Undergraduate FAQs Related to COVID-19

We are here to support you! Please check back often. Answers will be updated as the situation evolves.

Transition to Online Learning

How will this affect my ability to graduate?

It will not. We are committed to providing students a means to complete all courses this semester. Regardless of the nature of the course (lecture, lab, capstone), faculty will develop a plan to address all remaining learning outcomes.

(*) Note that you still need to do your part and complete course requirements in a satisfactory manner.

Do I Need to Stay in Buffalo? I am afraid I will be forced to stay on campus to complete labs.

All SEAS UG students can return home, if they would like to do so. You are not required to remain in the Buffalo area. If you live in the dorms and would like to stay, you are welcome to do so.

Will the transition to online instruction postpone or change the rest of Spring academic schedules? (e.g. move Spring final schedules to a later time, such as Fall 2020)

There are currently no plans to change the academic calendar. The schedule for the Spring 2020 semester remains as originally stipulated. We expect to begin the Fall 2020 semester in late August. 

Will there be in person office hours for TAs and or professors?

Unfortunately, faculty and staff are not available for in-person meetings. Following guidance from the NYS Governor, many faculty and staff will be working from home. Faculty, TAs, advisors, and other staff are available via email and videoconference.

Will there be an option for on-campus labs for those that choose to stay on campus? Will the labs be open for lab oriented classes?

No. Unfortunately, all UG labs are closed. Tinkering labs are also closed. UG students are not permitted to access the Machine Shop or Digital Manufacturing Lab. 

How will I communicate with my SEAS advisor?

Advisors are ready and eager to support you via email, telephone, and online videoconference meetings. You can make an appointment with your academic advisor by calling (716) 645-2775 or using the online scheduling system.

Will lectures be recorded or livestreamed or both? What platform will be used for online lectures?

We understand that many of you will be in different time zones and have varying levels of access to technology. Faculty are aware of the importance of recording livestreamed events. They have been asked to record events and post the videos to UBlearns. Many faculty are using Panopto to record lectures.

Will online instruction run at the same scheduled times as normal lecture?

We have asked faculty to hold synchronous (livestream) events (e.g., office hours, discussion groups) at the same time the class or office hours were originally scheduled.

How will office hours work? Will questions be answered quickly?

Faculty and TAs are expected to utilize online collaboration tools, such as WebEx, Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts to offer virtual office hours. Information regarding connection methods and times will be included in the revised syllabi. Email and Piazza remain effective means to communicate with faculty and TAs.

How will labs work?

The solution for labs will vary by program. You will learn more from your department and/or faculty. A number of options are being considered. Faculty or TAs may record the lab and ask students to respond to questions related to this recording. In some cases, faculty may provide students data collected in a previous semester and ask them to analyze, interpret, and communicate findings.

How will the final design project classes proceed?

The solution will vary by program. You will learn more from your department and/or faculty. Students are encouraged to connect via online collaboration tools, such as WebEx, Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts. This approach is common in industry!

How will major exams be held online?

The solution will vary by course. There are options. Some faculty may employ a different style of exam (e.g., open book, take home). Other faculty may use software to lock down your web browser (e.g., Respondus Lockdown Browser) and/or monitor you while taking an exam (e.g., Respondus Monitor). In some cases, faculty will substitute a project for an exam.

(*) Please do not assume that take-home exams are “more difficult” than in-class exams.

How will SEAS maintain academic integrity during exams?

We appreciate your concern. Faculty are aware of shortcomings with various assessment techniques. That said, we need your help. We call on SEAS students to be true professionals during this challenging period and act with honesty and integrity. Demand the best in yourself and your peers.

Will commencement happen in May?

Due to the unprecedented circumstances faced as a result of COVID-19, UB’s May 2020 commencement ceremonies will not take place as scheduled. See President Tripathi's full message. The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is brainstorming alternative ways to celebrate this milestone.

Refer to the school's commencement webpage for the latest information.

Updated 4/8/2020.

How are student clubs and organizations going to work?

Unfortunately, the student association made the difficult decision to cancel all student club events and activities until May 16, 2020. As a result, SEAS has decided to close all SEAS student club spaces until further notice. All club presidents have been notified.

Are there resources available for students experiencing financial difficulty?

Please contact the office of Student Conduct and Advocacy. This office oversees distribution of UB emergency funds. The office can conduct telephone interview for students who are unable to come to campus.

