Graduation during COVID-19

Information for students doing or looking for a graduation project

On these pages, besides the TU Delft Corona pages and IDE Faculty specific information, we address additional issues students who are working on or looking for their IDE MSc graduation project might run into due to COVID-19 measures. The following points are addressed:

  1. Information for students who have already started their graduation project
    a. Whom to contact with questions about your graduation project
    b. Making adjustments in an ongoing graduation project, maintaining quality and assessment
    c. Sharing of issues and solutions
    d. Midterm evaluation and Green light meeting
    e. Postponement of graduation activities
    f.  No graduation activities abroad until (at least) February 2021
    g. Model making facilities
    h. Re-enrolment when continuing graduating in September
     
  2. Information for students who are finalising their project
    a. Graduation ceremony in remote mode
    b. Issuing of the diploma
    c. Delays in your study and the consequences for a potential cum laude
    d. Re-enrolment when graduating in September (or after)
    e. Financial concessions for MSc students
     
  3. Information for students who are looking for a graduation project and want to start
    a. Information on graduation and whom to contact with questions about your graduation project
    b. No graduation projects abroad until (at least) 1 February 2021
    c. How to look for a graduation project 
    d. Suggestions on how to find a chair and mentor

 

All information concerning MSc graduation projects is described in the Graduation Manual which is to be found in the downloads section of these pages. Please check the information in the manual since the procedures described there, and the forms enclosed are still applicable (with one exemption namely the Graduation Ceremony, see ‘Information for students who are finalising their project’).

In addition to this information and for more relevant tips on working from home you might take a look at the TU Delft website: Remote studying: how to make it work?

And not to forget, Arjen Jansen, course coordinator of the Initiate to Graduate elective, has an message for you:


1. Information for students who have already started their graduation project

Due to the COVID-19-situation, some graduation projects cannot be executed as originally intended. Issues are, for example:

  • Prototypes that cannot be built and tested
  • Companies that can no longer be involved or provide the necessary input and/or guidance
  • Observations that are not realistic
  • User tests that cannot be performed

Additionally, the situation may have an impact on intended working hours. You may have fallen ill or know people who have been infected, you may find it difficult to work from home and needed time to adapt to this situation, you may feel concerned about a possible study delay and the possible (financial) consequences of this. Whatever your situation, feel free to discuss it with your supervisory team or to get in contact with Graduation Support or an academic counsellor to discuss these matters.

For adjustments to your graduation project, please carefully read through the following information.

a. Whom to contact with questions about your graduation project

General information on graduation is shared on this website, and when you have already started your project the first people to talk to when it comes to dealing with the actual situation are your chair and mentor. In addition to their support, other possibilities are:

Graduation Support  (general questions)
Graduation Support offers support on graduation related topics to MSc students. Questions from students who are in the process of orientation on, making arrangements for, or execution of a graduation project, can send an email to graduationsupport-IO@tudelft.nl.

Academic counsellors (for personal issues)
If you have personal issues (for instance illness, illness of people close to you, lack of motivation, difficulties with working alone, worries about financial and/or visa consequences) that cause you difficulties in executing your graduation project, you can contact the academic counsellors. You may send them an email or make an (Skype) appointment here

b. Making adjustments in an ongoing graduation project, maintaining quality and assessment

If you have to make adjustments in your project due to the situation with coronavirus, please look for alternatives which will enable you to continue the project. Do not hesitate to contact your chair and mentor, who have been asked to offer even more help than usual in finding solutions.

Try to work together with your team on finding a solution. We urge you not to wait until the situation returns to normal as it is unclear how long this will take and which measures will continue for an indefinite period.

Making adjustments might imply that some planned activities and/or the end result need to be adapted. Given the circumstances, such modifications can be arranged with your supervisors and do not need the approval of the Board of Examiners. In your final report you should reflect on the modifications that were made, the alternatives that you’ve tried and found, and what was learned from that. Making adaptations and finding alternatives requires flexibility and creativity and might add complexity to the project.

We would like to point out that the purpose of the graduation project is to assess to what extent you meet the learning objectives (as reflected in the rubric), and not whether you are able to deliver a complete and perfect ‘product/design’.

Do not worry that the project will no longer be ‘good enough’, or that it won’t be enough to graduate in a specific MSc programme. There are different ways in which you can show your competencies. In any case, make sure that you are aligned with your supervisors.

c. Sharing of issues and solutions

A Google document has been set up in which all graduating students can share their issues,  alternative ways of approaching their project and solutions:

Graduation and Corona: issues and solutions (google doc)

You can use the document:

  1. as a means of sharing your experiences to support your peers
  2. as a source of inspiration for finding alternative solutions for a specific activity in your project

d. Midterm evaluation and Green light meeting

The supervision of graduation projects continues in remote mode. This means that both, Midterm evaluations and Green light meetings can also continue in remote mode and don’t need to be postponed. The documents that are relevant for preparing these meetings are unchanged and available in the downloads section: Downloads

e. Postponement of graduation activities

If you wish to temporarily stop your graduation project because of the situation, this is permitted. If you coordinate this with your supervisors, this should not impact on the assessment of your project. The same applies for any rescheduling of the project itself, or any delay caused by adapting to the new situation.

