Guidance for Holding Proposals and Defenses

Dear UVA Engineering Graduate Students and Faculty:

In order to minimize disruption to graduate students’ academic progress and their ability to complete degrees this spring, please note the following guidelines regarding proposals and defenses:

  • UVA Engineering recommends all proposal and defense events be held as hybrid events – with online and in-person participation options. We do not require that these events be held in person, even under normal circumstances.
  • These events are not classes, nor are they large gatherings. Per current University guidelines, departments can hold these meetings in person for parties who are already here on Grounds and wish to do so. Events held in person should be scheduled in large rooms, and participants should practice social distancing by maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others.
  • If any participants would need to travel to Charlottesville for the meeting, they should participate in the event online to avoid the need for travel.
  • If any participants meet any of the CDC guidance for exposure to the coronavirus, they should participate in the event online. This includes recent travel to or from areas the CDC has identified as risk areas (please watch the CDC travel website for up-to-date information); exposure to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is suspected to have had exposure to the virus; or symptoms such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing.
  • Even if all participants are available locally, if any one of them is not comfortable attending the event in person, departments should accommodate those concerns and allow those individuals to participate online.
  • Existing policies on MS examining committee, Ph.D. advisory committee, and Ph.D. final dissertation examining committee membership remain in place.
  • Per UVA Engineering policy, we require that these presentations are conducted orally. When conducted online, these presentations should be held synchronously to committee members to enable discourse through interactive two-way communication rather than provided as a recording.
  • Per UVA Engineering policy, we require that these presentations are conducted publicly. Information on how to access the presentations online should be provided in the public announcement.
  • Out-of-town family and friends are strongly discouraged from traveling to attend these events in person.
  • Graduate students who have questions or concerns should first direct them to their faculty advisors.
  • Faculty advisors who have questions or concerns should first direct them to their program’s director of graduate studies. The names of the program directors can be found here. Remaining questions may be sent to Amy Clobes.

Thank you for your flexibility.

N. Scott Barker, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

UVA Engineering


Amy M. Clobes, Director of Graduate Programs

UVA Engineering