FAQ for the fall 2020 and winter 2021 terms

Get answers to your questions about how the COVID-19 pandemic impacts your studies this fall and winter. 

On Sept. 24, the university announced that instruction in the 2021 winter term will continue to be delivered with a blend of face-to-face and online modalities. Read the full announcement here.

Which courses or course components (lectures, labs, tutorials etc.) are online and which are on-campus?

You can see the format of your courses (on-campus vs. online) in your Student Centre. Course information for the winter 2021 term was updated in your Student Centre on Oct. 30, 2020. 

Faculties determine delivery options based on the requirements of each course.


If all my classes are fully online, do I need to be in Calgary?

No, you are not required to be in Calgary. However, your courses require you to engage with learning materials, activities and assignments, so ensure you have access to reliable internet/Wi-Fi and consider any time differences if the classes you’re enrolled in are held at regularly scheduled times.


Are my online course components scheduled at a specific time, or can I engage with the course material at a time that is convenient for me?

This depends on the course and associated component(s) (lecture, lab, tutorial). Online course components (labelled as "Web-Based" in your Student Centre) are either synchronous (scheduled at specific times), asynchronous (not scheduled at a specific time), or hybrid (some meetings delivered synchronously, and some delivered asynchronously). Learn more, including how to check this information in your Student Centre, here.


What if I’ve enrolled in an on-campus class for the winter 2021 term but no longer feel comfortable attending?

Students have the ability to change courses and sections by the add/drop/swap deadlines in January (see the Academic Schedule). If the course has an online option, and there is space available, a student can change their timetable through their Student Centre.


I am concerned that my assignments might not be received by email or D2L.
Our systems are reliable, but we understand your concern. Just to make sure, always use your UCalgary email and take a screenshot of the confirmation of upload to D2L and/or the sent notice in your email box. Please alert your instructor should you notice any discrepancies.


I am concerned about my academic accommodations for online courses.
Once you receive the revised course outlines, please review delivery methods and assessments to determine whether your accommodations need to be updated. If revisions are required, please liaise with your advisor in Student Accessibility Services. New students to UCalgary who have disabilities should connect with Student Accessibility Services as soon as possible to discuss their needs.


What technology do I need to have access to?

To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer that has a microphone and camera. You should also have internet/Wi-Fi access.  If these are not available to you, please speak with your faculty advising office.


What if I’m required to be on campus but live with someone who is immunocompromised?

The health and well-being of our community is important, and we understand your concerns. Where alternatives can be provided by instructors they are; however, these are course specific, so please reach out to your course instructor.


If my class is delivered online, do I still have to come to campus for my final exam?

No; if a class is online (listed in the class schedule as “web based”), the final exam/assessment is online as well.

Are services still available on campus like writing support, careers advice, etc.?


How do I purchase my textbooks if I don’t need to come to campus?

Textbooks are available to order online through the UCalgary Bookstore, with free shipping within Canada on orders over $150 before taxes. Digital options may be available for some courses. The rental and book loan programs are also available.


Can I access computer labs or library facilities?

Limited computers and study spaces on the 1st and 2nd floors of the TFDL are available and must be booked in advance. Book here

The TFDL is now offering contactless pickup for current UCalgary students, faculty and staff only. You can place requests for materials that you want online and pick them up when you receive an email.

More information is available on the Libraries and Cultural Resources Covid-19 page.


Are the Fitness Centre and other Active Living facilities open?

As of November 13, all on-site group fitness classes, aquatic programs, sport training (gymnastics and racquet centres) and intramural sports have been suspended until end of day on November 27 in accordance with new Alberta Health Services restrictions. The Fitness Centre will remain open for students and staff/faculty who have purchased a fall pass. At this time we are still able to continue with virtual fitness classes. If you have any specific questions about your program please reach out to active@ucalgary.ca or your program coordinator. 

Visits to the Fitness Centre by students need to be pre-booked online. Get information about how to book and what safety precautions need to be followed by visiting the Fitness Centre and Active Living FAQ page. 

The Outdoor Centre is open for programs and online rentals.

The Aquatic Centre, gymnasiums, climbing/bouldering walls and Racquet Centre will not be opened for drop-in activities this fall.

Students will not have to pay the campus recreation fee for the fall 2020 and winter 2021 terms. Those who had already been assessed the fee have had the fee reversed. If the reversal resulted in a credit on your student account, you can have the credit applied to your winter term fees or request a refund through your Student Centre (instructions available here).


Can I get a UPass for the fall or winter term?

The UPass program is not available for fall 2020 or winter 2021. To assist students with their transportation during this time, arrangements have been made for them to purchase Calgary Transit Adult Ticket books at a discounted price. Learn more.

Is residence open?

Yes. Visit the Residence Services Fall 2020 FAQ for more details.


If students are studying from home in the fall term, can they move into residence in the winter term?

Yes. Residence can work with you to defer your residence offer to the winter term. Please contact residence@ucalgary.ca to advise us of any changes to your travel plans in the fall term.