How can I take care of my mental health during this stressful time?

We care deeply about the mental health and wellbeing of our students. Visit the counseling website for tips on managing anxiety during this health emergency. We understand that counseling services are also working on options for teletherapy. TAO self-help is also available to all UB students.

What will happen to tutoring services?

Tutoring and Academic Support Services (TASS) is moving to an online platform. Beginning March 30th, tutoring services and academic coaching will be offered via Zoom. The approach to making an appointment remains the same.

The SEAS Small Groups program is also moving to an online format. Prof. Wild will be in touch with connection details.

Will I be required to purchase additional hardware to complete exams or other course components?

We are sensitive to the fact that you did not register for an online course. We expect any additional expenses to be minimal (say $15 to $20). If costs are higher, please contact us.

Grading Policy Updates

When is the Spring 2020 resignation deadline?

The updated resign deadline is the last day of Final Exams, May 16th. Make sure to discuss resignation implications with an academic advisor before resigning a course.

Academic Implications:

  • Summer coursework to stay on track: UBThisSummer
    • SEAS courses will be offered in a distance learning format.
  • See TAURUS.buffalo.edu for transfer options
     
Financial Implications:
  • Full time status = 12 credits
  • Federal (SAP) and NYS (TAP, STEM, Excelsior) eligibilty
    • Excelsior requires completion of 30 degree-applicable credits per year.
  • Talk with a Financial Aid Advisor

Visa Implications (International Students)

What is S/U Grading?

Students may request an S/U grade in lieu of a letter grade (A-F) by completing the Request for Undergraduate S/U Form. The deadline to request S/U grading is the last day of Final Exams, May 16th. These grades will appear on transcripts as S* and U*, where S grades earn credit and U grades do not earn credit.

Instructors are not aware if you have selected the S/U option when they submit your final grades, and you are not required to inform your instructor that you selected this option. The Office of the Registrar will convert the letter grade to S or U after your instructors submit final grades.

What happens if I get an S grade?

If you select S/U grading and earn an A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, or C letter grade in the course, the letter grade will be converted to an S and you will receive credit for the couse.

  • Example 1: you decide to take MTH 241 as S/U, and you receive a C in the course, the C will be converted to an S grade.
    • The S grade will not impact your GPA, but you will earn credit for MTH 241 and satisfy the Calculus 3 degree requirement. The C grade will not impact your GPA, and will not appear on your transcript.
  • Example 2: you decide to take MTH 241 as S/U, and you earn an A- in the course. The A- is converted to S, and does not impact the GPA.
    • You want the A- to contribute to your GPA! You can elect to recover the A- grade.  
  

What happens if I get a U grade?

If you select S/U grading and earn a C-, D+, D, or F letter grade in the course, the letter grade will be converted to an U and you will NOT receive credit for the course.

  • Example 1: you decide to take MTH 241 (or PHY 108, or any UB Curriculum Pathway course or other degree requirement) as S/U, and you receive a F in the course, the F will be converted to an U grade.
    • The U grade will not impact your GPA, and you will not earn credit for this requirement.  The F will not impact your GPA, and will not appear on your transcript.
  • Example 2: you decide to take MTH 241 as S/U, and you earn a C- in the course.  The C- is converted to U, and does not impact the GPA.
    • You want to earn credit for MTH 241, and you discuss the impact of recovering the C- grade on your GPA with an advisor.  You decide your GPA will be fine with the C-. You can elect to recover the C- grade. The C- will impact your GPA, will appear on your transcript, and you will receive credit for the course.   

How will S/U grades work with degree requirements?

S grades will satisfy a degree requirement, U grades will not satisfy a degree requirement. If you receive a passing U grade (C-, D+, D), you need to formally recover that grade to satisfy the degree requirement.

How will S/U grades work with course requisites?

S grades will satisfy course prerequisites and corequisites, U grades will not satisfy prerequisites and corequisites. If you receive a passing U grade (C-, D+, D), you will need to formally recover that grade to satisfy course requisites.

Can I select S/U Grading for a class I am repeating?

Yes!  Students are allowed to select S/U grading for a course they are repeating in the Spring 2020 semester. For students taking a course for the third time, it will depend on the grade you received in the second taking. Contact your academic advisor for assistance.  

