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Family Friendly Policies for Graduate Students

The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry (SMD) provides accommodation for its graduate students for the birth or adoption of children, as outlined in this policy.

Parental Leave

Graduate students are provided up to 8 weeks of leave following the birth or the adoption of a child.* During this period, students may postpone course assignments, examinations, and other academic requirements but remain active full-time students, with access to university facilities (including student health insurance, library privileges, and housing) and to university faculty and staff.

While students will continue to be fully funded off any existing funding sources (e.g., fellowship, assistantship) during the leave period, students will be excused from regular teaching or research duties. However, it is the student’s professional responsibility to work with their advisor or faculty member to prepare for the absence in advance of the leave.  This includes reviewing the status and continuation of research projects, adequately preparing those who will assume teaching responsibilities during the student’s absence, and arranging for a smooth transition in any other responsibilities.

Eligible graduate students are required to notify their Advisor and school Dean of Graduate Studies of the date of their intended time away at least 60 days prior (when possible) to the expected date of childbirth or adoption, using the Parental Leave Request Form. While applications for parental leave are required, the benefit is automatic.

Please contact the Registrar's Office to discuss how Parental Leave may affect your credit hour status.

If extended time is needed beyond the 8 weeks leave, written approval for an unpaid Leave of Absence must be requested, and approval obtained from the student’s Advisor, Program Director, and the school’s Dean of Graduate Studies. Note that individual fellowships, such as the NSF Graduate Fellowships, may require sponsor approval for extended leaves of absence. Specific guidelines should be consulted.

* Note: These guidelines are consistent with the NIH Grants Policy Statement – parental leave (10/10). For those on NIH training grants, the use of parental leave must be approved by the Training Grant PD/PI.

Interim Technical Support

Did you know that institutions can use NIH grant funds to provide interim technical support to researchers to accommodate family care needs? Information about this and other frequently asked questions regarding NIH policies related to parental leave and child care can be found on the  NIH website.

Family Health Insurance

All full-time graduate students have access to the University of Rochester Student Health Insurance Plan. Additionally, coverage can be purchased for spouses/partners and children. The University of Rochester plan is comparable to most high quality health insurance plans available in the U.S. today. For more information about student health insurance, please visit the University Health Service website:

Childcare Options

The Children’s School @ URMC is a Children’s Creative Learning Center located on the University of Rochester campus. The Children's School @ URMC uses an exclusive educational program which provides unlimited opportunities for the development of the whole child. There's a unique curriculum for every age level, centered on developmentally appropriate and fun activities that help children develop physically, intellectually, emotionally, and socially.

The Children’s School @ URMC
55 Castleman Road Rochester, NY 14620 (585) 273-3677

Additionally, the University of Rochester Office of Human Resources  Family Care Program can provide a list of recommended day care centers in the area.

Lactation Rooms

University of Rochester Medical Center

Three lactation rooms are available at the University of Rochester Medical Center for graduate students to use to express their milk or breastfeed their child. One room is available on the ground floor in the School of Medicine and Dentistry, room G-7815. This room requires a pass code that may be obtained from Student Services in room G-7644. A second room (the Pumping Place) can be used by calling 275-4058 to obtain swipe access to the room. This room, which is available 24/7, can accommodate four women at the same time. There are lounge chairs, breast pumps, lockers and a refrigerator for women to store their milk if they care to. The room is located near the green elevators, on the first floor, 1-2226. The third lactation room (The Pumping Place II) is available in Helen Wood Hall, room 1W.125. The Pumping Place II operates on a first-come, first-served basis.

River Campus

Three lactation rooms are available on the University of Rochester River Campus for graduate students to use to express their milk or breastfeed their child.  One room is on the fourth floor of Dewey Hall, room  4-311. The second room is on the second floor of Wallis Hall, room 255, and is available from 6:30AM to 6PM Monday-Friday.  Both the Dewey and Wallis hall rooms operate on a first come, first served basis and are equipped with a chair with integral tablet and a cup holder. The third room is on the third floor of Hutchinson hall, Room 320C, ‚ÄčAvailable 24/7 on a first-come, first-served basis and is equipped with Lounge chair, desk, refrigerator, microwave, sink with drying rack and wi-fi. Call 275-8059 to obtain swipe access to the room for one year (may be renewed)

Family Counseling

The  University Counseling Center (UCC) provides individual and couples therapy and yearlong group therapy to members of the University of Rochester community who pay the mandatory student health fee. Support is available for those looking to manage the changes in their lives that occur with the birth or adoption of a child.