Policies

Academic Policies

  1. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (“Graduate School”) operates on the semester system with the academic year divided into fall and spring semesters. Fall semester is from July 1 through December 31. Spring semester is from January 1 through June 30. The academic calendar is developed with input from the course leaders and takes into account the observed holidays as noted in 80.20.001. Changes are updated in the Learning Management System (LMS), the Catalog and the website. Changes to the academic calendar are immediately posted in the LMS.

    80.20.001: Observed Holidays

    The Graduate School observes the following holidays:

    • New Year’s Day (January 1)
    • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (third Monday in January)
    • Memorial Day (last Monday in May)
    • Independence Day (July 4)
    • Labor Day (first Monday in September)
    • Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday in November)
    • Day After Thanksgiving (fourth Friday in November)
    • Christmas Day (December 25)
    • Day Before or After Christmas (December 24 or 26)

    If a holiday occurs on a Saturday or Sunday, the Graduate School will observe the holiday on the same day that the Tennessee state government observes it. Generally, a holiday that falls on Saturday will be observed the preceding Friday, and a holiday that falls on a Sunday will be observed the following Monday. Consistent with the Graduate School’s commitment to create an academic community that is respectful of and welcoming to persons of differing backgrounds, the Graduate School makes every reasonable effort to allow members of the Graduate School to observe their religious holidays without jeopardizing the fulfillment of their academic obligations.

    Course leaders must provide course syllabi prior to the start of the course that specify dates of lectures, examinations and due dates of assignments. It is the student’s responsibility to review these syllabi promptly and to consult the course leaders to discuss possible conflicts and plans to resolve them.

    80.20.002: Spring Break

    Spring Break is observed for first-year doctoral and master’s  students only and is scheduled in the curriculum. After completing the first year, a doctoral student may obtain prior permission for Spring Break from his/her thesis advisor.

    • The Graduate School offers courses leading to degrees at the master’s and doctoral level.
    • A master’s student who successfully completes all coursework and their thesis is awarded a terminal Master of Science degree.  A master’s student who does not successfully complete all coursework and their thesis is dismissed from the program.
    •  A doctoral student who successfully completes his/her Candidacy Examination is awarded a transitional Master of Science degree and advances to candidacy.  A doctoral student who does not successfully complete their Candidacy Examination, and who is otherwise in good standing academically, may be awarded a terminal Master of Science degree based on progress achieved, as determined by the Dean, and is dismissed from the program.
    • A doctoral student who advances to candidacy and successfully completes and defends their dissertation is awarded a PhD degree.

    80.21.001: Credit Hour and Semester Definition

    The U.S. Department of Education defines a credit hour as the amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than:

    (1) one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or (2) at least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other activities as established by an institution, including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

    The Graduate School also follows the federal definition of a semester, which is approximately 15 weeks long.

    80.21.002: Credit Hour Assignment

    • The standard for a one semester credit hour course is one class hour (50 minutes) of direct instruction and a minimum of two class hours (100 minutes) of out-of-class student work/student academic engagement activities each week during the standard semester (15 weeks). This equates to a total of 750 minutes of direct instruction and 1,500 minutes of out-of-class student work per standard semester (15 weeks). A course offered in fewer than 15 weeks shall contain the same total hours (contact hours, preparation time, content, and requirements) as the same course offered in the standard 15-week semester.
    • While minutes of work and contact time can provide guidance in the establishment of credit hour equivalencies, it is understood that the student achievement associated with any credit hour can only be measured adequately in terms of documented qualitative and quantitative outcomes. The successful completion of a credit hour will always take into consideration expectations based on degree level, discipline, the type of learning experience (e.g., didactic, clinical, practica, or internships), and the mode of delivery (e.g., face-to-face or online). This definition is a minimum standard that does not restrict graduate faculty from setting a higher standard that requires more student work per credit hour.
    • A course offered in fewer than 15 weeks shall contain the same total hours (contact hours, preparation time, content, and requirements) as the same course offered in the standard 15-week semester. Credit for the Graduate School’s block courses is calculated for a course to contain the same number of hours as if the course were scheduled for a full semester. Shortened courses provide adequate time for graduate students to complete homework assignments. For laboratory rotations, the hours per week are considered to take place in the laboratory.  
      • Block Courses: Block courses earn anywhere from 1 to 4 credit units each. A typical module course is a combination of lecture and homework. [Example of Genes to Proteins, which is a 4-credit hour course taught in two 3-hour blocks on MWF over 5 weeks: (18 hours lecture + 36 hours homework) x 5 weeks = 270 hours] 
      • Laboratory Rotations: Laboratory rotations in the Biomedical Sciences MSc/PhD program occur in the Fall (one rotation) and Spring (two rotations) and earn 3 credits each. [Example: 40 hours x 6 weeks = 240 hours] 
      • Distance Education Courses: For distance education courses, the number of hours for required recorded lectures that students must watch are counted as direct instruction time. The amount of time required for all the courses is documented by the instructor and collected by the program director.

    80.21.003: Course Numbering

    The Graduate School courses are labelled with a seven-character field.  The first three characters represent an alphabetic prefix that defines the program to which each course is attached.  The fourth character indicates courses earned toward a degree level.  The fifth and sixth characters indicate the numbering of courses.  The seventh character indicates the term the course is offered.  

    Examples:

    BMS9301

    BMS’:  Biomedical Sciences   ‘9’:  Doctoral level   ‘30’:  Sequence of course   ‘1’:  Fall term

    GCH8132

    GCH’:  Global Child Health   ‘8’:  Master’s level   ‘13’:  Sequence of course   ‘2’:  Spring term

    80.21.004: Academic Catalog

    Students are governed by the academic regulations of the catalog in effect at the time of their admission.  The academic catalog is updated annually for new programs, changes to the current programs, and for policy additions and updates.  Students must complete the degree requirements as outlined in the catalog that was in effect at the time of their enrollment or readmission to the Graduate School.  Students must become thoroughly familiar with the Graduate School’s current academic regulations as defined in the catalog.  Individual departments where students are performing their dissertation research may have additional requirements that the student must also know and comply with. Changes to the academic catalog will be considered only when appropriate documentation is recorded by the Registrar and reviewed and approved by the SVP/COO.

    80.21.005: Prerequisites

    The Graduate School defines a prerequisite as a course that must be completed with a satisfactory grade before enrolling in another course or being admitted to a certain program.

    All prerequisites are listed in the academic catalog under a course description and on the curriculum pages. Students will not be allowed to enroll in a course without completing the necessary prerequisites.

    80.21.006: Registration

    All students are registered by cohorts through the process of auto-enrollment.  Auto-enrollment is a registration process whereby the Registrar enrolls the students prior to the start of classes of each term.

    80.21.007: Lectures

    It is required that all students will attend the scheduled lectures provided either in-person or online.  Any student who is unable to attend a scheduled lecture must email the Registrar, who in turn, will notify the instructor and course leader(s).  As noted in 80.27.008, recordings of the lectures will be available for those students who are unable to attend a scheduled lecture.

    Key points related to lectures are:

    • Lectures are prepared ahead of time and uploaded into the LMS by the lecturer.  This gives students the opportunity to review the material in advance of the start of class and to prepare questions;
    • As directed by the lecturer, students must be prepared to present portions of any research paper that will be discussed in lectures;
    • All in-person lectures are recorded and uploaded within 48-72 hours and are appropriately stored for subsequent viewing.  In-person lectures and content will remain available for the duration of each course.  At the conclusion of each course, the recordings will no longer be available to enrolled students;
    • Recordings of lectures are not a substitute for regular attendance at in- person lectures.

    80.21.008: Online Etiquette and Communication

    The classroom and learning management system are academic environments and certain behaviors are expected when you communicate with your peers and your instructors. These guidelines for online behavior and interaction are known as “netiquette”.

    General Guidelines

    • When communicating online, you should always:
    • Treat your instructor and classmates with respect in email or any other form of communication;
    • Use your instructor’s proper title (e.g., Dr. Smith or, if in doubt, Mr. or Ms. Smith);
    • Use clear and concise language;
    • Remember that all graduate level communication should have correct spelling and grammar (this includes discussion boards);
    • Avoid using slang terms and texting abbreviations;
    • Use standard fonts and a font size of 12 point;
    • Avoid using the caps lock feature;
    • Limit or avoid altogether the use of emojis;
    • Be cautious when using humor or sarcasm as tone is often misunderstood in an email or discussion post and your attempt at humor might be taken seriously or sound offensive;
    • Do not send personal and/or confidential information – remember FERPA and HIPAA.

    Email Netiquette

    In addition to the above mentioned guidelines, when you send an email to your instructor, teaching assistant, or classmate, you should:

    • Use a descriptive subject line;
    • Be brief;
    • Avoid attachments unless you are sure your recipients can open them;
    • Use plain text instead of HTML;
    • Sign your message with your name and return email address;
    • Think carefully before you send the email to more than one person. Does everyone need to see your message?;
    • Be sure you really want everyone to receive your response when you click, “reply all” ;
    • Do not forward an email message from someone else without their consent.

    Discussion Board Netiquette and Guidelines

    When posting on the discussion board in your online class, you should:

    • Make posts that are on topic and within the scope of the course material;
    • Take your posts seriously and review and edit your posts before sending;
    • Be as brief as possible while still making a thorough comment;
    • Always give proper credit when referencing or quoting another source;
    • Be sure to read all discussion points in a thread before replying;
    • Do not repeat someone else’s post without adding something of your own to it;
    • Avoid short, generic replies such as, “I agree.” You should include why you agree or add to the previous point;
    • Always be respectful of others’ opinions even when they differ from your own;
    • When you disagree with someone, you should express your differing opinion in a respectful, non-critical way;
    • Do not make personal or insulting remarks;
    • Be open-minded.
    • The doctoral students’ grades during the first year of the curriculum are based on a combination of examinations (50%), problem sets (40%) and participation (10%).  These percentages apply consistently to all courses except for courses that are Pass/Fail as defined in the Academic Catalog.
    • The master’s students’ grades are based on examinations, assignments and participation. The weights for the three areas may vary across master’s level courses – see relevant syllabus.
    • The grading scale, as defined in 80.22.004, is the same across all degree programs.  

    80.22.001: Examinations

    All students

    • Depending on the length and content, a course may have more than one examination;
    • Lecturers design their own style of examination questions and format;
    • Course Leaders and the Associate Deans must review the examination questions for level of difficulty, clarity, and fairness;
    • Course Leaders are responsible for ensuring that Instructors score their examination question(s) within three (3) business days and that the Instructors provide comments to help the student understand where he or she may have had difficulty.