Will I be able to repeat a Spring 2020 class in Fall 2020?

Generally, yes. Some courses are considered limited enrollment or controlled enrollment courses, and students are not generally permitted to repeat these courses in a regular spring or fall term. However, students enrolled in these limited enrollment courses this spring will be permitted to repeat them in Fall 2020. If you are not sure if you should repeat a class, discuss with an academic advisor.  

Why shouldn't I select S/U grading?

Generally, there is no down side to selecting S/U grading given that you will be able to recover your grade at any time.  

When is the deadline for recovering S/U Grades?

UB: students can request to recover an S/U grade earned during the spring 2020 semester at any time. 

SEAS: no specific deadline, but the timing of recovering these grades can impact various SEAS policies like admission decisions and academic review. Recover letter grades that positively impact your SEAS academic standing or admission criteria prior to June 5th!

Can I select S/U grading for all Spring 2020 courses?

Students can select S/U grading for any spring 2020 course, including UB Curriculum courses, engineering and computer science major requirements, and engineering and computer science admission requirements. 

Students cannot select S/U grading for any course that is required for major(s) or is a prerequisite to the major in the following majors: Nursing, Accounting, Occupational Therapy, and Physical Therapy.

  • If you plan to switch to one of these majors, please contact that program directly to discuss S/U grading options. 

How will S/U Grades impact my standing/admission in a SEAS Major?

For accepted students: The Office of Undergraduate Education (OUE) will run the Academic Review process after grades are converted to S/U (for students who select this option). Since S/U grades do not impact GPA, students with all S or U grades will not have a technical GPA. These students will retain the academic standing from the prior semester.

For intended students: Intended SEAS majors will be reviewed for admission after spring 2020 grades have been converted to S/U (for students who select this option). S grades satisfy the requirement for completion of a core course, but do not contribute to the core GPA (2.5 minimum), while U grades do not satisfy the requirement for completion of a core course, and do not contribute to the core GPA.

  • You are generally advised to recover the letter grade if it helps you satisfy the core course GPA requirement (2.5) or the overall GPA requirement (2.5 or 2.8).
  • Students are permitted to repeat at most two core courses one time, but courses taken in Spring 2020 will not contribute to the repeat max. Courses taken for any grade (A-F or S/U) will not contribute to the repeat maximum!
  • Students are typically required to complete all four core classes within four semesters at UB. SEAS will delay implementation of this requirement. This requirement will become effective at the end of the Fall 2020 semester.
  • S/U grades do not impact the Admission Quality Point Deficit. Students will have until the end of the Fall 2020 semester to satisfy the Admission Qualify Point Deficit thresholds.

What is my SEAS Academic Review Standing?

Students who have completed at least one semester as an admitted SEAS major can find their academic standing on the SEAS Portal: https://academics.eng.buffalo.edu/academics/review/

  • First semester students do not have an academic standing yet. First semester students with all S or U grades for the spring 2020 semester will be in good standing.
  • Students with all S or U grades will simply not have a technical GPA for the Spring 2020 semester.  

I'm on probation. How can I get back in good standing?

Students can recover the letter grade (A-F) earned in the course. Recovered grades that are a C or better will contribute positively toward the technical GPA. A student must recover at least one technical class to trigger Academic Review.

Recover letter grades that positively impact academic standing prior to June 5th

I was conditionally admitted to SEAS, how can I complete my academic plan?

Standard/Reconsideration Conditional Admission:

  • Students with a 2.5 GPA criteria need to show that they can perform at a 2.5 level in a minimum of 3 technical credit hours (one standard course).
  • Therefore, they need to recover (or not select the S/U option) for at least one technical course that is 3+ credits.

Financial Aid Conditional Admission:

  • Students conditionally admitted for Financial Aid still need to satisfy the standard admission criteria, as outlined in the Progress Report.
  • It may be beneficial to recover S/U grades if they can help satisfy a core course or GPA requirement.

Recover letter grades that positively impact academic standing prior to June 5th

When should I recover an S grade?

For accepted students: You should consider recovering an S grade when doing so will positively impact your GPA. Depending on the timing, recovering the S grade in a technical course may trigger Academic Review. Recover letter grades that positively impact academic standing prior to June 5th.

