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Physiology & Pharmacology

Graduate Programs Overview

This website covers graduate education procedures and policies of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology and the Graduate School of the University of Georgia. It is furnished for the benefit and guidance of all graduate students in the department. It is the responsibility of each graduate student to study and be aware of the contents and to meet deadlines on time. By so doing, the graduate student can expect his/her stay within the department to be a pleasant and scholarly experience.

Purpose and Objectives of the Graduate Program

The objective of this program is to provide students with the tools to conduct original research in some aspect of physiology or pharmacology, including the interdisciplinary fields of neuroscience, or toxicology. These tools are provided with an intensive experience in the research laboratories, supplemented with academic instruction (course work, study of current literature, seminars). Each student's program is tailored to meet this objective and to attain a high level of competency in his/her field. Having completed the requirements for the advanced degree, each student should be prepared for a career in research and/or teaching.

A primary objective of a graduate program is to train the student to perform effective, independent research. The essence of research is problem solving and, therefore, you must learn to precisely define the problem, design meaningful experiments to test a proposed hypothesis, conduct experiments and collect data in a careful and precise manner, analyze and evaluate collected data, and finally, draw logical conclusions from the research data. Research skills and problem solving ability will be acquired only in the laboratory by dedicated work and long hours of effort. The student should anticipate spending the usual 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. hours of the work week in the laboratory (if not attending classes or fulfilling departmental teaching assignments) and additional evening and weekend work in the laboratory is commonplace as well. This effort will be rewarded by the acquisition of skills that are unattainable from course work or library studies.

For developing a scholarly attitude, there is no substitute for spending long hours reading and scanning literature found in scientific journals. The disciplines of Physiology, and Pharmacology, as well as the interdisciplinary fields of Neuroscience, and Toxicology are based upon biological, biochemical and physical sciences. Therefore, advanced study in these areas requires a working knowledge of chemistry, mathematics, anatomy, and physics as well as biology. Training will be centered in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology but some courses will be taken in other departments as well.

In addition to the in-depth training offered by the research and course work experience, it is important to develop communication skills. The importance of being able to communicate cannot be overemphasized for without this ability, research findings could not be reported to the scientific community, and a career in teaching would be unsuccessful.  Thus participation in the Departmental seminar series is required for all graduate students.

Academic Responsibilities

For graduate students who do not hold assistantships, 3 semester hours is the minimum enrollment required by the Graduate School, whereas 18 semester hours is the maximum credit hour enrollment permitted without special permission from the Dean of the Graduate School. Graduate School policy requires that graduate students with at least 1/4-time assistantships  enroll for at least 12 semester hours each semester (9 hours for summer semester). Clinical interns and residents and other part-time students may enroll for fewer credit hours. Graduate students must enroll for a minimum of 3 semester credit hours if they are using University of Georgia facilities.

Students with a cumulative graduate course grade average below 3.0 for two consecutive semesters are placed on academic probation by the Graduate School. They then must make a 3.0 or higher graduate average each succeeding semester that their overall cumulative graduate average is below 3.0. These students are no longer on probation when their cumulative graduate average is 3.0 or above. If they make below a 3.0 average while on probation, they are dismissed. When students repeat a graduate course, the last grade will be utilized to calculate the cumulative graduate average that is used for probation and dismissal. Grades of "S", "U", "I", and "V" will not be used in calculating the cumulative graduate average. When students are dismissed under the terms of this policy, they may not apply for admission to another graduate program offered by the University.

Students may be dismissed by the department at the end of any semester if they have not made sufficient academic progress to warrant continuation of study or have not met their responsibilities or admittance stipulations or maintained accepted standards of conduct. This would apply to: students on academic probation, students who make a grade below a "C" in a required course, students who fail to pass the comprehensive examination or the final oral examination, students who fail to make acceptable progress in their thesis or dissertation project, students who fail to gain approval of their thesis or dissertation, students who were admitted with stipulations that they submit acceptable GRE or TOEFL scores or B or better letter grades in their first 9 semester credit hours of coursework and who have not satisfied the stipulations, or ethical violations.

Ethical violations

Ethical violations considered by the faculty to be sufficiently serious to warrant dismissal from the department include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Violation of ethical principles concerning treatment of animals.
  • Violation of ethical principles concerning teacher-student relationships.
  • Falsification of data or records.
  • Academic dishonesty, including incorporating materials in papers, theses, dissertations, etc. without appropriate attribution. 

Dismissal Procedures

  1. The major professor shall convene the Advisory Committee. After considering the suitability of the student, the committee shall recommend: (a) retention; (b) dismissal; (c) detailed warning. The graduate coordinator, after due consideration, shall execute the recommendation with a copy of the recommendation to the Dean of the Graduate School.
  2. After being duly notified by the graduate coordinator, the student shall have ten days to contest the recommendation with the department head. The department head shall respond to the contestation with a ruling within five days of receipt.
  3. Following the decision by the department head, if the department head upholds the Advisory Committee, further appeals should be directed to the Dean of the Graduate School. Expulsion from the department does not necessarily mean expulsion from the Graduate School.

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