    On-Campus

    • Examinations take place in the Graduate School Lecture Room and are proctored.  Students may leave the room for personal breaks only with permission of the proctor but must continue to abide by the Academic Code of Conduct when absent from the room;
    • Students may approach the proctor to clarify a question, but the proctor is under no obligation to provide an answer and may seek help as necessary from the lecturers.  The proctor will share any clarifications with all students;
    • All answers to examinations are to be written on the provided bar-coded paper that facilitates marking by the lecturers.

    Online

    • Examinations are administered electronically through the LMS;
    • Safeguards are in place to verify the student’s identity during an examination. The Graduate School requires two-factor authentication for accessing the LMS. In addition to network credentials, the student will provide a token of information that only the student would have immediately on hand, such as a code sent via SMS message, voice call, or correctly answering randomized security questions specific to the student. In addition to the two-factor authentication, additional security measures are needed for examination integrity;
    • Instructors are expected to include an additional verification method within the examination to verify the student identity during the exam. This verification could require the student to take or record a picture or video of themselves or IDs during the examination using the webcam on the student issued laptop;
    • For examinations that require an additional level of monitoring of examination integrity, instructors must also utilize an online proctoring service that is integrated with the LMS. The online proctoring service will verify the student’s identity prior to providing the student access to the examination site. During the examination, the proctor may monitor the students in real time via webcams;
    • Examination availability on the course site will be restricted to the testing period established by the instructor;
    • Students complete the final answers by themselves, free of consultation;
    • Students abide by the Honor Code;
    • Students submit the completed problem sets or assignments by the requested time;
    • Online students may contact the course leader for assistance.
    • Instructors mark the assignments and examinations and provide written comments to help the student understand where he or she has answered well or poorly.
    • All feedback on examinations must be provided online through CrowdMark.

    80.22.002: Problem Sets/Assignments - PhD

    Problem sets and other assignments test students in detail on specific topics and provide opportunity for background reading and library research.  Postdoctoral mentors can assist the onsite students and students may work together.

    The following apply:

    • Instructors design problem sets and assignments to be completed in a reasonable time up to half a day including background reading;
    • Students complete the final answers by themselves, free of consultation;
    • Students abide by the Honor Code;
    • Students submit the completed problem sets or assignments by the requested time;
    • Instructors mark the problem sets or assignments and provide written comments to help the student understand where he or she has answered well or poorly.

    80.22.003: Student Participation

    Participation in lectures, group discussions, paper discussions, presentations, and other means of instruction are regarded as a key facet of the Graduate School training.  Course leaders will assign a participation grade based on feedback from the lecturers.

    80.22.004: Grade Scales

    Students will be awarded letter grades for all coursework.  The grades are determined according to the following scale of the combined scores:

    A+ (98-100), A (93-97), A- (90-92), B+ (87-89), B (83-86), B- (80-82), C+ (77-79), C (73-76), C- (70-72), F (0-69), Pass, Fail, I, W.

    Numerical scores are rounded up to the nearest integer before assigning the letter grade.  For example, 80.49 becomes 80, 80.50 becomes 81 and 80.51 becomes 81.

    For calculating the GPA (see 80.24.006), letter grades are associated with numeric values as follows: A+ (4.0), A (4.0), A- (3.7), B+ (3.3), B (3.0), B- (2.7), C+ (2.3), C (2.0), C- (1.7), F (0.0).

    Pass/Fail

    A student’s earned grade in a course designated as Pass/Fail will be a “Pass” if the student has earned a course grade of C (70 or above). A student’s earned grade in a course will be “Fail” if the student has earned a course grade F (below 70).  A Pass/Fail grade is not used in calculating a student’s GPA but a grade of “F” is used in calculating a student’s GPA.

    When a student earns a “Pass” in a course that is designated as Pass/Fail, the credits from that course count toward the degree requirements, but the credits are not used in calculating the student’s GPA.

    A student who receives a “Fail” grade in a Pass/Fail course will immediately be placed on academic warning as successful completion of the degree requirements will be at risk.  The credits of any failed course will not be earned toward the degree requirements.  A student will have the opportunity to earn a “Pass” in a course where the student received a “Fail” with the successful completion of an individualized academic plan designed in consult with the Associate  Dean (or designee) and the relevant Graduate Faculty member.      

    I – Incomplete

    A student may initiate an Incomplete when an extenuating circumstance prevents the student from completing course work during the semester. Before an “I” is assigned, the student is responsible for writing an agreement with the course leader that details the requirements that the student must meet to change the "I" to a letter grade. An “I” is not included in the calculation of the GPA.  An “I” will convert to a failing grade if the incomplete work is not made up before the end of the next term which may jeopardize the student’s continued enrollment in the graduate program.

    W – Student-Initiated Withdrawal

    This mark is given to a student who initiates the process to officially withdraw from the Graduate School during the time specified in the academic period. "W" does not satisfy prerequisites and is not included in the calculation of GPA.

    80.22.005: Grade Point Average (GPA)

    The GPA can be calculated at any stage of the training to inform the student, dissertation advisor, and graduate staff of the student’s academic progress and standing.  The GPA is determined by the student’s Quality Points divided by the total credit hours the student has successfully completed in courses that provide a letter grade. Quality points are calculated by multiplying the credit hours of each successfully completed course by the numeric value of the grade received in the course as noted in the grading scale (80.24.005).

    Example:

    A student has successfully completed the Genes to Proteins course (4 credits) with a grade of A- (3.7 points) and Cell Biology course (3 credits) with an A grade (4.0 points).

    Quality Points:

    Genes to Proteins = 4.0 x 3.7 = 14.8

    Cell Biology = 3.0 x 4.0 = 12.0

    Total Quality Points = 14.8 + 12.0 = 26.8

    Total Credits = 7

    GPA = 26.8/7 = 3.828

    Rounded GPA = 3.83

    80.22.006: Curving of Raw Scores (PhD only)

    Grade curving minimizes or eliminates variation between different instructors of the same course, so students in the same course are assessed relative to their peers.  Curving also brings raw scores into the predefined range of assigning letter grades.  The Graduate School uses a very common curving system called the “Texas Curve,” which is the square root of the raw score times 10.  The course leaders know that the Texas Curve is consistently applied throughout each of the courses on examinations, problem sets, and participation. Each student receives both the raw score and curved score.  

    80.22.007: Candidacy Examination – PhD

    The examination format and rules and regulations are as follows:

    • The Chair of the examining committee cannot be the dissertation advisor, but the dissertation advisor must be present;
    • The student submits the written Candidacy Examination and Defense document by email to the Registrar at least two weeks before the examination.  The Registrar will be responsible for emailing the document to each committee member;
    • The student will leave the room, and the Committee will have initial discussions about the student, the project and performance in the laboratory and the written examination document;
    • The Committee invites the student to return and present his/her PowerPoint presentation without interruption for no longer than 25 minutes;
    • The Committee members conduct the oral examination for no longer than 1.5 hours;
    • The student’s PI may ask questions and make comments with permission of the Committee Chair;
    • No additional slides are allowed for the oral examination. The student must be prepared to sketch diagrams to support explanations and may return to a slide to address a question specific to that slide.
    • After the oral examination is completed, the student is excused and the Committee votes Pass or Fail on (1) the written and PowerPoint documents, and (2) the oral examination.  The Committee then votes Pass, Fail or Provisional on the overall examination;
      • Pass – the student has successfully completed the examination;
      • Fail – the student must submit a full rewritten proposal and schedule an oral re-examination within one month;
      • Provisional – the student is required to submit a rewrite and may or may not be required to schedule an oral reexamination within one month. The Committee Chair may ask for additional requirements.
    • The student is invited to return to the examination room, and the Committee Chair will provide feedback and inform the student of their grade.  Other committee members may also offer feedback.

    80.22.008: Satisfactory Academic Progress

    Students are required to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward degree completion. Academic progress is measured at the end of each academic term. Each student can login to the Student Portal to view their unofficial transcript at the end of each term and a copy will be placed in the student’s file.   Failure to meet SAP requirements in a semester will result in probation and an academic warning.  A student will have an opportunity to come off of probation and academic warning in the next semester by raising their GPA to the required GPA for the program.  A student who is on probation and academic warning for two consecutive semesters may be academically terminated by the Dean.

    • Milestones required to comply with SAP toward completing the doctoral degree:
      • Complete the mandatory courses with passing grades during the first two semesters and maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) or better by the end of year one and every year thereafter. Overall performance will be assessed by the Dean and discussed with the student throughout the program;
      • Participate and satisfactorily complete the mandatory Pass/Fail courses in ‘Core Facilities’ and ‘Scientific Writing and Communication’ courses;
      • Complete three six-week laboratory rotations during the first two semesters. Submit weekly progress reports and make a final presentation at the end of each rotation;
      • Select a dissertation advisor and laboratory to begin dissertation research by the end of the second semester;
      • Finalize the Dissertation Committee during the early part of the third semester;
      • Pass the Candidacy Examination by June 15 of the fourth semester – exceptions to this deadline must be approved by the Dean. The examination includes preparation and oral defense of a grant application based on the proposed dissertation research, which is prepared in conjunction with the ‘Scientific Writing and Communication’ course;
      • After advancing to candidacy, submit a grant application to an outside funding agency to support your research with assistance from your dissertation advisor;
      • Schedule biannual meetings with the Dissertation Committee;
      • Conduct independent research;
      • Publish or have accepted for publication a minimum of two manuscripts. Manuscripts submitted for publication or under review will also be considered with committee approval. Ideally, one of the publications will be a first author publication;
      • Successfully draft the dissertation, conduct an oral defense of the dissertation, and make all necessary revisions to the dissertation, ideally before the end of the fifth year.
    • Milestones required to comply with SAP toward completing the Global master’s degree:
      • Complete the mandatory courses with passing grades during the first semester and maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) or better each semester thereafter. Overall performance will be assessed by the Associate Dean and discussed with the student throughout the program;
      • Participate and satisfactorily complete all assignments and examinations;
      • Participate in non-credit bearing workshops and seminars during orientation and experiential learning intersessions;
      • Select a thesis advisor, topic, and committee during the early part of the third semester;
      • Schedule virtual meetings with the thesis committee.

