Overview of Autumn Quarter at UChicago 2020

Returning to Campus and a Culture of Safety

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To: Members of the University Community
From: Robert J. Zimmer, President, and Ka Yee C. Lee, Provost
Date: August 6, 2020

We are looking forward to welcoming as much of the University community as possible back to campus for the Autumn Quarter that begins on September 29, guided by the University’s academic missions and values and in close collaboration with public health experts and the University of Chicago Medicine.

The video linked below provides an overview of UChicago’s plans and expectations for students and families, faculty, researchers, and staff about the resumption of on-campus activity, including the health practices to promote safety within our community.

If you have questions, we encourage you to visit the UChicago Forward website for more information.

Tax Deadlines and Financial Advising

It’s tax time again – this time in July. Because of the COVID pandemic, both the IRS and State of Illinois extended the 2019 annual tax filing deadline to July 15, 2020.

If you have not already filed, review our 2019 tax workshops for an overview of next steps. In addition, the IRS extended the deadlines for 2020 quarterly estimated tax payments until July 15, 2020. (Illinois did not change the estimated tax deadline.) Confused? Graduate students can find more information about quarterly estimated tax payments here. Or, if you have general questions, please email gradhelp@uchicago.edu.

Students have been asking for financial advising and we are delighted to announce that UChicagoGRAD has partnered with TIAA to provide free one-on-one financial wellness consultations for graduate students and postdocs. These consultations are intended to answer questions related to investing, saving, and budgeting. You may sign up for an appointment here or by calling 800-732-8353. And, keep an eye out for workshops on these topics coming in the Autumn Quarter.

UChicago Convocation 2020

The 533rd Convocation will take place virtually on Saturday, June 13, at 9:15 a.m. This is a University-wide ceremony involving degree candidates from all divisions and schools. During the ceremony, the University President Robert J. Zimmer will confer degrees to all candidates.

Live Streaming

The virtual University-wide ceremony will stream at convocation.uchicago.edu.

Speakers, contact information, and links to the virtual ceremonies can be found on the Virtual Ceremonies Schedule page.

Details for the College, as well as the Schools and Divisions’ individual ceremonies, can be found below. All ceremony times are Central Standard Time (CST).


  • FRIDAY, JUNE 12, 2020
    • 9:00 AM- The School of Social Service Administration
    • 11:00 AM – The Division of the Social Sciences
    • 12:30 PM – The Divinity School
    • 2:00 PM – Class Day
    • 4:30 PM – The Division of the Humanities
  • SATURDAY, JUNE 13, 2020
    • 9:15 AM – University-wide Ceremony
    • 11:00 AM – The William B. and Catherine V. Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies
    • 11:00 AM – The Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies
    • 11:30 AM – The Law School
    • 12:00 PM – The Division of the Physical Sciences
    • 4:30 PM – The University of Chicago Booth School of Business
  • SUNDAY, JUNE 14, 2020
    • The College is proud to recognize the incredible achievements of our graduates during our College Diploma Ceremonies. A UChicago tradition, the College Diploma Ceremonies invite students to return to their residential communities to celebrate graduation with those with whom they began their academic journey. Each ceremony is presided over by a resident dean and features remarks, speeches, and the reading of the names of each graduate. This year’s virtual ceremonies will take place on Sunday, June 14, 2020, throughout the day at the times listed below. Links to each virtual ceremony, as well as speaker and contact information, can be found on the Virtual Ceremonies Schedule page.

Social Media

Share your Class of 2020 memories, photos, and reflections, as we recognize your accomplishments! Use our specially designed Class of 2020 social media tools to celebrate and share your success with friends and family.


For more information about Convocation, academic regalia, diplomas, and more, please consult the FAQ page. If you have additional questions, please email convocation@uchicago.edu.

UChicagoGRAD Is Here to Help

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The past few months have highlighted the intense inequities and racism in our country, and the murder of George Floyd and subsequent protests have amplified the injustices that Black people in America face. UChicagoGRAD recognizes that many students and postdocs are feeling hurt, trauma, and increased anxiety. These are challenging issues to grapple with, and we don’t purport to have quick or easy solutions. We encourage you to check in on each other—reach out to your peers. Please email askthegargoyle@uchicago.edu to let UChicagoGRAD know how we can support you in efforts to change the reality in this country so that we have an inclusive and equitable society for everyone.