If I can’t return due to travel restrictions, can I change my schedule to be fully online?

We recommend you speak with your faculty advising office if your Student Centre shows that you have on-campus course components (all course information for the winter 2021 term was updated in your Student Centre by Oct. 30, 2020). If you need to make schedule changes, they will be able to assist you.


Will my study permit allow me to take online courses?

International students who are unable to travel to Canada in the fall are permitted to enrol at the University of Calgary as a full-time student and can take online courses from outside of Canada. Newly admitted international students whose study permit applications were not approved in time to travel to Canada to begin their programs of study for the fall term may also take online courses from outside of Canada without a study permit. Learn more.


Are there any travel updates for students planning to come to Canada?
The Government of Canada provided a number of exemptions to the travel restrictions for international students with valid study permits seeking to enter Canada. Learn more.


How can I make fee payments if banks in my country are closed?

The university has implemented alternative payment options for students living outside of Canada. This includes credit cards options through both WU GlobalPay for Students or CIBC International Student Pay. Details are available at ucalgary.ca/registrar/finances/tuition-and-fees.


If I start the fall term online and then am denied my study permit, what happens?

Please send your study permit refusal letter, along with your study permit application form and all the supporting documents you submitted with it, to the Immigration Advisors in International Student Services (issimmigration@ucalgary.ca). They will review your application and provide suggestions to improve your application for completeness should you wish to reapply for your study permit. A valid study permit will be required to take all in-person courses in Canada.

The University of Calgary is a world class institution that is authorized by the Post-Secondary Learning Act (PSLA) of Alberta to offer various credentials. In addition to the PSLA legislation, many of our programs receive additional accreditation through internationally recognized accreditation boards. This ensures our programs and courses are recognized at many organizations and post-secondary institutions worldwide. Beginning your studies at the University of Calgary can assist you with transferring to another institution.


For more information specific to international students, see the COVID-19 FAQ for international students.

I am a thesis-based graduate student. Can I continue my research?

Some university research has be designated as critical and has be allowed to continue on campus. In addition to the Critical Research Designation, the university will be adding expanded criteria for research on campus, in the field, or the community. This Expanded Research Designation will enable some time-sensitive research to continue that did not meet the Critical Research criteria. Graduate students who cannot make adequate progress without access to crucial research spaces and facilities may have the opportunity to be approved for an Expanded Research DesignationApproved graduate students would be allowed to resume research activities as soon as further direction comes from the university, and not before. Graduate students interested in ERD status should discuss their research needs with their supervisors. Applications for graduate student ERDs must come from their supervisors. You can find more information about the graduate student ERD process here.


I am a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GAT). Do I continue my duties as a TA?

GATs play a key role in supporting the delivery of courses in the fall. Due to the modified formats of many courses, GAT duties may be modified accordingly. Students can contact their Graduate Program Directors or Course Coordinators for more information.


For more information specific to graduate students, see the Faculty of Graduate Studies COVID-19 FAQ. 

I’m not used to studying in an online format. Are there tools available to help me?

The Student Success Centre has developed a number of resources and tools to help you adjust to studying and learning in an online environment.  Learn more.


I’m a new international student. Should I still apply for my study permit?

Yes, we recommend international students start the study permit application as soon as an offer of admission is received and continue the application process for their study permit.


Do I need a study permit if all my courses are online and I can stay home?

If you are remaining in your home location, you do not require a study permit to take courses online. However, we strongly recommend students apply for their study permit now to ensure there are no delays when there is an opportunity to return to campus.


For more information specific to newly admitted undergraduate students, visit the admissions FAQ page.

What tuition and fees will I be charged for the fall and winter terms?

Tuition and fees are approved by the Board of Governors and are determined by the number of units enrolled in and/or full-time/part-time status. A detailed list of approved fees is available in the University Calendar.

UPass and Athletics fee: Since the UPass and Athletic programs are not available for the fall 2020 term, students have not been charged the fall term UPass or Athletics fee.

Campus recreation fee: Students will not have to pay the campus recreation fee for the fall 2020 and winter 2021 terms. Those who had already been assessed the fee have had the fee reversed. If the reversal resulted in a credit on your student account, you can have the credit applied to your winter term fees or request a refund through your Student Centre (instructions available here).

Winter term fees: Students who have registered in winter term courses have been assessed approved tuition and fees. Service fees for services that will not be accessible to students will be removed and not charged. 


I have an RESP form that needs to be filled out. How do I get this done?

Check with your RESP provider to find out their process. You'll need to be registered full-time in both the fall and winter terms for the university to confirm your enrolment.

  • If your provider supplies their own form, complete the student information on that form, and then scan and email it to resp@ucalgary.ca. An Advisor will assist with our portion of the form and determine how it needs to be submitted.
  • If your provider does not have their own form, the Enrolment Verification Letter, which you can print directly from your Student Centre, might meet the requirements of what you need. Find out how to print your Enrolment Verification Letter.

If I am sick, do I need to get a medical note or statutory declaration?

