The Graduate School leadership team has compiled a list of frequently asked questions on a few key topics, including thesis and dissertation defenses, graduation, admissions, tuition/stipend, etc.

Defense/Graduation questions

How should we address getting necessary signatures on the approval form - is there a digital signature option?

Programs have been notified that the Graduate School will accept email approval from committee members. This approval can be collected by a student’s committee mentor/chair and forwarded to the Graduate School.

Will submission deadlines be extended for students defending this semester?

In general, and whenever possible, defenses should continue as scheduled. Instead of scheduling them in a physical location on campus they can be conducted remotely.

How does Zoom work?

Zoom is a video conferencing software available to the UAB community that allows attendees to log in and participate remotely. Please visit for more information.



Tuition/Stipend questions

As a Graduate Research Assistant, I am completing my research hours from home. Will I still be paid my monthly stipend?

Yes; GRAs, GTAs, and Graduate Trainees will continue to be paid their monthly stipend while UAB is in limited operations.

If we are supported on a TA and no longer able to teach normally because of the switch to online, will our pay be affected?

Yes, during limited operations, GTAs will continue to be paid; you may still be asked to participate and assist in the online course format, so please reach out to your program for additional guidance.

Are there any refunds grad students will be receiving for services (not including tuition)?

To our knowledge, no refunds for services have been discussed.

In the most recent announcement, does the statement about student workers needing HR permission to be classified as Group A1 apply to graduate students?

These HR groups are only for employees and do not apply to graduate students. Students should discuss with their mentor if their work is essential. If not, students should work remotely.

Will those whose courses/research cannot be easily transferred online and are therefore forced to pay for additional courses be compensated or assisted by UAB?

Credit earned for courses in the Spring 2020 term will be applied whenever possible. No decisions have been made regarding tuition waivers or refunds; we will work with your programs to determine a solution if additional courses are required.


Research questions

While there is always some amount of planning, reading, and writing that can be done at home, we do also need to do some experiments physically in the lab, so how do we do them responsibly?

Guidelines for mentored research under the Limited Business Operations plan include the following best practices:

  • All trainees and laboratory personnel must keep their cell phone on them at all times.
  • Trainees and laboratory personnel should let faculty mentors know when they are in lab and when they leave.
  • When several trainees and laboratory personnel need to be present in the laboratory, best practices for social distancing must be used, including staggering work times, working 6’ apart, and limiting interactions. However, no one should work alone. If that is unavoidable, work when there is someone in an office on the same hall.

For grad students in a wetlab setting, should we still be going into lab?

This decision should be made following a conversation with your mentor. No new experiments should be started. Experiments that already under way can be completed if student and mentor decide that they are essential.

How could we maintain experiments and animal models?

All graduate students should directly discuss with their mentor how experiments and animal models will be maintained, and whether previously planned experiments are essential. If they are not essential, the experiments should be delayed to a future time.