Pandemic Procedures

Graduate Studies Temporary Pandemic Procedures

In response to the novel Coronavirus pandemic, the following procedures are currently being followed by Graduate Studies: 

Original signatures on milestone paperwork:

GSO will accept emails as signatures from faculty on certain documents (e.g., paper POS amendments, Inquiry core exception forms, transfer requests) while most of our office is working remotely. We ask that you follow the procedure outlined below:

  • Students should send the completed paper document in an email as a .pdf to the departmental student services staff member and all applicable committee members. Official IU email addresses must be used.
  • If the committee member(s) approve the document, they should respond to the email indicating their acceptance, making sure that the staff member is included in the response. Official IU email addresses must be used.
  • Staff will collect the emails, obtain approval from the departmental chair if applicable, and then send the emails and the form to for submission. GSO staff will upload the form to GEMS and add the document to be processed to the queue. Documents will still be processed in the order they are received.

Procedures for Defenses and Dissertations

With the limited return to campus this fall, we encourage all thesis and dissertation defenses be held remotely through Spring 2021. Statements of approval from committee members via email will continue to be accepted as outlined below.

  • After revisions are complete and the thesis or dissertation has been accepted, each committee member should email their approval to the applicable recorder in lieu of signed acceptance pages. Official IU email addresses must be used.
    • Master’s Thesis students: GSO Recorders -
    • EdD students: GSO Recorders -
    • PhD students: UGS Recorder -
  • The remaining submission methods and deadlines remain the same.

Best Practices for Conducting Defenses Online (partially adapted from the University Graduate School website)

  • Defense Format: Defenses conducted online should follow the same format and include the same components normally required by the department for in-person defenses as closely as possible.  Any portions of the defense in which the candidate is not normally present may require the candidate to temporarily leave the conference and any recording to be paused.
  • Public Components. Departments should continue to follow their normal practices for public access to defenses.  For online defenses, this could be facilitated through public distribution of the conference link after the defense has been formally scheduled.  Following the public session, the conference should be restricted to the candidate and research committee only.  See the resources below for participant management instructions for Zoom.

Logistical Guidelines for Online Defenses

Defenses conducted online during this period should follow these logistical guidelines:

  • The candidate and all members of the committee must agree in advance to remote participation and to all video communication arrangements.  Video conferences must be hosted by a member of the research committee or a department staff member and not by the candidate.
  • If, at the onset of the defense, the communication arrangements are not found to be adequate for the defense, the candidate or the committee may elect to postpone the defense until a later date without penalty.
  • In the event of a technical failure, the defense proceedings must be stopped and may not resume until any technical issues are resolved.
  • Defenses conducted through remote technology may only be audio or video recorded with advance permission from the research committee chair and candidate.

Resources for Conducting Defenses Online

For additional help with Zoom, contact UITS Learning Spaces Support at or 812-856-2020

We understand that travel restrictions and other difficulties may have resulted in a delay of the defense so that it impinges on academic benchmarks, such as candidacy limits.  Please know that we will continue to entertain requests for exceptions to any deadline that might be missed because of the epidemic.

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