Fall 2020

York University's Fall Term will be delivered for the most part online and remotely. See the President's Update on the Fall Term (May 19, 2020) or more details.

The University is seeking to offer select experiential activities that are not easily adaptable to a remote delivery format such as labs, studios, and clinical placements, in-person. York University has laid out its phased return to campus, which includes a carefully staged and gradual ramping up of research, following the provincial government’s Framework for Reopening our Province and York’s coordination of necessary supports. Courses with a mandatory in-person component are identified when you enrol and can be found here.

Exceptions for graduate students being on campus include:

  • Those living in residences
  • Pre-approved on-site research for the summer and fall term
  • Pre-scheduled appointments with service and support providers
  • Visiting libraries for curbside pickup

Check York's COVID-19 response site for updates.

Research and Labs

For information on research at York, go to Research & Innovation.

Labs and Disrupted Research

York University has laid out its plan for a phased return to campus, which includes a carefully staged and gradual ramping up of research, following the provincial government’s Framework for Reopening our Province and York’s coordination of necessary supports. Courses with a mandatory in-person component are identified when you enrol and can be found here.

We acknowledge that for some students remediation will require a one-term extension to your degree programs. These one-term extensions will be on part-time status, free of charge, bearing no tuition or fees. To be eligible a student's supervisor and Graduate Program Director must confirm that your program completion in 2020-21 is unavoidably delayed because your approved research project mandated in-person data collection/production, access to lab/studio space and related equipment, or travel, for which virtual access through electronic means could not provide an alternative. Application should occur at the beginning of what would regularly be the final term of your degree, using the FGS Academic Petition Form with appropriate documentation: gradstudies.yorku.ca/current-students/regulations/petitions-appeals/. Instructions and additional information will be communicated to you directly. They will also be provided on the FGS petitions website and the FGS COVID-19 website.

For financial assistance during a COVID-specific extension, students may apply to their Faculties for consideration for a MITACS Training Award, Research Assistantship, or other forms of research funding. The FGS Emergency Bursary Fund also continues to accept applications, and this summer, some students will qualify for federal emergency student benefits: www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/emergency-student-benefit.html.

Students who have been approved for a COVID-specific extension and who have no alternative funding source may apply to their Faculties for a special extension bursary of up to $1,000/month, for up to 4 months. Further information about the application process will be conveyed by your home Faculty Dean’s Office and graduate programs shortly.

International Students

For a comprehensive list of FAQs about immigration, health, travel, and financial support for international graduate students, please consult YU International.

The Government of Canada has put in place emergency orders under the Quarantine Act. The Act applies to all travellers arriving in Canada. Travellers arriving in Canada must quarantine for 14 days and comply with all requirements of the quarantine measures.

Canadian Border

On July 13, FGS issued a communication about travel restrictions and advised all international graduate students who are planning to travel to Canada for the Fall Term to contact their graduate program to request a Canadian Border Services Letter. Based on last week's decision to keep the Canadian border closed, we have modified this letter. The Canadian border closure will be reassessed on August 30, but, in the meantime, only those international students with confirmation of ONE of the following may be permitted entry:

  • required in-person activities related to your degree (ie- lab work);
  • an established residence in Canada;
  • a teaching assignment for FA20 (TA contract).

Please contact your graduate program to request a tailored letter that best describes your situation.

Government Support

On July 14, the Government of Canada announced measures to support international students beginning a new program online this fall with a Canadian learning institution. These measures include:

  • Providing priority study-permit processing for students who have submitted a complete application online, to ensure that permits are processed as quickly as possible
  • allowing students to count the time spent pursuing their studies online abroad toward their eligibility for a post-graduation work permit, if they have submitted a study permit application and if at least 50% of their program is completed in Canada
  • Providing reassurances to international students who cannot submit all of the documentation needed to complete processing of their applications, and who choose to pursue programs through distance learning, by implementing a temporary 2-stage approval process

For more information, please see the Government of Canada's announcement.

Impacts to Employment for Those Not in Canada September 2020

If you are able to arrive in Canada with the required documentation, then the terms of your offer letter funding remain as is. Both York International and your Graduate Program can assist you with getting settled and opening a bank account in Toronto to receive any degree-related employment and/or research assistant funding.

If you are unable to arrive in Canada with the required documentation for the Fall term, you will still be able to begin your degree studies remotely and online. If you are a funded student, your tuition will be covered by the York University funding package. The Fall portion of your funding offer may have to be adjusted, however. Under Canadian law, we are not able to provide any employment wages until you are able to be present in Canada with your TRV, study permit, resident social insurance number, address, and bank account. If we are no longer experiencing a pandemic, travel restrictions are lifted, and you are able to arrive in Canada for the Winter term, then you will be eligible to begin employment as a Teaching Assistant, Research Assistant, or Graduate Assistant as your Program has designated.

