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Academic Policies

The following is an Academic Policy Statement for the guidance of students, particularly those who are new to the Upstate Medical University campus. These regulations endeavor to outline the parameters of academic conduct, rather than prescribe in detail what is permitted or denied. This is a core policy to which additional academic policies will be added as developed and published annually in the Student Handbook.

General Academic Regulations

The Upstate Medical University expects its members to conduct themselves in a mature, responsible, and ethical manner at all times. Each member must respect the rights and privileges of every other member and their fellow citizens.

The faculty reserves the right to terminate at any time the enrollment of a student with the college who is considered in any way unfit, or who does not meet the standards of the State University of New York.

Changes in curriculum are at the discretion of the faculty, as deemed necessary, and may be made without prior notice.


As per the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (under the Student Code of Conduct and Related Policies in the student handbook), the College of Graduate Studies defines "school officials with legitimate educational interests" as: A student's potential Dissertation Advisor (following rotation in that laboratory), Dissertation Advisor, Chair of the student's degree-granting program, Members of the Advisory Committee, Members of the Qualifying and Dissertation/Thesis Defense Examination Committees, Dean of the College of Graduate Studies, and any group or person approved by the Dean.

A "student record" is defined as everything contained in the student's file (e.g. application, undergraduate transcripts, standardized tests, Upstate's academic progress report, lab rotation evaluations, qualifying exam committee reports, etc). Note: Recommendation letters will be destroyed at the time of matriculation and, therefore, are not part of the student record.

Unprofessional Behavior

If a student continues to display what a course instructor/advisor considers to be unprofessional behavior in the classroom, laboratory, or other academic setting, the course instructor/advisor may take the following sequential actions:

  1. Verbal warning from the course instructor/advisor.
  2. Confirmation of the unprofessional behavior by a second party.
  3. Written warning.
  4. Meeting with the course instructor/advisor and department chair/program director with documentation in writing stating the unprofessional behavior exhibited, the remedial behavior needed, and the consequences for failing to remediate the behavior.
  5. Referral to the Graduate Council and/or the judicial process for action, including dismissal from the college and/or legal action.


  1. All documentation, including the student's response(s), will be maintained in the student's departmental/college file.
  2. Circumstances relating to the safety of the student, as well as the Upstate Medical University campus, may necessitate acceleration of the above process.

Research Integrity

The integrity of science as a whole is based on researchers holding the highest values with respect to the accuracy of the scientific record and the reporting of the highest quality science. A scientist's integrity is essential to their future in research. The Upstate Medical University definition of research misconduct is found at Policy CAMP E-04 in the Campus Administrative Manual. All reports or suspicions of research misconduct will be handled initially through the Research Integrity Officer (RIO) following institutional procedures that adhere to federal guidelines. Findings of research misconduct by students will constitute grounds for immediate dismissal, retraction of publications including dissertation/thesis and rescinding of a degree that has been conferred. Findings of research misconduct are considered a serious violation of the Student Code of Conduct.

The procedures outlined in CAMP E-04 apply to all allegations of research misconduct, including allegations directed at students. Due process as to the validity of the allegations will be provided by the Research Integrity Officer and the institutional procedures as outlined in CAMP E-04. Subsequent student disciplinary action will not revisit the validity of any findings, but will decide on actions based on the seriousness of those findings.

Definition of Research Misconduct

Research misconduct includes:

  1. Fabrication, defined as making up data or results and recording or reporting them.
  2. Falsification, defined as manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record.
  3. Plagiarism, defined as the appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.
  4. The destruction, absence of, or the respondent's failure to provide research records adequately documenting the research that is the subject of an allegation of research misconduct. 42 CFR 106(b) (1)
  5. Mis-expenditure/misappropriation of funds granted to the institution or by the institution to an investigator for the conduct of a specific research project.
  6. Conducting research without compliance approvals (IRB, CHUA, Biosafety, Radiation Safety) or without following approved research protocols for a research project.
  7. Misuse of resources in the conduct of research provided to the institution under a Material Transfer Agreement.
  8. Theft of resources provided to the institution for the conduct of research or released to other institutions without executed Material Transfer Agreements, Confidentiality Agreements, or other required documentation.
  9. Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion. 42 CFR 93. 103(d)
  10. Authorship disputes are not usually considered research misconduct although in extreme cases may qualify as plagiarism.
  11. Misconduct in the reporting of research results by: dual submission of manuscripts, redundant publication of research results or republication of research results, failure to obtain consent for publication from co-authors, failure to disclose conflicts of interest in manuscripts, grants and publications, or otherwise making false statements to journal editors.

Requirements for Students Changing Programs

  1. Students changing programs must meet all course requirements of their new program, unless the program waives specific requirements.
  2. Students who are changing programs pre-qualifying exam must take the exam under the rules of their new program.
  3. Students who are changing programs after passing their qualifying exam in their prior program will not be required to retake the qualifying exam.

Time Limitation for Completion of Programs

The purpose of this limitation is to avoid undue delay in the completion of the degree requirements and to ensure that course work and research is not outdated before the degree is granted. For the doctoral degree, no more than seven years may elapse between initial admission and conferring of the degree. For the master of science degree, no more than five years may elapse between beginning the program and conferral of the degree. If these time limits are exceeded, the degree is not awarded unless there is permission by petition to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

Following the successful defense of a dissertation/thesis, a student has six months to submit the dissertation/thesis to the College and fulfill any other outstanding requirements.

Off Campus Limitation for Dissertation/Thesis Completion

Students not in residence must complete their degree requirements within six months of leaving the dissertation/thesis research laboratory. If the six months is exceeded, the degree is not awarded unless there is permission by petition to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

Work Outside of Upstate Medical University

Graduate students, who are seeking their Ph.D. degree and receiving a stipend and tuition waiver, should only be working another paid job under limited circumstances and with prior approval. The conditions for approval are:

  1. Student is in good academic standing;
  2. Written approval has been obtained from the student's dissertation advisor, the Program Director, and the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies; and
  3. The student will be performing a limited amount of paid work that is directly related to their graduate education and/or career development (e.g. to gain teaching experience).

These approvals must be renewed each semester.

Requesting a Leave of Absence

A student who wishes to request a leave of absence may obtain the appropriate form from the Office of Graduate Studies. If conditions warrant, a leave of absence for up to one year may be granted. A leave of absence may be extended with the approval of the Department Chair/Program Director, the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies, and the Dean of Student Affairs.

A student's failure to respond to correspondence from the College of Graduate Studies or failure to apprise the college of their intent to return to their program of study will be reason for the student's termination from the college.


A student who wishes to transfer to another academic institution should contact their department chair/program director and the Office of Graduate Studies. Students should then complete the Leave of Absence, Transfer, Withdrawal form and submit it to the College of Graduate Studies. This procedure is necessary to be considered for transfer status.

Withdrawal from the College

A student who wishes to withdraw from the College of Graduate Studies should inform the Department Chairman/Program Director and the Office of Graduate Studies, in writing. Students should then complete the Leave of Absence, Transfer, Withdrawal form and submit it to the College of Graduate Studies. This procedure is necessary to be considered "officially" withdrawn.


The College of Graduate Studies provides a limited amount of travel awards of up to $500 to graduate students presenting their work at scientific meetings. Students must complete the Travel Funding Request form and submit it to the College of Graduate Studies with all relevant receipts.  Requests for travel funding should be submitted before the travel occurs.