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Graduate Studies Program

Rules and Regulations


Honor System

A Student Honor Code was revised by the Albany Medical College student body and was approved by the Board of Trustees on August 6, 1997. Article I of the Student Honor Code of the Albany Medical College states in part:

"As students of medicine and of the medical sciences, we embrace the foregoing physician statement and hereby acknowledge the confidence that has been bestowed upon us along with the responsibilities attendant with this privilege. As future physicians, teachers, and scientific investigators, we recognize the importance of conducting ourselves at the highest level of professional ethics and our duty to serve our mentors our colleagues and ultimately our patients."

Students, at the time of registration at Albany Medical College, are required to sign a statement that they have read the Honor Code and that they pledge to abide by that Code. Students whose behavior denotes a lack of fitness for the practice of medicine or for the conduct of scientific research shall be considered to be in violation of the Honor Code. Complete copies of the Honor Code are available in the Graduate Studies Program Office and will be made available to accepted students prior to matriculation.

Student Health Insurance Requirements and Immunization

It is a New York State requirement that all students be protected by a comprehensive medical health insurance plan. Proof of such health insurance must be presented to the Graduate Studies Program Office prior to registration or coverage may be arranged through the Student Health Program Office, (518) 262-5773. All students will be provided with a physical examination form and an immunization documentation form to be completed by their physician prior to matriculation.

Course Work and Credit Hours

Normal course load for a full time student consists of 10 to 16 credit hours each semester. The lower and upper limits of full time registration are 10 and 18 credits each semester. A maximum of 15 credit hours of research each semester may be recorded. Matriculated students registering for course loads outside this range are required to receive the approval of the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. In the Center for Nurse Anesthesiology, credit for graduate-level practicum courses is allocated according to the individual course and ranges from 200 to 300 practicum hours per credit hour. In the Center for Physician Assistant Studies credits for graduate level full time rotations ranges in 40 hours per week or 160 to 200 hours per credit hour.

Courses for graduate credit must be approved by the Executive Committee as recommended by the Curriculum Committee, through the Graduate Studies Operating Committee. New graduate-level courses to be considered for approval must be submitted to the Curriculum Committee by the graduate faculty responsible for the course and accompanied by a detailed course description. Each credit for graduate-level courses is allocated on the basis of 15 lecture hours for didactic courses or 30 laboratory hours for research courses. Courses given at other institutions require the review and recommendation for approval by the Curriculum Committee, through the Graduate Studies Operating Committee. The final approval must come from the Executive Committee to be eligible for graduate credit at The Albany Medical College. The Executive Committee must approve all courses, and the Office of the Graduate Studies Program shall give notice of approval to the Registrar in writing.


Course Evaluation

The Curriculum Committee reviews information from student and faculty evaluations of courses taught each semester and makes recommendations to the Graduate Studies Operating Committee, Student evaluations, using instruments designed by the Graduate Student Organization in concert with the Curriculum Committee and processed anonymously online with the summary of results forwarded to the Curriculum Committee. Faculty evaluations of courses are gathered by the course director and forwarded to the Curriculum Committee. The Curriculum Committee has responsibility for comparing previous year's evaluations and making recommendations to the Executive Committee through the Graduate Studies Operating Committee. The Curriculum Committee will communicate any recommendations to each course director.


Course Cancellation

A request to cancel a course may be made by the Course Director if less than five students register for the course. When a request is made to cancel a course the Curriculum Committee will review and advise the Center Directors on the impact of the course cancellation. Then the Center Directors and the Vice Dean for Academic Administration will vote on the request for course cancellation within 48 hours of the course director's request.


Grading System and Reporting of Grades

All courses that have been approved for graduate credit are graded as follows: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D, or F. For each credit hour earned, numerical values are allotted to these grades as follows: A=4, A-=3.7, B+=3.3, B=3, B-=2.7, C+=2.3, C=2, C-=1.7, D=1, and F=0. These numerical values are multiplied by the number of credit hours allotted in each course to obtain "quality points." The grade point average (gpa) is obtained by dividing the total number of quality points by the total number of credit hours. The grades of D and F are not acceptable for course credit toward a graduate degree but will be used in calculating the gpa. Research credits are submitted as S (Satisfactory) or U (Unsatisfactory). Other courses with the recommended approval of the Curriculum Committee may be graded as P (Pass) or F (Fail) Grades of S/U or P/F are not included in gpa calculations). Aspects of professionalism may be incorporated into the grade.

The criteria for assigning the grade of S (Satisfactory) include enthusiasm for research, excellent work-ethic, independent thinking, keeping current with the literature, conducting experiments in an appropriate and timely manner, thoroughly analyzing the data, keeping excellent records of the experimental procedures and outcomes, writing the results in the form of abstracts, manuscripts, and presentations, and the ability to interact well with others in the laboratory.

If the student's mentor believes that the student is not performing up to expected standards the mentor may assign a grade of U (Unsatisfactory).

The criteria to be considered for receiving a grade of P (Pass) includes enthusiasm for the material presented, class participation, an excellent work-ethic, reading the literature, conducting experiments and/or completing assignments in an appropriate and timely manner. If the student does not perform at the expected level during the course, the course director may assign a grade of F (Fail).

Graduate courses taken at other institutions through cross-registration will be included in calculating the gpa. Courses taken at other institutions prior to admission shall not be calculated in the gpa, although such courses may be used to fulfill the degree requirements. Subject to recommended approval by the Progress Committee, a student may remediate or repeat a didactic course in which a grade of C, D, or F was received. Although both grades will appear on the transcript, only the remediated or repeated grade will be used to calculate the gpa. All recommended approvals made by the Progress Committee must receive the approval of both the Graduate Studies Operating Committee and the Executive Committee before they are put in to effect.

Grades should be recorded by Student Records within one week after the end of the course. If a student fails to complete course requirements the grade of incomplete (I) will be recorded on the transcript and the student will be notified. All requirements in a course must be completed within one month following the last day of examinations in that course. An incomplete (I) will be converted to Failure (F) on the transcript, if the student fails to complete all requirements. Exceptions may be granted for health or emergency reasons.


Transfer of Credit

A request to transfer credit to meet a specific Albany Medical College center requirement or elective should be initiated by the student's Center and forwarded to the Office of the Graduate Studies Program. The letter should clearly state which Center requirement or elective each transferred course would replace and should provide assessment of the course in terms of 1) the course content compared to the course that it is intended to replace, and 2), in the case of courses taken several years ago, the appropriateness of the course's material in the current field of study; 3) The student must have received a grade of at least B or 3.0 in the course(s) requested for transfer. The supporting documentation must include a detailed description of the course(s) and a certified transcript, and in addition, a student may be required to take a competency examination. Given that the student will be receiving an Albany Medical College degree, he/she should generally not transfer more than half of their total AMC didactic credits; however students may request on a case-by-case basis that additional credits be transferred. Research credits earned at other institutions are not transferable. Requests for transfer of credit must be made within the first year of study in the program. The Curriculum Committee will evaluate the courses for transfer and will recommend the credits for each course. The Committee will determine whether the credits to be transferred are appropriate for fulfilling Graduate Studies Program requirements and will make the appropriate recommendations to the Graduate Studies Operating Committee for review prior to presenting the final recommendation to the Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee will determine the number of credits acceptable for transfer and will submit their decision and the certified transcript to the Registrar. The approved courses shall be entered on the Albany Medical College Graduate Studies Program transcript showing institution, course title, and credit hours. Grades earned at another institution or program will not be used to calculate the gpa for Albany Medical College graduate students. The above does not apply to grades earned at another institution through cross-registration or by other approved mechanisms while a matriculated student at Albany Medical College.

