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Appointment Extensions for PhD Students

In recognition of the disruption that COVID-19 has caused to many doctoral students’ research, Brown University announced on April 7, 2020 that PhD students would be eligible to apply for extended stipend support to compensate for time lost due to COVID-19. Given the length and continuing disruption of the pandemic, the University, in conversation with SUGSE (now GLO), decided to extend this support to two semesters. The outlines of this agreement can be found in the Side Letter of Agreement to the Graduate Student Union Contract  (pp. 47-49).

As indicated in that letter, students who were in their third, fourth or fifth year of study in spring semester 2020 are eligible to apply for a two semester extension. Each semester (up to two) of a COVID-19 Appointment Extension will include an appointment as a Teaching Assistant (I or II), Teaching Fellow, Proctor or Research Assistant. Sixth-year students who received extended funding over the summer were also eligible to apply for Appointment Extensions for this fall; those who applied have already been funded.

In order to establish the criteria for the awarding of a COVID-19 Appointment Extension and details of implementation, the side letter called for the establishment of a COVID-19 Appointment Extension Committee. This committee includes graduate students selected by the Graduate Student Council and SUGSE/GLO, faculty from multiple disciplines, and administrators. This committee met actively over the summer and early fall to develop the criteria for extensions, application and review processes, and an appeal process. The following policies were developed through an iterative process of consensus building: 

  • Application Review Process
    Eligible students will apply for COVID-19 Appointment Extensions through ufunds.brown.edu. Applications will be reviewed by the Graduate School and, in cases that are not already approved by the Graduate School, by the COVID-19 Appointment Extension Committee. 
  • Timing of Appointment Extensions
    Students requesting Appointment Extensions will apply during the final year of their standard funding: Students in the humanities and social sciences should continue to apply for DCP funding for year 6, then (if needed) apply for the COVID-19 Appointment Extension to support year 7. Students in the life sciences and physical sciences who need Appointment Extensions should apply during the year in which they would normally have finished (in the absence of COVID-19).
  • Students needing COVID-19 Appointment Extensions for 2021-22
    Students whose funding would otherwise conclude at the end of the spring 2021 semester and need COVID-19 Appointment Extensions for fall 2021 and spring 2022 will apply in January or early February 2021. The application will be available in UFunds under “COVID-19 Appointment Extensions” by January 15 and is due February 15 at 5:00 pm.. Eligible students will be contacted when the application is live. If you are in your last funded semester of doctoral study in Spring 2021 and believe that you are eligible but have not been contacted by January 28, please contact [email protected].
  • Appeal Process
    If an applicant is deemed ineligible or an application is not approved by the COVID-19 Appointment Extension Committee, students may appeal the decision by submitting a written justification (typically no more than 300 words) to [email protected]. This written appeal must be received within 10 working days of the student’s notification of ineligibility or denial. The Committee will review all appeals and make a final decision as soon as possible, normally within three weeks of receipt.

Brown University is committed to supporting our students through a challenging period. These opportunities for extended funding are intended to enable students to successfully complete their degree despite these challenges. If you have questions, please email [email protected].