Nevertheless, you have to bear in mind that a delay in your study programme may have financial consequences for you.

f. No graduation activities abroad until (at least) 1 February 2021

Due to the great uncertainty surrounding the development and spread of the COVID-19 virus worldwide, and being no longer able to fall back on government and business travel insurance in the event of repatriation, graduation activities abroad are not recommended until (at least) 1 February 2021. Exceptions for countries with green and yellow travel advice colour codes might be made per faculty, only if there is no alternative in The Netherlands and the consequences of cancelling are disproportionate. This is judged by your chair and must  be approved by the faculty. 

No permission will be granted permanent for countries with orange and red colour codes. 

See also TU Delft pages on the Corona virus about internships and research projects abroad (the information also applies to graduation projects). 

g. Model making facilities

Discuss with your supervisors whether it is necessary to build a model, or whether an alternative solution is acceptable. The Model making and Machine Lab (PMB) and Applied Labs remain open for small groups of graduation students (maximum 10 students). If you wish to make use of these facilities, it is required to make arrangements with the coordinator of the lab in advance:

Be aware that accessibility of the (Applied) Labs is limited, and activities that involve risks cannot be performed due to the limited support facilities. 

h. Re-enrolment when continuing graduating in September

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 situation, your graduation project might have been delayed or extended. When it continues to September you must re-enrol for the next educational year (2020-2021). Don’t forget to do so, as you need a valid student registration for the graduation work and the graduation itself.

More information on re-enrolment.

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2. Information for students who are finalising their project

a. Graduation ceremony in remote mode

Graduation ceremonies continue in an online mode, using a tool like YouSeeU in Brightspace (accessible through a member of your supervisory team), Skype for Business, or another tool that is provided by TU Delft (preferably not Zoom to avoid potential privacy issues!). Discuss with your supervisors how to organise the ceremony. Guests can be invited and join the online ceremony. They can ask questions, e.g. by using the chat functionality of the chosen online tool.

Rather than giving a live presentation, it is advised to record a video of the presentation before the ceremony, which you can share by YouTube (private share) for example. Your supervisors and guests can view your presentation before the ceremony, and the ceremony can be focused on questions from guests.

Your supervisors will sit together in a closed session to discuss the assessment, and you will be invited to join them when they have come to agreement on the grading. Together with your supervisors you will evaluate the project, after which you all ‘return’ to your guests.

Postponement of the ceremony
Postponement of the ceremony is discouraged as this will necessitate that payment of tuition fee will be required for the period of the delay. If, however, you wish to postpone the ceremony until a time that a face-to-face ceremony is possible, then this can be arranged via your chair. Such a delay will not affect the final grade. 

b. Issuing of the diploma 

TUD MSc diplomas are on paper. As the supervisory team and support teams are working from home, diplomas cannot be issued at this time. Once our operation has returned to normal, we will prioritise delivering diplomas to all students who have graduated. If you require your diploma urgently, please send an email to Manon Borgstijn. All requests for this will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

After you have (successfully) passed the graduation ceremony, you can un-enrol as student in StudieLink (www.studielink.nl). Please follow the instructions in the mail you received shortly after the Green light decision.

c. Delays in your study duration and the consequences for a potential cum laude

A delay in your studies might be caused by the COVID-19-situation, which might lead to exceeding the maximum study duration for cum laude (2,5 years starting from the day of your first enrolment in the MSc programme). If this occurs, and you have met all other criteria for a potential cum laude, your supervisors can send a substantiated request for granting cum laude to the Board of Examiners.

d. Re-enrolment when graduating in September (or after)

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 situation, your graduation date might have been moved  to September or after. If this applies, you must re-enrol for the next educational year (2020-2021), even when your graduation date is moved to 1 September 2020! The actual educational year (2019-2020) expires on August 31st.

More information on re-enrolment.

e. Financial concessions for MSc students

The measures surrounding the Corona crisis have been and still are drastic for many of us, both physically and mentally. There are situations in which students face direct or indirect financial concerns that jeopardise the progress of their studies. TU Delft and DUO were able to adopt a number of measures to respond to the situation.

