Graduate Studies Program Rules

Note: The policies below apply to the Graduate Studies programs. Institutional rules governing all academic programs at Albany Medical College, such as the Honor Code and immunization policies, can be found on the Institutional Policies page.

Graduate Studies Program Rules

As with any academic program, there are a set of rules used to govern our program. The Graduate Studies Program Rules have been approved by the Graduate Studies Executive Committee. The rules are amended and updated as needed at the proposal of the Graduate Studies Operating Committee and with the approval of the Graduate Studies Executive Committee.

Download the Program Rules


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. Our 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.

Progress Committee (see Administration Tab for details) - The Progress Committee reviews each graduate student biannually (or as needed) in terms of their academic, research, or clinical performance to ensure compliance with standards as set forth by the Executive Committee. [A more detailed discussion of each of the concerns listed below can be found in the Graduate Studies Program Rules.]

1. 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 Department/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.

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.

3. Non-academic Concern, Warning or Probation - All other concerns relating to student professionalism will be reviewed by the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and if necessary, by the Progress Committee. If necessary, the Associate 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.

4. Student Honor Code - Students may be dismissed for violations of the Student Honor Code of the Graduate Studies Program. All procedures in the Honor Code will be followed.

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

a. 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 of a graduate degree.

b. 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.

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 Progress 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 (DHP) to consider all aspects of the matter. The subject student is entitled to a hearing before a 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. [Further discussion of the DHP may be found in the Graduate Studies Program Rules.]

Committee on Student Appeals - 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 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. [Further discussion of the Committee on Student Appeals may be found in the Graduate Studies Program Rules.]

Change in Student Status

Any change of status (Leave of Absence, Deceleration within a program, Withdrawal, etc) must first be approved by a student's Graduate Director and the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. All requests for a status change must be accompanied by a Graduate Student Status Change Request Form. Upon completion, the student must submit the form to the Registrar's office for final signoff.

Graduate Student Status Change Request Form (PDF)

Student Grievances or Concerns

Student grievances or concerns (outside of those associated with the Student Honor Code) should be brought to the Office of the Graduate Studies Program and/or the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies for referral to the appropriate group or Committee for consideration.

Where do I go for help?

Don't hesitate to contact us if you are experiencing difficulties.

Office of the Graduate Studies Program

Additional Graduate Policies and Topics

The conferral of degrees in the Graduate Studies Program will occur at the time when a student successfully completes their program of study. Albany Medical College will confer all graduate level degrees on a rolling basis while having one Commencement held in May. All students must complete the Graduate Studies Exit Interview Form to be eligible for conferral of their degree.

Course Evaluations & Reviews are relatively similar across the Graduate Studies Program. The current policy for a full course assessment is available as a PDF file by clicking here.

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

A student may request transfer from the MS to PhD Program within the same Department. To be eligible the student must have a grade point average of at least 3.0 and written support must be provided by the Department 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 PhD 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 MS program. The Department Director (s) and the student's mentor or graduate director must provide written support. The request will be reviewed and acted on by the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. After completion of the requirements for the MS program, including thesis defense a student may reapply to the PhD Program.

If a student wishes to withdraw from the Graduate Studies Program they must complete the following:
1. Inform the Department/Center Graduate Director in writing of their request to withdraw including an effective date, with a copy of the letter sent to the Associate 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.

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 Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, after consultation with the Course Director, will decide on the validity of any requested exception.

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

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 Associate 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.

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.

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 Department/Center Director(s). The Associate 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 PhD and three years for a MS 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 (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.


The winning posters from the more senior poster groups (3rd year and up) will provide the selection pool for the Award’s Day student research speakers.

With regard to attendance at Poster Day and Awards Day:

It is expected that ALL basic science students in their second year and beyond (that have not had their final data set approved) will participate in Poster Day and ALL basic science students (that have not had their final data set approved) will attend Awards Day.

Students that must miss Poster Day or Awards Day will need to have the approval of their mentor, their departmental Graduate Director, and their departmental Chair. [Click HERE for Non-attendance at Poster Day or Awards Day form]

Students who are not present on Poster Day for whatever reason, including to attend an outside research meeting that conflicts with Poster Day, forfeit the opportunity to present their poster for consideration in the Poster Day judging.

Established by GSOC Nov 9 2017