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Fall 2020 Information For New Students

By now you have seen Emory University’s announcement about revised plans for the Fall 2020 semester that require us to greatly reduce the number of people in residence on campus and move nearly all of our classes online. As a first-year student, you are among the students who will be invited to be in residence this fall.

As your dean, I am thrilled to welcome the Class of 2024 to Emory! We know that this semester will be one that looks nothing like any of us imagined, but our commitment to your education and success remains constant. Despite the challenges we face, I am still excited about the academic year ahead. I can’t wait to meet you, whether you are on campus or elect a remote semester.

We must acknowledge that campus will be different than what you might have imagined it would be and none of you were expecting to begin your time at Emory this way. Planning for this fall has involved immense creativity, adaptability, and resolve to provide a great experience for you.

In making the difficult decisions for fall semester, we believed it was essential to give you the choice and opportunity to begin your time at Emory in person as the newest members of our community. Some of you will be committed to coming to campus and others may have already made the decision to remain at home for the fall semester. We support you in making the decision that makes the most sense for your own circumstances.

As we watched COVID-19 numbers grow exponentially in Atlanta and throughout Georgia this month, it was imperative to reexamine the plan we made just a month ago. We have again consulted continuously with the CDC, local health officials, and a team of internationally known medical and public-health experts from across the university, Emory Healthcare, and affiliated institutions to develop our plans. Please refer to the University’s email sent earlier today for more information about public health and safety protocols we will implement this fall.

If you are in residence, there are a limited number of in-person courses; with fewer students in residence, we will need to offer almost all of our courses as intentionally-designed online classes. This summer, more than 700 of your professors and other instructors have completed intensive training on course design and online teaching, allowing us to maintain the high standards of engagement, intellectual inquiry, and academic rigor inherent to an Emory College liberal arts education.

Their passion and dedication to providing the very best instruction possible for you has been remarkable. Though the medium of most instruction will be different, the academic excellence of the Emory faculty and their dedication to your success has not changed.

Below are additional important details for you to review as a first-year student in Emory College.

Fall Courses and Services

  • Most of our courses will still be offered online, giving all first-year students flexibility in building their fall schedule, whether they are in person or not.
  • We will offer a limited number of in-person courses for first-year students which observe physical distancing, and other appropriate health and safety guidelines from the university. Be sure to only register for these courses if you plan to be on campus.
  • College programs and services will be available to you regardless of your location, including our advising team, academic coaches, peer tutors and others.

It is important that you continue to monitor your Emory email as we approach the return to campus and that you take all requested actions. Allowing you to return will require you to complete additional on-boarding processes as mandated by the University.


Orientation for incoming students will now consist of virtual real-time sessions and on-demand video content from August 16-18, 2020. Throughout the 3-day orientation program, students will complete a short series of videos and modules at their own pace.

Students will also have the opportunity to attend real-time sessions, including Orientation small groups and faculty panels. Orientation programming is designed to be inclusive of all new students, regardless of whether they are living on or off campus.

More information is available on the New Student Programs website.

Housing and Move-In

For those of you who indicated your intention to be on campus in the fall semester, Residence Life and Housing will be communicating with you on July 20 with housing assignments and additional details (including move-in). Be sure to read that email carefully and take appropriate steps.

You should also receive an email today from University Housing with more details about your housing. Broadly, Emory’s residence halls will operate at reduced density with one student per bedroom and Fall 2020 Move-In will take place August 13-17, 2020.

Students will be able to select their COVID testing and move-in timeslot. Dates and times will be determined by your assigned residence hall. We encourage students to wait for the COVID testing and move-in timeslot selection to open before making travel arrangements. You will also receive more information soon about public health safety protocols and expectations.

If you have general questions about this message, please contact our Orientation team at

We are prepared and committed to help you be successful in the coming fall semester that will be like none other in our history. Together, as a community, we will create the signature academic and campus experience for which Emory is known in new and creative ways, and again, we look forward to welcoming you into our community.


Michael A. Elliott, PhD
Dean, Emory College of Arts and Sciences
Charles Howard Candler Professor of English