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Understanding Your Degree Requirements

As an OUHSC graduate student, you can tailor your education to meet your learning goals and prepare for a successful career. The following resources will help you chart your own course toward meeting the coursework, research, and mastery requirements for your degree. 

Academic Forms and Procedures

Forms work best when you download the form to your computer. Then use Adobe Acrobat or Acrobat Reader to complete the form fields and digital signatures. You can change Chrome settings to automatically download PDFs.

Consider collecting electronic signatures by sharing from your OneDrive rather than by e-mail. 

Elective Courses for Career Development

Internships for Course Credit

It is sometimes possible for a Graduate College student to gain new expertise outside the University by earning internship course credit or taking a leave of absence. The internship must be related to the student's degree program and career goals, and the student must have completed didactic coursework. Please contact your graduate program director and the Graduate College for details.

Preparing Future Faculty

Preparing Future Faculty is a two-semester program (4 total hours) within the Graduate College that is designed for graduate students and postdoctoral research fellows interested in acquiring the basic theory and skills necessary to be an effective communicator and educator.

Entrepreneurship for Science and Technology (BMSC 6042)

One of the primary missions of the Graduate College is to provide innovative opportunities that allow students and trainees to achieve excellence in their academic and research pursuits. The Entrepreneurship for Science and Technology course emphasizes innovations in STEM and career and professional development including effective communication, market assessment, funding pathways, and business startups. Contact Dr. Amy Tucker for details:

Fundamentals of Scientific Writing

This 2 credit hour course introduces basic elements of technical writing including presentation of keys to effective writing and organization of the writing task. Spelling, grammar, punctuation, organization, elements of style, and other aspects and uses of written language are discussed. Contact the Graduate College for details.

Find all Graduate College Courses in the Course Catalog

Leave of Absence

International students should always request a leave of absence before traveling outside of the USA. 

Graduate programs are expected to have policies that allow reasonable sick leave and vacation time for students, typically 3 weeks. When students need time off in excess of the program's leave policy, they may request a leave of absence. Please note that a leave of absence does not change the expected time limits for completing your Masters degree or PhD.

  • Short Term Leave of Absence: Up to 2 months, with continued enrollment and GRA support
  • Long Term Leave of Absence: Up to 3 consecutive academic terms (1 calendar year). Students on a long term leave of absence do not enroll for classes, work toward the thesis/dissertation, nor receive GRA support. 

Short Term Leave of Absence

Submit the Graduate College Short Term Leave Request to at least 10 business days before starting your leave, if possible. If you need to take an urgent, unplanned short-term absence, we will work with you to process the request as quickly as possible. 

Keep in mind:

  • Students remain enrolled and receive GRA support during a short term leave of absence.
  • The leave request should describe how you will manage the ongoing coursework and degree requirements as appropriate to the duration and reason for your leave
  • International students should contact the International Student Office before traveling
  • If you are traveling out of the country, make sure you are up to date on all entry requirements of your destination country, as well as all requirements for re-entering the USA



Long Term Leave of Absence

Requesting a Long Term Leave of Absence

  • If you have already started your thesis/dissertation research, consider meeting with your mentor and committee before going on leave to discuss the status of your research and your plans for completing the degree
  • Submit the leave request at least 10 business days before starting your leave, if possible. If you need to take an urgent, unplanned absence, we will work with you to process the request as quickly as possible. 
  • Two forms are required for a long term leave of absence:
    1. Graduate College Long Term Leave Request
    2. University Long Term Leave Form
  • Your program director can help you withdraw or cancel your current enrollment if needed
  • Contact the Financial Aid Office to understand how a leave of absence will affect your financial aid
  • The leave request form says that documentation from a physician is expected. The letter does not need to provide any detail about your condition, but should indicate when you may return from leave and any medical restrictions for your return. 

While on Leave

  • Students do not enroll in courses nor conduct research during a long term leave of absence
  • Your GRA position will be terminated during the leave of absence, and may be reinstated upon your return. 
  • You have the option to purchase student health insurance at your own expense while on leave. 
  • You may access student wellness and counseling resources ( while on leave. Contact the Graduate College if you have any issues with accessing these resources.

Returning from Leave

  • Students can take a leave of absence of up to 3 consecutive semesters (one calendar year). If you anticipate any changes in the timing of your return, please contact your Graduate Program Director or the Graduate College as soon as possible.
  • Contact your Graduate Program Director near the end of your leave so we can make sure everything is in order for your return. 
  • The Accessibility and Disability Resource Center provides support services and resources for students with disabilities, including temporary medical conditions (  
  • The leave of absence does not automatically postpone the Graduate College's time limit for expected graduation. 
  • To help you transition back into the program, we recommend that you discuss your research progress and plans with your mentor shortly after your return.