Skip to content
COVID-19 symptoms or exposure? Find out what to do if you or a close contact have symptoms or think you may have been exposed.

Information for Graduate Students and Postdocs

Updated May 29, 2020

The following information applies to all graduate students and postdocs enrolled in the University (including AS&E, the Eastman School of Music, the Simon Business School, the Warner School of Education, the School of Medicine and Dentistry, and the School of Nursing).

Here’s the latest information

Services and support

Basic Needs Hub: All graduate students enrolled in a degree program who are in need of essential resources can now request support through the Student Support Basic Needs Hub. The hub—created to facilitate the connection between campus and community resources—provides urgent assistance for necessities such as food, clothing, housing, and access to academic tools. Assistance provided through the hub is not intended to replace or supplement current student financial aid and it does not need to be repaid.

Groceries: The Food Pantry is open to all current Rochester undergraduate and graduates students, as well as post-doctoral appointees until further notice. In order to reduce health risks for both students and pantry staff, we are taking online orders for Grocery Bag pick-ups.

Career exploration: All resources and services offered by the Greene Center—such as scheduling an appointment with a career advisor—are accessible online through the center’s COVID-19 response page. Career education services across campus are delivering virtual support. Eastman School students should visit the career advising page; students at the School of Medicine and Dentistry can find resources at the Center for Professional Development; Simon Business School students are encouraged to visit the Benet Career Management Center; and Warner School students can contact Harriet Royer in career services. Arts, Sciences and Engineering students should use the Greene Center’s COVID-19 page.

Health and counseling services: Need an appointment? Give University Health Services (UHS) and the University Counseling Center (UCC) a call.

UHS and UCC remain available to meet the health care needs of University students, employees, and other patients. In most cases and in keeping with NYS on Pause regulations, care is provided via telemedicine (with a computer) or telephone. Primary care and occupational health appointments in a UHS office are being scheduled when medically necessary. It is important to call before coming to UHS/UCC.

  • UHS Primary Care Services: (585) 275-2662
  • University Counseling Center: (585) 275-3113. Any student, domestic or international, experiencing a mental health emergency can call at any time of day.
  • Health Promotion Office: (585) 273-5775

UCC shared additional support about managing fears and anxiety about the novel coronavirus.

The CARE Network enables members of the University community to express their concerns about a student through its online referral form. Staff will reach out to the student to provide support and resources. In addition, the Interfaith Chapel offers support to students, who can email Denise Yarbrough if they are struggling. Many of the faith communities of the chapel are offering virtual worship services. Simply contact the leader of the faith community you are interested in for details.

Bias-related incidents: The University is continuing its services to report and address bias-related incidents. The University’s Title IX offices are also open and available to assist anyone with concerns about sex- or gender-based harassment. You can email the Title IX office or submit a report online.  The website includes local, state, and national resources.

Mindful University Project: Graduate students can join Jessica Silverstein ’20, meditation facilitator for the Mindful University Project, for three 20-minute meditation sessions each week. She will hold space on Zoom for Be Mindful Mondays at 10 a.m., Bedtime Meditation on Tuesdays at 10 p.m., and Happy Hour Meditation on Fridays at 5 p.m. All times are EST. Prior meditation experience is not necessary.

Ombuds Services: The ombudspeople (or ombuds) continue to serve as a neutral resource, providing confidential and informal assistance to members of the campus community who need help with resolving University-related disputes or conflicts. Ombuds support is available within AS&E for postdocs, graduate students,or faculty, and for postdocs and graduate students in SMD.

Mail Services on River Campus: Students needing to forward their campus mail can request this change online. This is for River Campus students, as well as Eastman School of Music students who requested a River Campus mailbox.

Shuttle schedules: The Department of Transportation and Parking Management has adjusted some of the shuttle routes to better meet the changing transportation needs of University community members during the response to COVID-19. View the new schedules. 

Get the latest updates on campus operations and closings.

Income and financial matters

Questions about taxes?

Many graduate students and postdocs have questions this year about taxes. Several units and offices have made resources for graduate students and postdocs available online:

CARES Act / recovery rebate

If you did NOT file a tax return in 2018 or 2019, you may still be eligible for a stimulus payment under the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act. Non-filers should sign up with the IRS non-filers tool. If you are a veteran or receive Supplemental Social Security (SSI) benefits—and have dependent children under age 17—you must sign up with the IRS non-filers tool no later than Tuesday, May 5. For more detailed information about eligibility under the CARES Act, see the Internal Revenue Service’s Get My Payment FAQs page.

If you receive income from the University through a fellowship/as a research or teaching assistant, you may have questions about eligibility for a recovery rebate (stimulus check) under the CARES Act. While the University is not authorized to provide you tax advice, the University’s Office of Payroll and Tax Compliance notes that if you filed a Form 1040 in 2018 or 2019 and reported your fellowship/assistantship as taxable income, you are eligible for the recovery rebate UNLESS:

  1. you are a nonresident alien
  2. you are claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return; or
  3. your income (or joint income if you file a joint return) exceeds the maximum dollar amount stipulated in the bill.

Paychecks: Sign up for direct deposit

The University will no longer be issuing paper paychecks for pickup. This applies to all University faculty, staff, postdocs, and students. If you pick up your paycheck, you will need to sign up for direct deposit or receive your paycheck via US mail. Direct deposit is strongly encouraged to ensure more timely delivery. Login to HRMS* and follow the Self-Service path to Direct Deposit.

