Student Handbook University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences 2023-2024
Published by the School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences University of Mississippi Medical Center 2500 N. State Street, Jackson, MS 39216-4504 May 2023 edition
Administration section updated November 14, 2023.
The Student Handbook is a source of information on the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences (SGSHS), and related to policies, procedures, available resources and issues that are of concern to the student academic life. It acts as a companion to the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) Bulletin.
This SGSHS Student Handbook is reviewed each year and an electronic copy is available to all students via the UMMC SGSHS website. Students are responsible for using the Student Handbook as a resource when questions arise, and as a guide to academic/non-academic policies and procedures. These policies are subject to change during the academic year. Any such changes will be distributed to all students. Each student must sign a Student Handbook Acknowledgment form (see Appendix) verifying that he/she has read and understands the SGSHS policies and procedures.
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II. MISSION AND HISTORY
The Graduate School Office is located in N146.
IV. GRADUATE PROGRAMS AND PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS
The SGSHS offers degree programs leading to a Master of Science (MS) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). In addition, the SGSHS offers a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Biochemistry. A listing of the specific graduate programs are as follows:
A. Master of Science
A student who completes a MS degree should be able to:
A minimum of 30 credit hours and a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.8 (on a 4.0 point scale) or higher, or a 75% weighted numerical average, are required for completion of the degree.
The time limit for completing all requirements for an MS degree is six years from the date of first registration.
The Program Completion application and the Cap and Gown order form must be completed through Workday at the beginning of the semester in which the student expects to graduate and as outlined on the SGSHS academic calendar. The application must be approved by the SGSHS Academic Dean.
All students must complete an anonymous online exit survey prior to graduation. The collated results will be used to assess program effectiveness. Students will be sent a link to complete the online survey.
B. Doctor of Philosophy
A student who completes a Doctor of Philosophy degree should:
The time limit for completing all requirements for a doctor of philosophy degree is five years from admission to candidacy.
All students must successfully pass a qualifying examination to be admitted into candidacy for the doctor of philosophy degree. The qualifying examination is given to graduate students in good academic standing upon completion of coursework and as outlined in the suggested plan of study. The composition of the examination (oral, written, comprehensive, or research-based) varies by program, and information on the format may be obtained from the relevant program director. Following successful completion of the qualifying exam, the student is required to submit the Qualifying Exam Approval form to the SGSHS Office of the Dean. Two weeks after satisfactory completion of the qualifying examination, the student must submit an Application for Admission to Candidacy to the SGSHS Office of the Dean.
All PhD students must be listed as the sole first author on at least one (1) publication in a national or international peer-reviewed journal. Verification of the publication requirement requires submission of the signed Publication Requirement form to the SGSHS Office of the Dean.
The Program Completion application and the cap and gown order form must be completed through Workday at the beginning of each semester in which the student expects to graduate and as outlined on the SGSHS academic calendar. The application must be approved by the graduate program director and SGSHS Academic Dean.
C. Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
D. MD/PhD Program
The MD-PhD Program is a seven-year program completed in the following order: three years of medical school (M1-M3), three years of graduate study (G1-G3), and a final year of medical school (M4). Students who successfully complete this program will complete all requirements for both an MD and a PhD degree. The goal of the MD-PhD program is to train physician-scientists by preparing them for careers in academic medicine. Graduates of the program will have a broad understanding of contemporary medical knowledge and an ability to productively investigate issues related to human disease.
Program Plan of Study
V. SGSHS POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
A. Academic Achievement Program
The SGSHS will monitor individual exam grades and overall course grades throughout a student’s first year of study. Any student who fails to meet the minimum test or aggregate scores will be recommended for the Academic Achievement Program offered through the Office for Student Success per the Academic Achievement Policy.
B. Academic Dishonesty
It is expected that students enrolled in the School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences (SGSHS) will practice academic honesty at all times. It is also expected that SGSHS students will not tolerate academic dishonesty in other students and that all acts of dishonesty will be promptly reported to the appropriate school and administrative officials per the SGSHS Academic Dishonesty Policy.
C. Academic Probation
The SGSHS monitors student progression and if any time during an academic year a student is not in good academic standing, the student will be placed on academic probation per the Academic Probation Policy.
