BGS Home » Faculty » Student Academic Standards and Policies

Student Academic Standards and Policies


General expectations for BGS students are described in a document, Expectations of Students in Biomedical Graduate Studies, which is updated annually. This document addresses student conduct, conditions of fellowship awards, leaves of absence, academic requirements, the grievance policy, and other policies.

Academic Standards

According to University policy, a graduate student must maintain a B average or better to be considered in good academic standing. The Biomedical Curriculum and Academic Standards Committee reviews the record of any student who receives an unsatisfactory grade (less than a “B”) in a course or who does not meet the University policy of a B average to decide whether the student should be placed on academic probation.

Dissertation Policies

Students are expected to abide by the policies of their graduate groups at the dissertation stage. Moreover, the Biomedical Advisory Committee has established several policies for all BGS students at the dissertation stage relating to changing mentors, leaving the lab prior to defending, and writing and defending the dissertation. These policies are available on the BGS website.

Timely Degree Progression

Each student’s progress is monitored to facilitate timely completion of the degree. BGS students are reviewed at the start of the seventh year if they have not completed their program. The student and the dissertation advisor are asked to provide details of the goals of the research, a progress report specifying the work remaining, and an estimate of the amount of time until completion of the research and a successful defense. The report is reviewed by the Director of BGS, who must approve the plan for the student to remain in good standing. Failure to submit a report will result in a second request, and if not heeded, may lead to termination of the student’s enrollment in BGS. This mechanism serves as an early warning to students and their advisors. In addition, students who remain at dissertation for more than five years must be “re-certified” by their graduate groups.

Student Teaching

In general, BGS students are not required to teach and are not supported by teaching assistantships. The exception is Neuroscience and GGEB students, who are required to teach for a semester. Students in any graduate group who wish to obtain teaching experience may apply for TA positions offered by departments sponsoring undergraduate courses and for a few BGS-related TA positions. Teaching opportunities are announced by email. However, students may not accept TAships without prior approval of their thesis advisor (if applicable) and Graduate Group Chair. If the TAship will consist of 100 or more hours of service, permission is also required from the Director of BGS. In addition, students may serve as TAs or conduct other approved tasks for a maximum of two semesters only. Students who wish to participate in a 3rd semester of teaching for the CTL fellowship program or a 3rd semester of supplemental activity for the CTT program may do so with the permission of mentor and graduate group chair but may not receive supplemental pay for the third semester. (Note that BGS students are not permitted to serve as Resident Assistants, given the substantial demands associated with these positions.)

Student Problems

Students who have any sorts of concerns about the program should first consult with individuals within their graduate group: chair or coordinator, academic review committee members, dissertation advisor, or dissertation committee members. If the student’s concerns persist, he or she may consult with the BGS office staff or director. Students in serious distress should contact Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), 133 S. 36th Street, 2nd floor, at 215-898-7021 during normal business hours or 215-349-5490 after hours.

More resource information is provided here.

Student Policies