A student who has completed a course or degree program in the Graduate Studies Program of the Albany Medical College may, within two years, transfer all non-research credits with a grade of A or B into a graduate program, at the request of the Center Graduate Director. These grades will be reflected in the gpa with the recommendation of the Curriculum Committee and approval of the Executive Committee.

If a continuously matriculated student transfers from one Center to another while pursuing the same degree, research and course credits are transferable, subject to the approval of the new Center. The Curriculum Committee, with the support of both Centers, will determine whether the results of a successfully completed Written Preliminary Examination may be transferred from one Center to another. Recommendation for action will be made to the Graduate Studies Operating Committee for review prior to presenting the recommendation to the Executive Committee.

If a continuously matriculated student transfers from the Masters degree program to the Doctoral degree program (which requires the approval of the Center and the Graduate Studies Operating Committee), all research and didactic credits are transferable.

Credits Applied to MS in Bioethics Degree from Joint Degree Law School

Students in joint Juris Doctorate degree programs with the Alden March Bioethics Institute have agreed that credits from specific courses taken at their joint degree institution will be applied to their Master of Science in Bioethics degree at the Alden March Bioethics Institute at Albany Medical College. Once the Albany Medical College Registrar receives a transcript from the student's joint degree institution documenting that the student has completed the appropriate courses, those courses will be applied to the Master of Science in Bioethics degree and transcript. The students must have completed the courses at their law school at the standard necessary for that particular institution in order for the credits to be applied to the Albany Medical College transcript and Master of Science degree in Bioethics. 

Auditing of Courses

Auditing students are permitted to register, but not for credit, in any course approved for graduate credit. The audit must be approved by the Course Director and by the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies prior to registration. Limitations and tuition charges set for non-matriculated Students apply. Audit shall be indicated on the transcript by the designation AUD. A course taken for audit credit cannot, at a later time, be used for credit or to satisfy degree requirements for that course.


Courtesy Course Attendance

Students, fellows, and other staff members of Albany Medical Center may attend lectures in a course with permission of the instructor and/or supervisor without registration. Courtesy course attendance cannot be considered as registration for auditing of courses. Such individuals may not register at a later time in order to claim credit for such attendance.


Registration

Responsibility for notifying graduate students of critical dates such as registration rests with the Office of the Graduate Studies Program in conjunction with the Office of Student Records. Students must be registered continuously (for every semester) until completion of the Defense of Thesis, or request a Leave of Absence. Students must register by the date specified or be subject to a late fee of $20. Registration for matriculated students is accomplished through a computerized registration process through the Office of the Graduate Studies Program and the Office of AMC Student Records.


Add/Drop Courses

A student may add a course prior to the completion of 30% of the course, based on total contact hours. The procedure for withdrawal is to use the Add/Drop form together with the written approval of the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies. A student may withdraw from a course prior to completion of 30 percent of the course. Such withdrawals shall be indicated on the transcript by W. A student withdrawing from a course after 30% of the course has been completed but prior to completion of 60% will receive a grade of W/P (withdrawn/ passing) or W/F (withdrawn/failing) at the discretion of the Course Director. The determination of 30% and 60% is based upon total contact hours. W, W/P, and W/F are not used to calculate the GPA and a course in which a student has received one of these grades does not count in the determination of credits for full time student status. Requests for course withdrawal after completion of 60 percent of a course will be denied. Exceptions may be made if a health or emergency reason exists. The Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies, after consultation with the Course Director, will decide on the validity of any requested exception.


Graduate Studies Program Withdrawal Policy

If a student wishes to withdraw from the Graduate Studies Program they must complete the following:

1. Inform the Center Graduate Director in writing of their request to withdraw including an effective date, with a copy of the letter sent to the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies;

2. Pick up from the Graduate Studies Program office or download from the AMC Intranet and complete an AMC Graduate Studies Program Clearance form found at: http://intranetconfluence.amc.edu/display/gradst/Forms.


Graduate Studies Program Withdrawl Policy - Grading

If less than 30 percent of a course has been completed, the student will receive a W. Such withdrawals shall be indicated on the transcript by W. A student withdrawing from a course after 30% of the course has been completed but prior to completion of 60% will receive a grade of W/P (withdrawn/ passing) or W/F (withdrawn/failing) at the discretion of the Course Director. The determination of 30% and 60% is based upon total contact hours. Grades of W, W/P, and W/F are not used to calculate the GPA and a course in which a student has received one of these grades does not count in the determination of credits for full time student status. Requests for course withdrawal after completion of 60 percent of a course will result in a W/F. Exceptions may be made if a health or emergency reason exists. The Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies, after consultation with the Course Director, will decide on the validity of any requested exception.


Faculty of the Graduate Studies Program

The Faculty of the Graduate Studies Program shall be selected from the faculty members of the Albany Medical College. Each Center shall prepare an annual list of its graduate faculty and a list of those faculty who may serve as mentors. All research center mentors must be fundable scientists. All research for degree purposes must be conducted under the direct supervision of a faculty member of the Graduate Studies Program.


Center Prerogative

The statements in this rulebook reflect the minimal standards and requirements of the Graduate Studies Program. A Center may establish more rigorous standards and additional requirements. Before matriculation, students will be provided with a written set of the Center's supplemental rules and regulations, if such supplemental rules and regulations exist in that program. Such requirements are subject to review and recommendation for approval by the Curriculum Committee. Recommendation for action will be made to the Graduate Studies Operating Committee for review prior to presenting the recommendation to the Executive Committee. The final approval must come from the Executive Committee. Center requirements are available in the Graduate Studies Program Office and in each Interdisciplinary Research Center.


Doctoral Student Financial Support

Upon matriculation, doctoral students may receive Albany Medical College financial support. This support will be in the form of a Predoctoral Research Assistantship and is dependent upon the student being in good academic standing. This would include maintaining a grade point average of at least 3.0. If a student should be placed on academic probation, financial support may be terminated.

Graduate students do not cease to be full-time students on the day they successfully defend their thesis, as time is needed to make revisions to the thesis and get it bound. For doctoral students, financial support may be extended beyond the defense of thesis as deemed necessary by the thesis advisor/mentor but will not normally exceed 30 days following successful defense of the thesis.

Predoctoral Research Assistant - This category includes all students supported by Albany Medical College institutional and grant funds.  This employment is for educational purposes and the students are exempt from the AMC Drug Screening and Criminal Background Checks, (as approved by the Vice Dean for Academic Administration and AMC Human Resources on 2/23/04).

A Predoctoral Stipend may be provided to support doctoral students on a NIH Training Grant. It is a subsistence allowance to help defray living expenses during the student's research training experience. These funds are not payment for services and are therefore not salaries. However, all or part of this income may be subject to Federal or State income tax. Students receiving a Predoctoral Stipend are advised to use their final stipend check stub at the end of the calendar year as a statement of stipend monies received in calculating their annual tax returns. Students may ask AMC Payroll to send them a letter indicating the amount received during the calendar year. Students may wish to seek the advice of a qualified tax attorney or accountant.


Employment of Master of Science Students

It is permitted, but not encouraged, for a basic science M.S. student to work outside their mentor's lab.