    80.22.009: Attendance

    •  The degree programs have scheduled lectures and seminars. Students are required to attend all lectures and other scheduled academic seminars. A student who cannot be in attendance for a lecture or academic seminar must contact the Registrar in advance of the scheduled lecture or seminar.  The Registrar will, in turn, notify the instructor and course leader.
    • In the event that a student cannot meet the required level of participation, the student must communicate with the Registrar.  The Registrar will inform the relevant Associate Dean and Dean of the student’s inability to meet the academic requirements of the program.  The Dean, relevant Associate Dean and SVP/COO will discuss options available to the student including a leave of absence, incomplete grade, and withdrawal from the program.
    • Lectures and seminars are recorded and remain available for the duration of each course. Lecture recordings are not a substitute for regular attendance at lectures (policy 80.21.008). The relevant Associate Dean will review unapproved absences and the student may be subject to disciplinary action. Attendance is monitored and excessive absences and/or late arrivals may lead to dismissal from the program.

    80.22.010: Grading Timing and Release

    The deadline for all grading (Assignments, Examinations, and Participation) is three (3) business days from the date the student’s work is due or submitted.  The Registrar is responsible for collecting, recording, and reporting grades on behalf of the Graduate School.  The Graduate School will release the grades once all the grades for students in the class are received and reviewed internally.

    80.22.011: Grade Appeals

    Appeals for final course grades must be submitted to the relevant Associate Dean before the end of the following semester. Any grade standing beyond that period is not available for review and will remain on the transcript. Students are advised to discuss concerns about grades and academic progress with their advisors at the earliest possible time.

    Process for Formal Final Course Grade Appeal

    1. When appealing a grade, the student should provide a written statement of the violation; description of attempts to resolve complaint; documentation regarding policies including but not limited to the course syllabus; and documentation of coursework associated with the complaint.
    2. The Associate Dean shall provide a time-stamped and dated copy of the formal student course grade appeal to the instructor(s). The Program Director will then request input and/or response from the instructor(s).
    3. The Associate Dean may convene an ad hoc special review committee to advise on any dispute.
    4. The Associate Dean shall review all documentation and respond in writing to the student within thirty calendar days of receiving the formal course grade appeal. The Associate Dean will place, in writing, the final decision to the student and instructor(s), and grade appeal committee or the reason for any delay in decision. The decision of the Associate Dean can be appealed to the Dean.
    5. Appeals to the Dean must be submitted in writing within ten calendar days of the postmarked response from the Associate Dean. The Dean or his/her designee must respond to the student appeal within thirty calendar days. The decision of the Dean or his/her designee is the final decision. No further appeal is possible.
    6. The SVP/COO retains all grade appeal records permanently.

    The decision/resolution at the institutional level is considered final. However, students in the state of Tennessee may appeal a decision to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission licensure staff at 404 James Robertson Parkway, Suite 1900, Nashville, TN 37243; phone: (615) 741-5293, if the student does not feel that the issue has been adequately addressed.

    80.22.012: Incomplete Grades

    With the Dean’s approval, incomplete grades may be issued when the semester ends and a student’s work is academically acceptable, but for a valid reason the student has been unable to complete all required work. To remove an incomplete grade, the student is expected to complete all uncompleted work by the time agreed upon with his/her advisor, or by the end of the next semester at the latest.

    Incomplete grades are indicated on a student’s transcript as an “I,” which will be replaced with the appropriate grade and credit awarded when the student completes the work, as approved by the course faculty or research faculty advisor, as appropriate. If the grade has not been changed by the end of the following semester, the “I” will be replaced with an “F,” which will be calculated into the student’s GPA. Reversal of the “F” grade may be possible, if the work is subsequently completed and reversal is recommended by the student’s advisor. This option would be granted only in extraordinary circumstances and with the Dean’s approval.

    80.22.013: Class Cancellation

    A class may be cancelled up to two weeks before the start date. If an entire session of classes is cancelled prior to the beginning of the semester, students will be given the opportunity to take the classes to complete the degree.

    Should an unavoidable event such as epidemic, natural disaster, civil unrest, or threat of terrorist activity result in partial or complete cancellation, an appropriate evaluation of the academic credit you attained will follow.

  2. Syllabi inform students about what is expected of them to meet course requirements and is provided to the students via the LMS. Syllabus content must be in accordance with requirements as set forth by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS COC) and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC).

    80.23.001: Mandatory Course Information

    • Name of Course Leader(s) and lecturers;
    • Course Leader(s) office number and location, department affiliations, and phone numbers;
    • Times and locations for Course Leader(s) office hours;
    • Course number, section, and title;
    • Semester (fall or spring) and year;
    • Prerequisites and any other enrollment requirements;
    • Overview of the scope, purpose of the course, and course description;
    • Due dates for problem sets and examinations;
    • Method(s) for submitting problem sets and assignments;
    • Date and format of examination(s);
    • Explanation of the grading rubric of assignments, problem sets, examination(s) and participation;
    • Required and optional texts and other resources;
    • Copyright usage policy;
    • Expected student objectives for the course.

    80.23.002: Course Materials

    • Course materials include, but are not limited to, lecture presentations, lecture recordings, required and recommended readings, links to papers and relevant sites, and JoVE links.
    • Course materials may not be shared once the course is completed.

    80.23.003: Submission of Coursework

    Coursework must be submitted by the dates specified by the instructor and as detailed on the syllabus and in the LMS course calendar.  Grace periods will only be granted in exceptional circumstances (e.g. illness, personal, or family issues) and at the discretion of the course leader, in consult with the relevant Associate Dean.  Computer failure is not accepted as a reason for missing an assignment deadline and students are expected to back up their data at regular intervals to avoid losing their work.  All students are strongly encouraged to make use of the shared drive to back up data and coursework.  Loaner laptops are available upon request.

     

  3. 80.24.001: Degrees and Degree Completion

    Master of Science Degree in Global Child Health – Terminal

    • To be awarded a master’s degree, a student must:
      • Successfully complete all coursework and examinations;
      • Have satisfactory attendance and participation in the required workshops, seminars, and experiential learning activities;
      • Submit a master’s thesis with oral defense before the student’s thesis committee.
    • Each student is expected to successfully complete all coursework, assignments, and examinations during the two years of the program.
    • Students are encouraged to start exploring topics for the thesis in the first two semesters.
    • The thesis defense must be completed by May 15 of the fourth semester.  A student who fails the defense of his/her thesis will be allowed to repeat the defense once before June 15 in the student’s fourth semester.  A second failing grade will result in termination from the program.

    Master of Science Degree in Biomedical Sciences – Transitional

    • A student who successfully completes first- and second-year curricula and defends the Candidacy Examination with a passing grade will be awarded a transitional Master of Science degree in Biomedical Sciences and will advance to candidacy.

    Master of Science Degree in Biomedical Sciences - Terminal

    • A student who decides to leave the program prior to obtaining their PhD degree or does not successfully pass their Candidacy Examination and is unable to complete his/her PhD studies may apply to the Associate Dean and Dean for a terminal Master of Science degree in Biomedical Sciences. To be considered for a terminal master’s degree, the student must:
      • Successfully complete the first-year core curriculum;
      • Complete at least one year of full-time research; and
      • Write and successfully defend a master’s thesis based on their research.
    • Once the Associate Dean and Dean approve the request for a terminal master’s degree, the student will write and submit a master’s thesis and defend it during an oral examination administered by his/her Dissertation Committee. If the student’s Dissertation Committee, Associate Dean and Dean approve the amount and quality of the student’s work and agree that it rises to a master’s level of research and academic accomplishment, a terminal master’s degree is awarded to the student.

    Doctoral Degree in Biomedical Sciences

    • The Graduate School will award the doctoral degree upon the successful completion of the following requirements:
      • First-year courses and accompanying examinations and problem sets (two semesters);
      • Three laboratory rotations and clinical assignments;
      • Satisfactory attendance and participation in the required journal clubs, seminars, and laboratory meetings;
      • Pass Candidacy Examination (end of the fourth semester);
      • Submit a grant application;
      • Have two research manuscripts published or accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal (ideally, one first-author);
      • Complete dissertation research;
      • Write a dissertation; and
      • Pass the oral defense of the dissertation.
    • Each student is expected to complete all coursework, three laboratory rotations, and clinical assignments during the first two semesters;
    • The third and fourth semesters are devoted to research and enhanced preparation for the Candidacy Examination;
    • To attain doctoral degree candidacy status, the student must have passed all requirements to take the Candidacy Examination by the end of the fourth semester;
    •  In consultation with the Associate Dean and Dean, each student will select a Dissertation Committee members by the beginning of the third semester;
    • A student who fails the Candidacy Examination or the oral defense of the thesis will be alowed to repeat once.

    80.24.002: Degree Completion Time Limit

    • Students are expected to complete the doctoral degree within five years, with six years as the maximum time allowed including any leaves of absence;
    • Students are expected to complete the master’s degree within two years, with three years as the maximum time allowed including any leaves of absence;
    • If a student has been approved to withdraw from the program and then is re-admitted, the period of withdrawal will not be included in the time to degree.  Any exceptions to this policy require the approval of the Dean.

    80.24.003: Intent to Graduate

    An Intent to Graduate form must be submitted to the Graduate School at the beginning of the semester in which the student expects to complete a degree.

    80.24.004: Degree Conferral

    Degree conferral is an institutional action that represents a student’s completion of the requirements necessary for a degree.  All students must file the Degree Completion Form to be considered for degree conferral.  Degrees at the Graduate School are conferred in June of each year – generally, a Commencement Exercise will occur in conjunction with the conferral of degrees but my be scheduled later by the Dean and SVP/COO to accommodate schedules of participants.  A student who has had their terminal degree conferred - doctoral or master’s - will be assigned ”graduate” status, which will prohibit his/her registration in a subsequent semester.

