Dr. Morris Weinberger and Melanie Studer chat in Armfield Atrium.

Dr. Morris Weinberger (r) and Melanie Studer chat in Armfield Atrium.

Academic advising at the Gillings School is managed individually by each academic unit. Faculty members in the Gillings School of Global Public Health are committed to providing individualized attention to students and are available to discuss research interests, course selection, career aspirations and even personal matters. We understand that students attribute much of their academic satisfaction and productivity to the quality of their advising experiences. In most programs, you will be assigned a faculty adviser upon admission, and the adviser will help you to plan your academic success from admission to graduation. By meeting with your academic adviser at least once each semester, prior to registering for the next semester, you can help to ensure that you are working efficiently toward fulfilling degree requirements.

Program directors, departmental student services staff and the Office of Student Affairs are also available as resources for academic advising and registration issues/concerns. If you have questions about changing your adviser, please speak directly with your program director or departmental student services staff.


A mentoring relationship is a close, individualized relationship that develops over time between a student and an individual that is both supportive and caring. Although there is a connection between mentors and advisers, not all mentors are advisers, and not all advisers are mentors. Mentors, as defined by The Council of Graduate Schools, are “people with career experience willing to share their knowledge – supporters (people who give emotional and moral encouragement), tutors (people who give specific feedback on one’s performance), masters (in the sense of employers to whom one is apprenticed), sponsors (sources of information about and aid in obtaining opportunities), models of identity (of the kind of person one should be to be an academic).” While mentors often are Gillings School faculty members, they can be your peers, advanced graduate students, departmental staff, retired faculty members, faculty members from other departments, colleges or universities, or professionals outside the University.

Two students demonstrate proper safety procedures while conducting a lab experiment.

Two students demonstrate proper safety procedures while conducting a lab experiment.

Expectations for Students

Students in all programs at the Gillings School of Global Public Health are expected to gain expertise in a particular area of study, to expand the knowledge of that disciplinary field, and to push disciplinary boundaries by conducting interdisciplinary/collaborative research about a topic of scholarly inquiry. In order to do so, and to successfully fulfill the requirements of their degree or certificate programs, students should meet the expectations listed below.

Entering a program is a commitment that requires sacrificing personal time while balancing the demands of your professional and personal lives. Earning a degree is an accomplishment that stays with you the rest of your life, and the critical thinking skills you acquire will serve you every day. The following areas state the expectations for our students.

Progress Toward Degree

Here are some tips for succeeding at the Gillings School:

  • Devote an appropriate amount of time and energy toward achieving academic excellence and earning the degree or certificate.
  • Act in accordance with the University’s, the Graduate School’s and the Gillings School’s policies and procedures, specific program requirements and standards of performance, as articulated in departmental student handbooks.
  • Ask questions that will promote your understanding of the academic requirements of your specific academic program.
  • Fulfill requirements of your program in a timely manner and participate in an annual progress review if required by the department.
  • Inform your faculty adviser and department program coordinator of any leaves of absence you need, as well as departure date and expected dates of return. International students, please consult the Office of International Student and Scholar Services for additional details.
  • For international students, recognize that the immigration form specifies the normal length of the academic program (two years for master’s, five years for doctoral). Extensions to the immigration form may be requested based on academic reasons; consult with staff members in the Office of International Student and Scholar Services for more information.


  • Work with faculty members to understand and follow Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) requirements when pursuing projects involving human or animal subjects.
  • Communicate regularly with your faculty adviser and committee members, especially on matters related to research.
  • Request clear guidelines and/or expectations from the supervising faculty member on research activities, including specific timetables for deliverables.
  • Recognize that the faculty adviser and committee members are responsible for guiding graduate student research, but that students are responsible for conducting the independent research required for their graduate degrees.
  • Acknowledge the contributions of faculty advisers, committee members and other members of the research teams in all publications and conference presentations.
  • Work with faculty members to agree as early as possible upon authorship, order of authors, and/or acknowledgments commensurate with type/level of contribution to the work.
  • Recognize that research results, with appropriate acknowledgment, may be incorporated into progress reports, summary documents, applications for continuation of funding and similar documents authored by the faculty advisers, to the extent that the student’s research is related to the faculty advisers’ research programs.
  • Follow all rules for ethical conduct of research. Take appropriate training and follow all guidelines about data privacy and protection of participants’ confidential data.