Laboratory Rotations

It is recommended that three rotations be completed by the end of the first academic year. The length and scope of the rotations will be defined by each Center. Students can only rotate through laboratories in their own Center. If a student wishes to rotate through a different Center, a Director from each of the concerned Centers must meet with the student to determine the goal of the rotation.


Center Transfer

A student may request transfer from one Center to another within the Graduate Studies Program. Such a request should be submitted to the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies who will notify the appropriate Center Directors. The determination on whether a transfer is feasible must be decided by mutual agreement of the involved Center Directors.


Program Transfer

A student may request transfer from the M.S. to Ph.D. Program within the same Center. To be eligible the student must have a grade point average of at least 3.0 and written support must be provided by the Center Director (s) and the student's mentor or graduate director. The request will be reviewed and acted on by the Graduate Studies Operating Committee.

In the event that a Ph.D. student's GPA falls below the acceptable level of 3.0, or a student wishes to change programs for another reason, the student may request transfer to the M.S. program. The Center Director (s) and the student's mentor or graduate director must provide written support. The request will be reviewed and acted on by the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies. After completion of the requirements for the M.S. program, including thesis defense a student may reapply to the Ph.D. Program.


Degree Requirements - Doctor of Philosophy Degree in the Basic Sciences

The course of study for the Ph.D. takes approximately five to six years. The residency requirement is two years.

A minimum of 74 credit hours is required for the Ph.D. degree. The number of required course work credits is between 24 and 30, depending on the Center and 50 credit hours of research. (A Center cannot require more than 30 didactic credits. The required credit hours of course work is comprised of didactic and elective courses selected by the student in consultation with a mentor. The required number of credits does not include credits for journal clubs. A course in Ethics will also be required. All students are required to demonstrate competence in English in the oral and written communication of their research. Upon recommendation of a Center or Thesis Committee, students may be required to undertake remedial English training.

A maximum of 15 credit hours of research and a total of 18 credit hours may be recorded each semester. If a student registers for more than three didactic credits, the amount of research credit must be reduced by the corresponding amount. Students are expected to register for research credits during all semesters while engaged in thesis research, even if the research credit requirement has been fulfilled. In the event that a student's GPA falls below the acceptable level of 3.0, the student may request transfer to the M.S. program. After completion of the requirements for the M.S. program, including thesis defense, a student may reapply to the Ph.D. Program.


Doctor of Philosophy Examinations

Doctoral students are required to pass three examinations: The Written Examination, the Oral Examination, and the Thesis Defense. The Graduate Student Progress Committee, through the Graduate Studies Program Office, must be informed in advance of the scheduled examination dates. After completion of the examinations, the Graduate Student Progress Committee, through the Graduate Studies Program Office, must be notified in writing of the result of each examination. Appropriate forms for notification are available in the Graduate Studies Program Office or may be found on the intranet under forms (http://intranet.amc.gradstu/Forms/forms.html).

In order to take these examinations, students must be in good academic standing as defined by a minimum gpa of 3.0 and satisfactory grades in research.

All components of the Written Examination must be completed by the end of September at the start of the third year of full time enrollment. By the end of September at the beginning of the fourth year, doctoral students must pass the Oral Examination. The minimum interval between passing the Oral Examination and the Thesis Defense is nine months. Students' progress toward meeting these deadlines will be monitored by the Graduate Student Progress Committee.

All students are required to demonstrate competence in English in the oral and written communication of their research. Upon recommendation of a Center, Oral Examination Committee, or Thesis Committee, students may be required to undertake remedial English training.


Written Examination

By the end of September at the start of the third year, students matriculating in a Ph.D. Program within a specific Center take a written examination prepared by representatives from that Center. In order to take these examinations, students must have achieved a minimum GPA of 3.0 and be in good academic standing. Both the format and scope of the exam are specified by the Center. Each Center will define the passing criteria prior to the exam. The purpose of the exam is to evaluate student progress in two areas: 1 comprehensive evaluation of the student's scientific background and 2 evaluation of the student's ability to use that knowledge to address research problems. Following the completion of this exam, the student's research mentor will submit a report to the student, the Office of Graduate Studies, and members of the student's thesis committee. If the student fails the Written Exam, he/she will have to retake the exam within six months of the original exam but not later than December of the third year. Students will only be permitted to retake this examination once. If the student fails the reexamination, he/she is subject to dismissal.


Oral Examination

Doctoral students will select an Oral Examination Committee by September 30th of their third year of study, although centers may require the committee formation prior to this date. The Oral Examination Committee consists of the mentor (nonvoting) and five voting members. The voting members will include at least one holding a primary appointment in the student's Center, at least one not holding a primary appointment in the student's Center, and at least three must be from within the Institution. A maximum of two members may be individuals from outside of the Albany Medical College. The final committee composition is subject to approval by the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. The student's mentor shall be a nonvoting member of both the Oral Examination Committee and Thesis Defense Committee and shall serve as the chair of both committees. The mentor (chair) of the committee is required to have an appointment in the Graduate Studies Program of the Albany Medical College. The committee is selected by the graduate student, mentor, and center director; the final committee composition is subject to the approval of the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies.

By the end of September at the beginning of the fourth year, students must pass an Oral Examination. To be eligible for this examination, the student must have earned a minimum of 12 didactic course credits and 20 research credits, and be in good academic standing. This examination is based upon a NIH-style research proposal submitted by the student to his/her Oral Examination Committee at least two weeks prior to the exam. The research proposal must follow the standard NIH guidelines and be based upon the student's proposed area of research. The student will be examined on the proposal as well as related subjects. A four-fifths vote of approval by the committee is required for successful completion of this examination. Following the completion of this exam, the student's research advisor will submit a report to the student, the Graduate Studies Program office, and members of the student's thesis committee. The research proposal shall remain on file in the Center office.

In the event that a student fails the Oral Examination, he/she will have to retake the exam within six months of the original exam but no later than the end of March of the fourth year. Students will be permitted to retake the Oral Exam once.

The Oral Examination is not open to the public. The thesis defense for a Master's degree cannot substitute for the Oral Examination for the Ph.D. Degree.

Each degree program will require a thesis defense. If a student in the Ph.D. program decides to leave the doctoral program following successful completion of their oral examination and decides to instead obtain an M.S. degree, they will be required to write and successfully defend an M.S. degree thesis.


Thesis Defense Committee

The composition of the Thesis Defense Committee is determined by the same rules as specified for the Oral Examination Committee and is usually the same Committee. The Thesis Defense Committee is required to meet at intervals of six months to review the progress of the thesis research and to make appropriate recommendations. The student's mentor is responsible for submitting the six-month student progress report to the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies.

The following procedures are to be followed for submission of the dissertation, defense of dissertation, and evaluation of defense.

Each Ph.D. student is expected to complete 50 credit hours of thesis research, the Center required number of didactic credits, and complete a set of hypothesis-driven experiments.


Final Data Set Meeting

At the time of the final Data Set meeting, the doctoral student must have at least one peer-reviewed (see below) journal article (accepted for publication or published), on which the student is the first author. The publication must be based on original research conducted in pursuit of the AMC PhD degree.

The AMC Graduate Studies Program will consider the requirement for publication to be met by publication in any print or online-only journals that meet the following criteria of peer-review, selectivity and accessibility.