    80.24.005: Experiential Credit

    Experiential credit will be considered on a case-by-case basis for St. Jude employees who are admitted to the doctoral program. The maximum number of experiential credit hours that can be awarded to a doctoral student with previous St. Jude research experience related to the courses below is 18 credit hours:

    Core Facilities Program I (1 credit hour)

    Core Facilities Program II (1 credit hour)

    Topics in Clinical and Translational Research I (2 credit hours)

    Topics in Clinical and Translational Research II (2 credit hours)

    Lab Rotation I (3 credit hours)

    Lab Rotation II (3 credit hours)

    Lab Rotation III (3 credit hours)

    Scientific Writing & Grantsmanship (3 credit hours)

    • Formal Request by the Student: A student enrolled in the doctoral program may submit a request for experiential credit. The request should detail the nature of prior learning, substantiate the quality of the learning as it relates to the required curriculum, demonstrate the student’s mastery of the related material, and explain how the learned material has furthered the student’s understanding and knowledge base.
    • Evaluation of the Student’s Request: The SVP/COO and the Associate Dean will review and evaluate the formal request in consult with subject matter experts.  The evaluation will determine what credit, if any, may be awarded to the graduate student in lieu of enrolling in the course itself and confirm that the student has demonstrated knowledge and mastery of the subject matter.  The student may be required to provide additional evidence in support of the request, including the ability to thoroughly explain the subject concepts and what can be done with the knowledge.
    • Application of the Experiential Credit to the Student’s Academic Record/Transcript: SVP/COO will inform the graduate student, and others as needed, of the decision.  If experiential credit is awarded, the Registrar will update the student’s academic record and transcript to reflect the experiential credit approval and will add the written evaluation to the student’s academic file. If no experiential credit is awarded, the Registrar will add the written evaluation to the student’s academic file.
    • Appeal of the Evaluation Decision: The student may appeal the evaluation of the experiential credit request in writing stating the student’s grounds for appeal to the Dean within five (5) business days from the date of the initial decision. The Dean may meet with the student, review the case file, and discuss the initial decision with the SVP/COO and Associate Dean.  The Dean will render a written decision on the appeal within ten (10) business days from the date of the receipt of the appeal.  The written decision will be communicated and filed in the same manner as the initial evaluation decision.  The Dean’s decision will be the final decision on the matter.

    Experiential credits will not be granted to students enrolled in master’s programs.

    80.24.006: Transfer Credit

    • Transfer credit may be granted for a student transferring into the Graduate School from another graduate program.  The transfer credit request will be evaluated by the Graduate Council who will submit a recommendation to the Dean.  Unless there are exceptional circumstances as determined by the Dean, transfer students are required to earn additional credits from the first-year coursework and must pass the Candidacy Examination.
    • The maximum number of transfer credit that can be awarded to a student transferring into the doctoral program is up to 7 hours of first-year curriculum core courses.
    • Transfer credits will not be granted to students enrolled in master’s programs.

    80.24.007: Transferability of Credit to Other Institutions

    The Graduate School is authorized by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission to confer Master and Doctorate degrees and will apply for accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education.  The Graduate School does not imply, promise, or guarantee that credits earned will transfer to other institutions, since those determinations are made according to the policies of the receiving institution.

    Read our Transferability of Credit Disclosure Compliance Statement

    80.24.008: Transfer into the Graduate School from other Programs

    • A graduate student at another institution may not transfer into the Graduate School unless accompanied by a St. Jude-recruited and THEC-approved Research Graduate Faculty member;
    • International doctoral students cannot transfer into the Graduate School currently;
    • Students who transfer with a St. Jude-recruited THEC-approved Research Graduate Faculty member may only transfer into the doctoral program and not into the master’s program;
    • Transfer student applicants must pass background and registry checks and drug screen prior to final admission into the Graduate School;
    • A doctoral student who has completed his/her Candidacy Examination at another institution may not transfer into the Graduate School but may complete the research for a PhD degree at St. Jude through an agreement between St. Jude and the home institution, and the student’s dissertation advisor. The Graduate School has no formal role in the student’s training.  However, the student may informally participate in lectures and presentations with permission of the SVP/COO and the Graduate Faculty member(s) overseeing and conducting the course(s);
    • A doctoral student at another institution who has not passed his/her Candidacy Examination may formally apply to transfer into the Graduate School if the dissertation advisor is a member of the St. Jude Research Graduate Faculty;
    • Prior to accepting a transfer student, the Dean, SVP/COO, Associate Dean, dissertation advisor, and other designees will review the transfer applicant’s academic and student record and evaluate the student’s prior graduate-level coursework for academic credit at the Graduate School.  Key factors for academic credit evaluation include level and content of prior coursework, comparability to Graduate School courses, and relevance to the Graduate School curriculum;
    • For a doctoral student who has been approved to transfer from another institution, a plan will be formulated to complete their graduate training.  The student must complete necessary courses in the first-year curriculum as determined by the Dean, Associate Dean, SVP/COO, dissertation advisor, and other designees of the student’s prior graduate-level coursework.  Depending on when in the academic year and in the stage of the student’s graduate studies the transfer occurs, and with the Dean’s approval, the requisite sections of the Graduate School curriculum may be completed in the student’s second year.
    • Transfer students are required to complete three distinct laboratory rotations.  Rotations completed at the student’s prior institution may count towards this requirement;
    • Irrespective of prior training, a transfer student must complete the Graduate School’s translational course and writing course, pass the Candidacy Examination, and submit a grant application;
    • Candidacy Examinations occur during the spring semester of the student’s second year and the grant proposal is submitted after passing the Candidacy Examination. The Dean and dissertation advisor may adjust timing for a transfer student’s Candidacy Examination accordingly;
    • Once formulated, the dissertation advisor will present the training plan of the transfer student to the Graduate Council.  The Graduate Council will provide feedback on the training plan to the Dean prior to his/her approval;
    • Accepted transfer students will receive the full benefits that the Graduate School provides to students in the same degree program;
    • Accepted transfer students are required to follow the Graduate School Policies & Procedures.
  4. 80.25.001 Selection of Dissertation Advisors - PhD

    • Students are required to perform three six-week rotations in the first-year curriculum. The rotations are designed to accomplish four objectives: (1) provide hands-on laboratory experience within the St. Jude research environment; (2) allow the students to evaluate the faculty and their research topics and laboratory environments for potential dissertation research; (3) allow faculty to evaluate the students for potential acceptance into their laboratories for dissertation research; and (4) allow the students to complete, write-up, and orally present three six-week projects.
    •  Students are required to rotate in three different laboratories and preferably in at least two different departments. Exceptions will be approved by the Dean. Students may only formally organize the next scheduled rotation in the curriculum, but students are free to discuss potential rotations with faculty and explore their interests and options at any time and should do so as early as possible in the first year. Faculty must inform potential rotation students of their willingness to be dissertation advisors during the following year.
    • When a rotation has been agreed upon by the student and the faculty member, the match must be submitted to the Dean and the relevant department chair for approval at least two weeks prior to the rotation start date. The student and the faculty will 1) identify a project suitable for graduate level research; 2) arrange laboratory space, equipment, supplies and mentor; and 3) identify training necessary to conduct the research.
    • Each student will maintain a bound laboratory notebook to 1) record all laboratory activities, source data, and dates, and 2) provide weekly journal entries that summarize the student’s activities and progress. At the completion of each rotation, the original notebook will remain with the faculty member who supervised the graduate student, and a copy will be forwarded and stored electronically in the student record. 
    • At the end of the rotation, each student will prepare a PowerPoint presentation to be orally delivered in a formal Graduate School event that is open to all graduate students, members of the Graduate Faculty, and members of the participating laboratories. The Registrar will retain the final PowerPoint file stored electronically in the student record. 
    • Students will be provided a supplies budget from the Graduate School for each rotation and may access the budget for individual purchases only with permission from the Research Graduate Faculty advisor.
    • After the third rotation, and not before, each student must identify a faculty dissertation supervisor from one of their three rotations. The selected faculty member is not obligated to accept the student who may then be required to select their second or third choice laboratories. The final match must be recorded, signed by the dissertation advisor, student, Dean, and department chair, and placed in the student record at the Graduate School.
    • If a student does not identify a dissertation advisor after the third rotation, the student will be formally placed on warning status. A review committee will be convened to discuss the situation comprising the Dean, the Associate Dean, the SVP/COO, and three members of the Graduate Council. There are two possible outcomes from this meeting; 1) the student is dismissed from the program or 2) a fourth rotation will be organized during the summer after completion of the first-year curriculum. If the latter, the review committee will select the faculty dissertation advisor after discussion with the student and potential dissertation advisors. The department chair must also approve the placement before the permanent assignment begins. Presentation of the fourth project will be conducted in a closed session with the review committee and the fourth rotation advisor.
    • If a dissertation advisor cannot be identified after the fourth rotation, there are two possible outcomes; 1) the student is dismissed from the program or 2) the student will be assigned a Research Graduate Faculty dissertation advisor who is willing to oversee the student’s PhD project pending the approval of the relevant department chair. Any student who does not accept the assignment decision will be dismissed from the program.

    80.25.002: Dissertation Advisors - PhD

    • Only members of the Research Graduate Faculty can serve as dissertation advisors;
    • The graduate student must conduct his/her research under the supervision of the dissertation advisor;
    • Oversee and direct graduate student research and guide the graduate student to successful completion of the student’s PhD degree;
    • Establish the dissertation committee and, apart from the Candidacy Examination (see 80.22.007), Chair the dissertation committee;
    • The dissertation advisor and the dissertation committee together decide when a graduate student has successfully completed the requirements to receive his/her PhD;
    • Oversee, monitor, and grant permission to use the supplies and travel budget granted to the graduate student by the Graduate School.

    80.25.003: Dissertation Committees - PhD

    • Comprises a minimum of four members, including the dissertation advisor; 
    • Any member of the Graduate Faculty may serve on the dissertation committee;
    • At least two members of the dissertation committee must be Research Graduate Faculty at the rank of Associate or Full Member; 
    • Only one Assistant Member may serve on the dissertation committee, including the dissertation advisor;
    • Only one Clinical Graduate Faculty may serve on the dissertation committee;
    • Only one Adjunct Faculty Member may serve on the dissertation committee;
    • A fifth member may be added at any time to provide supplemental expertise by written request of the dissertation advisor and with approval of the Dean and Associate Dean. The fifth member must hold a PhD or MD degree or equivalent and can be either (1) any member of the Graduate Faculty at any rank, (2) any member from the St. Jude Faculty who is not on the Graduate Faculty, or (3) a recognized leader in a field relevant to the thesis project as an external expert from an outside institution. The latter would be classified as a Visiting Instructor (see 80.36);
    • All members of the dissertation committee are voting members;
    • At least three members of the dissertation committee including the dissertation advisor must be present at each meeting. Remote ‘call ins’ are allowed but discouraged;
    • During the student’s second year, the dissertation committee will meet as necessary to finalize and examine the ‘Candidacy Examination’;
    • During subsequent years, the dissertation committee must meet with the graduate student biannually, assess student progress via the student’s formal research presentation, and submit a formal report and recommendation (Biannual Student Progress Form - PhD) to the Dean together with a final copy of the graduate student presentation;
    • Additional meetings may be arranged at the request of the student or one or more dissertation committee members; 
    • The dissertation advisor and the dissertation committee decide together when a graduate student has successfully completed the requirements to receive his/her PhD;
    • After full review of the student’s academic record, and in consultation with the Dean, Associate Dean and the SVP/COO, the dissertation advisor and the dissertation committee may determine that the graduate student’s level of achievement does not meet the standards required to award a Doctoral degree (see 80.24.008) and warrants the student leaving the program with a Terminal or Transitional Master’s degree (see 80.27.001). 
    • Any requested changes to the dissertation committee must be submitted to the Dean and Associate Dean in writing by the dissertation advisor (or the advisor’s Chair) with a full explanation for review and approval.