D. Administrative Withdrawal
Any student who fails to remain continuously enrolled in their degree program, and has not requested an official leave of absence by the last day to register for the semester as indicated on the academic calendar, will be administratively withdrawn from the School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences per the Administrative Withdrawal Policy.
E. Admission Requirements
The SGSHS defines the minimum requirements for admission into the SGSHS per the Admission Requirements Policy.
F. Appeal of Dismissal
Students have the right to appeal a dismissal from the SGSHS per the SGSHS Appeal of Dismissal Policy.
G. Adding or Dropping a Course
Classes may be added or dropped until the day specified by the academic calendar and in accordance with the SGSHS Add/Drop Course Policy.
H. Course Load
I. Degrees and Commencement
Degrees earned in a graduate program are awarded at the end of each semester. Formal commencement ceremonies are held once a year at the end of the academic year (May). All graduates are encouraged to participate in commencement exercises. To be eligible for graduation and commencement, a student must complete all degree requirements and complete a Program Completion application through Workday at the beginning of the semester in which the student expects to graduate per the SGSHS Degrees and Commencement Policy.
Students may be dismissed from the SGSHS for cause per the SGSHS Student Dismissal Policy.
K. Distance Education
Students receiving instruction through distance education shall be provided comparable access to student support services per the SGSHS Distance Education Policy. Policies that apply to traditional face-to-face courses also apply to distance education courses, unless an exception is explicitly noted.
L. Dress Code
Students are expected to dress in good taste and to present themselves in a manner appropriate to their profession per the SGSHS Dress Code Policy.
Per the Enrollment Policy once students are accepted into a program, they must be continuously enrolled in classes until the degree is completed or be placed on leave of absence. Failure to remain continuously enrolled will result in administrative withdrawal from the School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences.
N. Good Academic Standing
The SGSHS Good Academic Standing Policy defines a student in good academic standing as one who is making acceptable progress toward a graduate degree and who is eligible to register for and pursue academic coursework at UMMC for the current semester. All graduate students are expected to remain in good academic standing throughout the entire course of their study.
O. Grade Forgiveness
Enrolled students may retake a course once, according to the Grade Forgiveness Policy.
Grades for academic credit are awarded based on a four-point grading scale per the SGSHS Grading Policy.
Q. Individual Development Plan Policy
All PhD graduate students (pre- and post-candidacy students) will prepare, complete, and/or revise an Individual Development Plan (using myIDP or equivalent tools) according to the SGSHS Individual Development Plan Policy.
R. International Travel for Non-Citizen Alien Students
Non-citizen alien students receiving a stipend will be allowed a maximum of three (3) weeks leave time for international travel per the SGSHS International Travel for Non-Citizen Alien Students Policy.
S. Leave of Absence
Leave of absence from school may be granted by the Dean (or designee) per the SGSHS Leave of Absence Policy.
Individuals who wish to take graduate coursework but are not students in an UMMC academic degree program may apply as a non-degree seeking student per the Non-Degree Seeking Student Policy. The Non-Degree Seeking Student Request Form must be submitted and approved by the Office of the Dean before a student can register for the course.
U. Notice of Public Defense
Per the SGSHS Notice of Public Defense Policy, all student dissertation defenses shall be publicly announced two (2) weeks prior to a student’s public defense.
V. Professional Conduct
Graduate students in the School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) are expected to conduct themselves ethically and professionally at all times towards faculty, staff, peers, colleagues, and members of the public both on and off-campus per the Professional Conduct policy. Each student shall be responsible for their conduct from the time of application for admission through the actual awarding of the degree.
W. Program Review
The SGSHS will review each graduate program every five (5) years per the SGSHS Program Review Policy.
X. Program Withdrawal
Registration in an academic program makes the student responsible for the completion of the course of study unless the student withdraws from the curriculum per the SGSHS Program Withdrawal Policy. Any student who fails to remain continuously enrolled in their degree program and does not request an official leave of absence by the last day to register for the semester as indicated on the academic calendar will be administratively withdrawn from the SGSHS per the SGSHS Administrative Withdrawal Policy.