We have suspended requirements for students to provide evidence for reasons for absences. Please do not visit medical clinics for medical notes or Commissioners for Oaths for statutory declarations. Let your instructor know immediately if you are ill and cannot meet a deadline.

How do I access mental health support?

Student Wellness Service (SWS) uses single session counselling to provide faster access to support when you need it most. SWS also provides workshops and group support, supportive check-ins and problem-solving with student support advisors, online resources, brief ongoing counselling, and assistance with navigating campus and community resources. Visit the SWS website to explore self-help resources, and to register for a workshop or group. Some highlights for fall 2020 include:

  • Peer listening will take place on Zoom weekdays from 2 to 4 p.m. The first session is Sept. 21 and it will run until the last week of the semester.
  • Coffee and connection will run Thursday mornings online. Join us for a relaxed conversation with your fellow students. A new wellness topic will be explored each week during this 60-minute session.
  • Ask a counsellor: is a monthly  interactive workshop where SWS counsellors answer your questions about student life, relationships, personal wellbeing and everything in between. This event takes place at noon on Sept. 30, Oct. 28, and Nov. 25.


How do I form friendships and study groups when I can’t meet them in person? All my classes are online and I’m worried about feeling disconnected. 

You can still get involved in student life. Make connections through student clubs — the SU will have a 50 days of clubs campaign to encourage students to find clubs starting Sept. 14. 

The Q Centre, Women’s Resource Centre, Faith and Spirituality Centre, International Student Centre and McEwan Students Centre are other great UCalgary groups to consider checking out as a way to maintain or create new connections with others.

Forming online study groups are a great way to keep in contact with other students from your course. It’s ok to discuss lecture content but always avoid having discussions about individual assignments that you are completing. If you have additional questions about maintaining academic integrity, speak to your course instructor. 


I’m feeling overwhelmed. I took spring and summer classes and am now looking at a full course load this fall.

Consider what your commitments look like in the fall. Speak to an academic advisor in your faculty on your specific options around course loads. In some cases, taking three or four classes instead of five might be an option. Three courses per semester is technically still considered full-time, but be careful about scholarship requirements, since many require four classes per semester. 

Make the most of your break between summer and fall classes with plenty of activities outdoors and making sure you get enough sleep.


I’m worried about my academic performance. What can I do?

Student Success Centre is here for you with advising, learning and writing support to help you enhance your skills for a post-secondary environment. 

If you’re a first year student, register for a Transitioning to First Year small group session to talk with a Student Success Centre representative about tips on how to study and more. These sessions run weekly and are on-going. Additionally, Student Wellness Services will be offering a Transitioning to University workshop, multiple times from late August through September. 

The SU also has a tutor registry to help students connect with their peers. 


I’m concerned about fatigue and focus during lectures. I’m on my phone and laptop so much already, what can I do?

Be mindful of how much uninterrupted time you’re spending seated. Try to schedule mini-breaks between lectures or study sessions that are away from other devices and incorporate physical activity.

Try not to prolong your time spent on devices if you can help it. Log out of social media accounts on your laptop, leave your phone in another room in the house while you’re in a lecture or studying, etc. 

Work out for yourself how much you need to have your video switched on in lectures or in meetings with other students. Switching your video off can help alleviate the pressure to ‘perform on camera.’


I’ve noticed my motivation drop and I’ve started procrastinating. I’m stressed about my fall semester commitments and not being able to perform. 

Stress around academics can adversely affect feelings of wellbeing. It’s good to be mindful and address this early in your semester. Student Success Centre is here for you with advising, learning and writing support to help you clarify your academic path and improve the skills to get you there. Find specific strategies and resources for staying motivated here.


I’m going to be living in residence and worry that I won’t be able to make the most of my experience. Will I feel disconnected from others? 

Living in residence means getting to live amongst your peers, engage in community, and seek support from other students. 

Physical distancing does not mean you have to isolate alone in your room; it means following Alberta Health Services guidelines while interacting with your peers. Residence might look a little different than before, but you will still be able to support one another personally and academically. 

We have a wide variety of programs in place to support student wellness, academic learning and safe social connections during the pandemic. Community Ambassadors (CAs) are returning to campus in fall 2020 and are excited to continue to support your residence experience. CAs are trained leaders who provide individual support and plan community wide programs. Residence staff are available to support you 24 hours/day. New this year is our Wellness Ambassador program, student leaders who live in each community and work with the CA team to plan wellness specific programming and support services for students. 

Fall 2020 Residence Services FAQ


My financial situation is impacting my mental health. What can I do?

Student Enrolment Services has created a list of financial resources for students here.

How will I receive notices about campus updates?

Email is the primary form of communication, so monitor your UCalgary email on a regular basis throughout the spring and summer. In addition, we recommend that you update your personal information in your Student Centre. It is important for us to have a current home address, telephone numbers and emergency contacts. We also recommend that you keep up to date with wellness advice from Alberta Health Services and the UCalgary’s COVID-19 response website.