    80.25.004 Selection of Thesis Advisors – Global Master’s

    • The student’s third and much of the fourth semester are devoted to research and enhanced preparation for the thesis and defense;
    • A thesis advisor will be selected to oversee the preparation of the thesis;
    • The thesis advisor will oversee the selection of the Thesis Committee and chair the Committee.

    80.25.005 Thesis Advisors – Global Master’s

    • Only members of the Graduate School Faculty may serve as thesis advisors;
    • The graduate student must work on his/her project proposal under the supervision of the thesis advisor;
    • The thesis advisor oversees and directs graduate student research and project proposal preparation and guides the graduate student to successful completion of the MSc degree.

    80.25.006 Thesis Committees – Global Master’s

    • The Thesis Committee consists of at least three members;
    • The thesis advisor chairs the thesis committee; the Chair must be a member of the Graduate Faculty.
    • At least two members of the Thesis Committee, including the Chair, must be from St. Jude;
    • At least one member of the thesis committee must be a Graduate Faculty at the rank of Associate or Full Member; 
    • Only one Adjunct Faculty Member may serve on the thesis committee, but cannot serve as Chair;
    • The third member must hold a MSc degree or higher and can be either (1) any member of the Graduate Faculty at any rank, (2) any member from the St. Jude Faculty who is not on the Graduate Faculty, (3) any member of the St. Jude staff that is an expert in the field of study, or (4) a recognized leader in a field relevant to the thesis project as an external expert on the committee from an outside institution. The latter would be classified as a Visiting Instructor (see 80.36);
    • A fourth member may be added at any time to provide supplemental expertise by written request of the thesis advisor and with approval of the Dean and Associate Dean; 
    • All members of the thesis committee are voting members;
    • The thesis committee assists in preparing the project proposal, meets with the graduate student regularly during their second year, assesses student progress via the student’s formal research, concept paper, and proposal presentation, then submits a formal report and recommendations (Biannual Student Progress Form - MSc) to the Dean together with a final copy of the graduate student presentation; 
    • After full review of the student’s academic record, and in consultation with the Dean and Associate Dean, the thesis advisor and the thesis committee determine successful completion of the requirements to receive his/her MSc degree;
    • After full review of the student’s academic record, and in consultation with the Dean and Associate Dean, the thesis advisor and the thesis committee may determine that the student’s academic progress does not meet the standards required to award a Master’s degree and warrants the student leaving the program. 
    • Any requested changes to the thesis committee must be submitted to the Dean and Associate Dean in writing by the Chair with a full explanation for review and approval.
  5. Research Graduate Faculty understand and acknowledge that they are obligated to be dissertation advisors for the duration of their students’ studies, which is typically 4-5 years per student.  The Graduate School does not allow a Research Graduate Faculty member to be considered as a dissertation advisor if he or she is known to, or considering to, leave St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the near future.  However, unforeseen events can lead to unanticipated departure of faculty from St. Jude; events include, amongst others, recruitment to another institution, non-renewal of the St. Jude contract following scheduled evaluation of performance, illness and/or death, change in career path, retirement, and dismissal from the institution.  The policies below apply to PhD students in their 2nd – 5th year whose dissertation advisor leaves:

    80.26.001: Junior Graduate Student Moves with Advisor - Institution Provides PhD Training

    • Advisor can invite the student to relocate to the graduate school of that institution:
    • This policy will typically apply to students in their 2nd and 3rd years;
    • The Graduate School will provide transcripts and other requested information to the new institution, but it is the new institution’s discretion to approve and accept credits;
    • The new institution may require the student to meet other mandatory needs of their curriculum; examples include repeating or taking additional coursework and retaking the qualifying examination according to the new institution’s policies and standards;
    • The Graduate School provides no financial support or medical benefits for the student.

    80.26.002: Junior Graduate Student does not Move with Advisor

    • Students in their 2nd and 3rd years who wish to remain at the Graduate School and/or cannot relocate to a graduate school at the advisor’s new institution may select another dissertation advisor from the Research Graduate Faculty;
    • The transition should occur quickly to avoid undue delay to the student’s progress;
    • A four-week rotation will be necessary if the student has not previously rotated in the new advisor’s laboratory, and a second four-week rotation is allowed if the match proves to be unsuitable;
    • If the qualifying examination has been successfully completed, a retake is not necessary;
    • If the examination has not been completed, it must be based on the new project and a delay will be granted to allow sufficient time to acquire the necessary knowledge and research data;
    • The required NIH grant application will be delayed as necessary;
    • A new dissertation committee will be convened.  Members of the original committee may remain on the new committee, but the departing advisor may not continue as a committee member.

    80.26.003: Senior Graduate Student Moves but Remains Enrolled in the Graduate School

    • If close to completing their PhD, the student is encouraged to apply to relocate to the advisor’s new institution to complete their dissertation research and obtain their PhD from the St. Jude Graduate School;
    • Permission must be obtained from the Dean;
    • The dissertation advisor is responsible for obtaining permission from the new institution and making the necessary arrangements;
    • The student will continue to receive a stipend and health care benefits from the St. Jude Graduate School, but support for supplies and travel will not be provided.  The advisor will be billed at the new institution for these costs;
    • The student will keep the formed dissertation committees, return to the St. Jude Graduate School for scheduled committee meetings and defend their dissertation at the St. Jude Graduate School;
    • The dissertation advisor must attend the PhD defense, but may participate in committee meetings via teleconferencing with WebEx to review documents and data;
    • The dissertation advisor is responsible for dissertation-related travel expenses;
    • The dissertation advisor is responsible for required tuition fees at the new institution.

    80.26.004: Senior Graduate Student Remains in the Graduate School

    • If the student is close to the completion of his or her PhD degree but cannot relocate with their advisor, he or she must identify a member of the Research Graduate Faculty who can facilitate the completion of the PhD in a timely manner:
    • The Department Chair and the departing advisor (if available) will play an important role in identifying the most appropriate Research Graduate Faculty member;
    • Ideally, the student’s project can continue in the new laboratory and the departing advisor can remain on the dissertation committee and provide mentorship and guidance;
    • If that is not feasible, the new project should be closely related to the original project, involving similar techniques, concepts and fundamental mechanisms.  The dissertation committee membership can be modified if necessary;
    • If a new project is necessary, data, results and publications from the original project can be included in the dissertation document.

    80.26.005: Graduate Student Discontinues Graduate Education

    • A student who does not wish to continue their PhD studies upon departure of their advisor can leave the Graduate School with a terminal MS degree;
    • The student must have completed all the requirements for the MS degree as described in policy 80.27.001.
  6. The Graduate School provides a range of academic support programs, services, and activities that are designed to promote student learning and academic success. They enhance the educational and personal development experience(s) of students at all levels, contribute to the achievement of teaching and learning outcomes, and help students to meet their academic goals and requirements.

    80.27.001: The St. Jude Biomedical Library and Library Services

    The Biomedical Library is an essential Graduate School resource that serves the entire St. Jude research community 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  The library has a large reference book collection. Books and journal selections represent the ongoing needs and subject areas of research at St. Jude including pediatrics, oncology, infectious diseases, genetics, cell biology, hematology, pharmacology, virology, neurobiology, and global health.  The library staff is available to answer questions in person, by phone, or by email Monday to Friday.  Located adjacent to the Graduate School, the library represents a virtual and actual extension to the school.  Specific services provided to the Graduate School by the Biomedical Library are as follows:

    • The library staff has negotiated and will continue to negotiate contracts with journal vendors that allows graduate students full access to journal articles;
    • Book chapters and journal articles not available in the library can be obtained from other library collections or commercial vendors upon request via interlibrary loans.  These loans are photocopies that are delivered electronically to the requestor’s desktop;
    • The library maintains an ‘Alert Service’ that can deliver a customized monthly listing of bibliographic information directly to a student’s computer or mailbox;
    • Maintains a fully comprehensive online service that students can use to browse and search through more than 4,000 different full-text journal titles from their computers;
    • Library staff members assist graduate students with customized literature searches. The library’s Web page also supports the graduate student research by providing links to PubMed and other databases;
    • Negotiates and maintains the Journal of Visual Experiments (JoVE) resource (see below).

    80.27.002: JoVE Scientific Video Journal

    JoVE is an online resource that graduate students are granted access through the Biomedical Library and, as with other online resources, its use is limited to enrolled students. JoVE creates and publishes videos of scientific experiments and techniques for STEM education at the graduate and postgraduate level.  The videos originate from top laboratories around the world, are peer reviewed, and PubMed-indexed.  JoVE videos are designed to speed scientific research by teaching advanced techniques to facilitate scientific reproducibility and productivity.  The Graduate School subscription allows its students to have unlimited access to the JoVE System.  Course leaders can consult with JoVE personnel to coordinate videos with lectures.

    80.27.003: The Graduate School Textbook and Reprint Library

    The Graduate School textbook library is solely for use by the graduate students and the graduate faculty. The textbooks in the library are purchased based on the curriculum and the instructors’ and students’ needs and suggestions to provide access to basic course material and relieve financial burden to the students and faculty.  Rules of use are:

    • Requests for new textbooks can be made by the graduate faculty or a graduate student;
    • All requests must be approved by the SVP/COO;
    • Books must be checked out with the Registrar;

    The Graduate School houses the St. Jude Reprint Library, a unique resource of bound copies of every journal article that has been produced by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital researchers dating from 1962.  The bound copies cannot be removed from the Graduate School. The Reprint Library is formally maintained by the St. Jude Biomedical Library staff.

    80.27.004: Postdoctoral Mentoring

    Postdoctoral mentors work in conjunction with the graduate faculty and ensure that students understand the course material, complete assignments, and become independent learners.  Mentors work within the following guidelines:

    • Students come to the mentoring sessions fully prepared and with appropriate questions;
    • A student assignment must be completed by the student independently and not during the mentoring session;
    • A mentor cannot complete a student assignment and may only provide guidance and help the student to understand the material;
    • A mentor is not responsible for any student’s final grade.
    • A mentor can refuse to assist a student who does not attend the mentoring session as scheduled or with the expected level of preparation;

    Mentors are chosen by the lecturers and approved by the course leaders and the Associate Dean.  If requested by the lecturer, the mentor may be required to attend the lecture(s) and/or complete the student assignment in advance of distribution to prepare for a mentoring session.