  • The journal is published on a regular schedule or continuously.
  • Manuscripts are sent for peer-review of their scientific merit by individuals who are expert in the field of study and are not part of the journal's editorial staff.
  • The journal selects papers for publication based on scientific merit as determined by outside review and does not routinely publish all submissions.
  • Published papers are searchable, indexed in PubMed or comparable databases.
  • Published papers are accessible freely or by subscription to print or online issues.

The student must attach a copy of the published article(s) and/or a copy of the journal acceptance letter(s) to the Data Set Committee meeting form.

Prior to the defense of the Ph.D. Thesis, the student must convene a thesis committee meeting for approval of the complete data set and final statistical analyses of the data that will comprise the thesis. At least four of the five voting members of the student's thesis committee must agree that the data and data analyses are sufficient for the thesis and that no more experiments are necessary. A date for the thesis defense will be scheduled for no later than four months beyond approval of the final data set.

If the student fails to defend their thesis within this time period they will be required to petition the Student Progress Committee for an extension. A letter will be written to the student's postdoctoral employer indicating that they have not yet completed their degree requirements.  Continued funding cannot be guaranteed..


Submission of Thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy

Copies of the thesis must be submitted to the members of the Thesis Defense Committee at least three weeks before the scheduled date of the defense. Each member of the Committee must review the dissertation promptly. If any Committee member finds the dissertation not representative of the approved data sets or not coherently written, the chair of the Committee is to be notified in writing, with copies to the other Committee members, within one week of receipt of the dissertation. The nature of the objection(s) will be specified. The chair and the student must decide together whether to revise the dissertation or to defend it as originally submitted. If revisions are made, the revised pages must be distributed to the members of the Committee at least one week before the date of the defense. If there is a decision to delay the thesis defense, members of the committee and the Office of Graduate Studies must be notified in writing describing the nature of the delay. A new target date for the final defense must be set at that time.

A copy of the dissertation will be delivered to the Graduate Studies Program Office for public display in the Albany Medical College Schaffer Library no later than one week prior to the date of the defense. Consult the Instructions for Submission of the Ph.D. Thesis available on the Graduate Studies Program Intranet.

The student will acquire a copy of the form "Final Examination Report for the (Ph.D./M.S.) Degree." This form requires the signature of the mentor and committee members and should be completed at the time of the defense. The form must be returned to the Graduate Studies Program Office promptly after the defense.


Defense of Thesis

A minimum of four voting Committee members must be present at the defense. It is highly recommended that students defend their thesis no later than April 15th. A student will not be permitted to graduate unless all degree requirements are completed by May 1st.


Evaluation of the Thesis Defense

The candidate will present a public seminar of the thesis research after which the Thesis Defense Committee will evaluate the thesis in closed session. Following the seminar and an open question and answer session, the student and the Thesis Defense Committee will convene privately for the final examination, which should last no more than two to three hours. The examination is restricted to the research and to allied topics that relate to the candidate's dissertation. The student will be expected to defend his/her thesis in terms of hypothesis, experimental approach, data interpretation, conclusions, and future studies. At the end of the examination, each committee member will cast either a PASS or FAIL vote.

A defense is successful if a student receives at least four PASS votes. If a student receives more than one FAIL vote the defense is unsuccessful. Following this meeting the chair of the Thesis Defense Committee will submit a final report of the examination to the Office of Graduate Studies. In all cases, a thesis defense is unsuccessful if four PASS votes have not been recorded in the Graduate Studies Program Office following the examination. If the thesis defense is not successful on the initial attempt, a second defense may be granted upon the recommendation of a majority of the Thesis Defense Committee and the recommendation of the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies, subject to approval by the Executive Committee. If the student fails the reexamination he/she is subject to dismissal. Publication of portions of a student's research prior to submission of the dissertation is permissible. The thesis must be defended within seven years from the date of initial registration, except under extenuating circumstances that are acceptable to the Graduate Student Progress Committee and the Executive Committee.

Following the thesis defense, corrections should be made and the copies of the thesis to be bound must be submitted to the Schaffer Library no later than May 1st. Bound copies of the fully corrected and approved thesis must be presented to the Schaffer Library and to the student's Center Office, and the dissertation must be registered with Dissertation Abstracts, Inc, Ann Arbor, Michigan. The student will pay the fee for this registration.

Graduate students do not cease to be full-time students on the day they successfully defend their thesis, as time is needed to make revisions to the thesis and get it bound. For doctoral students, stipend support may be extended beyond the defense of thesis as deemed necessary by the thesis advisor/mentor but will not normally exceed 30 days following successful defense of the thesis.


Degree Requirements - Master of Science Degree

The course of study for the Masters of Science degree usually will extend over a two to three year period. The residency requirement for a M.S. candidate is one year.

A minimum of 32 credit hours is required for the M.S. degree. The number of required course work credits is between 12 and 18, depending on the Center and 20 credit hours of research. (A Center cannot require more than 18 didactic credits. Course work is comprised of required and elective courses selected by the student in consultation with a mentor. The required number of credits does not include credits for journal clubs. A course in Ethics will also be required. All students are required to demonstrate competence in the oral and written communication of their research in English. Upon recommendation of a Center or Thesis Committee, students may be required to undertake remedial English training.


Thesis Research and Defense - Master of Science Degree in the Basic Sciences

In order to qualify for the thesis defense, students must be in good academic standing, with a minimum gpa of 2.5. Full time M.S. students are required to complete all requirements and receive their degree within two to three years except in extenuating circumstances that are acceptable to the mentor, the Graduate Student Progress Committee, and the Executive Committee.

Students in the M.S. Degree program will select a thesis committee by September first of their second year of study. The Thesis Committee consists of the mentor who is the nonvoting chair and three voting members. One member must be from the student's Center and one must be from outside the student's Center. The remaining member may be from either inside or outside of AMC. The Committee is selected by the graduate student, mentor and Center Director; the final committee composition is subject to the approval of the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies.

The M.S. Thesis Committee will meet twice each year to monitor the student's progress and to fine-tune their research program. At least two months prior to the defense of the Masters thesis, the student must convene a thesis committee meeting for the presentation of the data sets that comprise the thesis. At least two of the three voting members of the student's thesis committee must agree that the data sets are sufficient for the thesis and that no more experiments are necessary. A final target date for the thesis defense will be scheduled at this meeting. The thesis defense will be conducted as described previously for the Ph.D. program except that the public seminar is optional. The evaluation of the M.S. Thesis Defense will be identical to that of the Ph.D. Defense.


Degree Requirements - Master of Science Degree in the Clinical Sciences - The Center for Nurse Anesthesiology

Center for Nurse Anesthesiology - The course of study for the Masters of Science degree in the Center for Nurse Anesthesiology extends over a 28 month period. The program consists of 54 credits, including 8 credit hours of research. Graduate students in the Center for Nurse Anesthesiology are required to maintain a gpa of 2.5 to remain in good academic standing, pass ANES 505, 517, 507A, 507B, 512A and 512B with a C or better, and all other courses with a B or better.


Research Project Requirements - Master of Science Degree in Nurse Anesthesiology

The research project requirements for the Master of Science Degree in the Center for Nurse Anesthesiology are designed to provide the graduate student the opportunity to develop skills in critical thinking and clinical judgment. The outcome of the research project requirements is for the graduate student to prepare a scholarly project developed according to Center guidelines and make a formal presentation. Evaluation of the thesis research will be completed by the Mentor and a faculty Reader. The requirements for the project are described in detail in the Center for Nurse Anesthesiology Student Handbook and the course syllabus for ANES 501.


