Graduate Studies Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Northern Michigan University has created a new information hub for campus-wide developments in response to COVID-19. Frequently asked questions and answers regarding the university as a whole are available to inform the community as this situation evolves. 

General Questions

A: Yes! Our office team is available and more than happy to assist with any needs! Our team can be reached from 8am to 5pm EST through email, phone, as well as Zoom video conferencing. Our office hours and contact information can be found here.

Uncertain who to direct your inquiry towards? No worries! Please give us a call at (906)-227-2300 or email us at

A: The withdrawal date for this semester has been moved back to April 3rd, 2020. Our office is working hard to help assist students through this time in hopes that we can prevent student course withdrawals, but we understand some circumstances are out of our control.

Returning to Campus Questions

We understand that there may be uncertainty heading into this academic year given the COVID-19 pandemic. Here you will find frequently asked questions and answers about returning to campus this semester. Please contact us for assistance via and a staff member will respond as soon as possible.

A: We at Northern truly understand your concern, and have worked diligently to ensure that accommodations are available to help navigate through these times. Going into the Fall 2020 semester, we will be offering modified face-to-face instruction which will allow students to choose on how they will attend courses. Students can choose to attend either in person, or remotely via Zoom.

A: The process will differ for the type of accommodation being requested, which is broken down below:

1) Procedure for requesting accommodations as a student for course attendance

You must provide Disability Services with documentation of a qualifying disability or underlying condition that puts you at risk of contracting COVID 19. Please refer to NMU’s Disability Services web page for further information;.

2) Procedure for requesting accommodations as a university employee:

You must provide Human Resources with documentation from a medical professional confirming that you have underlying health issues that put you at risk of complications due to COVID 19 in the workplace (whether this is teaching a class or working in an office environment). The Human Resources web page includes links to FAQs, resources, and policies regarding COVID 19 accommodations in the workplace. If you have questions or concerns that are not addressed by the HR website, please contact your faculty advisor, your supervisor, and/or Graduate Studies and Research staff at or 906-227-2300. 


To receive accommodations for both roles (student & worker), you must follow both procedures. Please note that you must work with your supervisor and advisor in advance of making this request to ensure they are aware of your concerns and request.

A: The inability to attend class for reasons associated with coronavirus or symptoms will be excused and offered an online option that is as close to the same as synchronous as possible (e.g. zoom access to modified face-to-face course meetings).

Admissions Questions

We will work with each applicant and admitted student individually as your situation warrants.  Please contact us for assistance via and a staff member will respond as soon as possible.

A: Yes! NMU is accepting applications for undergraduate and graduate admission, both campus-based and Global Campus (online programs).

A: Generally, no. NMU has rolling admissions, so we continue to offer admission as application files become complete. There are some exceptions for some graduate level programs. Please check your department of interest's admissions page to confirm any application deadlines for your program.

A: No. NMU does not have deadlines. New first-year students and transfer students indicate their intent to enroll at NMU by registering for New Student Orientation and paying the orientation registration fee. A variety of session dates are offered, so registration prior to the desired session is important.

A: NMU is receiving GRE and GMAT scores elecontronically directly from the testing companies. Please request your scores through their websites to be sent to our office.

A: Contact our office at, or call (906)-227-2300. We will connect you with someone who can assist you.

A: As of August 10th, 2020 NMU will begin hosting in-person tours once more! More information on how to arrange these visits can be found here. 

Customizable virtual tours are also a new alternative, and can be easily arranged by contacting 

Research Projects

A: Students have latitude in revising projects that are affected by COVID 19 restrictions. Faculty advisors should discuss project modifications with students, providing guidance for how the student should address the results of the modifications in their report (if applicable). Please contact your department head, as they may have additional guidelines that specifically meet the needs of students and faculty advisors in your department.

NOTE: If your proposal is for a conference presentation involving travel and the conference is canceled or postponed due to COVID-19, you may use your funds to continue your work for a different conference or in an alternate venue (publication submission, developing a unit/module for use in the classroom in the fall, etc.). Your advisor must approve of the alternate conference or project and you may revise your budget accordingly. As a result of COVID 19 restrictions, modifications may be necessary for projects involving human-to-human contact. For forms and guidelines, visit:

Please see Dean Eckert's message above for more information regarding Northern Michigan University's temporary research policy changes in response to COVID-19.

A: Students engaged in research in labs or with human subjects must work with their advisor to submit a safety plan that includes masks and social distancing measures. The plan must include the NMU Covid 19 Preparedness and Response Plan Agreement and Attestation. Details are available at

Message From Lisa Eckert, Dean of Graduate Studies and Research

Lisa EckertDear Campus Community,

Graduate Studies, McNair, and Grants and Contracts are virtually open with staff telecommuting to conduct business during regular office hours; we are available via email, phone, and zoom. I’m including general information updates below. Expect more information to follow, we will also update the Graduate web page with an FAQ page as questions arise.

Course Grading

The S/U option does not apply to graduate courses that require letter grades; this includes undergraduate courses taken for graduate credit. However, faculty should discuss the option to take an Incomplete with students who are concerned their grade may be adversely affected by the change to online course delivery, limitations in access to required clinical experiences, and/or modifications to research protocols (see below) that may have been made necessary by the COVID-19 emergency. Thesis signature pages can be scanned and sent via email to; please put SIGNATURE PAGE in the subject line and retain the hard copies. As always, I will work with faculty advisors and graduate instructors to accommodate students in unique situations.

Human Subjects Research

Due to the evolving situation with COVID-19 infections, the recent national restrictions placed on face-to-face meetings, and the Institutional Review Boards' role in human subject protection, NMU’s IRB is temporarily banning all human-to-human data collection methods in previously approved protocols until all federal COVID-19 interaction restrictions have been lifted. This includes, but is not limited to, in-person surveys, interviews, and group discussions. If you are assisting a student with their research project or are reviewing students' pending research projects, please keep these new restrictions in mind and guide them appropriately. No new projects listing face-to-face interactions submitted to the IRB will be approved until the CDC lifts national interaction restrictions; projects must utilize alternative methods for data collection via distance technologies (phone, video, internet-based surveys, etc.)

PIs currently engaged in human-to-human research with previous IRB approval must make modifications to replace human-to-human data collection with distance technologies. Depending on the specific requirements of the project, the NMU IRB can approve administratively, via expedited review, or a convened meeting will be held via Zoom. To expedite requests, faculty PIs should review student protocols and determine the modifications necessary for those students who need them. Faculty must then consult with Dr. Derek Anderson, IRB Chair, ( to confirm the level of review any such modifications may require.

Join me in thanking Dr. Derek Anderson, IRB Chair, for his dedication to ensuring that the interests of NMU faculty researchers, student researchers, and research subjects are addressed during this unprecedented time. I also thank all members of the IRB who continue to give their time and expertise in support of research with human subjects at NMU.

Thanks also to graduate program directors, advisors, and faculty as we navigate through these uncertain times to do our best for students in all stages of their graduate work. We are dedicated to serving you all and working together to ensure student success as they pursue their academic and professional goals.

Take care and be well,

Dr. Lisa Eckert
Dean Graduate Studies and Research

Mental Health & Crisis Resources

Northern Michigan University is still offering an abundance of mental health and crisis resources to our community during this time.

Coping with uncertainty, change, and fear is a resource published through the Office of Counseling and Consultation Services to provide tips on how one may handle this situation positively.