    The Registrar schedules mentoring sessions based on information provided by the lecturers and the course leader(s).

    Distance learning students may seek mentoring support by contacting the Associate Dean and the respective course leaders.

    80.27.005: Specialized Training Courses and Training Opportunities – PhD

    • The first-year curriculum is comprehensive and does not specialize in any one topic.  Specialized training begins in earnest in year 2 when the student chooses his/her dissertation advisor and research topic.
    • Students may attend specialized training in their 2nd and 3rd years with funding from the Graduate School.
    • The Graduate School and/or the dissertation advisor will provide a letter of recommendation to all students who have been approved for advanced training.
    • To access advanced training and resources:  The dissertation advisor submits the request, justification, and budget, including travel and accommodation, to the SVP/COO with explanation for the need of the training.  The SVP/COO reviews the request and grants permission for the student to attend the training.

    80.27.006: Student Teaching Opportunities – PhD

    A Teaching Assistantship (TA) is not required of students in the Graduate School; however, the Graduate School recognizes the benefits of TA experience and are committed to providing this experience.

    • A TA may contribute to the development of a graduate student and is consistent with an important goal of the Graduate School to train future academics;
    • TA opportunities may include undergraduate teaching at Rhodes College or other local universities, assisting postdoctoral mentors in the Graduate School, and teaching Pediatric Oncology Education (POE) students in the laboratory of the thesis advisor;
    • Teaching opportunities do not negate the responsibilities and obligations of the student to his/her graduate academics and research;
    • A student may accept TA duties during their 3rd and 4th year in the PhD program;
    • A student may not commit to TA duties during the academic year in which he or she expects to defend their dissertation;
    • The student must obtain the permission of his/her dissertation advisor and the Dean before seeking a teaching opportunity;
    • The dissertation advisor, in consult with the Associate Dean, may reduce the time commitment or suspend TA duties altogether if the student’s academic progress falters;
    • The student must abide by the rules and requirements set forth by the Graduate School and the institution where the TA activities will take place;
    • A TA must work under the supervision of an experienced faculty member as a means of developing teaching skills in the academic discipline;
    • Oversight of the TA is the obligation of the experienced faculty member who is responsible for verifying the appropriate credentials, submitting student evaluations to the Graduate School, and reporting endorsements of and issues with the TAs performance to the Graduate School.

    80.27.007        Internships – PhD

    The Graduate School supports internships during the student’s training. To ensure the experience is educational and eligible to be considered an appropriate internship for a graduate student, the following criteria must be met:

    • The dissertation advisor submits a request to the Dean for a student to apply for an internship with a full description of the host institution, training and experience to be received, and justification for interning at the host institution;
    • The host institution provides a letter of support addressed to the Dean;
    • The host institution must be in the U.S;
    • The scope is fully defined in writing with a stated beginning and end and clearly defined learning objectives and goals related to the student’s academic training;
    • Appropriate resources, equipment, and facilities that support the stated learning objectives and goals must be provided by the host institution;
    • The Dean may refuse permission at his/her discretion if the internship is deemed to be of limited value to the student’s education;
    • The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other settings;
    • A seasoned professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience must supervise the intern;
    • The student’s advisor must provide routine feedback every two months at a minimum;
    • A student may not commit to an internship before his/her fourth year in the program or during the academic year in which he or she expects to defend their dissertation;
    • The internship will generally be one semester but may extend for the academic year;
    • The student will receive full stipend and health insurance coverage during the internship, and the stipend cannot be supplemented by the host institution;
    • Support for student housing will be negotiated between the Graduate School, the dissertation advisor and the host institution, and approved by the SVP/COO;
    • An industry internship must be an extension of the research training and may not simply advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.

    80.27.008: Lecture Recordings

    Attendance in all Graduate School lectures are mandatory. If a student is unable to attend a lecture, the student is required to notify the Registrar who, in turn, informs the lecturer.  The student is able to view the lecture recording housed in the LMS. Lectures should be used as learning tools to reinforce and review the lecture content. Lecture recordings are not a substitute for regular attendance at in- person lectures and will capture:

    • The lecturer’s voice, PowerPoint presentation, any questions and answers during the lecture, and discussion of papers;
    • Examination preparation, review of complex ideas, and clarification to support learning;
    • Lecture recordings are only available for enrolled, degree-seeking students of the Graduate School.
  7. 80.28.001: Statement of Academic Integrity

    • Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest, and responsible manner. All students shall act with personal integrity; respect other students’ dignity, rights, and property; and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed.
    • Dishonesty of any kind will not be tolerated. Dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, and fabricating or falsifying information or citations; facilitating acts of academic dishonesty by others; having unauthorized possession of examinations; submitting work of another person as the student’s own or work previously used without informing the instructor; and tampering with the academic work of other students.
    • The Graduate School uses iThenticate to screen documents (including papers, theses, dissertations, etc.) for copied text to ensure originality and the proper use of citations.  iThenticate is an anti-plagiarism software that runs the uploaded document against the world’s top published works and 70+ billion current and archived webpages.

    80.28.002: Academic Freedom and Responsibility

    • Academic freedom is the unrestricted search for knowledge and truth and its free expression in the academic community. Academic freedom is vital to the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge for the benefit of the faculty, educational officers, students, administrators, the institution, the academic community, and the public. All members of this community must be able to pursue knowledge and express and defend their viewpoints in an atmosphere of mutual respect.
    • Persons engaged in research, dissemination of knowledge, and student advisement and advocacy are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results. Any academic related and creative activities are subject to the Graduate School policies.  Faculty and students are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, maintaining awareness of the relevance of their contribution to the course or to the mission of the Graduate School. Quality education requires a climate of academic freedom and academic responsibility.
    • Professional responsibility is the logical correlative of academic freedom. As members of a profession possessing the right of self-government, the academic community has an obligation to define the rights and responsibilities necessary for research and teaching. All members of the academic community are responsible for conducting themselves in ways that will promote the achievement of the purposes for which academic freedom exists.  All members of this community shall be free from institutional censorship and retributive measures in response to exercising academic freedom. Scholars and educational officers shall attempt at all times and in good faith to be accurate, exercise appropriate restraint, show respect for the opinions of others, and clarify that they are not speaking for the institution.
  8. 80.29.001: Academic dismissal from the Graduate School

    • A student may be dismissed from the Graduate School for a number of academic reasons, including but not limited to: failure to pass the Candidacy Qualifying Examination; consistently poor performance as evidenced by grades, work-in-progress reports, and failure to attend required core courses, journal clubs, and laboratory meetings.
    • The Associate Dean shall provide a time-stamped and dated copy of the formal student dismissal request to the instructor(s) and the advisor. The Associate Dean will then request input and/or response from the instructor(s) and the advisor.
    • The Associate Dean may convene an ad hoc special review committee to advise on any dismissal.
    • Dismissal from the program requires approval by the Dean.
    • Students may appeal the decision via the following procedure:
      i.   Appeals to the Dean must be submitted in writing within ten calendar days of the decision.
      ii.  The appeal should contain the student’s plan for returning to good standing, any unusual or extenuating circumstances that that prevented the student from being successful, and other information that the student would like the Dean to consider.
      iii. The Dean shall review all documentation and respond in writing to the student within thirty calendar days of receiving the formal dismissal appeal.
      iv.  The decision of the Dean is the final decision.
      v.   The SVP/COO retains all dismissal appeal records permanently.

    80.29.002: Readmission

    A student who has been dismissed from the Graduate School will not be readmitted under any conditions.

    80.29.003: Leave of Absence

    PhD Program

    • A student may request a leave of absence at any time after matriculation. In the first year, the student may submit a leave of absence request in writing to the Dean. During subsequent years, the student may request a leave of absence in writing to the faculty research advisor. The advisor will forward the request to the Dean for discussion and for a decision. If the request is approved, the Dean will sign off on the request and instruct the Registrar to record the leave and file the request in the student’s file. Normally, leaves of absence are for one semester only, but a leave for a longer duration may be approved on a case-by-case basis. If the student does not return at the end of the approved leave, he/she will be withdrawn from the program and must reapply through the entering students’ application process. Exceptions to this policy require the written request of the student’s advisor and the approval of the Dean.
    • A first-year student who requests a leave of absence will receive a grade of “I” for incomplete coursework. The student must complete the coursework within one semester of returning to the program, or the “I” will become an “F,” and the student may be dismissed from the program for unsatisfactory academic performance. Time taken on an approved leave of absence will not be included in the time-to-degree calculation for degree completion.

    MSc Global Program

    • A student may request a leave of absence at any time after matriculation. The student may submit a leave of absence request in writing to the Dean and Program Director/ Associate Dean. If the request is approved, the Dean will sign off on the request and instruct the Registrar to record the leave and file the request in the student’s file. Normally, leaves of absence for master’s students are for one full year. When the student returns from the leave of absence, they will join the next cohort. If the student does not return at the end of the approved leave, they will be withdrawn from the program and must reapply through the entering students’ application process. Exceptions to this policy require the approval of the Dean and Associate Dean.
    • A student who requests a leave of absence in the middle of a semester and cannot complete their coursework by the end of the semester will receive a grade of “I” for incomplete coursework. The student must complete the coursework prior to returning to the program, or the “I” will become an “F,” and the student may be dismissed from the program for unsatisfactory academic performance. Time taken on an approved leave of absence will not be included in the time-to-degree calculation for degree completion.

    80.29.004: Student Withdrawal

    • A student may withdraw from the Graduate School at any time. If a student is not certain about withdrawing from the entire program or even a semester, alternatives are available with the Dean’s approval.
    • A student in the Graduate School who wishes to withdraw from the program for any reason should first meet with their research advisor to discuss the withdrawal request, and then meet with the Dean to finalize the written and signed withdrawal notice. First-year students will also meet with their SOT. The student’s research data must be stored on the network drive; laboratory notebooks must be complete; and the Graduate School property, including the assigned laptop computer, must be returned before the Dean approves withdrawal. The student’s transcript will indicate a “W” for the student’s currently enrolled courses. “Withdrawal from the Program” and the date of the withdrawal will be noted on the transcript in the current academic term. The effective date of withdrawal is the date the Registrar receives the written withdrawal notice.
    • A student who formally withdraws in good standing from the program and later wishes to be reinstated must reapply through the same application process as all entering applicants, unless prior arrangements have been made and approved by the Dean.