Y. Prospective Student Grade Forgiveness
Applicants to the SGSHS at UMMC who have earned a grade of D or F in a course at any institution, and who have successfully repeated the course, may have the higher grade used in calculating the overall GPA for admission following approval of the Graduate School Academic Dean (or designee). Prospective Student Grade Forgiveness
Z. Satisfactory Academic Progress Criteria for Federal Financial Aid/Institutional Scholarship Eligibility
All students must remain in good academic standing, as outlined in the SGSHS Good Academic Standing Policy, for purposes of continued financial support, i.e. Dean’s scholarship and federal and state loans. Good Academic Standing for Financial Aid Purposes Policy
AA. Graduate Stipends
1. SGSHS Stipend Policy
Financial support in the form of graduate stipends may be available in some programs and are awarded on a competitive basis. More information regarding student stipends may be found in the SGSHS Stipend Policy.
a. Dean's Scholarship In addition to the stipend, all students receiving a stipend from either the SGSHS or an outside source will also receive a scholarship to cover tuition. Stipends are provided to graduate students to assist with living expenses.
2. Outside Employment
Because the stipend allows the student to pursue his/her graduate work without the need to seek outside employment, graduate students supported by stipends from either UMMC or research grants are expected to devote their full efforts to their academic classes and research projects. Although outside employment is generally discouraged, permission may be granted to senior graduate students for teaching a course related to their field of study as this may be considered appropriate training for an academic career. In view of this, and consistent with UMMC policy, outside employment is permitted by the completion of the Outside Employment Request Form and with the written consent of the chairman of the advisory committee, the director of the graduate program, and the dean of the SGSHS. An application for permission to engage in outside employment, available from the Office of Human Resources, must be completed and approved prior to seeking such employment.
Failure to adhere to these guidelines will result in disciplinary action, up to and including loss of stipend and dismissal from the graduate program. Additional information about outside employment may be found in the SGSHS Stipend Policy.
BB. Student Compliance Training
1. Student Compliance Training Policy
All students and student/employees must receive institutional compliance training in accordance with the institutional compliance training policy and procedure per the Student Compliance Training Policy.
2. Mandatory Immunizations
All students are required to comply with the Immunization Requirements for UMMC Students.
CC. Student Grievance Policy
DD. Student Progression and Semi-Annual Review Policy
1. Student Progression Form (MS and PhD)
2. Capstone Project form (MSCI)
EE. Transfer of Credit Policy
With the approval of the program director and the Dean (or designee) of the SGSHS, a limited amount of graduate credit earned at another recognized school may be accepted toward degree requirements per the Transfer of Credit Policy. The Transfer of Course Credit Approval Form can be found on the SGSHS website.
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VI. UMMC POLICIES
A. Information Policy
All employees, students, contractors, and other credentialed individuals must comply with the UMMC Information Asset Management Policy (search for terms on PolicyTech) to reduce risk by protecting and supporting confidentiality, availability, and integrity of information assets.
B. Social Media
The SGSHS utilizes social media. All students in UMMC schools and programs must comply with the UMMC Policy and Guidelines for Personal Use of Social Media.
Email (electronic mail) services are provided to the UMMC community in support of the mission and administrative functions of the university. Users of the email system are expected to comply with the Information Security Management Program Policy (search for terms on PolicyTech). The UMMC email system may not be used for illegal or unlawful activities. Email users are expected to use the services in a professional and respectful manner. Email is the official mode of communications, and students receive information from the SGSHS via their UMMC email accounts. Therefore, students are expected to check their UMMC e-mail accounts regularly.
VII. SCHOLARSHIPS AND FUNDING
A. Student Stipends
Students may receive stipends to cover living expenses per the SGSHS Stipend Policy.
B. Institutional Scholarships
1. Dean's Scholarship provides tuition for outstanding graduate students.
C. Loans and Financial Aid
Students may apply for additional funding through various loan mechanisms. Students should contact the Office of Student Financial Aid to determine their eligibility.
VIII. STUDENT AWARDS
A. Dean's Service Award
Presented to the graduate student who exemplifies the outstanding attributes of leadership, community outreach and service.
