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Graduate College

Student-Centered Graduate Education

The Graduate College and its campus partners are committed to providing trainees with a rigorous yet individualized learning experience.  Students are encouraged to take ownership of their graduate training and utilize resources intended to ensure success in graduate school and beyond. There are also several opportunities to engage in career and professional development programming, leadership opportunities, campus organizations, community outreach, volunteering, and networking.  

Mentor-Mentee RelationshipsTreatment of Trainees Student ResponsibilitiesTools for Success

Student Responsibilities

As an OUHSC graduate student, you have access to world-class faculty, challenging coursework, cutting edge research tools, and a wealth of professional development resources.

You also have responsibilities to yourself, the University and your colleagues. Understanding your responsibilities will help you succeed in graduate school, prepare for your future career, and create a safe and inclusive environment for yourself and others.

A few key areas of responsibility are summarized here. For detailed expectations and policies, refer to: 

You were admitted to the OUHSC Graduate College because you show the potential to develop an advanced level of mastery in your field, both in academics and in research. The Graduate College's academic standards serve as guideposts to help you toward this goal:

  • Maintain a GPA of 3.00 or higher in all graduate coursework
  • Passing grades are A, B, C, and S. For thesis/dissertation research in progress, X is a passing grade
  • The number of credit hours with a grade of C cannot exceed 25% of the total letter graded coursework for the degree/certificate 
  • Maintain appropriate progress in your research and professional development, reflected during your annual evaluation  

Your Graduate Program Director will inform you if your program has more stringent requirements in any of these areas. You also have access to tools for success through OUHSC Student Affairs, the OUHSC Graduate College, and your graduate program. 

Academic Integrity
Academic misconduct is not tolerated. Academic integrity and academic misconduct are described in the OUHSC Student Handbook, Sections 2.3-2.5. Examples of academic misconduct include, but are not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, fabrication, fraud, destruction of data, bribery or intimidation, and other breach of professionalism. Academic misconduct procedures are described in the OUHSC Faculty Handbook, Appendix C.

Academic Probation
Students who fall below these academic standards may be placed on academic probation. Academic probation is an opportunity for students to rectify their performance, with guidance from professors and mentors. Students who do not show progress while on probation, or who require more than 2 probation periods, may be dismissed from the program. For details refer to the Graduate College Bulletin, Section 2.11 on GPA, Annual Evaluations, and Academic Probation.

Academic Appeals
The OUHSC Student Handbook and Graduate College Bulletin, Section 2.12 outline the procedures for academic appeals. The Graduate College hears appeals related to failure of the comprehensive of general exam, thesis, or dissertation. Grade appeals are heard by the college that houses the course in question. 

Enrollment impacts visa status, financial aid, and eligibility for graduate assistantships.  

  • Without a graduate assistantship, full time enrollment is 9 hours in fall and spring and 4 hours in summer 
  • To be eligible for a graduate assistantship, you must be enrolled full time. For graduate assistants, full time enrollment is 6 hours in fall and spring and 3 hours in summer.
  • Only courses will a passing grade will count toward enrollment for financial aid or visa purposes
  • To be eligible for the PhD general exam or the MS comprehensive exam, you must be enrolled for at least 2 hours
  • Once you begin working on your thesis or dissertation, you should enroll for at least 2 hours of thesis/dissertation research (5980/6980) each semester until graduating, unless you are on a leave of absence
  • Maximum enrollment is 16 credit hours in fall and spring, or 9 hours in summer, unless you have permission from the Graduate Dean
Your graduate program will help you enroll each semester. Enrollment and withdrawal deadlines are listed in the OUHSC Academic Calendar, and course descriptions are available in the OUHSC Course Catalog.  
You can read more about Graduate College enrollment policies in the Graduate College Bulletin, Section 2.9

The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and the Graduate College expect students to possess the intellectual capacity for a research based degree as well as a high capacity for ethical and professional behavior. 

Professionalism involves the way you behave, present yourself, and interact with others. Professionalism is an important skill that you will need to develop outside the classroom. It can be helpful to seek guidance and feedback from successful senior students, postdocs, and supportive faculty. You can practice professionalism through:

  • Respect
  • Integrity
  • Honesty
  • Reliability
  • Demeanor
  • Etiquette
  • Accountability to yourself and others

Training in ethical behavior is a vital component of health education and is, therefore, considered an academic issue. Ethical behavior is expected in all educational, laboratory, and clinical settings. Some prominent aspects of ethics include:

Failure to meet expected ethical and professional standards may result in a variety of educational and disciplinary actions. Depending on how egregious the behavior is, actions may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Meeting with the student to discuss their actions
  • Filing of a Professionalism Concerns Report (PCR). The objective of the PCR is to document the activity, articulate expectations, and identify actions to be taken, with an overall goal of professional development and education.
  • Charges of Academic Misconduct, including cheating, plagiarism, fabrication, fraud, destruction, bribery or intimidation, and breach of professionalism
  • Dismissal from the program

More Information
For the complete policy on Professional Behavior in an Academic Program, visit the Student Handbook and the Faculty Handbook.