For more detailed information on the intersection of physical location and funding, please see https://gradstudies.yorku.ca/covid-19-update-grads/funding-faqs-for-international-graduate-students/

Returning Students: To better support you during this time, please indicate your Fall 2020 plans when registering for the Fall 2020 session. Course registration and enrolment opened July 2, 2020 at midnight. The link to York’s Registration Module is here. If you are considering a leave of absence, please be in touch with your Graduate Program Director no later than August 1, 2020.

New Students: Given all the uncertainty and health concerns, you may also choose to defer your offer of admission. All the terms of your funding remain the same. Some programs can accommodate deferral of the start of your degree to the Winter of 2021. Most programs should be able to accommodate deferral of the start of your degree to Fall 2021. If you are considering deferral of admission, please contact your Graduate Program Director no later than August 1, 2020. To better support you during this time, please indicate your Fall 2020 plans when registering for courses beginning July 2, 2020 at midnight. The link to York’s Registration Module is here.

Visa Applications

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) continues to process study permit applications, but at limited capacity. Prospective students also may be unable to provide all documents required to complete their study permit applications given service interruptions related to COVID-19 (e.g. immigration medical exams, biometrics collection, police certificates). These uncertainties may cause processing delays.

York International encourages students to file their applications online as early as possible, taking into account the processing delays. York International also offers advising via email (iadvisor@yorku.ca) and online appointments.

Work Permits

Post-graduation work permit eligibility will not be affected if your Fall 2020 courses are online. Students will also not have time deducted from the length of a future post-graduation work permit for studies completed outside of Canada, up to December 31, 2020. For more information, go here.

On August 26, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced three new flexible measures for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program for international students who are currently studying online from abroad:

  • Students may now study online from abroad until April 30, 2021, with no time deducted from the length of a future post-graduation work permit, provided 50% of their program of study is eventually completed in Canada.
  • Students who have enrolled in a program that is between 8 and 12 months in length, with a start date from May to September 2020, will be able to complete their entire program online from abroad and still be eligible for a post-graduation work permit.
  • Students who have enrolled in a program with a start date from May to September 2020 and study online up to April 30, 2021, and who graduate from more than one eligible program of study, may be able to combine the length of their programs of study when they apply for a post-graduation work permit in the future, as long as 50% of their total studies are completed in Canada.

To be eligible for these measures, students must have submitted a study permit application before starting a program of study in the spring, summer, or fall 2020 semester, or the January 2021 semester. All students must eventually be approved for a study permit. For more information see the announcement.

Research Abroad / Exchanges / International Travel

As international borders remain closed and global travel restrictions continue due to the challenges posed by COVID-19, York University has made the decision to cancel all travel related to international student activities for the Fall 2020 session which includes: academic exchanges, internships, co-ops, and other programs.

Alternative program options may include:

  • Online courses at York partner universities: This could range from 2-3 online courses up to a full online semester depending on program requirements.
  • Virtual Exchanges (VE) connects two or more classrooms across the globe to enhance intercultural dialogue and collaboration over a period of time (i.e. not a one-time class). York University has embarked on the Globally Networked Learning (GNL) project in 2015 to integrate virtual exchanges into existing course curriculum, across program areas and disciplines.
  • Remote academic placements, coops, and internships: Schulich, Glendon, Lassonde and York International offered remote internships and placements in the summer of 2020.
  • Effective Intercultural Communications (EIC) Module is an online opportunity for students looking to develop and enhance their intercultural understanding and communication skills.

To access these opportunities, please connect with your Faculty or Program coordinators, as well as York International.

Research Abroad

All research-related international travel for graduate students and travel related to academic program completion will be assessed on a case-by-case basis as government travel advisories begin to lift.

Graduate students can work with their supervisor and the Dean’s Office who can work with the International Travel Risk Assessment Committee to develop a health and safety plan. A form will be developed to assess this in collaboration with the above stakeholders. Please contact goglobal@yorku.ca for more information.


International students should by now have received their UHIP cards via email. Be advised that sometimes these emails can end up in a email spam folder.  If you still haven't received your UHIP information, email uhip@yorku.ca.

Housing and Residence

For information on graduate residence and York apartments, please visit Housing & Conference Services.


York University Bookstore continues to offer services, including receiving and shipping orders online. https://bookstore.yorku.ca/ 


York along with other Toronto universities has made the difficult decision to not hold in-person fall convocation ceremonies for Fall 2020. York will hold a virtual convocation ceremony, and will send each graduating student a package that includes their diploma, cap and tassel, and other celebratory items. For more information, see the university's statement.