Program FAQs

Here are some commonly asked questions about the program and its requirments.

Q. How much do I need to work in lab?

A. The program is designed to give students a genuine research experience. It is expected that students will work in lab as much as possible. While enrolled in independent research (Biology 499R, NBB 499R, Chem 499R) students are expected to work in the laboratory a minimum of 16 hours per week. It is highly desirable that classes be scheduled to allow for longer blocks of time in lab (i.e., classes can be scheduled to be on TTh, leaving MWF open for lab). In the summer and during the graduate +1year, students are expected to work full time in the lab (at least 40 hours/week). Working on the weekend is often a very good way to get large amounts of work done, and it may be necessary, depending on the timing of the experiments being done and to ensure successful progression of the research project.

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Q. I'm not a biology major. Can I still enroll in Biology 499R?

A. Students accepted into the program will be allowed to enroll in Biology 499R during their senior year if directed research in their major would not be an appropriate choice.

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Q. Which graduate classes do I need to take? When do I take them?

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Q. Can the graduate classes I take in my senior year count towards my undergraduate degree?

A. Yes, you can count up to six hours of the graduate coursework taken in your senior year towards your undergraduate graduation requirements. Where the credits will be applied is dependent on your major and advisor.  You should discuss the application of these credits with your advisor prior to enrollment.

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Q. How do I enroll in the graduate classes when I am a senior in Emory College?

A. Enrollment in graduate classes will be handled by GDBBS staff on behalf of the student.

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Q. Is there a GPA minimum to stay in the program?

A. Students accepted into the program must earn at least a B in all courses taken directly for the program. This includes all graduate courses and directed research but does not count prerequisites/corequisites taken prior to acceptance into the program or during the senior year.

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Q. Do I have to stay in the same lab the whole time?

A. It is expected that 4+1 students will perform their research in a single laboratory throughout the program. If, for some reason, this is not desirable or possible, we will look into other options. Any problems should be brought to our attention as soon as possible.

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Q. Can I live on campus in my graduate school year?

A. Currently Emory does not offer any on-campus housing for graduate students.  View a list of potential housing opportunities is provided by Emory's housing office.
These properties are not controlled or rented by Emory and the list is provided as a courtesy.  There are, of course, many real estate and rental agencies that can help to identify a place to live near campus.

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Q. When to I get my BS and MS degrees?

A. Students are granted their BS degrees at the end of year 4, in the regular graduation ceremony. Students are expected to defend their MS at the end of the +1 academic year. If all requirements are completed, students can participate in the graduation ceremony held at the end of their +1 year.

If the work is not completed at that time, it may be necessary for the student to enroll in the summer session, at additional tuition cost.

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Q. Can I hold a job while I am in the program?

A. It is definitely NOT recommended. The program is very research intensive, and students are expected to work in lab full-time (at least 16 hours/week in their senior year and 40 hours/week in summer and during the +1 year). Time to degree is an important consideration, and students have to be aware that if they do not complete a significant body of work worthy of a MS thesis by the end of their +1 year (end of spring semester), they may need to continue their lab research until this is achieved, at additional tuition cost.

If a student would like to hold a part-time job outside regular business hours while in the program, a written request must be submitted to the CB Program Director, along with a supporting letter from the student's research advisor. Please contact the 4+1 Program Advisor, Dr. Gregg Orloff, with any questions about employment while a 4+1 student.

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Q. Are there any other ways that I can get funding to support my time in the program?

A. Researchers with NIH R01 grants who are hosting CB 4+1 students can apply for supplements to their grants to help offset the students' costs.  To date, we have been very successful in obtaining support for our diversity students.

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Q. How will I know that I have completed enough research to write and defend my MS thesis?

A. Students will be provided a hypothesis-driven scientific research project by their advisors that has a scope compatible with completion within about 18 months. The student will present their project proposal to their thesis committee in the fall of their senior year (by November), and subsequently at least every 4-6 months. The thesis committee will advise the student to ensure timely progress towards their degree. The thesis committee will decide when the student has achieved a body of scientific work deemed worthy of a MS thesis. There is not degree for “time served” and in some cases the student may need to extend their research time to complete the project.

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Q. Will I get my Master's degree if I complete all the courses?

A. Successful completion of all coursework is necessary but not sufficient to earn the MS degree in this program. You must show a mastery of the research you performed and produce a significant body of work.

Note that this does not mean that your research must yield 'positive' results, but that you must invest significant intellectual energy and time on the project.  If you are not sure whether you are meeting these expectations, you should raise the question with your mentor and/or entire thesis committee.

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