University of Miami
Office of the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost logo
March 31, 2020
Dear Graduate Students,

For many of you, this is your second week of online courses at the University of Miami. Similarly, it is the first time that many of your professors have taught in this virtual environment. We hope that everyone has been able to settle in to their new routines and support each other during this time.

Life is anything but normal right now, and it is too soon to know how the next few months will unfold. Our recent decisions to cancel ongoing study abroad programs, move classes online, and partially close campus housing and facilities are all necessary for the health and safety of the University community. By limiting social interaction, we will help to slow the spread of COVID-19 and support our health systems nationwide. Particularly at this time, we want to stress the continued importance of preventative measures including physical distancing and proper handwashing.

Support Services
In addition to moving courses online, our support services, including the Counseling Center, still have resources available to our students. Please visit their website to learn about their current offerings available to you. Additionally, Student Health Service remains open to serve students in the area.

The deans, graduate associate deans, and Faculty Senate leadership have been discussing the issue of grades, both within UM and among our national colleagues. There are many students, both undergraduate and graduate, law and medicine, some with financial aid that may be dependent on progression, or others who must maintain a specific GPA to continue enrollment in special programs. These factors, and others, were considered carefully in formulating a decision that required a great deal of thought and planning.

For the Spring 2020 semester only, schools and colleges will allow graduate students to opt-in to taking some or all of their courses for Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) or to continue with letter grades. For any course in which a student wants to retain their letter grades, no action is necessary.
  • This will allow graduate students to take any or all courses under this grading basis. Courses taken for (S/U) grades during Spring 2020 will count towards their degree requirements (subject to final Faculty Senate approval).
  • (S/U) grades are not calculated into a student's GPA, so some students may not have a semester GPA for Spring 2020.
  • If a student elects to take a course for S/U, they will receive a “S” if they earn a B or higher. If they earn a letter grade of B- or lower, they will receive a “U.”
  • The University of Miami will add a notation to the transcript key indicating the reason for the grade options for Spring 2020.
  • Students must submit an online request to receive (S/U) instead of a letter grade for each course they choose; the online form will be available shortly on the Registrar’s website. Students will have until 11:59 p.m. EST on May 8, to make this selection for each course they choose to take S/U. Grades, transcripts, and other semester academic records will be posted by May 21, as opposed to the originally planned date of May 13.

We share in your disappointment at the way that your time on campus this semester was cut short. For those graduating, we intentionally rescheduled our May ceremonies to December to allow you and your families the opportunity to participate in this important recognition of your academic achievements. We hope that you can join us, and we look forward to welcoming you and your loved ones back to campus once it is safe to do so.

Caring for Yourself and One Another
It is especially important to remember that ’Canes Care for ’Canes. By supporting one another during this unprecedented time, we will persevere and emerge as a stronger community, equipped with new skills and approaches to collaborating, meeting, and learning.

And caring for your fellow ’Canes also means caring for yourself. Many of you are back at home working through new dynamics and changes, in addition to shifting to online learning and continuing to be active in your co-curricular activities.

We want to thank all of you for your resiliency, patience, and flexibility. We are in uncharted waters, and there will still be challenges ahead. Your health and safety are our priority, and your ability to learn and complete your education is at the forefront of our efforts.

If you have any feedback, please feel free to reach out to us at,, or If you or someone you know is facing extreme challenges, we want to hear from you.

We are united as part of your Miami Hurricane family.
Jeffrey L. Duerk signature
Jeffrey L. Duerk, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Patricia Whitely signature
Patricia A. Whitely. Ed.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs
Guillermo Prado signature
Guillermo Prado, Ph.D.
Dean, Graduate School
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