B. Dr. L. William Clem Endowed Memorial Award
This award, endowed by a generous gift from Dr. Wei Yu and wife Dr. Fei Lu, provides funds for student travel to scientific meetings and for other allowable student expenses. The award is available to Microbiology and Immunology students who are in good academic standing. Recipients will be selected by the Microbiology Graduate Faculty and approved by the Dean of the SGSHS.
C. Helen Reeves Turner, MD, PhD Award
Established in 2013 and is awarded each year to a deserving student from one of the Medical Center Schools. The recipient of this award, selected by the dean or his designee, exemplifies Dr. Turner’s outstanding attributes of leadership, education and service.
D. Julius M. Cruse, M.D., Ph.D. Award
This award is given annually to an incoming Ph.D. student as a recruitment scholarship for educational costs in honor of the late Dr. Julius Cruse, one of UMMC’s most eminent immunologists and contributor to research and education.
E. Randall Graduate Research Award
This award is made in memory of Dr. Charles C Randall, the first chair of microbiology at UMMC and an early director of Graduate Studies at UMMC. Dr. Randall set a high standard for scholarship and directed graduate studies during its formative years at UMMC. The Randall-Trustmark Graduate Research Award and cash prize are presented in recognition of outstanding research accomplishments and scientific contributions by a graduate student.
F. Regions Graduate Research Award
The award and cash prize are presented in recognition of outstanding research accomplishments by a graduate student.
G. Robert A. Mahaffey, Jr. Memorial Award
The first research award established at UMMC for the recognition, encouragement, and promotion of superior scientific capability of young investigators. Established in 1976 in memory of the late Robert Mahaffey Jr., a UMMC graduate student in immunopathology, this award consists of a cash prize and certificate, signed by the Dean of the Graduate School, awarded to each recipient in recognition of exceptional research potential in basic or clinical biomedical science. In addition, the recipient’s name is engraved on a permanent plaque displayed in the Medical Center.
H. Fundamental Biochemistry Award
This award is presented to the M.S. Biomedical Sciences student who earned the highest final grade in the CMB 704 course during the current academic year. Honored at the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences Graduate Recognition Ceremony
I. Fundamental Histology and Cell Biology Award
This award is presented to the M.S. Biomedical Sciences student who earned the highest final grade in the ID 767 course during the current academic year. Honored at the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences Graduate Recognition Ceremony
J. Fundamental Physiology Award
This award is presented to the M.S. Biomedical Sciences student who earned the highest final grade in the PHYSIO 725 course during the current academic year. Honored at the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences Graduate Recognition Ceremony
K. Essential Anatomy Award
This award is presented to the M.S. Biomedical Sciences student who earned the highest final grade in the ID 768 course during the current academic year. Honored at the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences Graduate Recognition Ceremony
L. Fundamental Microbiology and Immunology Award
This award is presented to the M.S. Biomedical Sciences student who earned the highest final grade in the MICRO 741 course during the current academic year. Honored at the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences Graduate Recognition Ceremony
M. Fundamental Pharmacology Award
This award is presented to the M.S. Biomedical Sciences student who earned the highest final grade in the PHARM 726 course during the current academic year. Honored at the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences Graduate Recognition Ceremony
N. Research Award
This award recognizes outstanding performance in the ID 737 elective course by a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences student who went above and beyond the minimum requirements for the course, was eager and interested to learn in the lab, and shows promise as a future researcher. Honored at the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences Graduate Recognition Ceremony
O. Service Award
Self-nominations were solicited for this award, which recognizes a graduating the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences student who has demonstrated a significant contribution to philanthropic work, including community service and service to the institution, during the current academic year. Honored at the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences Graduate Recognition Ceremony
P. Esprit de Corps Award
Peer nominations were solicited for this award, which recognizes a graduating the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences student who has demonstrated a consistent dedication to camaraderie, teamwork, and excellent interpersonal skills during the current academic year. Honored at the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences Graduate Recognition Ceremony
Q. Program Director Awards
These awards are presented to the individuals in the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences program who have achieved an overall average that ranks in the top ten percent of the graduating students who completed the pre-dental/medical plan of study during the current academic year. Honored at the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences Graduate Recognition Ceremony.
