Information, Guidelines, and Expectations of Students in the Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Program (PSGP)

The purpose of this communication is to provide information, guidelines and outline expectations for new students in the PSGP.  More detailed and additional information can be found in the following resources:

  1. Procedures Governing the Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Program.
  2. A Bulletin of the University of Nebraska Medical Center Graduate Studies  click here
  3. Website of Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Program click here
  4. PSGP Guidelines and Expectations

During the first Year

  1. First Day of Classes:  Graduate Studies Academic Calendar
  2. All incoming PSGP students are required to take PHSC 845 (Quantitative Pharmaceutical Analysis) and one of the IPBS courses in the fall semester and in the spring semester PHSC885 Physical Pharmacy and PHSC 852 Pharmaceutical Chemistry in the first academic year. 
  3. Unless funded by a research assistantship (RA) from an individual faculty, all incoming PSGP students are required to meet at least six PSGP faculty members within the first four weeks to discuss the faculty research program and plan rotations. Students must obtain signatures from the faculty they meet with and returned the form to the Pharmaceutical Sciences Department no later than Monday, September 18, 2017.
  4. Unless funded by a research assistantship (RA) from an individual faculty, all incoming PSGP students must complete two 8-12 weeks lab rotations within the first nine months following the date of admission. The rotations should be with research groups of PSGP faculty with a primary appointment in the College of Pharmacy.
  5. In addition to the two rotations within the College of Pharmacy, students may choose, unless restricted by recruitment conditions, to complete additional laboratory rotations in research groups of PSGP faculty with a primary appointment outside the College of Pharmacy.
  6. Students funded by an RA, during their first year may complete a laboratory rotation with the approval of the faculty member providing the RA.
  7. A Research Advisor, a PSGP faculty member, must be chosen by 9 months from the date of admission.

Advisory Committee

  1. After the student has identified a research advisor, their advisory (MS) or supervisory (Ph.D.) committee should be formed.
  2. A Ph.D. supervisory committee must consist of at least four members of the University of Nebraska Graduate Faculty.
  3. An M.S. Advisory committee must consist of a minimum of three Graduate Faculty members.
  4. Advisory/supervisory committees are required to meet twice a year.
  5. Minutes of all committee meeting must be sent to the Graduate Office, all committee members and a copy placed in the student’s PSGP file.
  6. Students recruited by the College through national and international scholarship programs are required to rotate and select research advisors from PSGP faculty with a primary appointment in the College of Pharmacy.
  7. The Research Advisor and PSGP student must form a Supervisory Committee and submit to the PSGP Committee within 10 months from date of admission. The Supervisory Committee must consist of at least four graduate faculty members (including the Research Advisor).
  8. The Supervisory Committee must have the 1st meeting and an approved program of study within the first 13 months into the program.
  9. Attendance is mandatory for all departmental, college, CDDN, comprehensive, and defense seminars. Up to four unexcused absences per semester are allowed.

Year 2+

  1. The Supervisory Committee must meet every six months to discuss the students’ progress. Meeting minutes must be distributed as outlined below.
  2. Comprehensive Exam should be taken by the end of year 3 in the program. The comprehensive examination includes a 25-minute presentation, which is open for all faculty and students to attend.
  3. All PSGP students are required to give one 45-minute seminar on the topic of their graduate research in year 3 or 4 in the program.
  4. Attendance is mandatory for all departmental, college, CDDN, comprehensive, and defense seminars. Up to four unexcused absences per semester are allowed.

Course work

  1. A student’s program of study must be approved by their Advisory/Supervisory committee.
  2. Students are expected to perform at level B or above. More information regarding scholarship requirements and grading scale can be found in the UNMC Graduate Studies Bulletin.
  3. All students must register for PHSC 960 Current Topics (Journal Club, please designate to coordinator your selection of physical or biological) and PHSC 970 Seminar every fall and spring semester.
  4. Full-time students are expected to register for a minimum of 9 credit hours (but not more than 12 credit hours) in the Fall and Spring semesters. 
    1. Before Candidacy: (This applies to all students that have not completed their Comprehensive Exam)
      Full-time status in the Fall or Spring semester requires a minimum of nine (9) credit hours.  Graduate students must be registered for full-time status in order to qualify for Graduate Tuition
    2. After Candidacy:  Students must register for 1 credit hour PHSC 999, 1 credit hour PHSC 960, 1 credit hour PHSC 970 Seminar. Your supervisory committee may request additional classes.
  5. Students are required to register for the summer sessions.
    1. Before Candidacy: Full-time students during the summer session is 4 credit hours during the 8-week session and 3 credit hours during the 2nd 5-week session. 
    2. After Candidacy: Students who have passed the comprehensive exam will register as full time during both the 8-week session and 2nd five week session as PHSC 999 for one credit hour.
  6. Some Graduate Fellowships do not cover tuition fees during summer. Students should be aware that they are responsible for the tuition fees, not the department.

