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Graduate Program Policies
Grade Policy: Grades in required and elective courses must be B- or better. A student who receives either: a grade lower than B- in three required courses; or a grade lower than C- in any required course is subject to dismissal from the program. Each such instance is reviewed by the Graduate Program Steering Committee and acted upon on a case-by-case basis, taking all aspects of the student's performance (coursework and laboratory research) into account. Required courses may not be audited or dropped because of academic difficulties. In most scenarios, if a student receives a grade lower than a B- in a required course, the class must be repeated, and a grade of B- or better must be achieved. In the case of a grade below B- in an elective course, the student has the option of retaking the course to achieve a satisfactory grade or of taking another elective course and achieving a grade of B- or better.
Vacation Policy: In addition to posted university holidays, a maximum of two weeks of vacation are allowed during the first year and three weeks during subsequent years. Additional vacation or personal leave time may be granted by a student's mentor or the program director. Trainees shall continue to receive stipends during vacations and holidays. Time between semesters or academic quarters is generally considered an active part of the training period, including the summer months. However, students may choose to take their vacations during these time periods. Students should advise the graduate program office of their intent to be away from the institution for time periods exceeding those listed above.
Sick Leave Policy: Sick leave should not exceed 15 calendar days per year. Parental leave of 30 calendar days per year can be used for the adoption or birth of a child. The program director must be notified if a student plans to use parental leave. Sick days may not be accrued from year to year.
Outside Employment: Outside employment is strongly discouraged since a student's full efforts should be devoted to graduate research and education. In certain hardship situations, students may work for compensation outside the lab on a strictly limited, part-time basis. This work must be apart from or beyond the normal research training activities, which typically require a much more than 40 hours per week. Under no circumstances may outside employment interfere with, detract from, or prolong the student’s training program. Permission to work outside the graduate program must be obtained beforehand from both the program director and the faculty mentor.
Research Progress Oversight: The progress of biomedical research is often unpredictable. Therefore, the time it takes each student to complete the doctoral degree will vary. Each student’s research progress will be evaluated by the student’s preceptor on a day-to-day basis, and by their Thesis Advisory Committee on an annual or semi-annual basis. The program expects most students to complete their degree within 6 years of entering the program. At the end of their fifth full year in the program, and every year thereafter, the Director will request from each student a one-page list of doctoral research Specific Aims and progress on each aim (completed, near completion, in process, initiated, or planned), as well as a projected timetable for their completion, to be countersigned by the student’s preceptor and members of their Thesis Advisory Committee.