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Frequently Asked Questions

Research and Lab Rotations

What are lab rotations?
All first-year students participate in three lab rotations of their choosing. Lab rotations give students exposure to diverse research environments and help them select a research mentor with whom to do their dissertation work. Each rotation lasts 10-12 weeks, and typically students are given a small independent project to work on during that time. Students have until the end of the first year to select a mentor at which time they become affiliated with their mentor's degree granting program.

Do graduate students choose their lab rotations? How is this done?
Yes. Each graduate student is appointed a faculty advisor who will help them match their research interests and personalities to suitable labs. To help students select their rotation labs, the college offers the Graduate Student Research Opportunities course which meets the first three weeks of the Fall semester. In this course, representatives from each of the six biomedical sciences programs describe the research interests of their faculty members. These presentations, along with the guidance of a faculty advisor, help students select their rotations labs.

How quickly do I get into a lab? When do the first lab rotations begin?
The first lab rotation begins about the third week in September. This gives students approximately 1 month, prior to the start of the rotations, to settle into their course work and to meet with various faculty members to determine where to do their first lab rotation.

Do I have to choose all 3 lab rotations in the Fall?
No, this is discouraged because students' plans change as they learn more about various research areas. Typically, rotations are arranged approximately 2 weeks prior to the start of the rotation.

How much time do first year students have for research?
Most first year courses are scheduled for mornings so that afternoons and evenings are available for research rotations.

Can a student do clinically-related research at Upstate?
Since SUNY Upstate is an academic medical center, our graduates students do have an ample opportunity to pursue research with an immediate clinical relevance.