Setbacks and stress are a normal part of scientific training, career exploration, research, and life. Successful scholars and scientists develop a habit of wellness that makes it possible to face challenges with resilience. The resources below can help you develop a foundation of wellness so you can thrive in your training, career, and life. 

Student Counseling Services and Wellness Resources 
OUHSC Student Wellness offers in person and virtual wellness programs, counseling services, student health resources, LGBTQ+ resources, and more 

Accessibility and Disability Resources 
The Accessibility and Disability Resource Center assists students with advocacy, accessibility, and accommodations to ensure equal access for all students with disabilities. In Higher Education, it is your responsibility as a student to request Accessibility and Disability Resources. 

Mental Health, Wellbeing, and Resiliency for Scientists
The NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education offers a library of wellness videos for trainees in biomedical and health research. The  series on "Becoming a Resilient Scientist" highlights imposter fears, emotional intelligence competencies, self-advocacy, feedback resilience, and managing up.  The "Mental Health and Well-being" series covers anxiety and anxiety disorders, stigma, depression and depressive disorders, community wellness, and executive functioning. Other topics include leadership, mentorship, professional development, career advancement, and more.

Leave of Absence
Graduate Students may take a leave of absence, with approval from the Graduate College.

Navigating Your Degree

Coursework Research

90 hours, 3.0 GPA

Year 1

End of Year 1

Year 2 and after

  • Additional coursework, often discipline-specific and related to your research

General Exam

  • Must be in good academic standing and submit a Request for General Exam to the Graduate College
  • Written and oral components
  • Tests mastery and the ability to synthesize, integrate, generalize, and expand upon all knowledge gained prior to the exam

The cornerstone of the PhD experience

Year 1

  • Identify a potential mentor

Year 2 and Later

  • Join mentor's lab and select committee
  • Annual progress reviews (submit to the Graduate College)
  • Learn the literature
  • Develop a research question
  • Conduct your dissertation research
  • Present your findings
  • Write your dissertation

Dissertation Defense

  • An oral defense, open to the public
  • The dissertation contributes to existing knowledge, reflects your mastery of the field, and shows your ability to address a significant intellectual problem

Professional Development
Largely self-directed, often extra-curricular. A crucial investment in your interests and career goals.

PhD Requirements & Forms »

Coursework Research

≥30 hours, 3.0 GPA

Year 1

  • Responsible Conduct of Research
  • Select a major advisor

End of Year 1

  • Develop your plan of study and submit to the Graduate College

Year 2

  • Apply for candidacy when all required courses are complete or in progress
  • Requires good academic standing with current enrollment of at least 2 hours

Must be in good academic standing

Option 1: Thesis Defense

  • Select a thesis committee
  • Develop a research question and conduct your research
  • Write your thesis
  • Secure your committee's approval for the defense
  • The defense may be oral, written, or a combination of the two

Option 2: Comprehensive Exam

  • Not available in all programs
  • May be oral, written or a combination of the two
  • May be replaced by a successful PhD General Exam to obtain a terminal Master's

Professional Development
Largely self-directed, often extracurricular. A crucial investment in your interests and career goals

MS Requirements & Forms »

Certificate programs require training in the Responsible Conduct of Research, defined coursework, and additional projects developed with the Graduate Program Director


Completing Your Thesis/Dissertation

The Graduate College works in coordination with individual degree programs across campus to ensure that degree requirements are met.  We are here to support you from start to finish!

  Spring 2024  Summer 2024  Fall 2024
Final date to enroll. If you submit your final thesis/dissertation and signature page through ProQuest by 5 PM, you may graduate without being enrolled for this semester. However, international students should enroll for visa purposes. January 22 June 5 August 23
Final date to apply for candidacy for a master's degree. February 12 June 14 September 9

Final date to submit the application for graduation/diploma in student self-service. After this date, you must contact Christina McClane ( to submit a paper form.

March 1 July 1 October 1

Final date to hold the MS comprehensive exam or thesis/dissertation defense. After this date, you will be a graduate of the next semester and must enroll in the next semester. The request for the exam/defense and the reading copy must be submitted to the Graduate College 10 business days in advance.

May 3 July 29 December 13

Final date to submit the thesis/dissertation and signature page. After this time, you will be a graduate of the following semester.

May 31 August 16 January 10

Degrees are conferred the final date of the term.

May 10 July 29 December 13

 For semester start and end dates, registration deadlines, and add/drop/withdrawal dates, visit 


Leave of Absence

Graduate Students may request a Short Term or Long Term Leave of Absence

OUHSC Academic Calendar

The OUHSC Academic Calendar lists semester start and end dates, as well as deadlines for enrollment, withdrawal, and defense dates for each semester.

Graduate College Bulletin

The Graduate College Bulletin is designed to be the primary source of reference about Graduate College programs and procedures, and it contains links to documents or websites for more detailed information. The Bulletin is frequently updated so please consult this web-based version so you have up-to-date information.

OUHSC Student Handbook

The OUHSC Student Handbook is a compilation of the University major policies and procedures regarding student academic matters. The OUHSC Faculty Handbook is referenced as the original source for policy and procedures when indicated.