    80.29.005: Placement Assistance

    The “next step” for students who successfully complete a PhD in Biomedical Sciences is intended to be a postdoctoral fellowship, industry position, or teaching. Although there is no formal placement office in the  St. Jude Graduate School, the best-possible placement assistance for postdoctoral fellowships is through faculty advisors and other mentors in the program. Their support in placing graduates into premier fellowships is invaluable. An extensive network of former St. Jude postdoctoral fellows are another resource to find placements in academia and industry.

    80.29.006: Refunds

    Each student will receive a Graduate School or departmental tuition scholarship or waiver that covers the entire cost of the program and, therefore, is not eligible for a tuition refund.

  9. 80.30.001: Student Grievances

    • The Graduate School administration and faculty intend to provide the best-possible learning environment for students. In that spirit, students are encouraged to seek assistance about a grievance from the student’s SOT (first year), research advisor, teaching faculty, and/or Dissertation Committee at the earliest opportunity. Every effort will be made to reach a resolution at this level. If after a thorough review and discussion, the student still feels the complaint has not been adequately addressed, the student should submit the complaint in writing, with a summary of discussion to date, to the SVP/COO [Brian Walton, (901) 595-1502, 262 Danny Thomas Place, MS 1500, Memphis, TN 38105]. The SVP/COO will then review the complaint, obtain other information needed to complete a resolution. In most circumstances, this process will take less than 30 days to complete. Under exceptional circumstances, a committee of senior faculty will be convened to review the matter.
    • Complaints that allege discrimination, sexual harassment, or any other form of harassment should be reported immediately to the SVP/COO. The SVP/COO will guide the student through the appropriate process. Should the complaint involve the SVP/COO, the student should contact the Dean for assistance.
    • Appeals for final course grades follow the process above and must be submitted before the end of the following semester. Any grade standing beyond that period is not available for review and will remain on the transcript. Students are advised to discuss concerns about grades and academic progress with their advisors at the earliest possible time.
    • The decision/resolution at the institutional level is considered final. However, students in the state of Tennessee may appeal a decision to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission licensure staff at 404 James Robertson Parkway, Suite 1900, Nashville, TN 37243; phone: (615) 741-5293, if the student does not feel that the issue has been adequately addressed.

Faculty Policies

  1. There are four categories of Graduate Faculty in the Graduate School, each with expectations and restrictions regarding graduate student teaching and mentoring, and graduate school administrative participation.  All members of the Graduate Faculty must:

    • Participate in graduate student teaching in his/her area of specialty;
    • Assist in recruiting students to the Graduate School and promoting the Graduate School to potential applicants and educational institutions;
    • Be approved by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC);
    • Hold a degree equal to or higher than the degree course being taught.

    80.30.001: Research Graduate Faculty

    • St. Jude Research Faculty at the rank of Assistant Member, Associate Member, or Member;
    • Directs an independent research program at St. Jude; and
    • Holds a PhD, MD, MD/PhD, or equivalent degree.

    80.30.002: Clinical Graduate Faculty

    • Member of the St. Jude Clinical Faculty at the rank of Assistant Member, Associate Member, or Member;
    • Participates in patient care and treatment at St. Jude;
    • Leads St. Jude clinical research programs; and
    • Holds an MD, MD/PhD, or equivalent degree.

    80.30.003: Graduate Educator

    • Member of the St. Jude Faculty at the rank of Research Associate, Instructor, Assistant Member, Associate Member, Member, or Emeritus; or
    • Member of St. Jude staff overseeing research, clinical, or educational programs and activities at St. Jude.  Examples include Core Directors, Laboratory Directors, Program Leaders, and Clinical Directors;
    • May direct an Independent Research, Clinical or Policy Research program at St. Jude;
    • Holds a PhD, MD, MD/PhD or equivalent degree to teach in the PhD program; or
    • Holds a master’s degree or equivalent or higher to teach in the Master’s programs.

    80.30.004: Adjunct Graduate Faculty

    • Graduate Faculty member from outside institutions who makes a substantial and ongoing contribution to the teaching and mentoring within the Graduate School;
    • From a university, medical school or equivalent, must be at the Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Assistant, Associate or Full Professor level or equivalent;
    • From industry or government institutions or equivalent, must occupy a leadership position and either direct a research group and/or oversee a program;
    • Can be retired or have Emeritus status;
    • Can be an individual from a non-US institution.
  2. All members of the Graduate Faculty must participate in the activities of the Graduate School.  Graduate Faculty must be willing to devote the necessary time to ensure, (1) the academic success of the students, and (2) the development and growth of the Graduate School.

    80.31.001: Research Graduate Faculty

    • Teach graduate students their relevant subject matter or expertise;
    • Periodically serve as a course leader;
    • Accept first-year PhD students for laboratory rotations;
    • Accept a PhD graduate student into the laboratory and serve as a dissertation advisor;
    • Accept a Masters student for a thesis project and serve as a thesis advisor;
    • Serve on other graduate student dissertation and thesis committees;
    • Serve on Graduate School administrative committees, notably the Graduate Council, the Curriculum Committees, and the Admissions Committees;
    • Participate in two-person Scholastic Oversight Teams that mentor PhD students during their first year in the program;
    • Attend Graduate Faculty meetings;
    • Attend mandatory Graduate Faculty training courses.

    80.31.002: Clinical Graduate Faculty

    • Teach graduate students their relevant subject matter or expertise;
    • Periodically serve as a course leader;
    • Serve on PhD dissertation committees but not as the advisor;
    • Serve as a Masters thesis advisor and/or committee member;
    • Contribute to the Topics in Clinical and Translational Research PhD course;
    • Serve on Graduate School administrative committees, notably the Graduate Council, the Curriculum Committees and the Admissions Committees;
    • Participate in two-person Scholastic Oversight Teams that mentor PhD students during their first year in the program;
    • Attend Graduate Faculty meetings;
    • Attend mandatory Graduate Faculty training courses.

    80.31.003: Graduate Educator

    • Teach graduate students their relevant subject matter or expertise;
    • Serve as course leaders for the Masters in Global Child Health Program;
    • Serve on graduate student thesis and/or dissertation committees; may serve as a Masters thesis advisor;
    • Serve on Graduate School administrative committees, notably the Graduate Council, the Curriculum Committees, and the Admissions Committees;
    • Participate in two-person Scholastic Oversight Teams that mentor PhD students during their first year in the program;
    • Attend Graduate Faculty meetings;
    • Attend mandatory Graduate Faculty training courses.

    80.31.004: Adjunct Graduate Faculty

    • Teach graduate students their relevant subject matter or expertise;
    • Serve as course leaders if required to do so;
    • Serve on graduate student thesis and/or dissertation committees but not as their dissertation advisor;
    • Attend Graduate Faculty meetings if available;
    • Attend mandatory Graduate Faculty training courses.

    80.31.005: Legal Obligations

    • Graduate School Faculty Members have a legal responsibility under FERPA (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974) to protect the confidentiality of student education records. A Faculty Member may have access to student information only for legitimate use in the completion of their responsibilities as a Faculty Member.
    • Student education records are considered confidential and therefore Faculty Members may not release any student records or identifiable student information to anyone outside of the Graduate School (including family members, other institutions, etc.) without written consent from the student.
    • Faculty Members should consult the Graduate School Registrar with any questions.
    • All members of the Graduate Faculty are formally defined as ‘Instructors’;
    • Instructors are classified as ‘Full Time’ or ‘Part Time’ depending on their level of contribution to the Graduate School;
    • Prior to applying to THEC, the Dean and the GFARC (see 80.33.001) will determine Full Time or Part Time status of an applicant depending on the expected level of contribution to the Graduate School.  Level of contribution will be judged by the candidate’s GFARC application (see 80.33.002);
    • Full Time or Part Time status will be reviewed annually by the Dean and the GFARC, and modified as necessary. 
  3. 80.33.001: General

    • Research Graduate Faculty, Clinical Graduate Faculty and Graduate Educators are employed by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and leased to the Graduate School.  They receive no financial compensation from the Graduate School;
    • Adjunct Graduate Faculty are not employed by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  They cannot be considered for membership of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Faculty at any level. They are eligible to receive financial compensation from the Graduate School for teaching and mentoring contributions;
    • All appointments to the Graduate Faculty must be reviewed and approved by the Graduate Faculty Appointment and Review Committee (GFARC);
    • All appointments to the Graduate Faculty must receive final approval from the Dean.

    80.33.002: Research Graduate Faculty, Clinical Graduate Faculty and Graduate Educator

    • St. Jude faculty and staff who meet the criteria described in 80.30 may request Graduate Faculty status;
    • Requests to be Graduate Faculty must be made in writing to the Dean. The written request must state (1) the type of Graduate Faculty position being sought (Research, Clinical, or Educator); (2) the applicant’s credentials; (3) the specific contributions that the applicant will make to the Graduate School; (4) how the applicant being Graduate Faculty will benefit the Graduate School and the graduate students; and (5) the applicant’s acceptance of the duties and expectations as described in 80.31 for the position being sought;
    • Applications must be accompanied by a letter of support from the applicant’s Departmental Chair or equivalent;
    • The GFARC reviews and approves the applications;
    • The Dean approves Graduate Faculty status and reserves the right to decline a request;
    • Final approval is required by THEC;
    • Must sign the Media Consent form that defines how they and the Graduate School may use and distribute all teaching material;
    • Appointments are for three years and can be renewed following GFARC review and approval.

    80.33.003: Adjunct Graduate Faculty

    • Requests must be made by the relevant Associate Dean.  The request must include (1) the applicant’s CV, (2) a description of the contribution that will be made to the teaching and mentoring, and (3) the applicant’s acceptance of the duties and expectations as described in 80.31;
    • If employed full-time, a signed permission to participate is required from the employer;
    • Requests must initially be approved by the Dean of the Graduate School, and the President and CEO of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital;
    • If approved, the application is then passed to the GFARC for review and approval;
    • Upon GFARC approval, the applicant will then be submitted for THEC approval;
    • Financial compensation for contributions to teaching will be calculated and approved by the SVP/COO;
    • Must sign the Adjunct Graduate Faculty Agreement form and the Media Consent form that defines how they and the Graduate School may use and distribute all teaching material;
    • Appointments are for three years and can be renewed following GFARC review and approval.