Degree Requirements - Master of Science Program in the Clinical Sciences - The Center for Physician Assistant Studies

The course of study for the Master of Science degree in the Center for Physician Assistant Studies extends over a 28-month period. The program consists of 67 credits during the first four terms of didactic instruction, and 39 clinical and research credits over the last three terms. Graduate students in the Center for Physician Assistant Studies are required to maintain a GPA of 2.5 to remain in good academic standing and must pass all courses with grades of C or better.


Thesis Requirements - Master of Science Degree in Physician Assistant Studies

The thesis requirements for the Master of Science degree in the Center for Physician Assistant Studies are designed to provide the graduate student the opportunity to develop skills in critical thinking and clinical judgment. The outcome of the thesis requirements is for the graduate student to prepare a scholarly project developed according to the Center guidelines and to make a formal presentation based on the project to the Center. Evaluation of the project will be completed by the Mentor, a Content Specialist, and a faculty Reader. The requirements for the project will be completed during the final 12 months of study. (See "Master's Project Guidelines" contained in the Student Handbook of the Center for Physician Assistant Studies.)


Thesis Requirements - Master of Science Degree in Bioethics - Alden March Bioethics Institute 

A Master of Science degree in Bioethics is available as a distance learning program and provides training for physicians, attorneys, clergy, journalists, and others to bring skills in ethical reasoning, policy analysis, and ethics consultation back to their current workplaces, to new careers, or as a supplement to joint degrees. Students who earn an M.S. in Bioethics degree go on to chair hospital ethics committees, be members of institutional review boards, serve as advisors to corporations, write scholarly articles in bioethics publications, and much more. Go to www.amc.edu/Academic/GraduateStudies/index.html and click on Alden March Bioethics Institute.

Commencement

Please note: for a student to receive a graduate degree at the annual Commencement Exercises, all requirements must be completed by May 1 of that year. Please see the checklist of degree requirements for details. Graduate students who have satisfactorily completed all requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy or Master of Science degree are recommended to the Board of Trustees of the Albany Medical Center to receive their graduate degrees at the annual Commencement Exercise. Attendance at Commencement is required for all degree candidates.


Exit Interview

By no later than May 15th, the student must complete an exit interview in the Graduate Studies Program Office before leaving Albany Medical College. The interview will include submitted copies of all published papers with the student as first author; completion of the NSF Survey of Earned Doctorates; forwarding address information and clearance form.


Laboratory Responsibilities

When a student leaves AMC for any reason including withdrawal, leave of absence, or graduation, the student must update all laboratory notebooks and information.

Academic Status

Poor academic achievement may lead to dismissal from the Graduate Studies Program. Failure to maintain a GPA that meets the standards of the Graduate Studies Program and the Center, or failure to pass any of the required examinations or two unsatisfactory evaluations in research are possible reasons for academic dismissal.

The Graduate Student Progress Committee will evaluate the academic performance of each student at the end of each semester. The Graduate Student Progress Committee, upon determining that a student is performing in an unsatisfactory manner, will, through the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies, notify the student and Center Director concerned in writing. Doctor of Philosophy and Masters of Science students are required to maintain minimum GPAs of 3.0 and 2.5, respectively. A student may be granted one probationary semester by the Graduate Student Progress Committee and the Executive Committee if there are reasonable expectations that an acceptable GPA can be obtained during this probationary period. At the request of the Center, subject to approval by the Graduate Student Progress Committee and the Executive Committee, a graduate student may be allowed a second probationary semester to improve his or her GPA. Institutional support in terms of stipend and health insurance, which is determined by the center and research mentor, may not be provided to a student during this second probationary period. If at the end of the second semester of probation the student's GPA is not acceptable, the student may be subject to dismissal.

Students failing the Written Examination, Oral Examination, or the Thesis Defense are subject to dismissal. If a student fails any of these examinations, he/she will have to retake the exam within six months of the original exam. Each of these examinations may be repeated once. The Written Exam may not be retaken later than December of the third year; the Oral Exam must be retaken no later than the end of March of the fourth year. If the student fails the reexamination, he/she is subject to dismissal.

A student who receives two grades of Unsatisfactory (U) in research will be dismissed unless the mentor and the Center Director successfully petitions the Graduate Student Progress Committee and the Executive Committee for continued matriculation based on extenuating circumstances.


Time to Degree Completion for Ph.D. Degree

Doctoral students are subject to dismissal for failure to complete all requirements within seven years from the date of matriculation. The Mentor and Center Director may petition the Graduate Student Progress Committee and the Executive Committee for an extension based on extenuating circumstances. Periods of time granted as a leave of absence do not apply toward the seven-year program completion rule.

Students may also be dismissed for violation of the Student Honor Code of the Graduate Studies Program. All procedures in the Honor Code will be followed. Notification of dismissal for any cause will come from the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies.


Time to Degree Completion for Master of Science Degree in the Basic Sciences

Basic Science Students are subject to dismissal for failure to complete all requirements within three years from the date of matriculation. The mentor and Center Director may petition the Graduate Student Progress Committee and the Executive Committee for an extension based on extenuating circumstances. Periods of time granted as a leave of absence do not apply toward the three-year rule program completion rule.

Students may also be dismissed for violation of the Student Honor Code of the Graduate Studies Program. All procedures in the Honor Code will be followed. Notification of dismissal for any cause will come from the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies.


Graduate Student Personal Leave Time

Graduate students may be granted a personal leave each year. The time allowed will be determined by mutual agreement of the mentor and student. The suggested guideline for use by the mentor and student is two or three weeks per year.

Leave of Absence

A leave of absence will not be granted for less than one semester or for more than two years. Written application for such a leave is required and must include the reason(s) and duration for the proposed leave. The application must be countersigned by the student's mentor and the Center Director(s). The Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies will grant or deny requests for a leave of absence. A leave of absence is usually granted for one year at a time. A second year may be requested if needed. A student on a leave of absence may be required to commence repayment of loans prior to completion of their leave, in accordance with Federal Education Law.

A leave of absence does not count toward the maximum time allowed in a degree program, (seven years for a Ph.D. and three years for a M.S. degree program).

If a student does not return from a leave of absence by the designated time or does not apply for and receive an extension, the student will be dismissed from the Graduate Studies Program.

Maternity Leave

Maternity Leave (6 weeks for a natural birth or up to 8 weeks for a surgical birth) with continued stipend support is available for graduate students. Additional leave may be arranged by way of the Graduate Studies Program Leave of Absence Policy.

Recognizing that certain reproductive health hazards may be associated with continued exposure to chemicals, infectious agents or gases in the laboratory, or to clinical settings, students are required to notify their supervisor as soon as they are aware that they are pregnant. Adherence to the AMC Environmental Health and Safety Policy and Procedure No. 1.704.130: Potential Reproductive Health Hazards is mandatory.

Transfer Policy

Graduate students who wish to transfer to other graduate programs/schools will be assisted only under the following conditions. The transfer process will be initiated upon receipt of an administrative fee of $500. The administrative fee may be waived at the discretion of the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies. Students receiving scholarships and/or stipends will be assisted only if their reasons for transferring are exceptional. Albany Medical College will reconsider and may curtail further scholarship and/or stipend support for any students who declare their intention to transfer.

