Academics

We're doing all we can to make your learning experience at NC State safe and healthy this semester. Below, you'll find details of the changes we're making, along with contact information for many of the units and offices standing ready to help.

Photo of a laptop on a desk in Hunt Library with a person's hands on the keyboard and the wolfware.ncsu.edu homepage on the laptop screen.

Academic Calendar

  • NC State began its 2020-21 academic year on Aug. 10, nine days earlier than originally scheduled, and will forgo fall break in order to complete the semester — including finals — before Thanksgiving.
  • As of Monday, Aug. 24, all undergraduate classes moved to online instruction for the remainder of the fall semester. On-campus dining and other campus facilities will remain open and operational. See this update for more information.
  • Classes will be held on Labor Day, and students will not return to campus after Thanksgiving or at any time for the remainder of the calendar year.
  • Commencement plans will be announced at a later date.

The driving factor behind these schedule changes is the health, safety and well-being of students, faculty and staff.

Many public health experts believe our nation and our state could face a second wave of COVID-19 sometime in late fall or early winter. This guidance led us to decide to start and finish the semester early, in an effort to try to stay ahead of any potential resurgence.

In addition, college campuses are liable to face a tremendous challenge during this pandemic when students, faculty and staff leave for breaks. Members of the university community who leave during breaks often engage in domestic and international travel, which can cause them to be exposed to the coronavirus either at their destination or during their travel. Compressing the academic calendar to finish the semester before Thanksgiving is intended to prevent our community members from contracting the coronavirus during holiday travel, bringing it back to campus and spreading it to others.

Key Dates

June 15: Virtual orientation
Aug. 10: Classes begin
Aug. 24: Undergraduate classes move to online instruction
Sept. 7: Classes will be held on Labor Day
Nov. 13: Last day of classes
Nov. 16: Exams begin
Nov. 20: Last day of exams

Changes to Classrooms

We’ve made changes to classrooms and lecture halls to reduce students’ potential exposure to the novel coronavirus. Students will be required to wear a face covering at all times in the classroom. Classroom seating capacity will be reduced so students can sit farther apart.

Some conference and meeting spaces will be repurposed for instructional use to accommodate larger classes while still allowing for appropriate distancing. The university is also moving some larger classes online or offering them in a hybrid format that combines online instruction with traditional face-to-face class sessions.

In-classroom seating will space students at a minimum of 4 feet apart. This distance, combined with required face coverings, is appropriate to help reduce the risk. Signage in classrooms will help students find available seating. NC State evaluated guidance from the CDC, the World Health Organization and the UNC System to determine classroom spacing.

Libraries

NC State University Libraries operates two main libraries, three specialty libraries and a number of campus information centers. These facilities have resumed operations with limited hours for the fall semester. All scheduled research and technology consultations will continue to be delivered remotely in the fall semester as much as possible.

The new Academic Success Center has opened in the D.H. Hill Jr. Library. This center helps students successfully complete their degree requirements by providing a comprehensive variety of free programs and resources that promote academic skill development and independent learning within the university environment. The center will be a key location to study, meet others and find many academic resources.

Services include:

  • Academic peer mentoring, providing support for successful study habits.
  • Undergraduate and graduate writing support.
  • One-on-one and small group tutoring by appointment.
  • Drop-in tutoring, academic advising, career counseling and wellness coaching.

A stairwell in the newly renovated D.H. Hill Library at NC State.

The Libraries has implemented procedures to ensure that visitors can maintain adequate physical distancing, and it will adhere to procedures for cleaning high-touch surfaces. Faculty, staff and students are required to wear face coverings in all library spaces. Access is limited to NC State students, faculty and staff, as well as university affiliates with a Wolfpack One Card, including Centennial Campus partners.

Key Dates

Aug. 3: Hill Library opens
Aug. 9: Hunt Library opens
Aug. 10: Branch libraries open (Design, Natural Resources and Veterinary Medicine)

Libraries will all operate under modified schedules. Check the Libraries website for the most up-to-date schedules and information.

Visit University Libraries What to expect this fall

Research, Labs and Facilities

NC State’s Office of Research and Innovation is managing the reactivation of the university’s research enterprise. The office has successfully implemented the first phase of this reactivation process and is moving forward with the next phase.

  • Students, postdocs and faculty who conduct research in labs and research facilities on campus will be trained to follow new protocols and safety measures in the fall semester in accordance with this phase of reactivation.
  • All research personnel are required to wear face coverings, keep appropriate physical distance and keep their workspace clean. The density of occupants in labs and research facilities will be controlled so there is at least 200 square feet of space per person in the current phase.
  • Labs and research facilities will adhere to procedures for cleaning high-touch surfaces such as door and cabinet handles, bench surfaces, elevator controls, shared printers and copy machines, and instrument control panels at the beginning and end of each shift.
  • For spaces that are shared between teaching and research functions, the protocols that govern that space, unless explicitly declared otherwise, are currently those that govern labs and research facilities.

As occupant density increases in each successive phase of reactivation, NC State will monitor adherence to safety protocols and will encourage a proactive health and safety workplace culture through training and periodic compliance reviews. The EthicsPoint hotline is available for reporting violations.

Department heads and center or institute directors will be responsible for compliance in their units, and they will conduct spot inspections to ensure compliance. They will also be instructed in the process for monitoring the health of their employees, using personal protective equipment, cleaning lab spaces and maintaining proper density of people working together.

The NC State Institutional Review Board is meeting regularly to discuss the conduct of research with human subjects during the pandemic. The board is developing guidance regarding in-person research activities with human subjects. No human subjects research that cannot be done remotely can be started yet without explicit approval from the Research Restart Exceptions Committee.

NC State has service centers that provide valuable services to users associated with our research enterprise. It is therefore crucial that research activities at these service centers be ramped up to ensure restoration of those services. The Office of Research and Innovation plans to undertake a safe, appropriate approach to allow service centers to reactivate operations at increased utilization levels in the coming months.

Visit Research and Innovation

This information is subject to change. Last updated: Aug. 26, 2020.