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Support for Master's Students During COVID-19

April 7, 2020

Communication to Master's Students from Provost & Dean of the Graduate School

Dear Master’s Students,

Our community is facing challenges unlike any we have seen before as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the last few weeks, graduate students, faculty and staff have shown incredible resilience as research labs have had to ramp down, instruction has moved online, and scholarship has been forced to find new ways to continue under substantial constraints.

Every day, we are hearing from graduate students about the distinct issues affecting them amid this period of disruption and change, and we have also met with the Graduate Student Council and surveyed all graduate programs to assess the needs of students across campus. While we know our community will rise to the evolving challenges we all are facing, it’s clear that this health crisis will continue to have significant impacts on graduate education for many semesters. We feel it’s important to outline the actions Brown is taking to support graduate students.

As President Paxson’s April 6 message underscored, we are guided by core principles during this highly fluid period, including supporting students with the greatest financial need and taking steps to ensure that all students are able to continue with their educational programs. Graduate students are central to Brown’s mission, and in addition to putting plans in place to support graduate students as they complete their degrees, the University is implementing the following initiatives to address immediate needs and hardships:

  1. COVID-19 Emergency Funding: The University has established a new Graduate School COVID-19 Emergency Fund to support students facing immediate hardships. The application for these funds has been available in UFunds since March 30.
  2. Extended Health Insurance Coverage: MFA students who are graduating this May will be able to apply for University support for an extension of their student health insurance coverage. The coverage would extend for up to three months beyond August 15.

In addition to these initiatives, we are aware that there are added concerns — related to visa and compliance, tax support, and travel restrictions, among others — facing our international graduate students. The Graduate School and Global Brown teams are working directly with this community to address these issues.

We know that in addition to the academic and daily disruptions of our lives, many in our community are being impacted personally by the global pandemic. We are inspired by seeing daily examples of the empathy and generosity of spirit that distinguishes our community, given substantial pressures that so many are confronting right now. Kindness, patience, and empathy are so important for our community. Below is a listing of resources that may be helpful as you continue to navigate these challenging times.

We are committed to the health and well-being of our graduate students, and to working collaboratively to support you in your educational and research endeavors.


Richard M. Locke, 

Andrew G. Campbell, 
Dean of the Graduate School

Please review the COVID-19 FAQs for Graduate Students, which are being continually updated. We also refer you to review the communication regarding Guidance for Master’s Students that was shared on March 24. If your question is not answered there, please email [email protected].

  • For questions related to Master’s education or international student concerns, contact Dean Shayna Kessel;
  • For questions about teaching and appointments, contact your faculty mentor, DGS, or Dean Vanessa Ryan;
  • For financial, technology, or food needs, please submit a Graduate School COVID-19 Emergency Fund application in UFunds or contact Dean Maria Suarez;
  • For questions about equity and inclusion during COVID-19, contact Dean Marlina Duncan.