Dana Bozeman, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, is available for advising and personal support (schedule in GRAD Gargoyle using appointment type ”GRAD Diversity: Topics Related to Diversity & Inclusion” or email Dana at dbozeman@uchicago.edu).

Three Minute Thesis Competition 2020

Do you wish you had an answer at the ready when someone says, “So, tell me about your research?”

Apply by June 3rd to participate in UChicagoGRAD’s Three Minute Thesis Competition and Research Showcase. This year’s 3MT will take place virtually on Thursday, June 11, 4:00-6:00pm CT.

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Three Minute Thesis, also known as 3MT, is a public speaking competition originally developed by the University of Queensland.

In a 3MT competition, participants prepare a three-minute presentation about their research using only one static slide. It’s a great opportunity to showcase your work to a broader audience and practice your public speaking skills. By participating in a 3MT, you can gain practical experience in how to condense the broad strokes of your research into a clear, concise, and engaging format.

Any student currently enrolled in a graduate degree program at the University of Chicago and writing a Master’s or PhD thesis is eligible to apply. The focus of your presentation should be your original research, pitched in an engaging way to a general audience without losing sight of the significance and impact of your work.

A panel of judges will evaluate each presentation and choose an overall winner as well as additional winners in separate categories. The winning presenters will have their presentations featured on the UChicagoGRAD website and be featured in an episode of the new GRADTalk podcast.

The application deadline for the Three Minute Thesis Competition is June 3. To complete the application form, please click here. For questions please contact Michael O’Toole: mfo@uchicago.edu.


National Science Foundation (NSF), Graduate Research Fellowship Information Sessions

The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRFP) provides 3 years of stipend and tuition support to students in STEM, including most fields in the social sciences.

UChicagoGRAD will host an initial information session about NSF on Friday, May 22. This information session will cover the application materials, advice on creating a strong application, resources for support as you apply, and tips from recent recipients. Separate writing workshops and application guidance sessions will take place throughout May and June. Please register via GRAD Gargoyle to have Zoom links sent to you in advance of the session.

Related events:

  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Information Session, Friday, May 22, 3-4 pm
  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Personal Statement Guidance Session, Tuesday, May 26, 12-1pm
  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Research Statement Guidance Session, Friday, May 29, 12-1 pm

Questions? Please contact UChicagoGRAD’s Director of Fellowships, Beth Powers.

GRAD Guide to Career Planning During COVID-19

Concerned about how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect your career plans?

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A new guide from UChicagoGRAD can help you stay on track. With the outbreak of COVID-19, you may have questions about how to proceed with your job search. Social distancing, remote work, and economic uncertainty can make an already stressful process more complicated, but there are steps you can take now to move forward. This guide gives advice for conducting a job search using online resources and tools for virtual engagement. It also provides recommendations about creating flexibility in your search and points to relevant resources.

Your career advisor will be able to talk to you about how to adjust this advice according to your unique situation, and help you answer any questions that arise during your job search. Make an appointment with your career advisor via GRAD Gargoyle.

Economic Impact (Stimulus) Payments for Graduate Students

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The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) has authorized payments to qualifying US taxpayers who meet criteria detailed here. In general, you qualify for a payment if you 1) are a US Citizen, Permanent Resident, or Qualifying Resident Alien (with a Social Security number), 2) cannot be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer, and 3) have an Adjusted Gross Income below the relevant threshold for your filing status. You can use the IRS EIP chart to review the stimulus amounts. If you believe you are entitled to payment and have not yet received it, you may use this IRS tool to check the status of the payment and determine if further action is required to claim the payment. We are not able to provide individual tax advice, but if you have general questions about this, please email gradhelp@uchicago.edu.

Virtual Programming and Resources

UChicagoGRAD is committed to supporting graduate students and postdocs during this challenging time. We are working with campus partners to provide virtual resources and opportunities to help you stay connected and engaged while campus is closed. Please see current offerings below and visit virtualgrad.uchicago.edu for updated information.