IX. STUDENT RESOURCES
A. Associated Student Body (ASB)
The Associated Student Body (ASB) of UMMC serves as the governing body of all students. The SGSHS is represented in the ASB by SGSHS students chosen annually. More information about the ASB can be found on the ASB website.
1. Student ActivitiesThere are also intramural leagues including flag football, basketball, soccer, and volleyball. In addition, graduate students take part in philanthropic events and community outreach activities.2. Social EventsSocial events include a number of annual parties hosted by the ASB council.
B. Graduate Student Government (GSB)
The Graduate Student Body (GSB) council represents the students enrolled in the graduate programs at UMMC. Elected officers and representatives serve in various student government capacities.
C. Office of The Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs
The University of Mississippi Medical Center offers a comprehensive program of student support services through the Office of Academic Affairs, the Office of the Chief Student Affairs Officer, the individual schools, the Office for Student Success, Office of Student Financial Aid, the Office of Student Accounting, the Office of Enrollment Management, the Student and Employee Health Service and the University Police. The Medical Center believes these services are an important adjunct to the total educational program and essential to the continuing fulfillment of the institution’s purpose.
D. Office for Student Success
The Office for Student Success provides the following support services:
E. Division of Information Systems
The DIS – Help Desk provides a group of analysts who work to help UMMC users with on-campus computer issues, password resets, UMMC webmail, Canvas, and Workday support, and more. Students can contact the helpdesk at 1(877) 347-5041 (toll-free) or email@example.com.
F. Student/Employee Health
The Student/Employee Health Department is responsible for student health and on-the- job employee injuries. A Quick Care Clinic is also available to UMMC students and employees.
G. Student Assistance (TELUS Health)
UMMC coordinates opportunities for students to receive confidential counseling services for school-related, personal, and family matters through TELUS Health (formerly LifeWorks). Dependents and household members may also receive services. Professional are available to speak with you 24/7 to help address your issues and guide you to appropriate resources.
H. Student Counseling and Wellness Center
The Student Counseling and Wellness Center helps UMMC students manage the stresses and difficulties of daily life, inside and outside the classroom.
I. Campus Police and Security
J. Student Orientation
Students will remain enrolled in the course throughout their tenure as students. The course serves as a resource for information, policies, instructions, and contact information.
K. Annual Events
SGSHS Research Day
Research Day is held during the fall semester and involves oral and poster presentations as well as a seminar by a distinguished UMMC alumnus/alumna. The SGSHS views Research Day as a way to showcase the efforts of its various programs and strongly encourages all graduate students to participate. All students who have entered candidacy for their doctorate are required to participate in Research Day.
SGSHS Honors Day
Honors Day is held during the spring semester and recognizes the efforts of those students who have graduated or are graduating with Master of Science in Clinical Investigation and PhD degrees during the current academic year. In addition, the SGSHS recognizes those who have shown exceptional service and/or research productivity during their graduate careers. Students are nominated by their mentor or another member of graduate faculty and chosen by a committee representative of the various graduate programs.
M.S. Biomedical Sciences Graduate Recognition Ceremony
The Graduate Recognition Ceremony is held at the conclusion of each spring semester and recognizes the efforts of those students who have graduated or are graduating with Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences during the current academic year. The awards that are presented during this ceremony are described in the “Student Awards” section of this handbook.
X. STUDENT RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
A. Student Complaints
Students have the right to complain, whether verbally or in writing, regarding any area of academic or student life without fear of coercion, harassment, intimidation, or reprisal from the institution or its employees; UMMC Student Complaints webpage is a resource. More information is available in the Student Grievance/Complaint Policy.
B. Mistreatment/Title IX Reporting and Policies
All mistreatment is of serious concern to this institution and is strictly prohibited. For more information on UMMC’s policy, see the UMMC Title IX Sexual Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy or contact the Title IX Coordinator: (601) 815-7978.
C. Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. More information is available in the UMMC Notification of Rights under FERPA Policy and Notification of Directory Information under FERPA.
D. Professional Conduct for Students and Their Mentors
The following guidelines for students and their mentors are provided by the AAMC Group on Graduate Research, Education, and Training (GREAT) and can be accessed in full at Compact Between Biomedical Graduate Students and Their Research Advisors | AAMC.