Appendix C: Policies Related to Graduate Associates


In conjunction with the Graduate School Handbook, the Graduate Associate Appointment Contract, and Section X (Financial Support) of the MCDB Handbook, this document sets forth general rules and policies of the Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology Program (MCDB) regarding Graduate Associate (GA) support.  Exceptions to these rules and policies may be made at the discretion of the Program Director and Graduate Studies Committee.

General Information:
Most first year MCDB students are appointed as Graduate Research Associates (GRA's).  Students are supported by the MCDB Program while performing laboratory rotations, and can expect support from their research advisors once a laboratory has been selected.  Advisors usually provide GRA support, but may arrange a Graduate Teaching Associate (GTA) appointment for their students.

Benefits: GA stipends are accompanied by fee authorizations that cover Instructional and General tuition and fees.  Other fees, such as the special city bus pass, facilities fees, student activity fees, parking, late penalties (if any), and any computing fees are paid by the student.  In addition, subsidized health care plans are available. 

The stipend level is subject to adjustment by the Graduate School and the MCDB Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) on a yearly basis.  Graduate Associates are paid on the last working day of each month.

In addition to the above benefits, Graduate Associates are eligible for staff parking privileges, staff special and sporting event tickets, and faculty/staff library privileges.

Terms of Appointment:  Appointments typically are for 50% time.  In addition to the requirements listed on the Graduate Associate Appointment Contract, to hold a GA appointment, MCDB students must:

  • Be registered for at least 8 credit hours during each semester a 50% or greater appointment is held, except Summer Semester when the minimum credit hours are 4.  Doctoral students who have passed the candidacy examination register for three credit hours each semester (including Summer). 
  • Graduate Fellows or Trainees must register for 12 credit hours each semester a 50% appointment is held, except Summer Semester when the minimum credit hours are 6.  Doctoral students who have passed the candidacy examination register for three credit hours each semester (including Summer). 
  • Perform their GA duties satisfactorily.
  • Not hold other jobs without written permission from the GSC.
  • Maintain a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, as well as a minimum 3.0 GPA in MCDB core courses.
  • Maintain satisfactory progress (in academics and research) toward the degree.

Students accepting GA appointment offers prior to April 15 may resign in writing through April 15.  After that date, students are committed to our offer unless formal contract release is obtained from the GSC.  Incoming first-year students are appointed for one year, Autumn Semester through Summer Semester, conditional upon satisfactory performance and progress.  Unsatisfactory performance may result in cancellation of appointment and/or voiding of any future support guarantee.  Other appointments are normally made on a semester-by-semester basis. 

Termination:  Students who voluntarily resign their appointment because of unwillingness to perform duties will, in general, void all guarantees of future support and not be considered for reappointment.  Students resigning due to exceptional circumstances such as health or personal problems may be considered for reappointment in competition with other applicants for available associateships.

The program may terminate continuing appointments early for the following reasons:

  • Enrollment for less than the required number of credit hours.
  • Mutual agreement on termination between the GSC and the GA.
  • Unacceptable academic performance resulting in student being placed on academic probation by the Graduate School.  Academic probation voids all guarantees of future support.  Reappointment based on regaining good academic standing is at the discretion of the GSC.
  • Lack of progress toward the degree, as mutually agreed upon by the advisor and the GSC.
  • Lack of funds or other reasons at the discretion of the GSC.

Grievance Procedures:  Resolution of grievances should be sought initially through discussion with the student’s advisor, the Program Director and the GSC.  If such discussions fail to provide a resolution, the grievance procedures established by the Graduate School should be followed.


Rev:  September 2015