If a student in the doctoral or masters degree program does not complete their studies and will be attending another medical or graduate school, the Albany Medical College will notify the student's medical or graduate school in writing.


Amendments

The Rules and Regulations of the Graduate Studies Program may be amended as approved by the Executive Committee.


Exceptions

A student who feels justified in requesting an exception to any of the regulations contained herein may do so in writing to the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee will make a final ruling on the request for exception within two months of the receipt of the request.

Postdoctoral Fellows

The postdoctoral fellowship is a period of apprenticeship meant to advance the professional career of research scientists. With guidance of the mentor in whose laboratory the fellow works, the postdoctoral fellow will enhance his/her knowledge base, management skills and research and other skills necessary for a satisfying, productive and successful professional career. In order to initiate the fellowship, the fellow and the mentor must develop an agreement that outlines the objectives, requirements, time frame and outcomes of the fellowship experience. An annual review of the fellow's performance will be required. The fellow will also evaluate their experience from their perspective on an annual basis in order to assure that the fellowship is successful. Documentation of the reviews must be filed with the Center Director. Individual AMC health insurance will be available.

Admission to the Study of Medicine at the Albany Medical College

Graduate students cannot apply for admission to the M.D. degree program of the Albany Medical College before the start of the academic year in which all of the requirements for their Ph.D. or M.S. degree are expected to be completed. The last date for defense of thesis is August 1st. All revisions must be completed and the thesis submitted for binding to the Schaffer Library prior to matriculation. Failure to meet either of these deadlines will result in forfeiture of the student's acceptance to the Albany Medical College M.D. degree program. Completion of a graduate degree program at Albany Medical College does not assure admission to the M.D. Program, although the Albany Medical College Admissions Committee may consider accomplishments by a student in the Graduate Studies Program.

Students please refer to your Center's individual rulebook for additional rules.

Graduate Student Progress Committee

A. Introduction - The faculty of the Albany Medical College have a responsibility not only to our students, but also to the public that our students will eventually serve. A basic part of that responsibility is to see that our students perform in a manner consistent with the most appropriate standards of scholarship and professional behavior (including patient safety and interactions with patients) accepted by society and the scientific professions. It is sometimes necessary for the Faculty to consider instances in which students appear not to meet an appropriate level of professional competence or performance, whether due to inadequate scholastic achievement or unprofessional behavior. These guidelines have been established so that such students may be treated fairly and judged in a reasonably consistent manner. The ultimate responsibility for decisions affecting the status of any student has been delegated by the Trustees of the Albany Medical College to the Academic Governing Council. The Council has, in turn, delegated that responsibility to standing and ad hoc committees such as the Executive Committee of the Graduate Studies Program, the Graduate Studies Operating Committee, the Graduate Student Progress Committee, the Student Honor Committee*, the Committee on Student Appeals, and the Disciplinary Hearing Panels.

*See the Student Honor Code of Albany Medical College, August 6, 1977, as may be amended from time to time.

B. Progress Committee - The Graduate Student Progress Committee (Progress Committee), as advisory to the Executive Committee, is charged with the evaluation of academic, research, or clinical performance of each graduate student in all graduate programs to ensure compliance with standards as set forth by the Executive Committee. The members of the Progress Committee include the graduate director from each Center, the faculty member on the Curriculum Committee for each Center, or a member appointed by the Center Director, and the Vice Dean for Academic Administration as an ex-officio member. The committee is chaired by the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies. The Progress Committee meets at the end of each term or more often, as needed.

B.A. Academic Concerns - Poor academic achievement may lead to dismissal from the Graduate Studies Program. Failure to maintain a GPA that meets the standards of the Graduate Studies Program and the Center, or failure to pass any of the required milestone examinations and required courses, or two unsatisfactory evaluations in research are possible reasons for academic dismissal.

The Progress Committee will evaluate the academic performance of each student at the end of each term or as required.  The Progress Committee, upon determining that a student is performing in an unsatisfactory  manner, will, through the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies, notify the student and the Center Director.  Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Science students are required to maintain minimum GPAs of 3.0 and 2.5, respectively. A student may be granted one probationary semester by the Progress Committee and the Executive Committee if there are reasonable expectations that an acceptable GPA can be obtained during this probationary period. However, if the issue is a matter of patient safety, the student may not be allowed a probationary period.

At the request of the Center, subject to approval by the Progress Committee and the Executive Committee, a graduate student may be allowed a second probationary semester to improve his or her GPA.  During the second probationary period, institutional support in terms of stipend and health insurance may be provided to a student at the discretion of the Center and research mentor. If at the end of the second semester of probation the student's GPA is not acceptable, the student may be subject to dismissal.

Students in the research centers or basic science centers, failing the Written Examination, Oral Examination, or the Thesis Defense are subject to dismissal. If a student fails any of these examinations, he/she will have to retake the exam within six months of the original exam. Each of these examinations may be repeated once. If the student fails the reexamination, he/she is subject to dismissal.

B.1.a. Academic Probation - A letter of Academic Probation may be based on a grade point average of less than 3.0 for a Ph.D. degree student or less than 2.5 for an M.S. degree student, or failure of a required course, or failure of a Competency examination. This letter will indicate what remedial actions are necessary to be removed from probation. A copy of the letter will be sent to the student's mentor and graduate director and will become a part of the student's record. When a student has been identified as performing at an unsatisfactory academic level, the Progress Committee will determine whether the student should be placed on probation, dismissed, or continue in the curriculum with remediation. Additionally, if the issue is a matter of patient safety, the student may not be allowed a probationary period. Probationary status will be evaluated at the end of the first term of probation, at which time the Progress Committee should make one of the following determinations and recommendations:

A. That the student, having achieved a satisfactory GPA and achieved satisfactory performance in all courses, will be removed from probation.

B. That the student has progressed and is doing satisfactory work, but has not yet raised his/her GPA to the required level, may be allowed to remain on academic probation for an additional semester.

C. That the student, having continued to do unsatisfactory work in one or more courses, or having failed to raise his/her GPA to the required level, should be dismissed.

B.1.a.i. Alden March Bioethics Institute - Students in Bioethics whose gpa drops below 2.50 may be placed on academic probation. The length of the probation will be the time necessary to retake the course when next offered. This will provide the student an opportunity to earn an acceptable grade in the course. Students may be removed from probation by raising their gpa to 2.50 or above by taking other, additional courses. This must be completed within a calendar year.

B.1.b. Time to Degree Completion for Doctor of Philosophy Degree - Doctoral students are subject to dismissal for failure to complete all requirements within seven years from the date of matriculation. The Mentor and Center Director may petition the Progress Committee and the Executive Committee for an extension based on extenuating circumstances. Periods of time granted as a leave of absence do not apply toward the seven-year program completion rule.

B.1.c. Time to Degree Completion for Master of Science Degree in the Basic Sciences- Full-time Masters students are subject to dismissal for failure to complete all requirements within three years from the date of matriculation. The mentor and Center Director may petition the Progress Committee and the Executive Committee for an extension based on extenuating circumstances. Periods of time granted as a leave of absence do not apply toward the three-year program completion rule. Part-time students in the Center for Nurse Anesthesiology must complete their program no later than 39 months from the start of their program.

B.1.d. Synopsis of Grading System - Student grades should be forwarded to and received by Student Records within one week after the end of the course. If a student fails to complete course requirements the grade of incomplete (I) will be recorded on the transcript and the student will be notified. All requirements in a course must be completed within one month following the last day of examinations in that course. An incomplete (I) will be converted to Failure (F) on the transcript, if the student fails to complete all requirements. Exceptions may be granted for health or emergency reasons.