    80.33.004: THEC Requirements

    • Once approved, all Graduate Faculty applicants must be certified by THEC;
    • The applicant must complete the ‘Application for School Personnel’ form for THEC certification.  The Dean will sign the application and forward it to THEC.  THEC reserves the right to deny a request based on the applicant’s qualifications;
    • The applicant will become a member of the Graduate Faculty only when THEC grants approval and the Graduate School receives and accepts documentation of his/her highest degree earned.  The successful applicant’s THEC approval and documented proof of his/her highest degree will be placed in the official record;
    • Proof of highest degree is ideally an official transcript from the graduate university or college and a certified copy of the degree certificate.  If a transcript and/or certificate is not attainable for an applicant with a non-US degree, the Graduate School will require documented proof from a recognized US authority (such as the World Education Services) stating that the applicant’s degree is equivalent to the same degree offered by a US institution. 
  4. 80.34.001: Ongoing Evaluation

    • At the beginning of each course, each Graduate Faculty will receive the guidelines by which they will be evaluated by the course leader and students. The course leader will provide an evaluation of each Graduate Faculty at the conclusion of the course. This evaluation is based on the individual as a Graduate Faculty member and as a part of the overall course.
    • At the conclusion of the course, each student is required to evaluate the Graduate Faculty against a considered and appropriate series of questions and provide an assessment; space is allocated for expanded comments.
    • Once both evaluations have been completed, the data will be compared for gap analysis and student/faculty perception. Data from the evaluation is provided to the Graduate Faculty member, the course leader, the Associate Dean and the Dean. The results are used to improve the overall program by:
      • Promoting excellence in the teaching/learning process;
      • Meeting the educational needs of students and community by continually monitoring instructional performance;
      • Providing a constructive framework for evaluating Graduate Faculty performance by identifying areas of strength and areas for improvement in classroom instruction; and
      • Providing a basis for professional growth and development.
    • The Dean and relevant Associate Dean will make recommendations of improvement to specific Graduate Faculty members, as needed.
    • The Graduate Council and the Curriculum Committee of each program will also periodically review faculty and course evaluation data.

    80.34.002: Three Year Evaluation

    The performance of each member of the Graduate Faculty will be formally reviewed every three years by the GFARC, and the reports will be forwarded to the Dean for appropriate action.  Factors that will be assessed in the review and may be grounds for dismissal if deemed unsatisfactory are as follows:

    • Continuing membership of the St. Jude faculty;
    • Contribution to graduate student teaching;
    • Contribution to graduate student mentorship;
    • Participation in mandatory training and professional development;
    • Willingness to accept graduate students for laboratory rotations;
    • Willingness to assist graduate students in their thesis projects;
    • Willingness to be dissertation and thesis advisors;
    • Participation in graduate student events, graduate school promotion, and graduate student recruitment;
    • Service on Graduate School committees;
    • Abiding by the rules of the Graduate School and its Policies & Procedures; and
    • Professional conduct.
  5. Visiting Instructors are ad hoc experts from other institutions who can enrich graduate student training.  Also, St. Jude has many visiting speakers who are willing to contribute to the education of the students via lectures, workshops, and informal discussions.  Visiting Instructor participation in the Graduate School activities are governed by the following:

    • Hold a PhD, MD, MD/PhD or equivalent degree to provide instruction in the PhD program;
    • Hold a master’s degree or higher to provide instruction in the Master’s program;
    • Not members of the Graduate Faculty and do not require THEC approval;
    • The Dean, relevant Associate Dean and the SVP/COO review and approve Visiting Instructors;
    • Cannot be a member of Graduate School committees;
    • Can be members of dissertation and thesis committees;
    • Must sign the Media Consent form that defines how they and the Graduate School may use and distribute all teaching material;
    • Receive honoraria from the Graduate School for participation in lectures, but not for membership of dissertation or thesis committees.

Grievance Policies

  1. The Graduate School defines academic integrity as the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest, and responsible manner. All students shall act with personal integrity; respect other students’ dignity, rights, and property; and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts. Dishonesty of any kind will not be tolerated. Dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, and fabricating or falsifying information or citations; facilitating acts of academic dishonesty by others; having unauthorized possession of examinations; submitting work of another person or work previously used without informing the instructor; and tampering with the academic work of other students. Students who are found to be dishonest will receive academic sanctions and will be reported to the Graduate School Administration for possible further disciplinary sanctions, up to and including expulsion.

Integrity Policies

  1. The Graduate School defines academic integrity as the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest, and responsible manner. All students shall act with personal integrity; respect other students’ dignity, rights, and property; and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts. Dishonesty of any kind will not be tolerated. Dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, and fabricating or falsifying information or citations; facilitating acts of academic dishonesty by others; having unauthorized possession of examinations; submitting work of another person or work previously used without informing the instructor; and tampering with the academic work of other students. Students who are found to be dishonest will receive academic sanctions and will be reported to the Graduate School Administration for possible further disciplinary sanctions, up to and including expulsion.

  2. The St. Jude Graduate School Code of Conduct outlines the principles for how we conduct ourselves and perform our duties. This Code applies to all researchers, physicians, students, employees, volunteers, board members, and anyone who is conducting work on behalf of the Graduate School. Following this Code ensures that we pursue the Graduate School mission with the highest standards of integrity and that we continually earn and maintain the trust of those who look to us as a world leader in the academic community.

    Ethical behavior is essential to the Graduate School mission. We are only as strong as our reputations as individuals and as an institution, which includes a commitment to respect ethnic, cultural, religious, and lifestyle differences of patients, their families, colleagues, students, and supporters. It also includes a commitment to ensure a culture of excellence, innovation, and creativity in research, scholarship, and everything we do.

    A drive and sense of urgency to succeed

    • Honesty, integrity, and accountability in actions and decisions
    • A culture of trust and teamwork
    • Respect for employees and students under our supervision
    • A commitment to the continuous development of our employees and students
    • A commitment to diversity
    • A commitment to local, state, national, and global social responsibility and institutional citizenship

    This Code supplements policies and procedures that provide more detailed guidance and documents and fosters our commitment to ethical conduct and compliance throughout the institution.

  3. In 2018, the Honor Code was established as an agreement between student and faculty to uphold a high standard of academic integrity at the Graduate School.  The underlying spirit of the Honor Code is trust and commitment to original academic work which pervades the St. Jude community.

    All examinations, quizzes, homework assignments, and research are subject to the Honor Code.  After a thorough review of the Honor Code, students pledge their honor that they will abide by its terms.  In exchange, faculty proctors need not be present in examination rooms.  Additionally, students pledge a duty to report all suspected violations of the Honor Code to the Honor Committee or one of the deans of the Graduate School.  The foundation of the Honor Code emphasizes the student-to-student accountability.

    The Honor Committee is a group of five appointed members of the graduate student body and they are responsible for upholding the Honor Code.  The members follow the constitutionally mandated procedures to ensure a fair and unbiased result of the investigation and adjudication of an alleged Honor Code violation.

    The Honor Code is available in the office of the Graduate School.

  4. Students are required to attend St. Jude’s Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training Program. This training is based on a formal, comprehensive series of didactic lectures and discussion groups led by senior faculty and administrators. RCR training opportunities are currently provided monthly, with each session lasting one hour. Each student is required to obtain an annual minimum of eight hours of RCR training at face-to-face lectures and discussions.

    The St. Jude RCR curriculum is complemented by the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) online courses on the protection of human participants and RCR; all students will complete this course as part of orientation. In addition, the CITI RCR Training Program in Biomedical or Social & Behavioral Research provides a detailed overview of 10 core areas involved in RCR, which students are expected to complete within the first four months of the program.

  1. The Graduate School defines academic integrity as the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest, and responsible manner. All students shall act with personal integrity; respect other students’ dignity, rights, and property; and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts. Dishonesty of any kind will not be tolerated. Dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, and fabricating or falsifying information or citations; facilitating acts of academic dishonesty by others; having unauthorized possession of examinations; submitting work of another person or work previously used without informing the instructor; and tampering with the academic work of other students. Students who are found to be dishonest will receive academic sanctions and will be reported to the Graduate School Administration for possible further disciplinary sanctions, up to and including expulsion.

  2. The St. Jude Graduate School Code of Conduct outlines the principles for how we conduct ourselves and perform our duties. This Code applies to all researchers, physicians, students, employees, volunteers, board members, and anyone who is conducting work on behalf of the Graduate School. Following this Code ensures that we pursue the Graduate School mission with the highest standards of integrity and that we continually earn and maintain the trust of those who look to us as a world leader in the academic community.

    Ethical behavior is essential to the Graduate School mission. We are only as strong as our reputations as individuals and as an institution, which includes a commitment to respect ethnic, cultural, religious, and lifestyle differences of patients, their families, colleagues, students, and supporters. It also includes a commitment to ensure a culture of excellence, innovation, and creativity in research, scholarship, and everything we do.

    A drive and sense of urgency to succeed

    • Honesty, integrity, and accountability in actions and decisions
    • A culture of trust and teamwork
    • Respect for employees and students under our supervision
    • A commitment to the continuous development of our employees and students
    • A commitment to diversity
    • A commitment to local, state, national, and global social responsibility and institutional citizenship

    This Code supplements policies and procedures that provide more detailed guidance and documents and fosters our commitment to ethical conduct and compliance throughout the institution.

  3. In 2018, the Honor Code was established as an agreement between student and faculty to uphold a high standard of academic integrity at the Graduate School.  The underlying spirit of the Honor Code is trust and commitment to original academic work which pervades the St. Jude community.

    All examinations, quizzes, homework assignments, and research are subject to the Honor Code.  After a thorough review of the Honor Code, students pledge their honor that they will abide by its terms.  In exchange, faculty proctors need not be present in examination rooms.  Additionally, students pledge a duty to report all suspected violations of the Honor Code to the Honor Committee or one of the deans of the Graduate School.  The foundation of the Honor Code emphasizes the student-to-student accountability.

    The Honor Committee is a group of five appointed members of the graduate student body and they are responsible for upholding the Honor Code.  The members follow the constitutionally mandated procedures to ensure a fair and unbiased result of the investigation and adjudication of an alleged Honor Code violation.

    The Honor Code is available in the office of the Graduate School.

  4. Students are required to attend St. Jude’s Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training Program. This training is based on a formal, comprehensive series of didactic lectures and discussion groups led by senior faculty and administrators. RCR training opportunities are currently provided monthly, with each session lasting one hour. Each student is required to obtain an annual minimum of eight hours of RCR training at face-to-face lectures and discussions.

    The St. Jude RCR curriculum is complemented by the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) online courses on the protection of human participants and RCR; all students will complete this course as part of orientation. In addition, the CITI RCR Training Program in Biomedical or Social & Behavioral Research provides a detailed overview of 10 core areas involved in RCR, which students are expected to complete within the first four months of the program.