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Academic Standards

GEMS Handbook

  • Students will exhibit the highest levels of ethical behavior in all aspects of their academic life. If a student is found to be cheating in any exam or assignment for the graduate program, it will be considered grounds for immediate dismissal.
  • GEMS students are required to enroll in the specified core and elective courses during each semester of their first year.
  • Students are required to maintain continuous registration of at least 12 hours (Fall and Spring; 6 hours Summer), and no more than 20 hours, per term in the Graduate College if they are to maintain their assistantship, stipend, and tuition waiver. International students must maintain full-time status (at least 12 hours Fall and Spring) in order not to be in violation of the F-1 visa. (Note: Although the F-1 Visa does not require summer registration, it is still required for your stipend and tuition waiver).
  • Students may not drop a course part way through the semester nor take an “Incomplete” to avoid a bad grade and/or probation. Exceptions to this policy will only be considered for extenuating circumstances (e.g., emergency family situation; severe health problems) and will require consultation with GEMS Directors BEFORE initiating any changes in coursework. Failure to obtain the proper approvals from the GEMS Directors may result in dismissal from the program.
  • Students must maintain a minimum B average in their course work to remain in good academic standing. If a student receives a C grade in a required didactic course and his/her GPA is below 3.0, he/she will be placed on probation and will be required to raise his/her GPA to 3.0 by the end of the following semester (by obtaining an A in another didactic course of equivalent or greater credit hours).
  • Students who obtain 6 or more credit hours of C’s or one D/F in didactic courses will be dropped from the program. A student who received one C might also be dropped from the program if in the judgment of GEMS Directors the student has little chance of successfully completing the program. These standards supersede the information in the Graduate College Catalog.
  • GEMS Students are required to participate in three (3) research rotations during their first year. A fourth rotation during the summer may be necessary to identify a thesis laboratory. These rotations allow students to gain a better understanding of the available research opportunities in the GEMS program. By participating in a lab’s research, students will become conversant in the research problems being studied in the rotation laboratories. In addition, these rotations allow potential mentors to evaluate the abilities of the prospective students to determine whether she/he will flourish in their laboratory. Students are required to make satisfactory progress in these rotations, which is evaluated by their performance in activities common to most rotations, including:
    • Students will attend research overviews by faculty regarding rotations.
    • Students will consult with potential mentors for rotations prior to rotations to determine suitability and availability of laboratories for rotating students.
    • Students will meet with their rotation mentor to discuss the specific expectations of the laboratory. It is expected that students will devote a significant effort to each laboratory rotation. Students will provide a schedule of their classes to the rotation mentor and participate in laboratory research when not in classes.
    • Students will fully participate in experiments in the rotation laboratory.
    • Students will meet individually with mentors on a periodic basis.
    • Students will participate in lab meetings during rotations assuming no conflict with course lectures.
    • Following each rotation, students will present brief oral presentations of their project discussing:
      • Experimental problem addressed during the rotation
      • Significance and biomedical relevance
      • Methods used to investigate the experimental problem
      • Results, difficulties/challenges encountered, and future directions
  • Any student who fails to satisfy the research rotation requirement may be dropped from the GEMS program. Furthermore, a student who receives an unsatisfactory grade (U) in their research rotation will be evaluated by the GEMS Directors in consultation with the rotation mentor and may be placed on probation or dropped for failure to progress.
  • A student who has not been accepted into a research lab for their thesis work by the beginning of his/her second academic year will be considered as failing to make sufficient academic progress and may be dismissed from the program.
  • Students who feel their academic performance may drop below the standards presented in this document are strongly encouraged to consult with faculty, a DGS and/or GEMS leadership prior to finding themselves at risk of being dismissed from the program.