  • TU Delft will treat the payment terms of tuition fees in a courteous manner. In principle the tuition fees are collected at the usual times, but if collecting is unsuccessful postponement is possible.
  • For MSc students who would graduate in the educational year 2019-2020, but had to postpone their graduation to 2020-2021, DUO might refund 3 months of tuition fees. This is applicable for those students who obtain their MSc diploma between September 2020 and the end of January 2021. See for more information (in Dutch): https://duo.nl/particulier/corona/geld-ov-studie-en-terugbetalen.jsp

For non-EEA students who have postponed their graduation to the 2020-2021 academic year due to COVID-19

Non-EEA students who pay an institutional fee may be eligible for compensation in tuition fees to the statutory rate for a maximum of 3 months (September to November 2020).

Conditions for eligibility:

  • Graduation is on or before 30-11-2020
  • Planned graduation date was in the academic year 2019-2020
  • The delay is a result of COVID-19
  • Student was continuously enrolled in the programme (for longer than nominal)
  • No other form of tuition fee compensation applies

See for more information the Information for students on the TU Delft Corona pages or get in contact with one of our Academic counsellors.

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3. Information for students who are looking for a graduation project and want to start

lIn the current situation, initiation of a graduation project can be more challenging than usual as staff and companies might be more difficult to contact. As it is uncertain when life will be back to ‘normal’, and what ‘normal’ will look like, we strive for supporting you in continuing your study as planned. Please carefully read the following information.

a. Information on graduation and whom to contact with questions about your graduation project

General information on graduation is shared on this website. You have access to e.g.: Graduation Opportunities, the Graduation Manual for students, the Graduation Project Brief format and the List of IDE chairs and mentors. Also information on Graduation Support is to be found here. Other possibilities are:

Graduation Support (general questions)
Graduation Support offers support on graduation related topics to MSc students. Questions from students who are in the process of orientation on, making arrangements for, or execution of a graduation project, can send an email to graduationsupport-IO@tudelft.nl.

Graduation Support Sparring Partners (MSc-programme specific and subject related questions)
The Graduation Support Sparring Partners can be consulted to discuss more master specific topics in relation to graduation, like;

Academic counsellors (for personal issues)
If you have personal issues (for instance illness, illness of people close to you, lack of motivation, difficulties with working alone, worries about financial and/or visa consequences) that cause you difficulties in initiating your graduation project, you can contact the academic counsellors. You may send them an email or make an (Skype) appointment here.

b. No graduation projects abroad until (at least) 1 February 2021

Due to the great uncertainty surrounding the development and spread of the COVID-19 virus worldwide, and being no longer able to fall back on government and business travel insurance in the event of repatriation, (partial) graduation projects abroad are not recommended until (at least) 1 February 2021. Exceptions for countries with green and yellow travel advice colour codes might be made per faculty, only if there is no alternative in The Netherlands and the consequences of cancelling are disproportionate. This is judged by your chair and must be approved by the faculty. 

No permission will be granted permanent for countries with orange and red colour codes. 

See also TU Delft pages on the Corona virus about internships and research projects abroad (the information also applies to graduation projects).

c. How to look for a graduation project

As mentioned before, the initiation of a graduation project could not be more challenging during the period that COVID-19-measures are in place. It’s not possible to pop your head round a door for a quick ‘how to’ chat, to ask for any project opportunities, to discuss a possible subject, or to ask whether a person could act as your chair or mentor. Furthermore, companies and organisations are advertising only few opportunities at this time. We would therefore advise you to focus on projects which can be setup by mainly working from home for the duration that is required, by:

  • Look for a faculty project
    We have put energy into stimulating faculty members to set up graduation projects. Faculty projects that are available and worked out in full format are posted on: Graduation Opportunities

    But, when you already want to have a quick overview of staff members who have projects available and in which direction, you can check the google sheet: extra Graduation opportunities during COVID-19 (google doc). Get in contact with the contact person to already discuss possibilities before an official announcement was put online.
  • Work on an idea that you have yourself
    As a crisis situation comes with a lot of limitations, it often also stimulates creativity and the urge to find solutions. You might have recognised problems that need to be solved, and that might be suitable to focus on in your graduation project.

d. Suggestions on how to find a chair and mentor

Academic staff have been asked to be extra attentive to student requests concerning graduation. You can appeal for their support by:

  • Sending a brief email, aimed at scheduling an online meeting
  • Scheduling a Skype-meeting with members of our academic staff to discuss matters related to your graduation project and its initiation

Some other tips

  • Do not send out the same email to a lot of people without letting them know which other people have also been sent your request.
  • Be clear in your email about why you are contacting them: e.g. to elaborate on a specific topic, because you want to discuss graduation opportunities, asking to be your chair/mentor, ….

Ask if they can refer you to another colleague who might be able to help you, if the person you have contacted indicates they are unable to offer any further help.

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