2020-21 Graduate Student Information
The Annenberg School is aware of the profound disruption that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused, and the impact it’s having on the research and scholarship of doctoral students. We are making every effort to support our Ph.D. students during this time.
Vaccine & Testing Requirements
As announced by the University on August 25, all current students. faculty, staff, and postdocs are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no later than October 15, 2021 unless you have a religious or medical exemption. You can record your COVID-19 vaccination status securely and confidentially in Workday. Those who do not record a vaccination will face disciplinary action up to and including termination. Visit the University's vaccination page for more details.
All students are required to participate in an initial gateway test upon arrival to campus. More information on how to schedule a test can be found in this scheduling tip sheet.
All students enrolled in an on-campus program will be required to take COVID screening tests twice a month. These are saliva-based tests.
Students who have not yet reported being fully vaccinated must continue to test twice a week unless they submit vaccine documentation. After October 15, those who have been granted a medical or religious exemption from vaccination will be required to continue to test twice a week.
In addition, any member of the Penn community who wants to access a COVID screening test for any reason may participate in volunteer testing by scheduling a screening test.
For symptom tracking and contact tracing purposes, everyone on campus is now required to complete PennOpen Pass every day.
Penn’s and Annenberg’s normal grading and course registration (add, drop, withdrawal, and pass/fail) policies will resume.
The Annenberg School building is fully open to the Annenberg community, with access by PennCard from the Walnut Street entrance, and requests for access will no longer be required. Use of PennOpen Pass is required for entering the building. To enter the building, you must show a green pass, obtained each day.
Annenberg students (and others in shared spaces) are asked to be sensitive to other returning officemates and communicate their individual comfort level about shared space. Graduate students may request alternate short-term workspace if needed by emailing Joanne Murray.
Please consult the building procedures for information on masks and other safety requirements.
Unfortunately, this is an issue affecting not only graduate students, but many across Penn’s community, including healthcare workers, university staff, and faculty. The Penn Family Center offers a full page of Childcare Resources. However, as long as the stay-at-home and social distancing orders are in place, childcare facilities will not reopen.
In addition, the university has strict policies on reimbursement for childcare and will not reimburse faculty, students, or staff for childcare services. However, be aware later this summer Penn’s Graduate Student Family Grant will open for Fall 2021. The Family Grant helps to offset the cost of childcare and other expenses for Ph.D. students with children. During the Fall Grant application period eligible Ph.D. students may receive up to $2,500 for one child, $1,250 for each additional child with a $5,000 maximum per family.
The University is planning for a repopulated campus in the Fall 2021 semester.
Many of the forms for the graduate program have been reformatted into DocuSign templates, which can be signed electronically. Please find them on the academic forms page here.
- Please remember that Telehealth services are available to all PSIP enrollees, which provides assistance in navigating your healthcare.
- Aetna will waive copays for all diagnostic testing related to COVID-19.
- The Student Health Service Referral requirement is lifted for the remainder of the plan year.
- Please contact the Insurance Office at (215) 746-3535 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
If You Are Sick
Any student who is showing COVID-19 symptoms, has tested positive, or has health-related questions can call Penn’s Student Health Service at (215) 746-3535 for guidance. Students outside of the Philadelphia region can still contact Student Health, or you can contact another provider. Penn Student Health Insurance covers students anywhere they go.
If you are unable to teach or work remotely due to illness, you should email your instructors as well as ASCGradCourses@asc.upenn.edu. If you are a TF this semester, you should also contact the faculty member teaching the course.
Leaves of Absence
Penn's leave of absence policies were recently updated. The new policies can be found here.
Beginning Monday, August 30, the Annenberg Library will be open from 9am to 5pm on weekdays. It will be closed on weekends.
Milestones & Deadlines
Qualification Evaluation (QE) and Comprehensive Exams will take place under normal procedures. Proposal and dissertation defense meetings will continue to take place online. Please see the Graduate Student Handbook for detailed information about program milestones and other degree requirements.
Dissertation research sometimes requires travel for field work or archival research — trips that may not be currently possible. Advisors and advisees should communicate closely to discuss research strategies and adapt research projects as needed.
If you have concerns about the timeline of your progression through the program — related to Comps, the QE exam, dissertation proposals and defenses, or something else — please contact your advisor, Joanne Murray, or John Jemmott.
Mutual Commitment to Academic Integrity, Equitable Instruction, Trust, and Respect
The switch to remote instruction in the context of the pandemic creates vulnerabilities and opportunities associated with teaching and learning. A group at the University of Pennsylvania has drafted and endorsed this set of principles for students and faculty.
The disbursement schedule of the academic year 2020-21 stipend has changed from 9 months to 10 months and will be dispersed from August 2020 through May 2021 unless other arrangements have been made with the ASC Business Office.
Please continue to contact ASCBusinessOffice@asc.upenn.edu with any financial questions.
If you have any other concerns not addressed by this page, please contact your advisor, Joanne Murray, or John Jemmott. In addition, you may find helpful the Graduate Center at Penn’s extensive library of resources.