Engineering COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

For campus-wide updates regarding COVID-19, please refer to Western University's COVID-19 site.

The information provided below is specific to the Faculty of Engineering.

We understand many of you are concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on your academic progress and that this FAQ page cannot address all of your questions. Your supervisors, departments and the Dean’s Office are all working hard to serve you. We are receiving a high volume of emails and are responding as quickly as we can. 

The information on this page will be changing and updating as the situation with COVID-19 evolves. Thank you for your patience. 

Western Engineering Administrative Offices are operating virtually with no staff physically in the office, but we are happy to assist you remotely Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:00pm.

Please below for important service information. 

Important Department Service Information

Below is the service availability and contact information for departments and ancillary units within Engineering.


Information for Undergraduate Students 

For engineering-specific undergraduate questions, please email


What does the hybrid delivery of learning mean?

For First-Year Students

We will be delivering the majority of course content in an on-line learning format, but there will be in-person options as well. We are working with all first-year instructors to provide tools and best practices to ensure that the experience positive and students have adequate support with their studies.

There will be face to face options available for students who want to take advantage of those opportunities. These will take place in the ES 1050 – Foundations of Engineering Practice course, as well as Physics and Chemistry. These will consist of opportunities for group work and discussions as well as active participation in a laboratory environment. We encourage all first-year students to take advantage of the face to face component of our courses.

However, if it is not possible for a student to do so, there will be options to make other arrangements. Instructions and details of the alternate arrangements will be available later this summer.

The health and safety of our students is paramount, and we are working diligently to ensure that our in-person components abide by Western’s standard of health and safety as outlined on the Western University site.

For Second and Third-Year Students

In order to operate safely in-person during this pandemic there has had to be a drastic reduction in classroom capacity. As a result, we have had to make the difficult decision to offer all second and third-year courses on-line.

At the moment our classrooms are reduced to approximately 20% of their normal capacity, thus in order to be able to run an in-person class for 50 students, we would need a class that can hold 250 students. This has resulted in an inability to offer many in-person classes. Because our fourth-year courses tend to be the smallest and involved significant face to face collaboration for capstone design courses, we prioritized the space for our fourth-year students.

We are working extensively with educational experts and consultants to ensure that your experience in on-line learning is a positive and engaging one.

For Fourth-Year Students

The majority of fourth-year courses will be offered in-person. We strongly encourage all fourth-year students to be physically present on campus so that they can fully participate in capstone project teams and take advantage of the opportunity to connect with faculty. For those fourth-year students unable to return to campus there will be the opportunity to make alternative arrangements for the completion of their courses. Instructions and details of the alternate arrangements will be available later this summer.

As mentioned before, the health and safety of our students is paramount, and we are working diligently to ensure that our in-person components abide by Western’s standard of health and safety as outlined on the Western University site.

Should I plan to move to London for the 2020/21 academic year?

For First-Year Students

We encourage all incoming first year students to be living in London, so that they can become oriented to the Western campus, make face to face connections with peers, faculty and staff, and take advantage of the course components that will be delivered in person. 

However, we recognize that not all students are willing or able to move to London for this coming year.  In those cases, we will be providing opportunities for the completion of all first-year courses in an on-line format. 

For Second and Third-Year Students

Because your courses will be delivered in an on-line format, it is entirely up to you where you decide to live.  If you choose to be in London for the school year, you will still have access to some in-person support services.  If you choose to remain away from campus, you will be able to access all supports in an on-line format.

For Fourth-Year Students

We strongly encourage all fourth-year students to be physically present on campus for your final year of the program.  We believe it will provide you with the best opportunity for the completion of your capstone projects and will help with your transition from university to your future career.  If you are not willing or able to return to campus, we will work with you to find a way for your to successfully complete your degree. 

Why is there still a timetable for on-line courses?

We have kept the timetable for on-line learning to provide the opportunity for instructors to provide synchronous options for class delivery. Depending on the course, some classes may have opportunities for students to watch live lectures, demonstrations, or participate in on-line discussions and tutorials. Because of this, we have kept the timetable slots to ensure that instructors are aware of the times they have available to them for the scheduling of these live course components.

