Most policies governing graduate students in the School of Medicine are the same as those for all graduate students at Duke and are described at the Graduate School site under forms and policies or in the Graduate Student Handbook. Listed here are policies that specifically impact medical school PhD students.
PhD Affiliation and Financial Backstop policy
Graduate students are guaranteed at least five years support at the level determined each year by the Graduate School, if students are making adequate progress to a degree. Students are usually supported for two years from institutional funds and then are supported by their advisor’s funding. If an advisor cannot support his/her student, the unit that receives the indirect cost revenue from the advisor’s grants is responsible for supporting the student as outlined by the Graduate School backstop policy. Support would be at the level of other graduate students in the unit and could include teaching assistantships. The backstop unit is usually the department in which the advisor has his/her primary academic appointment. When a student affiliates with an advisor, an affiliation and financial backstop form is filed with the graduate school in the student’s record via ImageNow by the Director of Graduate Studies Assistant (DGSA) from the admitting program. The form makes clear the backstop obligation of the advisor’s unit.
Policy for Student Rotations and Program Affiliation by Thesis Mentor
To broaden training and reduce the difficulty some students encounter in finding rotations, admitting programs can permit students to rotate with graduate faculty outside the admitting program. This policy is consistent with that of the Graduate School and most programs already exercise this option. However, an individual program or the Director of Graduate Studies of the admitting program may reserve the right to explicitly approve or prohibit outside rotations with the approval of the program director in the case of interdisciplinary programs or the chair of the department in the case of departmentally-based programs.
If a student chooses a thesis advisor outside the admitting program, the advisor can either join the program, assuming that both the advisor and program are agreeable, or the student can officially transfer to the program in which the advisor has a graduate appointment. If the student is supported on a training grant, the Graduate School or School of Medicine will support the student (tuition, fees, and stipend) during the out-of-program rotation, if this can be accomplished in accordance with training grant policy.
Teleconference Policy for SoM Preliminary Examination and Thesis Defense
Policy Governing Students whose Advisors Leave Duke
A student whose advisor leaves Duke for another academic institution may relocate with their advisor, if they have passed their preliminary examination. To receive their PhD from Duke, they need to maintain their enrollment at Duke and abide by the policies set forth for committee meetings and other graduation requirements, including a thesis defense at Duke. A Payment Agreement that guarantees financial support for the student and a Continued Enrollment form that outlines the role of the advisor, co-advisor and thesis committee need to be filed with the Associate Dean for Biomedical Education prior to the student leaving Duke campus. Graduate Student Support Policy