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Academic Life


We are welcoming all students who wish to join us back to Grounds. Unlike in the past, however, we have designed this Fall so that students can take courses from wherever they are. (The few exceptions will be practicums and other courses that require a specific in-person experience for licensure.) While we hope and expect that many students will return to Grounds, we also know and appreciate that others will need to or choose to stay in their home communities. Regardless of where students are, our aim will be to provide all of them an engaging and enriching academic experience. 

Academic Calendar

Assuming federal and state health and safety guidelines allow, the Fall semester will start August 25th, 2020 for undergraduate programs, as planned. Start dates for graduate programs are listed on the Registrar’s Office. There will be no Fall reading days, and in-person instruction will end by Thanksgiving. In an effort to minimize the risk of bringing the virus back to Charlottesville, students will not return until the new year. For more information visit the Academic Calendar and the updated exam schedule for more information. 

Online Options

Because of social distancing requirements and their effect on our classroom capacity, large classes will be all online. We will, however, offer as many in-person classes as we can. For classes and sections offered in-person, there will be a remote option for students who are not on Grounds. The deans and faculty in every School are thinking creatively about how we can maximize the number of in-person classroom experiences; decisions about which classes will have an in-person option will be made based on the format of each class, our classroom capacity in light of public health requirements, and the availability of faculty instructors to teach in-person. The University plans to release updated information in SIS by August 1, 2020, in time for students to decide their plans for the fall. Students and instructors will be able to see the updated instruction mode for each class and search for additional classes based on the instruction mode. See the instruction modes used at UVA.

Expanded Options for Students

In addition to Fall and Spring courses, every undergraduate student will have the opportunity to take a January term course and a course in the first Summer session of 2021. While these courses normally require the payment of additional tuition, next year they will be included within the regular tuition for Fall and Spring semesters. To enhance our offerings, we are designing new, interdisciplinary courses for the January and Summer terms. These courses, tailored specifically for this year’s new and returning students, will be taught by professors from across the University and will explore some of today’s most relevant topics—from the science of pandemics, to racial justice, to analyzing the 2020 election. Most students will therefore have the option, depending on their degree program requirements, to spread out what would normally be taken in Fall and Spring over Fall, J-term, Spring, and Summer. Schools will provide additional guidance on this, and you can find more information on the FAQs for Students.

Finally, as always, undergraduate students will be able to request a deferral (gap year) or leave of absence. The deadline for new students to apply for a deferral through the Office of Undergraduate Admission is July 1st, and current students may request leaves of absence according to individual schools’ policies. Students who plan to live in the residence halls will be asked to confirm whether they plan to join us in the Fall by July 1st. 


As a top research university, we are deeply committed to advancing knowledge. While we have had to adapt to new ways of conducting research over the last several months, this commitment has never been stronger. In the midst of a global pandemic, the University of Virginia has been mobilizing its resources and researchers to find a test and vaccine for COVID-19, treat patients, track the COVID-19 globally, and analyze the crisis through the lens of history, politics, economics, business, law and more.


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