Fall 2020 plans: Information for students

Saint Mary's University understands students may have questions from the recent announcement that the delivery of all undergraduate and graduate courses will be online for the Fall 2020 term. Please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section below for answers about courses, tuition, residence, labs, research, supports, and services. This section will continue to be updated as more information becomes available, so please visit this page often.

If you cannot find an answer to your question below, please connect with us by email.

All undergraduate and graduate courses will be delivered online for the Fall 2020 term.  This decision supports health and safety for all while also ensuring our commitment to high quality courses. 

Our decision ensures that every student, no matter where you are in the world, can start or continue their studies with Saint Mary’s confidentally and uninterrupted. 

Our Fall courses will be engaging and challenging and will meet the academic requirements for student degrees and programs. Both our undergraduate and graduate programs are highly sought after and will be fully supported in this new model of delivery. 

In addition to supporting academic success, Saint Mary’s will also continue to deliver an engaging student experience; one that is unique to these circumstances but is true to our strong tradition of community. Be assured we will support special opportunities wherever possible for in-person on-campus interactions with our researchers, enriched learning and student life activities, and with each other in a safe and responsibly managed environment.

Saint Mary’s University is committed to a full return to campus as soon as public health requirements enable this to be achieved in a safe and responsibly managed environment. At this time, we are working toward this being achieved for our Winter term which starts in January 2021. We will continue to keep every member of the community engaged in working together to make this possible.  

The career of a university student is usually four to five years and these months will pass quickly. Until then, our tradition of being a caring and engaged community is not diminished by the current circumstance. We will continue to have an unwavering focus on student learning and the advancing of knowledge.

For undergraduate, graduate and professional programs, please visit the tuition fees and other expenses page for detailed information. Our Fall 2020 term tuition rates remain the same and the education and experience of our students, while different during this time on online learning, is no less rich and valuable. The costs associated with delivering our academic courses and content online remain the same or higher.  

The costs for delivering courses online are the same or higher than delivering a course in person. Regardless of how courses are delivered, tuition fees primarily cover the costs of instruction, assessment, and program administration. These costs remain the same. 

Wherever possible, the university is adjusting its fees and practices to provide financial relief to students. In addition, any fee associated with a service or program that students cannot access in the current environment is being removed and we will continue to review all fees each term to sustain this commitment.  

On-campus housing will be available for the fall term starting in September.

Students who have applied to live on-campus this fall and have confirmed a space in residence are still able to live on campus starting in September 2020. Additional information about living in residence here at Saint Mary’s, including what our residence life programming and on-campus food service provision will look like, will be provided in the near future.

$500 Residence Confirmation Deposits

Students who have already paid their $500 residence confirmation deposit and are still planning to live on campus starting in September do not need to take any further action. Housing staff will contact you later in the summer with your specific room assignment as well as additional details about what living in residence will look like this fall.

Students who no longer plan to live with on campus this year based on the University’s move to virtual classes, may request a full refund of the $500 residence confirmation deposit by email and advising Housing staff that this is the case. These emails should include your full name and student number (A#).

Additional questions regarding residence at Saint Mary’s should be directed by email


Academic/Student Supports

Our advisors, the Registrar's Office, and Student Services teams will work with students to identify academic and personal needs. To learn more, please visit the Resources for Students page.

Technology Issues

The university will be offering support and guidance to students who have concerns about technology and access to online learning this fall. For assistance with your technology needs, please send an email


Saint Mary's University is taking action to support our student community. COVID-19 has disrupted students' lives from not just an academic standpoint, but financially as well. New investments of more than $1.5 million into student financial support for the coming academic year are already being made.   

We will continue to be here for you and help you achieve educational goals as much as possible. Overall, we encourage you to use the university and government supports available


While you cannot visit the Patrick Power Library in person, we are open and offering services online and through alternative methods of instruction and supports. Learn more

Saint Mary’s University continues to support our international student community. We understand you might have questions about how online course delivery impacts your university plans going forward. Please visit the international students page for more information and contact the International Student Centre at 902-420-5555 or by email to talk about your situation and any special information or support that you need.  

Our students continue to have the opportunity to engage directly with research despite this disruption.  In a virtual environment, we have already found new ways of keeping these connections between students and research healthy, such as hiring student researchers to work with our researchers from their homes around the world. The university is also working toward providing in-person opportunity for students to engage with research during the Fall 2020 term.

Course instructors will notify you of what materials you will need to complete your courses. All materials and textbooks will be available digitally and can be easily accessed online through the Bookstore's website. 

The Student Health Centre has remained open and is providing virtual as well as in-person appointments where appropriate. Counselling Services has continued providing virtual appointments as well as wellness programming and group sessions. We have received excellent feedback from students on this new mode of delivery. 

In keeping with public health directives, access to the university campus and buildings is currently restricted. Over time, work on campus has resumed using return to work and research protocols that have been endorsed by public health and the university’s Occupational Health & Safety team. This responsible approach will continue as additional access is made available to our community members. All access to campus buildings will include appropriate health and safety protocols and resources.  

The Cooperative Education team continues to work with students and employers on hiring for coop positions.  

Any programs that have a required internship are working with students and employers/placement organizations on completing internships or creating an alternative learning and experience opportunity.  

The university will be working with supervising professors to ensure all options are considered for supporting students who have had planned research disrupted, including exploring alternate research plans and/or availability of additional funding if needed.  Graduate students who have had thesis research progress delayed by COVID-19 related disruptions, and believe they will need to extend their program length, should contact both their Graduate Program Coordinator and the FGSR Associate Dean

All course deliveries will continue in the fall, including labs and statistics. Unique arrangements are underway for lab course delivery based on consultations and guidelines. Some of the possible options include:

  •  virtual labs with video-based lab demonstrations
  •  remote, hands-on lab activities that students conduct at home, using lab kits
  •  remote access to software and instruments to complete labs

Before starting the term, instructors will contact students to provide more information and guidance on how to complete labs.  

Share: Page Feedback