For intended students: You should consider recovering an S grade when doing so will positively impact your admission to a SEAS major. Depending on the timing, recovering the S grade may impact SEAS admissibility. Recover letter grades that positively impact admission to the major prior to June 5th.

When should I recover a U grade?

For accepted students: You should consider recovering a U grade when you need the credit to satisfy a requirement (must have earned a passing grade). Depending on the timing, recovering the U grade in technical classes may trigger Academic Review. Do not recover a U grade until after June 5th, and speak with an advisor first.  

For intended students: You should consider recovering a U grade when you need the credit to satisfy a requirement (must have earned a passing grade). Depending on the timing, recovering the U grade may impact SEAS admissibility.  

  • You must recover grades in core courses before Periodic Review to impact SEAS admission (June 5th).
  • Recovering non-core grades may be best done after Periodic Review. Discuss your options with an advisor!

Be aware that the recovered grade will impact your GPA! Talk to an advisor for assistance with this decision.

There is no benefit to recovering an F grade that was converted to U. 

I am an Honors Student - does S/U grading impact my status?

The Honors College will not require students to receive or recover letter grades in order to meet Honors College GPA eligibility requirements:

  • 3.3 overall undergraduate UB GPA freshman year.
  • 3.5 overall undergraduate UB GPA sophomore year through graduation.
 
At the conclusion of the spring 2020 semester we will evaluate all Honors students based on their overall undergraduate UB GPA. Contact honors@buffalo.edu if you have any questions.
 

How do I recover a letter grade that was converted to S/U?

Students will be able to recover the letter grade after it is officially posted to HUB.  Use the S/U recovery tool to view letter grades and submit recovery requests.  Note: data on this website is updated on a nightly basis.

I receive NYS Financial Aid (TAP, STEM, Excelsior, etc.) - can I request S/U grading?

S grades will satisfy degree requirements and count as credit completed for NYS aid purposes. On a case-by-case basis, students may wish to recover S grades if they contribute positively toward maintaining the minimum GPA required (generally 2.0, STEM recipients must maintain a 2.5).

U grades will not satisfy degree requirements, therefore will not count as credits completed for NYS aid. On a case-by-case basis, students may wish to recover U grades to meet credit requirements for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and Excelsior DAC completion requirements. Note: recovering U grades will negatively impact the GPA needed to maintain eligibility. 

I'm graduating this spring - can I request S/U grading?

Yes! Graduating seniors can request S/U grading.

If you receive a passing U grade (C-, D+, D) in a course you need to graduate, you should recover the grade so that it can satisfy the degree requirement. Note: it will negatively impact your GPA. Be sure you are still meeting the 2.0 UB and 2.0 technical GPA minimums to graduate.

Is S/U Grading right for me?

Questions to consider:

  • Do you need the letter grade to meet GPA requirements for graduation and/or your major?
  • Do you need the letter grade to boost your GPA?
  • Do you need to maintain a certain GPA for scholarships?
  • Are you interested in graduate school? Many programs require letter grades for courses relevant to the discipline, like medical and law schools.
  • Are you trying to make Dean's List this semester? Dean's List requires completion of minimum 15 credits, 12 of which must be graded credits.
  • Are you working towards Latin Honors? Courses taken as S/U do not count for Latin Honors. 

If you are concerned about any of these items, talk to your advisor about whether an S/U grade is right for you!

I don't have access to technology to participate in my classes - what do I do?

Communicate with your faculty! Generally, email is the most efficient form of communication. If you anticipate that you will be unable to access technology for a specific period of time, tell your faculty! We hope to accommodate you as best as possible. You recently received an email about loaner laptops. Please apply now if you will need one!

In rare cases, an Incomplete grade may be appropriate. You will need to work with your faculty. The criteria for approving incomplete grades remains the same.

Will I still get Mid-Term Grades?

Yes, faculty are still asked to submit mid-term grades in HUB by April 10th. You will receive notification from the Office of the Registrar on April 13th about mid-term grades.

You will be notified via SEAS if you receive an unsatisfactory mid-term grade and directed to contact the faculty and the academic advisement team to discuss options. Advisors are available via phone and WebEx.

 

How can I contact my Advisor?

Check the HUB Student Center or the SEAS Portal to find your advisor's name and contact information.

In-person service is unavailable until further notice, but you can contact advisement via phone (716-645-2775), email (ubengineer@buffalo.edu), or WebEx.