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Fall 2020 Information For New Students

By now you have seen Emory University’s announcement for the Fall 2020 semester and the framework for how we are planning to open safely for in-person classes and a residential community. As one of the newest members of the Emory College community, I wanted to take a moment and layout how these decisions will affect you.

During the past several weeks, we have explored a host of possibilities and made difficult decisions. Planning for this fall has involved immense creativity, adaptability, and resolve to provide a great experience for you. We’ve consulted with Emory’s renowned public health experts, who have helped us to understand what we know about COVID-19. Our faculty, your professors, are working hard this summer to prepare exceptional online and in-person courses.

We must acknowledge that campus will be different than what you might have imagined it would be. But together, as a community, we will create the signature academic and campus experience for which Emory is known in new and creative ways. Here’s a personal message from me outlining some of what we can expect when we return this fall, especially around maintaining the health and safety of our community.

See below for important information for how we will implement new processes for fall semester. To restate the key points from the University’s message:

  • The first day of class for the fall semester will be Wednesday, August 19 and classes will end on Tuesday, November 24. Final exams will take place remotely following the Thanksgiving Break
  • Classes will take place on Labor Day (Monday, September 7) and there will be no Fall Break.
  • Classes will be offered in person or online. Some courses will offer sections in both formats.
  • Physical distancing will be required for in-person sessions, with a 35-person in-class cap in the College.
  • Please watch for a survey on Friday, June 12 from Emory University asking for your course and housing preferences. This will provide important data as we finalize planning for fall. 

What does this mean for me?
The New Student Programs team is working on the implementation of our fall plan. They will continue to communicate with you over the course of the summer regarding move-in, registration, and Orientation. You can expect to hear specific information on these topics at various dates in the summer:

  • Updated Orientation Schedule & General Arrival Information: by June 30
  • Advising and Registration: Early July
  • Move-In Specifics: Late July/early August

The one question you should consider with your family at this time is “What mode of instruction works best for me at this time?” We are excited to be welcoming many of you to campus, but we also know that for some, online instruction may be the best option for the fall semester. Thinking about this question ahead of time will help you in the meeting you will have with your pre-registration advisor later this summer.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to my team at We will respond as quickly as we can to your questions.


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