PSGP and Other Seminars

    1. Regular Department seminar is held during the Fall and Spring semesters (PHSC 970: Seminar in Pharmaceutical Sciences). Attendance by all full-time and part-time PSGP students is mandatory. Students who are located off-campus must arrange to attend an equivalent weekly seminar.
    2. Any absence from a Department seminar must be explained to and pre-approved by the faculty member coordinating the seminar (Dr. Luca for 2014-2015). More than four absences per semester without a valid reason will result in an “F” grade for the course.
    3. It is expected that, in addition to the Department seminar, all graduate students will attend any other seminar presented by visiting researchers (e.g. faculty candidates, guests from industry, or other academic institutions).
    4. All students must attend the oral defense presentation of any member of PSGP.

Laboratory Safety and Etiquette

  1. Students must not undertake any laboratory work until they have read the UNMC Safety Manual and are prepared to conform to the required standards and requirements.  
  2. Students are reminded that the most common breaches of laboratory safety include the following: 1) not wearing appropriate clothing e.g., shorts & open foot wear are not allowed, 2) not wearing laboratory coats and/or safety glasses, 3) consuming food and drink, 4) storing food and drink in laboratory refrigerators, 5) incorrectly packaging and storing bio-hazardous material for disposal, 6) incorrectly disposing of broken glass, 7) discarding disposable pipettes in plastic trash containers, and 8) inadequately labeling chemicals and solutions that are on the bench or stored in refrigerators.
  3. Students must know the location of the safety shower and fire extinguisher in each laboratory they work.
  4. Report all safety concerns to your advisor, the Chair of the College of Pharmacy’s Safety Committee, and/or Chair of the department.
  5. Students should know who is Chairperson of the COP Safety Committee.  Currently it is Dr. Sorin Luca.
  6. Scientific equipment is expensive.  Do not use any equipment until you have been appropriately trained to use it correctly. 
  7. Leave all equipment in the condition that you found it, or better.  Accidents happen and equipment fails from time to time.  Immediately report any equipment failure, breakage, or substandard performance to your advisor. 
  8. Record the use of the equipment in the log book.
  9. Do not use or remove chemical, solvents or equipment from any other laboratory without the appropriate faculty member’s permission.
  10. The first PSGP seminar in fall is a safety seminar.  Attendance is mandatory and all students must sign the form stating they are familiar with the safety regulations in the college.  This signed form is to be maintained in the safety file.
  11. The College now uses the UNMC safety manual, which can be accessed on line at Safety Office website.

Funding of Graduate Studies

  1. A Teaching Assistantship (T.A.) is awarded to a first year student for one year only.  It is possible, but should not be expected, that the T.A. may be renewed for a second year.
  2. It is expected that all students will annually apply for a UNMC graduate assistantship (G.A.).  The deadline is usually about February 15th each year.
  3. Students are responsible for applying for a tuition waiver when necessary.
  4. All students should be aware of a list of external state, national, and international sources of funding for graduate students (see the PSGP secretary).
    After discussion and with the support of their advisor, students are expected to identify, and apply for, funding from these additional external sources.
  5. Students are rewarded with an additional 20 % of a GA if they successfully obtain funding external to the university and have been awarded a UNMC.
  6. Students are reminded that they can not have a paid position outside the university without the approval of his/her advisor and the approval of the funding agency.
  7. A URL for sources of extramural support for graduate students is Science Careers website

Comprehensive examination

   Students are expected to take their comprehensive (admission to candidacy) examination immediately after completing the course requirements i.e., typically at the end of their second year in the program.

Interactions with the PSGP Administrator

Administrators are busy.  Do not expect telephone orders for overnight delivery.  Plan your research in advance.

  1. Stationery supplies in the department are for faculty use only.  If you need access to anything in the administrators area, ask their permission.
  2. If you need a document printed using the color printer, ask the administrator to identify a time that will be convenient for them or email them the item for printing at their convenience.