We recognize that not all students may be able to log in at certain times of the day. Because of this, many live course components will also be video recorded and posted to the course site, so that any students who are not able to participate in the “live” component, will be able to view it on their own time. However, not all live course components will be recorded, so it is important that students reach out to their professors to make alternate arrangements if need be. In addition, your course instructor may use the assigned class times for the delivery of assessments.



Final Grades and PASS/FAIL

All information regarding Engineering undergraduate final grades and how they relate to PASS/FAIL can be found here.

Final Exams and Capstone

All courses will have a final assessment between now and the end of April. instructors have been provided with options and are required to make decisions regarding exam format by March 30, 2020. Solutions will vary with the needs of individual courses, so be sure to check your OWL messages for updates.

If you are unable to complete your academic responsibilities for an Engineering courses’ final exam/final assessment, please contact Abby Al-Takriti to discuss your options as soon as possible. If you are missing a non-Engineering courses’ final assessment/exam, please contact your professor directly.

The course outlines presented at the beginning of term are likely to change regarding both the assessments and the weighting of the assessments. This includes final capstone projects. The calculation of the final grade is likely to be adjusted from what is currently on your course outline. This will be formally documented in a course outline revision and posted on OWL as soon as the form of the final assessment is approved by the Department Chair.

Engineering Academic Counselling

Until further notice Engineering Academic counseling is virtual. 

If you have academic questions, please email your Academic Counsellor.  If you have general questions, please email

If you have made an appointment with someone, this appointment will be on email, phone or Skype. 
There are no in-person appointments.  Your Academic Counsellor will contact you at your appointment time.

Appointments can also be booked online. Please visit our Undergraduate student page for more resources. 


Western is committed to the health and safety of our students, staff, and the community. At the same time, we are committed to helping our students navigate this new and changing situation with as little disruption to your studies as possible. Thank you for your understanding during this unprecedented and difficult time.

Absences and Student Illness Reporting

Beginning March 18, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. all Western students are asked to use a new, online Student Illness Reporting Tool to track and monitor illnesses, whether the illness impacts the submission of course work or not. This tool takes the place of the need to submit a medical note and the Self-Reported Absence System used by undergraduate students.

No medical notes are required.

This method of reporting will be in place until April 3, 2020.

Further information about illness reporting during the final exam period will be communicated at a later date. In addition to reporting their illness through the Student Illness Reporting System, students are being asked to follow the guidelines below applicable to their student group:

Undergraduate Students including Affiliated University College Student (excluding Students in Ivey or Nursing) If students will not be able to submit coursework due to their illness, they are asked to view the information posted by their instructor on their course(s) OWL site.

Graduate Students are to follow the normal procedures for connecting with their instructors/supervisors for missed classes/academic work.

Study Space

The university is making study space available in the following locations from 10a.m. to 8p.m.:

  • University College – Rooms 1105, 1225, 2105, 2110, 3220, and 3225
  • University Community Centre – Rooms 58, 59, 60, 61, 63, 65, and 67
  • Somerville House – Rooms 2316, 2317 and 2355
  • North Campus Building – Rooms 114, 117, 293, 295, and 296

Students can study in these dedicated locations that will be frequented by security staff and cleaned regularly.


Rest assured you will not lose accreditation. CEAB is working to address the continually evolving situation with COVID-19 on CEAB-accredited engineering education programs. Please refer to CEAB's statements for more information as the situation evolves.

Iron Ring

The Wardens of Camp 11 have postponed the Iron Ring Obligation Ceremony scheduled for March 28, 2020 and will be arranging a ceremony in London for the Fall. Once a date is chosen, they will be in touch with all eligible candidates. For those candidates who already paid, registered and got sized, we will hold all of that for the new date.