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Photo credit: wsj.com


  • Graduate Admissions Learn more here
    • We have made the decision to cancel all in-person admissions programs and interactions out of concern for the health and wellness of everyone in our campus community and all of our guests. While the Office of Graduate Admissions will be closed to the public on campus, our staff will be readily available to help you via email or phone during these challenging times. We also are offering the opportunity to schedule a one-on-one Zoom meeting with a member of the admissions team – click here to schedule an appointment. You do not need a Zoom account to join a meeting.
    • View media resources (webinars, online publications, etc.) here
  • Sounding Board Advising – Sign-up here
    • Emotional distress is common and normal in the context of uncertainty and potentially health-threatening situations. Taking care of your mental health needs during the COVID-19 Pandemic is challenging and particularly when being required to shelter in place, oftentimes, in isolation. Tend to your wellbeing by reaching out to UChicagoGRAD’S Sounding Board advising service which provides remote phone consultations addressing anxiety, fear, relationship concerns, and other destabilizing reactions during these uncertain and upsetting times.
  • GRADHelpLearn more here
    • GRADHelp is your source for help and information about stipends, payments, bills, fees, insurance, and more. If you have questions about any kind of payment or other financial-related issue and aren’t sure where to turn, email gradhelp@uchicago.edu

  • Diversity and Inclusion Advising and Workshops – Sign-up here
    • All students and postdocs can sign up for advising sessions to discuss issues, concerns and experiences related to diversity as it affects their academic and career development as well as personal wellbeing.

    • Structured Writing Accountability Groups (SWAG) – In collaboration with Student Support Services and the Writing Program, we provide space and structure for graduate student and postdoc quarterly writing accountability groups. Applications are due April 26. Learn more here

  • Fellowship Advising and Workshops – Sign-up here
    • Fellowship advisors are available to work with you on application materials for specific fellowships or grants.
    • Small group advising sessions are also available to help applicants compare the different types of grants, understand the application components, learn about strategies for developing competitive applications, and receive resources for further exploration.
  • Graduate Writing ConsultationsSign-up here
    • UChicagoGRAD is offering one-on-one online Graduate Writing Consultations for graduate students interested in working on their academic writing. Consultants work with writers on academic papers, journal articles, dissertation chapters, proposals, and other academic documents.
  • Career Development Advising and Workshops – Sign-up here
    • For Your Job Search
      • Are you currently in the middle of a job search, or are you gearing up to begin one? Are you planning to go on the academic job market this fall? Talk with a career advisor about how you can refine your strategy now that hiring is happening virtually. This includes advice for crafting a strong LinkedIn profile or personal website as digital presence increases in importance. Your advisor can also share strategies for expanding your options in an uncertain job market.
    • For Public Speaking, Interviewing, and Networking Preparation
      • Are you interviewing for jobs? Getting ready for a presentation? Preparing for virtual networking conversations? GRADTalk advising helps you enhance your oral communication skills for a variety of professional applications. You can schedule a meeting with a GRADTalk advisor to practice virtual presentations for your classes, committee, lab, or prospective employers. You can also use GRADTalk as a low-stakes way to practice using Zoom and other remote technologies.
    • For Your Written Application Materials
      • Are you satisfied with your CV or resume? Whether you are currently applying for jobs or not, this is a good time to refine written materials such as your CV, resume, or cover letters. In a virtual meeting, you can work on live edits with your UChicagoGRAD career advisor, sharing screens and discussing the documents line by line.
    • For Your Career Exploration
      • Are you trying to decide what type of career makes sense for you? Whether you are completely undecided or just want to explore contingency options in case your current plans are disrupted, UChicagoGRAD career advisors are experienced at helping you work through a process of self-reflection and personal discovery. We are here to listen first, meet you where you are, and offer guidance in navigating the range of available opportunities.


Have an idea for a virtual program or resource to promote academic skills or community building? Know of an existing program or resource you would like us to highlight? Share it with us here

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

It’s not too early to start planning your fall application! NSF provides 3-year fellowships to individuals early in their graduate career. https://www.nsfgrfp.org/Key facts:

  • It’s not just for scientists and engineers! All fields of social science are eligible.
  • Fellows receive 3-years of funding with tuition support spread and which can be combined with other awards
  • 2,000 fellowship are awarded every year
  • UChicago graduate students have a strong record of winning NSF GRFPs!
  • UChicagoGRAD Fellowship staff are available to discuss applying and provide support to your application. Make an appointment with UChicagoGRAD’s Director of Fellowships, Beth Powers here: https://grad-uchicago-csm.symplicity.com/
  • Sign up for NSF GRFP information sessions in May:  https://grad-uchicago-csm.symplicity.com/