Dalhousie Health and Wellness, including same-day counselling appointments and online resources.
  • Discuss what additional resources may be needed to work from home that were not identified or needed initially. Consider ways to help fund such resources. Ensure IT supports are in place so that you can access data and online resources. 
  • Minimize the ongoing impact of social isolation. If you haven’t done so already consider instituting virtual social gatherings to foster group cohesion rather than productivity. 
  • Capitalize on the expertise of supervisory committee members to identify and expand support mechanisms. 
  • Continue to speak openly about constraints faced by those with care-giving responsibilities and agree on accommodations that might be needed. 

PhD thesis defence

Will my PhD defence be conducted online?

Yes, doctoral defences are currently entirely online and continue to follow FGS guidelines, including protocols for length of presentation, order of questions, role of the chair, “in camera” decision-making, etc.

The process for initiating a thesis defence remains the same. Please refer to our “Preparing for a Doctoral Defence” webpage for further information.

How does remote participation work?

We support theses defences via Microsoft Teams.

Are remote PhD theses defences open to the public?

Yes, remote theses defences are open to audiences by invitation. When your defence date is set, you are welcome to share the link to your Microsoft Teams meeting with those who may like to attend. To minimize distractions, observers are asked to have their microphones muted and their camera off during the defence process. 

What will happen if both the video and audio fail during my defence?

Your defence will be rescheduled.

Do I need to do anything differently to prepare for my defence?

Yes. You must submit your slide deck as a PDF to thesis@dal.ca at least one day ahead of your defence. Graduate Studies will ensure that the Examination Committee have a copy in case their videoconference link fails.

What equipment do I need to defend my thesis remotely?

You will require a computer with a webcam and a microphone. You will use a landline or cellphone in case of disconnection. If you need to use a cellphone, it should be plugged in to a power source during your defence to ensure it maintains power for up to 3 hours. 

Will the external examiner and my examining committee ask the same questions remotely as they would on-site?


Will thesis defences for master's students follow the same procedures as PhD theses defences?

At the master’s level, thesis defences are the responsibility of your academic unit. Please contact your department for information on how your defence will proceed.  


Thesis final submission

Are there any changes in how I submit my thesis submission forms?

No, all instructions for thesis submission are located here.  

Is there a thesis submission deadline extension?

No, the normal deadlines remain in effect and can be found on our website here

Scholarships, grants and fellowships

I will begin my program at Dalhousie through remote learning from outside of Canada. Will I be able to access my scholarship?

Yes, if you have determined that you will be able to take your courses online or have established how you will pursue your research with your supervisor, you will be able to access your scholarship. We are unable to direct deposit a payment to a bank account outside of Canada.  Payments to students who do not have a valid Canadian bank account will be made by cheque. Please contact gradfunding@dal.ca to discuss alternatives.  

Will I receive my monthly scholarship stipend despite working remotely?

Yes, payments will continue. Graduate Funding payments are being processed through the Graduate Funding Payment System by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, Student Accounts and Payroll. Please direct any inquiries or concerns regarding funding payments to gradfunding@dal.ca