Remember, you must attend an Obligation Ceremony to receive your ring but it does not have to be here in London. You may attend at any Camp in Canada. As all Obligation Ceremonies were postponed as of March 12, 2020 – we feel confident that the Camps will all be as accommodating as possible. When things settle down, we may be able to offer refunds to candidates who know that they absolutely will not be able to attend an Obligation Ceremony in the Fall.

Intent to Register (ITR)

24th March 2020

The deadline for online Intent To Register (ITR) will be extended to April 30th, 2020.


Information for Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Graduate students, remember to visit to find answers to your questions and access resources specifically for you.

For general graduate-related questions, email For engineering-specific questions, email

For those who are currently in COVID-19 isolation, The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS) has provided a resource tool with some great information available.


What will my fall term look like?

All Fall 2020 term graduate courses in the Faculty of Engineering will be offered online. This decision has been reached while taking into consideration the health & safety of students, faculty & staff, the allowable occupancy limit on campus in the Fall, and accessibility of courses to all those students who cannot come to campus due to travel restrictions or health risks.

We would like to assure you that we are making every effort to offer online courses with high standards of delivery while maintaining effective learning experiences and learning outcomes.

Please contact the Graduate Office in your Department if you have any questions.


Thesis Examinations

In our previous communication on March 16, 2020, it was mentioned that PhD and MESc thesis examinations will proceed as scheduled. However, SGPS has recently advised to postpone scheduled thesis examinations, where possible. All scheduled PhD and MESc thesis examinations are postponed until further notice, with the exception of those that cannot be postponed due to extenuating circumstances. Grad Chairs in each department will contact students who have scheduled thesis examinations in this regard. Thesis examinations that will proceed under this condition will still have the flexibility for participants to join remotely. No new thesis exams will be scheduled until further notice.

We recognize that the postponement or delay of thesis examinations raises concerns regarding the need for continued enrolment and additional tuition charges. SGPS will ensure that all students affected by postponement of an examination or delay in scheduling of an examination will be enrolled as Thesis Defense Only (TDO) status in the subsequent term to avoid additional tuition fees. Students currently in TDO status this term, and whose exams are postponed to a future term, will be permitted to hold an additional term of TDO status.

For more information on Thesis Examinations, please visit Western's SGPS site. 

Graduate Research Activities

Effective 11:59 p.m, Tuesday, March 24, all university research labs will be closed, along with the buildings, with the exception of those deemed essential by the Vice-President Research. These include:

  • Labs conducting COVID-19 research
  • Labs that must maintain essential biological specimens
  • Labs with equipment that must continue to be calibrated and cannot be turned off

For ongoing Graduate Research updates, please visit Western's SGPS site. 

Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA)

SGPS has been receiving many inquiries about the expectations of GTAs under the current situation. For a full list of work expectations, please visit their COVID-19 website.

Reduced presence of faculty and staff on campus

Effective March 19, 2020, reduced number of faculty and staff will be physically present on campus, while others will work remotely from home. As a result, it is highly recommended to use email as a mode to communicate with faculty and staff. If any support is needed from the staff on campus, they will try to provide the best support, but some delays might occur.

Research Western

Effective 11:59 p.m, Tuesday, March 24, all university research labs will be closed, along with the buildings, with the exception of those deemed essential by the Vice-President Research. These include:

  • Labs conducting COVID-19 research
  • Labs that must maintain essential biological specimens
  • Labs with equipment that must continue to be calibrated and cannot be turned off

Research Western has put together an FAQ to address your concerns. If you have additional questions after reviewing the FAQ, please email


Information for Faculty and Staff 

The Dean’s office will be physically open Monday to Friday with reduced hours from 10 am to 2 pm. Staff will also be available virtually to respond to emails. Please reference the department service information at the top of this page for hours and contact information.

All Department offices within the faculty will be operating virtually with no staff physically in the office.

We recommend office phone lines be forwarded to emails and someone from your department will check and respond to these emails in a timely manner. This level of service is important in order to continue to serve the needs of our students. 

2020 FALL TERM -  For instructors

Will I be getting help with setting up my on-line course?

