Parent Page: Information For... id: 26952 Active Page: Academicsid:27774


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.

The OUHSC Faculty Handbook, OUHSC Student Handbook, Graduate College Bulletin, and your program handbook provide more detail about expectations of graduate students. A few key areas of responsibility are summarized here.

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 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.

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. 

Forms for All Students

Join a Program and Select Mentors

Annual Evaluations and Enrollment

Recommendations and Degree Confirmation

PhD Student Forms

Year 1

General Exam

Final Semester


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 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 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 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.