Ph.D. Students – We are here for you

Dear Doctoral Students,

Things are challenging right now, but we are here for you. Please know that the College is committed to your safety, well-being, and success.

We have heard from many of you about the effects of COVID-19 on your security, education, research and progress towards your degree completion. We feel intensely the need to balance the safety and well-being of our community with the ability to accomplish our academic goals and research passions. And, we have every belief that we will get through this together – the adaptability and resilience of our University and College community has been astounding.

You have probably heard about the recently announced ramp down of laboratory research activities, requiring moving to remote operations for both academic instruction and noncritical research activities. This has likely raised questions about your ability to conduct academic and research activities for your doctoral dissertation. We are providing here some guidance and updates.

Coursework: Adhering to University guidance, all coursework must be conducted remotely in an accessible and inclusive manner. Please let your instructors and graduate program know if you are having any difficulty accessing the resources you require for remote learning.

Dissertation Research:

  • We encourage doctoral students and faculty advisors to communicate openly about their expectations and to come to mutual agreement about how research projects will be conducted moving forward. It is expected that faculty will work with their students to accommodate their individual situations.
  • Remember that research and scholarship involves many activities that can be done remotely, including literature reviews, experimental designs, computational simulations, data analysis, etc. In consultation with your advisor, we encourage you to switch your focus to these activities.
  • In addition, the Rackham Graduate School has information on completing doctoral degree requirements with COVID-19 accommodations for dissertation oral defense procedures.

Doctoral Student Funding:

  • As a College of Engineering doctoral student, your Ph.D. is fully funded. Please reach out to us if you have any concerns regarding continuity of funding. From time-to-time challenging circumstances may arise. The College of Engineering and the Rackham Graduate School have special funds to help in such cases. Learn more about emergency funding for doctoral students here.
  • As many of our research activities are slowing down and moving off campus, you may be worried about the source of funds for your project and GSRA. UM is working with our sponsors to plan for continuity of research operations, and the support of our students is the highest priority.

Utilize the College’s COVID-19 website to find resources for support with finances, well-being and advocacy. The Office of Student Affairs and the International Center are providing updates and resources. Michigan Engineering’s C.A.R.E Center staff are available to discuss and help develop pathways for your concerns (academic or otherwise). You may reach C.A.R.E. Center staff by emailing or submitting a request online for a virtual or phone meeting.

We encourage you to communicate with your faculty advisor, as well as your graduate program chairs and coordinators, if you have any concerns about how this situation could impact your work at this time.

Rest assured the College is committed to the continuity of graduate education and graduate student research. As leaders and best, we have no doubt our community will rise to this challenge.

Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or concerns – we’re here to help.

Stay well,

Mary-Ann Mycek, Associate Dean for Graduate & Professional Education
Steven Ceccio, Associate Dean for Research
Jeanne Murabito, Executive Director for Student Affairs