Graduate FAQ for Academic Year 2020-21

Last updated July 17, 2020

We are working to provide some information to the most common questions we have received so far about the upcoming academic year (2020-21).  For any additional questions, please contact the DGS Bonnie Fleming or the graduate registrar Stacey Watts.


Courses and Registration

All physics graduate courses will use remote delivery so that all enrolled students can participate, whether they are in New Haven or not. Supplementary, in-person, physically distanced, meetings may be scheduled (depending on the current public health situation), but will not be required or affect your standing in the course.

Click here for more information.


US citizens and permanent residents may choose to study remotely in the fall. If you will not be in New Haven, you are encouraged to register in absentia in order to take advantage of the Yale Health Insurance coverage


If you intend to study in New Haven this fall, try to arrive in time for GSAS orientation (8/24). You must arrive no later than September 30 to be enrolled and in residence

  • If you already have a US bank account, you can study remotely in the fall by registering in absentia. Your stipend will be paid by direct deposit. Stipend checks are paid bi-weekly on the 15th and last day of the month. Your first check will be August 31st.
  • If you do not have a US bank account and agree to have your stipend checks held for you until your arrival, you can study remotely in the fall by registering in absentia
  • If you cannot satisfy either of the two criteria above, you will have to defer.

Yes, you have the flexibility to defer for a semester or for one academic year. Deferral requests must be discussed with the DGS. Deferral requests can be made up until the September 30th deadline.

  • Online Course Registration opens August 10-21st. For 1st years, plan for mandatory course advising with by the DGS during the first week of August.
  • The physics department orientation will be August 28th.
  • Classes begin August 31st.
  • Please see the GSAS fall academic calendar for more important GSAS deadlines and events.

1st years must take, at minimum, Phys 515 in the Fall and Phys 590 in the Spring. All course requirements must be completed within your first two years of study. Please see the Graduate Handbook for more details on course requirements.


Teaching assistants may choose to teach remotely, but must follow the New Haven (EST) time schedule.

Undergraduate courses begin on August 31. Expect some preparatory meetings with your course instructor and other TAs in the weeks leading up to the start of the semester.


The pass out exams schedule is TBD. Exams will most likely take place during the first two weeks of September.

Pass out exams will be administered online or as a take-home exam.

Qualifying exams are postponed for the Fall 2020 semester. A committee will be established to review the graduate program requirements as a whole, including the qualifying exam. The committee will develop a recommendation for the format and timing of the next qualifying exam by the end of November.

Health and Safety

Yale Health Plan starts on Aug. 20th for new students.

You can submit your most recent health records if less than 2 years old. Otherwise, you can request a deadline extension and schedule a physical exam for when you are able. Deadline requests should go to, please include your student ID number found on your offer letter when sending correspondences.

If you are arriving/returning to campus, yes. All students, faculty and staff who will be on campus this fall are required to get screened for Covid-19. Tests are free to Yale students, faculty and staff members. Schedule a test through the Yale Covid-19 Screening Program page.

Yes, if you are traveling from a state with high rates of infection as stated on the CT advisory list, or if you are traveling from outside of the United States, according to CDC guidelines.

All members of the Yale community must follow Yale’s Health and Safety Guidelines. All undergraduate, graduate and professional school students must agree to and follow the Yale Community Compact. All faculty, staff and returning students must complete the Return to Campus online training before returning to campus.