All courses that have been approved for graduate credit are graded as follows: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D, or F. For each credit hour earned, numerical values are allotted to these grades as follows: A=4, A-=3.7, B+=3.3, B=3, B-=2.7, C+=2.3, C=2, C-=1.7, D=1, and F=0. These numerical values are multiplied by the number of credit hours allotted in each course to obtain "quality points." The grade point average (gpa) is obtained by dividing the total number of quality points by the total number of credit hours. The grades of D and F are not acceptable for course credit toward a graduate degree but will be used in calculating the gpa. Research credits are submitted as S (Satisfactory) or U (Unsatisfactory). Other courses with the recommended approval of the Curriculum Committee may be graded as P (Pass) or F (Fail) Grades of S/U or P/F are not included in gpa calculations. Aspects of professionalism may be incorporated into the grade. In the grading of Research, if the student's mentor believes that the student is not performing up to expected standards the mentor may assign a grade of U (Unsatisfactory). If the grading of a course is P/F and the student does not perform at the expected level during a course, the course director may assign a grade of F (Fail).

Remediation of Unsatisfactory (U), and Failing (F) grades - Subject to recommended approval by the Progress Committee, and final approval by the Executive Committee, a student may remediate or repeat a didactic course in which a grade of C, D, or F was received. Although both grades will appear on the transcript, only the remediated or repeated grade will be used to calculate the GPA. All recommended approvals made by the Progress Committee must receive the approval of both the Graduate Studies Operating Committee and the Executive Committee before they are put into effect.

B.2. Clinical Concerns - Students in the clinical centers of the Graduate Studies Program (Alden March Bioethics Institute, Center for Nurse Anesthesiology, Center for Physician Assistant Studies) must meet the professional performance standards established by their Centers, such that their conduct is judged to be lawful, ethical, professional, and safe for patients and others at all times.

If, in the judgment of the Center, a students:

  • Conducts himself/herself in a way that is unsafe, unethical, or unprofessional a failing grade may be assigned for the course/rotation/activity and a recommendation for probation or other action (including dismissal) will be made to the Progress Committee.
  • Exhibits physical, emotional, or behavioral problems in the clinical setting that threaten patient safety the Center may suspend participation from such activities until such time as it can be determined that the problem has been resolved. Failure to resolve such problems in a reasonable period of time may result in a dismissal recommendation.
  • Commits any act, behavior, or pattern of acts or behavior that raises a serious question of moral turpitude, or serious concern as to the student's fitness to pursue a clinical career, a recommendation for dismissal will be made to the appropriate committee.

In addition to these guidelines, students enrolled in the clinical centers are subject to the policies and procedures established within their Centers.

B.3. Non-academic Concern, Warning or Probation - All other concerns relating to student professionalism will be reviewed by the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies and if necessary, by the Progress Committee. If necessary, the Assistant Dean can suspend a student until the Progress Committee has an opportunity to review the situation. The Status of Non-academic Concern, Warning or Probation shall be based on reports relating to attitude, integrity and ethical conduct or other measures of professional conduct. The Progress Committee will issue a letter of non-academic status (includes a recommendation for dismissal, if warranted) after determining the severity and pattern of unprofessional behavior. The Progress Committee may also recommend to the Dean that the matter be referred to a Disciplinary Hearing Panel. Students may also be dismissed for violation of the Student Honor Code of the Graduate Studies Program. All procedures in the Honor Code will be followed.

Notification of dismissal for any cause will come from the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies.

Financial Aid Eligibility Requirements Based on Satisfactory Academic Performance

The Albany Medical College is required by law to ensure that students receiving financial aid are making satisfactory academic progress in their degree programs. If a student does not meet the minimum standards of academic progress, as outlined in the Graduate Studies Program Rules and Regulations, s/he will be ineligible to receive financial aid assistance. The progress of each student who is working towards a degree will be monitored by the Graduate Studies Progress Committee.

Rules and Regulations/ Graduate Studies Progress Committee

During the period of Academic Probation, the student will remain eligible for financial aid. If a student does not successfully complete the expectations of the Progress Committee the student will be considered for dismissal. Students may also be dismissed without the possibility of probation. The student will continue to receive financial aid while appealing a dismissal decision. Once dismissal is official all financial aid will be terminated. Maximum financial aid eligibility for graduate students is seven (7) years for Ph.D. students, three (3) years for Basic Science M.S. students, and twenty-eight (28) months for Clinical Science M.S. students unless time to graduation is negotiated due to special circumstances. Funding beyond the maximum time frames will be provided only if negotiated and approved by the Dean or the Dean's designee.

Appeal of Dismissal

A student dismissed because of inadequate academic research, or clinical performance may make a written request for reinstatement into the Graduate Studies Program no later than ten working days after receiving written notification of termination. Unless there is a patient safety issue, a student may continue to attend classes and clinical rotations pending the final outcome of the appeal of dismissal.  Such a request must be forwarded to the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies who shall convene and chair an ad hoc review committee no later than fourteen working days after receipt of the request. This committee will consist of four members of the graduate faculty, not from the Progress Committee and chosen by the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies, a graduate student, not from the student's Center and chosen by the Graduate Student Organization, a director from the student's Center (nonvoting), and the student's mentor (nonvoting). All members must be present to review and act on the appeal request. Counsel for the student and Albany Medical College may be present in an advisory capacity only and may not address the committee. The student will be allowed access to any pertinent information prior to the hearing that is allowed by the Right of Privacy Act. At the conclusion of the hearing, the committee shall be polled. A majority vote will decide to uphold or deny the request. The recommendation of the committee will be transmitted to the Dean of the Albany Medical College who will make the final decision. The procedure for appeals of dismissal (or other adverse actions) due to circumstances other than academic or research is given in the Honor Code.  

B.4. Administrative Psychiatric Review

An Administrative Psychiatric Review may be required to continue in the Graduate Studies Program for one of the following reasons:

  • When it appears possible that academic, clinical, and research performance is being influenced by emotional, psychological or social issues that may need to be properly identified and addressed in order to permit successful and timely completion of the requirements for either PhD or Masters Graduate degree.
  • When a student's professional demeanor or personal behaviors and activities raises serious questions about his or her ability to pursue a career in biomedical or clinical sciences.

The psychiatric evaluation must be performed by a Board Certified Psychiatrist. The individual being reviewed must understand that performance of the evaluation will not create a physician-patient relationship and that the evaluation is not a confidential medical record but rather a summative report that is utilized to determine a plan of action necessary to allow the individual to successfully complete the course of study. The summative report becomes part of the student's confidential academic record and will be utilized and protected accordingly. Failure to undergo an administrative psychiatric review when requested for one of the above reasons may result in dismissal from the Graduate Studies Program.

Students, please refer to your Center's individual rulebook for additional rules.