The on-line task for the Faculty of Engineering is working hard to set up an on-line OWL course that will take you through all of the steps for setting up an effective and engaging course with assessment methods and models that maintain academic integrity. You will be provided with templates, tools, examples, and one-on-one support to ensure that the process is as straightforward as possible.

Can I get into a classroom to record lectures?

We will be providing an opportunity for those who want to record course component videos in a classroom, to be able to do so. However, the timing is unpredictable due to the continuous shifting of the dates of the state of emergency. Because of the uncertainty, we encourage you to consider alternate ways of creating small videos to demonstrate key concepts. We will be providing you with options, examples and support for doing this.

Should my course be delivered in a synchronous or asynchronous format?

We encourage faculty members to provide a combination of synchronous and asynchronous course components.  For example, you may deliver the key concepts in short 10-15 minute videos and the use some of the timetabled course time to offer a zoom discussion or tutorial. Regardless of how you structure your course, we need to be mindful that some students will not be able to participate in live course components (either due to time differences or because of internet accessibility). We expect that you will, when possible, record those live components for students who are not able to participate, to view on their own time or come up with a way to provide the student through lecture notes and slides, access to the material. 

Do I need to deliver my on-line course based on the timetable?

For asynchronous course components, this obviously does not apply. However, for the synchronous components of your course i.e., tutorials, discussion groups, quizzes, tests, etc. you need to follow the set-out timetable. The times allotted to your course do not all need to be used, but it provides you with some options to schedule the synchronous components, knowing that they will not conflict with anything else happening in other on-line courses.

My course is timetabled to be in-person, do I need to provide options for students to complete the course on-line as well?

Some students may not be able to attend in-person components (immunocompromised students, international students with travel restrictions etc.) so we need to provide options for those students to complete the course on-line. This may mean recording lectures for the students to view on-line and offering alternative or on-line assessment opportunities. We will be reaching out to students over the summer to determine who may be in this position so that we can work with instructors to develop accommodations for those students.

Are we going to be able to offer proctored exams?

The university is investing in an on-line exam proctoring software that will be available to you. We will be providing support and guidance on how this will work and will be providing strategies, best practices and examples of how to create on-line exams that ensure academic integrity.

We will also be advising on alternative assessment methods that will ensure you can determine individual student knowledge without necessarily maintaining the traditional large-format final exam. Whether or not we will be able to offer in-person proctored exams for in-person courses, will be determined based on the number of students and space that is available. We will continue to provide updates and information on this as we have more clarity on social distancing restrictions.


2019 Winter Term

Final Exams and Grading Schemes

Updates regarding grading schemes for undergraduate students are underway and will be communicated to faculty members by their Department Chairs shortly. Decisions concerning the new formats of final exams will be made by March 30, 2020, and will vary with the needs of individual courses. For graduate courses, please coordinate with your Graduate Chair regarding changes in delivery and assessment.

Research Activities and Lab Availability

Effective 11:59 p.m, Tuesday, March 24, all university research labs will be closed, along with the buildings, with the exception of those deemed essential by the Vice-President Research. These include:

  • Labs conducting COVID-19 research
  • Labs that must maintain essential biological specimens
  • Labs with equipment that must continue to be calibrated and cannot be turned off

For further details, please visit Research Western's site. 

Research Western

For ongoing information regarding Research, visit Research Western's official COVID-19 Updates site.

For ongoing Grant updates, visit Research Western's Funding page

Research Western has put together an FAQ to address any of your concerns. If you have additional questions after reviewing the FAQ, please email

NSERC Program Information

NSERC will continue to support its grants, scholarships and awards recipients, as well applicants, peer reviewers and employees. The granting agencies recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic may affect your work, your ability to conduct and review research, and your ability to prepare and submit publications or grant and scholarship applications.

NSERC will provide program-by-program specific information as they continue to monitor and evaluate adjustments to program application deadlines and the reporting of due dates, as needed. These will be communicated through the NSERC website with regular updates. If you have any questions, please refer to NSERC's Contact Us page