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Graduate School
The University of Mississippi

Excelling in Academics and Research

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The University of Mississippi is working to promote the health and safety of the campus community while we support students in their academic pursuits. We know that excelling in your academics is important and we are here to help you navigate challenges this fall. We want to support your academic success in your courses, research, creative works, and professional skill development.


Where Do I Find Support for Remote Learning?

The University of Mississippi has important websites to support teaching and learning during this crisis. Please see the Keep Teaching and Keep Learning websites for additional information and support as you continue your graduate studies this semester. For example, these websites have guidance on using Zoom and Google Meet (attached to your GO account).

On the Keep Learning website, you will find tips for working/learning remotely that can help you if this is the first time you are completing courses online or through other remote instruction. Please also see our page on well-being.


Attendance/Courses for Graduate Students

Courses will be taught in a variety of formats this fall as the University of Mississippi works to teach in ways that are safe to do so and to support continued progress of all students.

The Graduate School can assist faculty and graduate students as they continue to rely upon technology for many courses, advising interactions, and other evaluative processes (e.g., dissertation defenses). Please contact the Graduate School at for assistance.


What Does COVID-19 Mean for My Research, Scholarship, or Creative Work?

The University of Mississippi is doing all that we can to support students as they continue their studies during the fall semester. This includes graduate student research! Courses are being designed with resilient pedagogy in mind and academic progression activities (to include things like presentations, proposals, and defenses) should continue to occur using remote instruction.


How Does Data Collection Work During this Emergency?

There may be some research, scholarship, or creative work that cannot be reasonably completed off campus due to equipment needs (note, this does not in any way allow for on-campus instruction). Graduate students and their advisors should follow guidance provided by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs found at

Graduate students and their advisors are encouraged to discuss options available to graduate students such as delaying work on projects, access to equipment that allows for appropriate social distancing, and alternative approaches to projects. For questions related to research activity that cannot occur remotely (such as data collection), please consult the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs for additional information.

Individuals who need to change their research protocol to continue data collection (e.g., switching from in-person to remote data collection with human participants), should review the guidance at related to the IRB. There are a number of tools including Qualtrics and Zoom that can make it possible to engage in remote data collection in certain cases.

For remote access to software that supports your research, please speak with your advisor. You and your advisor can contact the Graduate School at so that we can explore whether remote access exists for the software you require. Although we may not be able to provide remote access to all software, the University of Mississippi is working hard to identify and provide access to the technology needed to continue students’ research and studies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who need access to the VPN for their research should contact the Graduate School at

Please contact the Graduate School at 662-915-7474 or if you have other questions related to your research, thesis, dissertation, or culminating projects. We want to support you in completing your degree during the COVID-19 crisis.


Any Tips to Continue Making Progress on My Thesis/Dissertation?

There several strategies that can be particularly helpful when working with unstructured time.


Set Goals and Deadlines. First, students who set deadlines and goals for themselves are more likely to finish large projects like a thesis/dissertation. How you set goals should reflect your style. Are you someone who is energized by meeting daily goals? If so, use small goals appropriate for the day so that you know where to focus your energy each day. Are you someone who needs a deadline for submitting drafts? Then, set deadlines on drafts. Using short-term/daily goals and long-term deadlines can be particularly helpful when used in combination.

Second, setting goals is particularly helpful when you share your goals with someone else. Share your goals with a fellow graduate student or your advisor or someone else who supports your educational pursuits.


Establish a Daily Writing Routine. Research shows that those who write for small periods of time each day are the most productive. Even 30 minutes a day works for this. The National Center for Faculty Diversity and Development (NCFDD) offers a number of resources and has 14-day writing challenges (a great way to track your efforts in establishing a daily writing habit). The NCFDD also offers a series of videos on completing a dissertation. Use your UM email to set up an account (the University has a membership for our campus).


Write With a Peer, Remotely. For many, having a commitment to write with another person is an excellent accountability tool. Establish a time where you will both work on your thesis/dissertation (you can think about writing very broadly; anything that supports progress on your project). Just be sure you use the time to work and schedule a separate time (or extra time) so that you can connect socially.


Create a Peer Writing Group. Writing groups vary in their structure. Some writing groups are groups where people spend the time writing as a group. Others have models that include reviewing one another’s work and providing feedback. The latter approach adds a new layer of accountability (you are accountable to bring something to the group for others to review) and offers you the opportunity to hone your own skills as you provide feedback to others. Whatever your approach, you can meet remotely through tools like Zoom and Google Meet (attached to your go account).

You might also set a goal of collectively writing a certain number of words or pages. Start by estimating where you are currently at and then set the goal to be proportional to the productivity you need to reach your individual writing goals.

The Graduate Writing Center is also an excellent resource for one-on-one support. In addition, you may find this Writing Group Toolkit from UNC helpful.


What About My Thesis/Dissertation Meetings or Oral Exam?

Graduate students and faculty are encouraged to use tools like zoom to continue meetings such as an oral exam, literature presentations, thesis/dissertation proposals, prospectus, and dissertation defenses. This helps graduate students to continue progressing and promotes health and well-being for the campus community.

The Graduate School is expecting that all thesis/dissertation and similar meetings will occur remotely while the University works to promote safety and health during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no need to notify the Graduate School that you are having an oral exam, prospectus, proposal, or defense meeting remotely.


How Do I Submit Forms to the Graduate School?

All forms for the Graduate School (including those related to thesis/dissertation) can be submitted electronically to  The Graduate School will accept approvals via email with digital signatures. Faculty who cannot provide a digital signature can email the Graduate School from their University account to document their approvals for all forms during the COVID-19 pandemic. Forms can be found on our website under the Resources tab in the Forms and Manuals Library.


What If I Planned to Graduate This Semester But Do Not Finish Everything?

We recognize that the uncertainty and disruption caused by the racism and COVID-19 pandemics may be sufficiently challenging that you cannot finish all degree requirements as planned. Please notify the Graduate School at if you filed a Form 8 to graduate this semester but need to extend into the next term. We can let you know what forms will need to be completed to be sure you are included on the list for summer graduates.


What if I cannot complete my thesis, dissertation, clinicals, or other requirements this semester?

We are working to find ways to support students. To the extent that we can, we will try to support your completion of degree requirements. Please speak with your advisor or instructor first to determine if they are aware of your challenges. Many faculty are working to develop plans to help students who find themselves in a position where they cannot complete something due to this emergency. Email the Graduate School at means we can also begin working with your faculty to identify options.



The University has announced plans for commencement (including the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony). Please check out for the latest details for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 ceremonies.


The Future

Please continue to monitor your University email and the Office of the Provost COVID-19 website as we continue to respond to this evolving emergency.


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