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General Policies


The Program Coordinator will assign 1st-year students a desk from the general departmental “pool” of office space.  Once a research advisor has been chosen, the student will be given a desk in the advisor’s area.

Work Hours

Daily attendance in the laboratory is required unless you are in class, attending a journal club, seminar or other on-campus event, or you are ill, there is illness in the family, or you are attending an off-site research conference. Students should discuss expectations regarding work hours and attendance with the faculty member who runs the lab they are in. Scientific research often requires work days that are longer than the traditional 8-hour workday. Sometimes work will need to be performed on Saturdays and Sundays to initiate or complete research projects.  Unexplained absences of a continuous nature may result in loss of laboratory privileges, reduction to or loss of financial support, or a failing grade on research credits (which would result in expulsion from the program).

Keys and IDs

Keys, ID cards and electronic access codes to laboratories and other rooms at the University and Medical Center are never to be loaned out or given to other individuals. Sharing your keys or ID with another person, even if they work at the University, can result in loss of access privileges.


Students are encouraged to present their research at scientific conferences. The costs for attending the meeting in which a student presents research are generally paid by the student’s mentor; however, this is not guaranteed. When possible, and with advanced approval, the Toxicology Training Program can sometimes help with these expenses. Costs to attend meetings in which the student is not presenting are typically not supported by the mentor or program.

Generally, each student traveling needs to contact the Program Coordinator in advance of submitting abstracts, registration, or making any travel plans, so that the proper payment methods are followed. Failure to do so may result in the student paying for his/her own expenses, and not being reimbursed until the completion of their travel. While traveling, make sure to retain all pertinent receipts, including conference registration receipts, airline ticket receipts, parking, taxi, meals, and housing. Expenses not covered include alcoholic beverages, internet access fees, in-room services (including meals), and family member expenses. Reimbursement for travel by personal vehicle requires prior approval. Travel receipts for reimbursement are due to the Program Coordinator within one week of return.

The following section outlines rules and regulations that pertain to student travel. Failure to follow these guidelines may result in the student or mentor not being reimbursed for expenses.

  • Discuss your interest in attending a specific conference with your mentor well in advance of deadlines. Discuss anticipated expenses and plans to cover expenses.
  • Prepare abstracts well in advance of submission deadlines, and never submit abstracts without review by and approval of all authors on the abstract.
  • Abstract submission fees, meeting registration fees and, if necessary, airline tickets, should be discussed with your mentor and with the Program Coordinator well in advance of the deadlines. Not doing so could result in not being reimbursed until after travel is completed (or not being reimbursed at all).
  • Itemized receipts for all meals, taxis, and all other expenses are required. Failure to provide itemized receipts will result in not being reimbursed for these expenses. This is a policy of the University.  
  • As a guide to reasonable daily costs for meals, the University is willing to reimburse for meals up to $40-50/day, depending on the meeting location. Excessively expensive meals may not be reimbursed.
  • Alcoholic beverages are not reimbursable expenses. If they are included on the receipt, please cross them out with a pen and deduct this cost from the total on the receipt.
  • Non-meal related incidentals are not reimbursable (e.g., snacks, bottled water, in room wifi access)
  • Students should advise the hotel when making their reservation that separate bills (folios) need to be prepared for each occupant when a room is shared. This alleviates confusion at the time of reimbursement, since travel reimbursement forms are submitted for individual travelers.
  • Many research conferences and scientific societies offer student travel awards. Students should apply for these awards in order to relieve pressure on the limited travel funds available from mentor’s grants and the training program.


Graduate students are expected to be engaged in full-time study for the entire 12 months of a calendar year. Graduate students do not follow the University break schedules for undergraduate students. Graduate students are entitled to official University Holidays, and may receive up to ten days (two weeks) of personal time off per year (July 1 to June 30).  All absences need to be approved by the student’s mentor or by the Program Director for those students that have not yet selected a mentor.  For planned absences of more than 5 consecutive business days, the Program Director should be notified (email is acceptable). Any student who takes an unauthorized leave risks having his/her stipend terminated. The Program Coordinator’s Office must submit monthly time reports on all graduate students, and these are subject to close scrutiny by auditors from both the governmental accounting office and the University.  Unjustified absences can jeopardize our already sparse funds, and can lead to academic probation or termination of stipend support.