  • Participate in appropriate training and evaluation as required by the department.
  • Pursue, to the extent possible, teaching and training opportunities that are relevant to your career expectations.
  • Devote time and commitment to instructional duties in order to provide high-quality education to students.

Practice and Service

  • Participate in community engagement and practice activities as required by specific departments.
  • Represent the School in a professional and ethical manner at all times.
  • Participate in service activities for the good of the community and the public health profession.
  • Report practice and service activities in the Gillings School Practicum Data System.

Professional Development

  • Pursue professional training programs, seminars and courses that will enhance your professional and personal growth and development and help build a broad network of professional contacts. See the Gillings School Office of Student Affairs’ career services web pages and the Graduate School’s website for information about available opportunities.
  • Seek additional mentors to help prepare for professional careers and responsibilities.
  • Contribute, to the extent possible, to the discourse of the scholarly discipline through presentations, publications, collaborative projects and other means.
  • Attend Schoolwide seminars. Many seminars are recorded for better access.

Assistantships and Financial Support (For graduate assistantships – GA, RA or TA)

  • Request clear guidelines and requirements for graduate assistantships from the appropriate faculty and/or staff members.
  • Fulfill the responsibilities and requirements of the appointments as stated in the contractual agreement made with the departments and University. Note that assistantship hours are in addition to the hours required for coursework and individual thesis/dissertation research.
  • Act in a professional and ethical manner in all aspects of your duties as a graduate assistant, research assistant or teaching assistant.
  • Discuss tasks with the hiring supervisors that are not related to or are in excess of your contractual obligations. This includes work on assigned projects that, on average over the course of a semester, are in excess of the hours for which you are being paid. (For details on definitions of graduate assistantships in terms of hours of effort, see UNC Graduate School.)
  • Recognize that international students are strictly limited by immigration law to 20 hours of employment per week (see Departments may have more stringent limits.
  • Recognize that fellowships carry with them responsibilities that might be different than assistantships, including but not limited to reporting of scholarly products and future employment positions. Fellowship recipients are responsible for learning about and complying with all requirements associated with your appointment.


  • Abide by the Instrument of Student Judicial Governance, which is the University’s Honor Code and which is applicable to all UNC-Chapel Hill students, including Gillings School students.
  • Promote, in classrooms, research groups and/or laboratories, an ethos of collegiality and collaboration.
  • Support the mission of UNC-Chapel Hill and the Gillings School of Global Public Health by providing high-quality teaching, supporting scholarly activities whenever possible and upholding the public-service aspects of the University mission.

Social Media

  • Remember that information on the web lives forever. We strongly urge students to avoid putting anything on websites, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites that would not be appropriate for a prospective employer, nonprofit partner, grant agency or other organizational professional association to see. “Googling” people and looking at the internet time machine have become standard operating procedure for many employers.

Seeking Help and Communicating Concerns

  • We are committed both to taking appropriate actions to optimize every student’s experience at the Gillings School and also to respond to students’ concerns about academic issues. We are committed to addressing issues in a fair, timely and professional manner. Visit the Office of Student Affairs web pages for detailed information on Contacts for Addressing Student Concerns.
  • Students are expected to show professional courtesy and respect for others at all times. Actively participating with courtesy and respect in spirited interactions is part of a professional learning experience and community.
  • Discrimination and harassment are prohibited by University policies and applicable laws. We will refer such incidents to the appropriate University offices and authorities. Additional information about prohibited discrimination, harassment and related misconduct and available reporting options, resources and support may be accessed online at

Honor Code

Students work together on a class activity.

Students work together on a class activity.

All students must follow the University Honor Code. In brief, the Honor Code is a standard of conduct that upholds “high ideals of personal honor and respect for the rights of others.” It requires students to refrain from giving or receiving unauthorized aid on examinations or assignments. Cheating and plagiarism are strictly prohibited and punished.