Disciplinary Hearing Panels

There will occasionally be incidents or reports of conduct on the part of a student occurring outside the academic realm or usual purview of Albany Medical Center that cannot be resolved through interaction of the Promotions Committee or the Student Honor Committee and that may raise serious questions about the fitness of the student to continue in the study and eventual practice or teaching of medicine.  Such matters shall first be referred to the Dean or the Dean's designee, who shall undertake an investigation, with which the student shall be required to fully cooperate, and thereafter recommend appropriate action.  If that recommendation is for dismissal, or if the Dean or the Dean's designee considers the matter of sufficient moment, the Dean or the Dean's designee may convene a disciplinary hearing panel to consider all aspects of the matter.  The subject student is entitled to a hearing before a Disciplinary Hearing Panel (DHP) under these circumstances in order to present his or her case.  The student must make a written request for a DHP hearing within five business days of such recommendation or be deemed to have waived it. 

The DHP shall consist of 7 members as follows: 3 faculty members of the Academic Governing Council, 3 other senior faculty, and the President of the Student Council.  If a quorum of 5 faculty members of the DHP is not available, the Dean may appoint ad hoc members for a meeting.  If the President of the Student Council is unable to attend a meeting, the Vice President of the Student Council may substitute.  The Dean shall appoint a Chair from the membership for each case. 

Faculty members of the DHP shall serve three-year terms with two members being replaced each year.  In order to establish this rotation, the Committee shall initially have two faculty members serving one-year terms, two serving two-year terms and two serving three-year terms.  No member of the Committee may serve more than two consecutive terms. 

In order to derive sufficient information upon which to base a recommendation, the DHP may interview the student and any other person appropriate to the matter at hand. 
The DHP hearing shall be conducted in most cases according to the following general guidelines, which shall be subject to adjustment at the reasonable discretion of the Chairman. 

  • A reasonable attempt shall be made to notify the student in writing by personal delivery or by certified mail to his or her last  local address as shown in the records of the College that the DHP will conduct a hearing.  The notice shall contain a full and a fair summary of the information or changes against the student, sufficient to enable the student to formulate a response, as well as notice as to the date, time and location of the hearing.  
  • A diligent effort shall be made to schedule the hearing not less than seven nor more than 21 calendar days following personal delivery or certified mailing of the notice. 
  • The notice of the hearing shall (through sending the student these guidelines) inform the student of the following: 
    • The student has the right to be present at the hearing and is, in fact, is expected to be present.
    • The student may be accompanied at the hearing by legal counsel (one person) and, in addition, by his or her faculty advisor.  The legal counsel may confer with and advise the student but may not interfere with or participate in the proceedings.  The Student's counsel shall not interview witnesses. 
    • The College may have legal counsel present to confer with and advise the Committee and College personnel, but such counsel may not interfere with the proceedings and shall not interview witnesses.
    • A record or transcript will be made of the hearing and the student has the right to review such record or to obtain a copy or copies of such record upon payment of the cost of its reproduction.
    • The student has the right to present such evidence, testimony, affidavits, exhibits, and witnesses as are relevant to the stated purposes of the hearing or to the charges upon which the recommendation for the hearing was based.
    • Prior to the hearing, the student has the right to review his or her official Student record as defined by applicable law and any additional  material upon which the recommendation for the hearing has been based. Copies of items in the student record and copies of other pertinent materials may be obtained by the student upon payment of the reproduction costs. 
  • Upon completion of the evidentiary portion of the hearing, the DHP shall proceed in executive session to determine the validity of the charge(s) and to recommend  to the Dean appropriate action, as decided by simple majority vote.  A minority report may, if desired, also be presented to the Dean.  The minutes of the DHP in executive session shall not constitute part of the record of the hearing.  Only the vote reached in such a session shall be included in the record.  If a request is made for a minority report to the Dean, that fact, too, shall be included. 
  • The recommendation of the DHP shall be transmitted in writing within 72 hours of the adjournment of the executive session of the hearing to the Dean and to the student(s) involved.  The letter of notification to the student shall inform him or her of the right to apply in writing within 7 days to the Chairman of the Committee on Student Appeals for permission to appeal the decision of the DHP.  Failure to submit such application within the specified time period shall constitute a waiver of the student's right to further appeal. 


D. Committee on Student Appeals

A. The Committee on Student Appeals shall consider appeals from students of sanctions imposed by the Academic Governing Council, the Progress Committee, Executive Committee, the interaction of the Student Honor Committee and the Dean pursuant to the Student Honor Committee recommendations or a Disciplinary Hearing Panel. The Committee on Student Appeals may, in its sole discretion, decide whether to hear the appeal and, if so, whether to hear it in depth as provided in paragraph C immediately below or conduct a formal hearing. At a minimum, however, the Committee shall consider the student's record as well as any relevant substantive information the student may offer within his or her appeal request.

The Committee shall be a subcommittee of the Academic Governing Council appointed by and serving at the pleasure of the Dean and shall be composed of five (5) members of that Council, chaired by one of these members as designated by the Dean. In order to provide the appropriate continuity in the deliberations of this standing committee, there will be no fixed terms for its members. Membership shall, however, be reviewed annually by a committee composed of the Dean, the Vice Dean, and the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies.

B. A diligent effort shall be made to schedule a meeting of the Committee on Student Appeals not less than 3 nor more than 12 calendar days following the actual receipt of the student's request for an appeal.

C. The Committee on Student Appeals shall not try a case or otherwise conduct its business in an adversarial fashion. If the Committee exercises its discretion to hear the appeal in depth, it shall consider only the written material submitted by the student, written documentation from the Progress Committee, the student record and in some cases additional information collected by the Committee in connection with any formal, non-adversarial hearing it may convene or any personal appearance by the student or any other person(s) the Committee or its designee(s) may decide to interview. The Committee may only consider the following questions to guide its deliberations:

  • Were the requisite sanction procedures followed appropriately up to the time of the appeal?
  • Is there any potentially useful evidence that had not been available for consideration?
  • Was the sanction imposed in good faith and neither arbitrary, capricious nor clearly unreasonable?

D. On appeals from actions of the Progress Committee, the Committee on Student Appeals shall report within 24 hours, in writing, the results of its determination to the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies for implementation. The Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies shall notify the student, Center Director, and Graduate Director involved.

E. On appeals from actions of the Academic Governing Council, Student Honor Committee, or Disciplinary Hearing Panel, the Committee on Student Appeals shall report within 24 hours, in writing, the results of its determination to the Vice Dean or the Dean's designated representative and the student(s) involved.

F. If it has considered the appear in depth, the Committee on Student Appeals shall report separately on each of the three questions it is to consider (Items C1, 2, 3) and may confirm the prior action or recommend to the Dean or the Dean's designee a rehearing of the case by the initiating body, a modification of the determination, or a modification of any sanctions imposed.

G. The Dean shall then make a final and binding disposition of the matter concerning Academic Governing Council actions, Student Honor Committee actions, and Disciplinary Hearing Panel actions.

E. Interim Actions

At any time during the preliminary investigation process, the hearing process or the appeals process, the Dean or the Dean's designee may suspend or remove a student from normal academic basic science or clinical science activities if such action is deemed to be in the interest of maintaining the normal function and atmosphere of the College. Such suspension or removal shall automatically be reviewed at the time of the next proceeding in any case and a recommendation for its continuation or termination made to the Dean.

Upon recommendation of any of the individuals or committees listed below, the Dean or the Dean's designee may require appropriate educational, psychometric or medical evaluation of a student in order to help determine his or her academic, behavioral, or emotional fitness for continuation as a graduate student:

  • The Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies
  • The Vice Dean for Academic Administration
  • The Student Progress Committee
  • The Executive Committee
  • The Disciplinary Hearing Panel
  • The Committee on Student Appeals

 

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