Outlook for Fall & Winter 2020

Our approach to courses and instruction

We recognize that students and their supporters are navigating uncertain times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dalhousie remains committed to supporting you.

As we look ahead to the fall semester, our top priorities are your safety and the high quality of your academic experience. It is vital that you are able to pursue your studies and progress toward your goals while ensuring your continued health and well-being. At Dal we’re going to make sure you can do that this fall.

The fall 2020 term will be predominantly online, with limited exceptions based on those programs where extensive experiential learning defines the curriculum (i.e. lab-based graduate students, medicine, dentistry, select health professions, agriculture) and these can be provided safely in adherence to health protocols. Full in-person, on-campus courses will not resume before January 2021.

Campus Your safety is our guiding principle for everything we do. While we're looking forward to welcoming students back to campus, adherence to the guidance from Public Health officials drives our decision-making, especially concerning physical distancing practices and protocols as it relates to our fall term.
Computer Access and equity are at the heart of our decisions and we’re investing in your experience. Dalhousie is spending more than $1 million in technology development, additional online instruction training and increased online supports for students. Our student experience team is working to ensure our fall student experience is robust and comprehensive. Additional bursaries and financial aid support will be available, recognizing the unique financial challenges many are facing.
Graduation camp Promoting academic excellence for over 200 years. Dalhousie is focused on academic excellence and we're committed to the continuous development of all 200+ of our programs. Online or in person, you’ll engage with award winning professors who take pride in sharing knowledge, research opportunities and the support you need to see where your ideas can take you. 

We've compiled a number of frequently asked questions from prospective students and answered them below. Should you have additional questions, please reach out to graduate.studies@dal.ca.

FAQ: Applying to Dal during COVID-19

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

In order to align with social distancing best practices, the Faculty of Graduate Studies has moved all in-person services to an online format. 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 through this unique situation.

Is Dalhousie considering applications to graduate studies for September 2020 from applicants living outside of Canada?

Yes, Dalhousie is still accepting applications and expects to accept new graduate students from outside of Canada for the September semester. The university is adapting the delivery of its programs to meet the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. If you find you are unable to travel to Dalhousie in September, there may be options to study online until you are able to travel to the university to study in person. Please contact your prospective department for more information.  

When applying, please note that we are making accommodations for the official documents required, which may help you. See the questions that follow for more information. 

Please note we are not able to receive documents by mail or courier until further notice.

I live in a region impacted by COVID-19 and am having difficulty obtaining the official documents required to apply to graduate studies. What should I do?

The Faculty of Graduate Studies is making temporary allowances for applicants living in regions experiencing school, test centre and/or postal service closures. If this affects you, Dalhousie will accept:

·         Unofficial transcripts to evaluate your application for a conditional admission. Please note that a conditional admission decision is not final. 

·         Unofficial copies of current English language test score reports (e.g., IELTS, TOEFL) or applications with no test scores for conditional admission.

I received conditional acceptance to begin studying at Dalhousie in May or September based on unofficial documents. I won’t be able to obtain official documents before I start my program. What can I do?

Incoming students continue to face issues obtaining official documents to support their applications. Consequently, the Faculty of Graduate Studies is now allowing students beginning programs in May or September to register with unofficial documents. You will be required to submit official documents at your earliest convenience with a deadline of December 1, 2020. If you are unable to provide official documents after the deadline, you will be required to provide proof of this inability.  

Please note that if there are any meaningful differences between your unofficial and official documents your admission to your program will be rescinded.  

My referee has been unable to send their reference letter. What should I do?

Please send to your department your referee’s email address, their full name, professional designation and their relationship to you. Inform the department that you were unable to obtain a reference from this referee through Dalhousie’s electronic reference system or as a paper-based reference to be delivered via the post. Your department will follow up with your referee to request the reference directly.

I received conditional acceptance without providing an official or unofficial English language test score. What’s my next step?

Your acceptance is conditional upon submission of your successful graduate level English language test score. Before you can begin your graduate program, you are required to provide unofficial documentation of your test score which meets the standards set by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and the requirements of the program you applied to. You will be required to provide official documents proving your test score to the Faculty of Graduate Studies by December 1, 2020.

Is the Faculty of Graduate Studies accepting the results of at home TOEFL tests as official?

Yes, results from the at home test are being considered official for those applying during the COVID-19 pandemic. The TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition test can be found here and is currently open to students around the world except for those who reside in China and Iran. The use of this test for admission to graduate studies at Dalhousie may be reassessed in the future.

Will the Faculty of Graduate Studies be extending the deadline for applications for the September semester to all applicants impacted by COVID-19?

FGS will accommodate late applications from individuals who are impacted by COVID-19. However, you are encouraged to first contact your prospective department to confirm if they are accepting late applications for admission.

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 is temporarily allowing students to defer their acceptance a second time with the approval of their prospective department. Please connect with your supervisor or advisor to make the request.

Where do I send the supporting documents for my graduate application?

Please contact the department that you are applying to for information on how they would prefer to receive your documents. The process may differ depending on the program you are applying to. 

What are my options if I am not able to start at Dalhousie in the Fall due to visa and study permit delays?

Dalhousie recognizes that there are delays with processing some student visa and study permit applications. As the Fall 2020 term will be predominantly online, we encourage you to connect with an immigration consultant at the International Centre to discuss what options may be available for you.

You can book an appointment directly using their online appointment booking system. You will need your Dalhousie Net ID to book an appointment, which you can set up once you’ve accepted your offer of admission. If you do not have a Net ID, please email international.centre@dal.ca.

For the most up to date information on travelling to Canada as an international student, please visit Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)'s website.

When should I apply for my study permit and/or visa to study in Canada?

Dalhousie recognizes that there are delays with processing some student visa and study permit applications. As the Fall 2020 term will be predominantly online, we encourage you to connect with an immigration consultant at Dalhousie's International Centre to discuss what options may be available for you.


Program delivery

How will courses be delivered for the fall 2020 semester?

The majority of Dalhousie courses this fall will be delivered online, with only select exceptions, to ensure your health and well-being.

In-person, on-campus instruction this fall will only be offered in programs where it is required to fulfill industry or field-specific accreditation requirements: Medicine, Dentistry, select Health professions, and the Veterinary Technology program in the Faculty of Agriculture. Students in these programs should contact their Faculty's Associate Dean Academic for clarification on specific courses and can expect to receive more details directly from your Faculty.

In all other cases, courses will be delivered online. This includes other accredited programs in Engineering, Architecture, Planning, and Management that are moving forward with online delivery formats and developing innovative ways to meet their respective learning experiences, designed activities and group interactions.

See what Dalhousie is doing to ensure the successful delivery of online courses and the safe delivery of in-person courses during the fall semester.

How will online courses work?

As with in-person learning, every online class will be different, based on the subject matter and individual teaching style of the instructor. Students can expect most courses to be “asynchronous” (pre-recorded content), allowing students to learn at their own pace. “Synchronous” (live) course components may be included as well, ensuring students in different time zones are not disadvantaged.

We will provide information on how your individual courses will be conducted in the coming weeks through our Academic Timetable. You can also expect to hear more details about your courses from your Faculty or your department/instructors/supervisors in the near future.

For more information on online delivery, please read the most recent memo from Dr. Frank Harvey, Provost and Vice-President Academic.