COVID-19 Temporary Policy and Procedure

Petition to Request a COVID Modified Academic Plan (MAP)

NOTE: For Fall 2021 all requests for a COVID MAP must initiate through the Remote Learner (REML) Request Form.  Once the REML is complete PhD students will be directed to complete the MAP.

As Northeastern prepares for a fully in-person fall 2021 academic term with a return to on-ground and in-person instruction and normal campus activities, we also recognize the unique needs of some students who may be unable to return to in-person learning because of travel restrictions, Experiential PhD, or other individual circumstances. The current COVID-19 pandemic has posed many challenges and we are currently facing unprecedented circumstances. As some challenges resolve over time, others may arise as the university continues as an open campus with research and education alive on campus.  Through hard work and everyone doing their part following testing requirements and safety protocols, we have been able to create a new normal on campus with extraordinarily low positivity rates.  For those who have been to campus you have seen a revitalized Northeastern with students back on campus and enjoying the fall weather.  We are finding success in navigating the pandemic’s challenges and will continue to do so this summer when we expect to have students, faculty and staff again back on campus.

To accommodate those needs, Northeastern will continue to offer a limited number of remote courses for students who are unable to be in the classroom. Because courses are limited, students will need to apply to become remote students and take all of their classes remotely or online for the full academic term.  PhD students who are in the research stages of their education must have approval to continue remotely from their colleges.

Important to Know Before Requesting Remote Learner Status

Requesting remote learner status may impact PhD students’ eligibility for funding and their progress toward a degree. We urge students to consult with their colleges and PhD advisors before requesting remote learner status. International students who are present in the United States on an F-1 or J-1 visa should not request remote learner status or plan to attend Hybrid NUflex classes remotely.

Please see our Hybrid NUflex FAQs for more detailed information or talk with your academic advisor about your options.

The university welcomes questions and requests from those who may have specific challenges related to returning to campus in the summer. Please feel free to discuss with your department chair, associate dean for graduate education or the vice provost for the PhD Network prior to making a request. Please note that any information shared related to a request will be treated confidentially.

Requests to pursue PhD education activities remotely will be addressed on a case-by-case basis as follows. PhD students who are granted approval will receive a Modified Academic Plan (MAP), which specifies requirements in course registration and any relevant funding responsibilities. Please use this form to initiate your request.

  1. If you have a medical or mental health-related concern, diagnosis, or illness, or if you are in a high-risk category per the CDC guidelines, and wish to request to pursue your PhD education remotely, please choose Option 1 when you complete the form to send your request to Mary A. Barrows, Senior Director of Learning Strategies and Student Success at the Disability Resource Center.
  2. If you are requesting to pursue your PhD education remotely for any other COVID-19-related reason, please choose Option 2 when you complete the form.  When you submit the form your request will be sent to the Graduate Associate Dean associated with your PhD program and to the PhD Network.
  3. Should you prefer to address your request directly with the PhD Network please choose Option 3.  When you submit the form your request will be sent to Vice Provost Sara Wadia-Fascetti at the PhD Network.

There may be any number of other reasons why PhD students might request to not return to campus. All requests must contain a supporting rationale and you are encouraged to discuss options with your department prior to requesting a MAP.  All requests will be reviewed on a case by case basis.  PhD students who receive a COVID-MAP for the fall 2021 term must complete all activities research and teaching away from campus.  With our fully in-person fall 2021 academic term requests MAP requests will be approved only if fully justified.

Requests to engage remotely will be accepted from today until August 31, 2021.  Given the fluid nature of the pandemic, we recognize that PhD students may face an unexpected hardship in the future.  In these cases, PhD students may request a MAP later if this hardship interferes with on-campus activities. If during the fall term you do find that circumstances change after you have been approved for a MAP and you instead wish to return to campus during the fall term, please complete this link at the PhD Network website to coordinate arrangements and access. If you wish to return to campus, we fully encourage you to do so with coordination, but remind you that there may not be a classroom, a research lab, graduate student space, or other areas available for you given density restrictions put in place for the fall term. Finally, the spirit of this policy is that if you request to pursue your PhD education remotely, the expectation is that you will conduct all of your PhD education activities (coursework, informal out of class activities, research and assistantship responsibilities) remotely.

These guidelines apply to the fall 2021 term, and are subject to change, given the evolving nature of the current coronavirus crisis.