* Note that to access HRMS from outside the University’s network, you need to enroll in Duo Security. Enrollment instructions can be found here

* Also note that HRMS is a separate system from the Student Information System. If you are a student and your address is up to date in the Student information System, it may not be up to date in HRMS. So please check your address information in HRMS and update if necessary.

If you have additional questions, please contact your school dean or administrator.


Need assistance with off-campus housing? Graduate students living in rental units off campus who have problems or concerns related to rent payments, agreements, and other aspects of their lease can contact Rebecca Orton (, coordinator of off-campus housing programs in the Office for Residential Life and Housing Services. Rebecca is also available to help students looking for off-campus housing, sublets, and roommates.

Laboratory research

Laboratory research has been ramped down considerably and guidelines may be updated on a frequent basis. Read the latest announcement about beginning to resume lab research.

Additional detailed information, applicable to all laboratory research at the University—both at the Medical Center and on the River Campus—can be found here.

Access to libraries

River Campus Libraries: Although the physical spaces are closed, many services, including access to library staff expertise and guidance, remain fully operational. About one-third of Rush Rhees Library’s physical book collection is available electronically.

River Campus Libraries has established a dedicated page offering information about services, including tips for conducting library research remotely. Outreach librarians have launched a YouTube channel, #RCLatHome Resources, that provides tutorials for navigating library databases.

You can also reference the library’s list of free and extended access to materials during COVID-19. These publishers have made their collections free to use at least through the end of May.

In addition, HathiTrust and the Internet Archive’s National Emergency Library are providing temporary access to materials under copyright.

Miner Library has established a dedicated page to support online learning, teaching, and research needs.

Prospective and incoming graduate students

Incoming graduate students

Our graduate schools are working to make every accommodation possible to facilitate the matriculation of all of our admitted students.  We encourage you to contact the admissions office of your admitting school for more details about enrolling for the fall semester.

Prospective graduate students

In a March 30 message, Melissa Sturge-Apple, vice provost and University dean of graduate education, offers guidance and support to prospective graduate students:

“On behalf of those in charge of graduate admissions at Rochester, across schools and programs, I want to assure you that we recognize this impact and also understand that colleges and universities across the globe are implementing various grading policies this term that may affect prospective students’ cumulative GPAs. All of these factors will be considered in evaluating applications.

“We encourage prospective students to include in their personal statements special circumstances as well as achievements that may not be apparent due to modified grading policies.” Read the full message.

See which specific programs are still accepting applications in master’s programs for the fall 2020 term.

Options for Rochester Class of 2020 graduates

Recognizing that many May bachelor’s degree graduates may be interested in immediately enrolling in a graduate program if the job market can’t provide strong employment options, the AS&E Office of Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs is now promoting to interested University of Rochester 2020 graduates the following:

  • priority attention in the AS&E graduate application process
  • waived GRE requirement
  • waived application fee
  • available scholarship opportunities

The Simon Business School has launched dedicated COVID-19 admissions websites for its full-time MS programs and the full-time MBA program.

For more information, you can also contact the Graduate Admissions Office:

Information for postdocs

Health insurance

For postdocs with medical insurance through the Garnett-Powers & Associate plan administered by Excellus, there will no cost to the postdocs for COVID-19-related expenses:

  • No cost to members for COVID-19 testing where medically necessary consistent with CDC guidance
  • No cost to members for medically necessary office, urgent care, or ER visits related to COVID-19
  • No cost to members for telehealth services

Leave and benefits

Please note that we are currently awaiting guidance from the federal government on Employer-Provided Sick Leave and the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Similar to the new faculty/staff policy, postdoctoral associates and postdoctoral fellows who have been placed under voluntary or involuntary quarantine by the Department of Public Health will be granted full pay for up to 14 days, as per Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.

For postdocs able to conduct some or all of their research remotely, postdoc benefits will not be affected by these arrangements.

Hotline for all faculty, staff, and families

An Emotional Support/Resources Hotline is now up and running to help faculty, staff, postdocs, and their families navigate these challenging times. All University faculty and staff, affiliated hospital staff, and all family members can access this free, anonymous, and confidential service by calling (585) 276-3100. The line is open 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and is staffed by volunteer clinicians from URMC. Volunteers can provide guidance and support on a wide range of personal and professional concerns, including:

  • Anxiety and stress management
  • Housing
  • Finances
  • Food needs
  • Child care

They can also connect you and your family with a variety of helpful resources. You will not be asked to give your name unless you wish to do so, and no information about your call will be shared with anyone.  Please note that this is not a mental health crisis line; if you need mental health crisis support, please call (585) 275-​8686.

Ombuds Services: Resolving disputes or conflicts

The ombudspeople (or ombuds) continue to serve as a neutral resource, providing confidential and informal assistance to members of the campus community who need help with resolving University-related disputes or conflicts. Ombuds support is available within AS&E for postdocs, graduate students,or faculty, and for postdocs and graduate students in SMD.

Counseling and support through EAP

Postdocs who need support coping with anxiety, fear, or stress—related to COVID-19 or any other issue—can find counseling and support resources through the Employee Assistance Program. Please reach out if you need support.

Return to the top of the page