What to Expect - Fall 2020

For New and Returning Graduate Students in the School of Engineering this fall 2020:

In response to COVID-19, the University of St. Thomas has made prudent decisions to act on the advice of state and medical professionals. The format for fall 2020 will have several scenarios including in-person, live online, and hybrid models, with faculty ready to pivot to have all classes online if needed.  The classes are still being held during their normal time on weeknights.

We know that many of you have questions around our "new normal" at St. Thomas. We strongly suggest that you take some time to read through the Campus Preparedness Plan, view the Campus Preparedness video, and FAQs below to learn more about what to expect this fall. 


Nearly all of the graduate software, data science, and information technology courses (SEIS) will be offered "live online". Many of the graduate engineering courses (ETLS) will be in-person and some will be in a blended format or completely online. All graduate courses in the School of Engineering will have the capability to pivot to completely online if necessary.

Whether your first class meets via Zoom teleconferencing software or in-person on campus, you can expect to receive an email from your instructor(s) a week prior to the first evening of classes with instructions on how or where you will meet.  Students should be sure to check their Canvas announcements for details one week before their class is scheduled to start. Questions can be directed to your individual instructor.

Yes, you will be expected to wear a mask or other non-medical face covering when you are on campus unless you have a medical reason that does not allow you to wear a mask.

More About Masks

Many of you have asked questions and expressed concerns regarding our policy for masks and other face coverings. Our ability to keep campus open this fall improves if all community members follow the Preparedness Plan guidelines designed to mitigate disease spread; that includes mask guidelines. Here are some examples of situations where wearing a mask is (and isn’t) expected:

Wear a face covering in the following situations:

  • Sitting or standing in a common area with other people present
  • Waiting in a line to order food in a Dining Services facility
  • Sitting in class or working in a lab
  • Walking through the hallways on the way to or from class
  • Attending an event on campus
  • Attending a worship service at one of our religious facilities

You don’t need to wear a mask in situations such as:

  • Running on a treadmill or doing cardio in the AARC
  • Eating in a Dining Services facility
  • Waiting in a common area with no one else around
  • Using a study room alone in the library 

We remind you that the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul both require using masks in public spaces, and we expect all St. Thomas community members to abide by local ordinances. As stated in the plan, St. Thomas will consider reasonable accommodations for anyone who cannot medically tolerate masks or other face coverings. Students should contact Disability Resources to request accommodations.

You can get a free mask from the Card Office relocated in Murray Herrick Campus Center room 101, Monday - Friday between the hours of 8:30 AM and 4 PM. 

The university has acquired cloth face masks (purple of course) for all community members. All community members must present their St. Thomas identification cards to receive their masks. 

Updated Building Hours

The following buildings have officially begun the process of reopening and are designated Level One readiness – which means community members can currently access these areas by card swipe only during designated hours:

(Updated 6/30/2020)

  • Anderson Student Center
  • Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex (AARC)
  • Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas
  • Facilities and Design Center
  • Iversen Center for Faith
  • John R. Roach Center for the Liberal Arts
  • O’Shaughnessy Science Hall
  • O’Shaughnessy Stadium + Outdoor Fields
  • Owens Science Hall
  • O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library

 View a list of buildings and their limited hours. More groups of buildings will follow in the coming weeks. These Adjusted Building Hours are part of the University's response to the COVID-19 outbreak and are subject to change.

We received this information from the St. Thomas St. Paul Campus Bookstore on June 26th:

How can students order textbooks online (what is the link)?
Students should use the following link to find out what textbooks they need:

Where can students pick up or how can students get their textbooks delivered to them?
We will have a pick up in store, curbside pick up, or they can have books FED EX to them. They will receive an email when their order is ready with details on how the pick ups will work. Orders will begin to be processed the second week of August.

When is the Bookstore scheduled to be open?
We will be open the week of Aug. 15th, but it might be sooner.

Is there an incentive to order online?
Yes, a 5% discount if orders are placed online through the Campus Bookstore.( A promotional code will be available early August.) The only books that will not be eligible are digital books.

Additional information for our grad students to know?
We are having a contest to give away a free semester of books --"Like" the Bookstore's web page to be entered into the drawing. Some course materials are Digital Direct materials which are available on Canvas -- students save 25 - 40% off publisher's prices. Textbook returns are allowed for 1 week after the semester begins. Rental textbooks can be highlighted in and written in.

If you have more questions, please contact the Bookstore directly at http://tommiebooks.stthomas.edu/tommiebooks1/contact

All current and newly admitted students should login to their Canvas sites and download any required technology/software a week prior to the start of class. If you need assistance or require support from the School of Engineering Technical Support Team please contact them at soetech@groups.stthomas.edu . Note: For Tech Support you must send any emails from your St. Thomas account.

If you are a new student please read through the orientation materials so you understand how to login to the Canvas site. 

If you are an international student and have questions about your return to campus this fall, please contact the Office of International Students and Scholars at oiss@stthomas.edu.