Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have a teaching requirement in UPGG?

No, students entering the program after 2011 do not have a teaching requirement. For students interested in gaining teaching experience there are a number of teaching options available. Naturally, these experiences require more time and effort and should not detract from the student’s research time. Students are encouraged to discuss their teaching objectives with their mentor/advisor.  Please see the student manual for more details on teaching opportunities.

Does UPGG offer travel awards?

Yes, UPGG does offer some funding for both pre and post prelim students. Please see the student manual for more detail and requirements or contact Liz Labriola (

How many credits do I need to graduate from UPGG?

UPGG students should complete 24 graded credits by end of their second year of training.

How and when do I set up a committee?

Committees are typically set up by December of year 2. The committee must include a minimum of 4 graduate faculty, including your advisor. 2 of the faculty must be from UPGG and 1 must be a minor area representative. Committees are formed with the help of your advisor or the program's DGS.

Does UPGG require a pre prelim meeting?

No, a pre prelim meeting is optional, however, it is recommended.

How are RCR requirements met?

All basic medical science PhD students are required to take 18 credits of responsible conduct in research. 12 credits are fulfilled at the Beaufort weekend retreat during orientation. The remaining 6 credits are completed through the 3rd year retraining at the Duke summer workshop and 1 other mini RCR course offered through the Duke graduate school.

Do I have any program event requirements?

Yes, students are expected to participate annually in the new student recruitment weekend and the program retreat.

Are there opportunities to be involved in student/program committees?

Yes, the program offers many opportunities for student involvement. Committee sign-ups are held at the September town hall meeting.

Do I need to complete dissertation paperwork?

Yes, students must complete the pre-defense checklist and submit to the program coordinator a semester prior to the defense date. The form can be found on the website under "commonly used forms"



***Most questions can be answered in the UPGG Student Handbook located on the UPGG website's "Resources" link.***  Please feel free to contact any of the program leadership with additional questions.