Computers, Tablets, and Cell Phones

You may consider using your cell phone, laptop or other electronic device to be a personal right without any consequences. However, legal and privacy issues that may protect you as an individual do not apply when working in an office or laboratory.  In addition to research-related communications, you may use the university e-mail system for brief contact with family or friends. However, you should limit personal use of university e-mail accounts, and use your home computer and home internet service provider to conduct communications that are not related to your academic, research and professional development activities. Similar guidelines apply to usage of your cell phone, tablet, or other devices that are your own property. These cannot interfere with your daily work. Therefore, text messaging and phone conversations with friends and family need to be kept to a limited basis while in the laboratory. In other words, brief and limited email/texting/phone calls with friends and family is permitted. However, it is not acceptable to pay your bills, shop on-line, hangout in social networking sites, plan vacations, etc., while in the lab, or to conduct extensive cell phone or text-message conversations with friends or family while in the lab (regardless of who owns the computer/device).

Social media sites should also be used judiciously. When you are in the laboratory is not the time to communicate with friends via Facebook, Twitter, etc. Regardless of ownership of the device you are using, spending time at these sites, posting or reading posts from others, should be very limited while you are in the lab. Also, be advised that any posts that you make could unknowingly be viewed by others and could ultimately affect how others perceive you, including potential future employers.


Please see the Program Coordinator for access to the Toxicology Training Program copy card. The advisor’s account should pay for additional work-related items. Use of university copy accounts for personal use is not permitted.

Taxability of Stipends

The federal government has indicated that all fellowships and scholarships are taxable.   It is the student’s responsibility to file federal and state tax forms.

Length of Support

At the present time, University and grant funds will support an individual student for a maximum of 6 years.  If a student does not complete his/her thesis within this period and completion is imminent, the student’s advisor will be expected to provide the necessary documentation and any necessary funding support.  However, the student should realize that even with satisfactory progress, funding beyond a 5-year period is not guaranteed.     

Academic and Scientific Misconduct

Honesty is the cornerstone of academic integrity and scientific inquiry, and suspected infractions will be treated with utmost seriousness. Academic misconduct includes cheating on exams and assignments, plagiarism, or providing false information. Scientific misconduct includes a deliberate attempt to alter existing data, creating data that did not exist, or knowingly misrepresenting data to support an idea or to perform additional experiments. Scientific fraud also includes deliberately denying the existence of an experiment because the results of the experiment did not meet expectations, confirms the hypothesis, or were inconsistent with previous results.

Any concerns regarding possible academic misconduct that arise in the first-year of graduate school should be brought to the attention of the Program Director, who will refer the matter to the Toxicology Graduate Program Steering and Admissions Committee.  For more senior students or postdoctoral fellows, suspected infractions should be referred to the Program Director, who will forward the case to the same Steering Committee. This committee, in consultation with the Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, will conduct an investigation with all affected parties participating. If possible, this committee will draw a conclusion and present the results of the investigation, along with a specific a recommendation to the Dean of Graduate Studies. For additional University guidelines regarding academic misconduct please refer to the University of Rochester’s “Regulations and University Policies Concerning Graduate Studies.”

Consequences may include the loss of research assistantship and/or employment with the university. Depending on the findings, it may also be necessary to notify state and federal agencies, which may need to conduct further review of the case. Any publications that include fabricated data will be corrected by notifying the journal editors. If work was conducted on a government grant, the governmental agency funding the study will be notified. This may restrict or prevent future employment on any government-funded research project.

Harassment and Discrimination

Specific procedures to be followed in order to resolve cases of harassment or discrimination are described in the University of Rochester’s “Regulations and University Policies Concerning Graduate Studies”.


Graduate school can be stressful in many ways. There are many people and resources to help you navigate your education and training and to help you with any professional and personal struggles you may encounter along the way. In addition to faculty, staff, and students in the Toxicology program, there are several other resources available to you, including:

The Center for Professional Development (CPD) supplements scientific education in the Toxicology Program with additional the professional and career development opportunities and workshops.

The University Counseling Center (UCC) provides a comprehensive initial assessment and an individualized plan. Based on the initial assessment, a treatment plan is developed by the clinician that addresses your unique needs and concerns. This plan may include recommendations such as, but not limited to: group therapy, workshops, brief therapy, referrals to community provider for specialized treatment or longer term therapy services, Therapist Assisted On-line (TAO), case management services, psychiatry or other campus services. For detailed information on services, contact information, please check out their website for more details on their many resources

The University Health Services (UHS) provide health care services to students, and is available to all matriculated students. Please review information on their website to learn more about UHS services and health care providers.

The CARE Network allows all members of the University community to express concerns about a person, incident or issue by submitting a report online.