For more information, please consult the Instrument of Student Governance. The University Honor Code will be enforced through the Honor System, and potential violations will be reported to the Office of Student Conduct.

University Academic Policies and Procedures

Students are responsible for observing all University, Graduate School (as applicable) and Gillings School policies as set forth here and in other official University publications, including but not limited to the University Academic Catalog. (Graduate students, please review The Graduate School Handbook.) Gillings School students are responsible for complying with all applicable University policies, which are available online at

The following are selected policies that may be of particular interest for students.


Gillings School Calendar: Learn about the Schoolwide related events, seminars, workshops and other happenings throughout the year by regularly accessing and checking this calendar.

Academic Calendar: The Gillings School of Global Public Health follows the University’s Official Academic Calendar.

University Registrar’s Calendar: The University Registrar’s calendars are a detailed listing of important dates by term, such as the opening registration dates, last day to add/drop, last day to file for graduation for each term, reading days and final exam days.

Final Exam Schedule: Examinations are scheduled according to the day and start time of the first meeting of the course each week and held in the assigned meeting room unless the instructor is otherwise notified.

Enthusiastic students celebrate the end of the semester.

Enthusiastic students celebrate the end of the semester.

Accessibility Resources and Accommodations

Accessibility Resources and Service provides reasonable accommodations, resources and services to undergraduate and graduate/professional students with disabilities to assure equal access to the services, programs and activities of the University so that they may, as independently as possible, take full advantage of opportunities at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Academic Enrichment Program

The Gillings School of Global Public Health is committed to making sure students receive the academic enrichment needed to be successful. The Academic Enrichment Program strives to provide quality academic support in a group setting for students experiencing academic difficulty in entry-level biostatistics and epidemiology courses. Group tutoring sessions are held for each subject (BIOS and EPID) area twice per week for one hour during the fall and spring semesters. View more information.

School Awards

Each year, outstanding students at the Gillings School of Global Public Health receive awards and honors recognizing their excellence in teaching, research, service and professional development. These awards are supported by generous contributions from donors to the School and to the University who value the current and future contributions of our students. View the UNC Gillings Student Awards Online System for additional information.

Student Emergency Fund

Graduate students should be aware of 1) the Student Emergency Fund, sponsored by Student Affairs and Scholarships and Student Aid, and 2) the Graduate and Professional Student Federation (GPSF) Emergency Fund. Both funds may provide immediate limited financial support for unexpected emergency expenses.

See Student Emergency Fund or GPSF-EF for additional information and the applications.

Diversity Resources

Diversity and inclusion are central to our mission to improve public health, promote individual well-being and eliminate health inequities across North Carolina and around the world.

Gillings School diversity resources include:

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill diversity resources include:

University Policy on Discrimination, Harassment and Related Misconduct

The University’s Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Related Misconduct ( prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of an individual’s age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation and veteran status.

A group of Annual Fund Scholars gathers in the Gillings School.

A group of Annual Fund Scholars gathers in the Gillings School.

Students who want additional information regarding the University’s process for investigating allegations of discrimination or harassment should contact the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office for assistance. Contact information follows.

Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
100 E. Franklin Street, Unit 110, Campus Box 9160
Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599
Telephone: (919) 966-3576
Fax: (919) 962-2562

Any administrator or supervisor, including a department chair, associate dean or other administrator, who receives a student’s complaint about prohibited harassment or discrimination must notify the Equal Opportunity/ADA Office upon receiving the complaint. If a student raises a claim of prohibited harassment or discrimination during an academic appeal, an investigation of the student’s claim must be performed under the direction of the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office. The school or department must await the results of the harassment or discrimination investigation before deciding the student’s academic appeal.


All students must apply for graduation through their ConnectCarolina account. Applications should only be submitted when the student realistically intends to graduate that semester and are valid for one semester only. If a student does not graduate in the semester expected, the student must submit another application for graduation in a future semester.

For a list of graduation-related dates and deadlines, visit Important Graduation Dates. Late applicants may not be listed in the Commencement Program.

Laptop Policy

All students must own a laptop, meeting the UNC campus minimum requirements.

Return to the Student Handbook – Table of Contents





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