Incoming and Prospective Student FAQs

We encourage you to visit UVA’s COVID-19 resource website to stay apprised of the latest changes at the University and for answers to questions pertaining to reimbursements and refunds, including tuition, on-Grounds housing costs, dining plan, and fees already paid. For pertinent informations regarding current MSDS students, see below.

Q: What leeway can SDS provide for those with children such that we can perform daycare and complete our assignments etc? What leeway can we provide for those who are volunteering or working in some way to combat the virus? Can we reduce the workload, change group projects to individual, etc.)?

A: SDS Faculty are working hard to determine the best way to meet learning objectives and quality of the course experience, while accounting for the difficulties we are all facing. Direct discussions are being had with SDS faculty on different approaches specific to their class.

Please notify us if you have specific concerns you would like to discuss: 

  • Residential MSDS students should contact

  • Online MSDS students should contact their Success Coach (Chauncey Smith, 


Q: How will the CR/NC grading default work? Can we choose between courses?

A: The University will be changing the grading default for courses in participating schools to CR/NC (Credit/No Credit). This applies to SDS and most schools. Once this change is complete MSDS students will be able to change the grading option on a course-by-course basis back to graded (if desired), up until April 28. More information about how to make such changes will be shared with students in the near future. Also, please see the the memo from the Provost detailing which Schools are participating in the grading default change. 


Q: Can we expect any form of financial relief?

A: The University has established different financial assistance options available to specific needs. To see all options available visit (search for “financial” using the handy “Search FAQ” text box at the beginning of the list; this site is frequently updated). Also the available programs we are aware of are summarized below:

Q: The online exam format did not work well - what can we do about that?

A: We are recommending to a University wide committee that the existing guidance on delivery exams remotely be made front-and-center in front of faculty. 


Q: Can we better accommodate students in different time zones?

A: Faculty are being strongly advised by the University to record live lectures or pre-record lectures. At the School level, Data Science faculty are recording all lectures.


Q: Optional Practical Training (OPT) will that still be possible? Will F-1 visa period be extended?

A: According to the International Students Office (ISO), OPT applications are still being accepted. The time to receive OPT (work authorization card) may be extended. For updated information please see their FAQ page. ISO will be the first to receive any information from the United States government about any changes to visas. This is an evolving situation, and so new information will be available over time as decisions are made by the U.S. government. Students are encouraged to reach out to the International Students Office with any questions or concerns:, call 434-982-3010, or schedule an online meeting with an advisor through ISSP Connect.


Q: What happens to students who can’t return home, especially with respect to international students?

A: From the University: “We recognize that some students cannot go home, for a variety of reasons, ranging from the fact that their hometowns or countries are not safe to the fact that their only homes are in Charlottesville. We will continue to provide housing for students living on Grounds who genuinely cannot return home, and will continue to provide dining services, though they will be modified. We will also offer assistance to students on financial aid who need help in returning to their homes.” 

Students should continue to monitor information communicated by the University as the situation evolves. Please know each decision made is in the best interest of the student body’s wellbeing. 


Q: Can we have a lecture on the virus?

A: Yes Phil will prepare an overview and ask those who are undertaking research on COVID-19 to briefly describe the work and progress.