Incoming Student Checklist

Congratulations on your recent admission to UAB Graduate Biomedical Sciences! To help you get started, we've put together a list of items you will need to complete as an incoming student.

Shortly after you accept our offer of admission, the GBS Finance Manager will send you an appointment letter.

Please do not hesitate to contact the GBS office if you have any additional questions or concerns.

UAB Email

Visit BlazerID Central to create your own Blazer ID and password. You will not be able to establish your Blazer ID and password until the day following the date that appears on the top of your admission letter.

Please log into your UAB email at least once a day. Even if you forward your UAB email to another account, we have found that not all emails will forward and you run the risk of missing very important emails. 

Deadline: Prior to registering for classes the first time.

Health Insurance

GBS students are required to have health insurance.  Single-coverage student health insurance through UAB is available at no cost to GBS students.  Family coverage is available at an additional cost to the student.

Students who already have their own personal insurance (e.g. through a parent or spouse) have the option to waive student health insurance. To opt out, a waiver stating the student has major medical insurance that is comparable or superior to the UAB student health insurance plan must be signed.

Health insurance costs post to your student account in fall and spring semesters. GBS will pay the dollar value for the individual coverage. The remaining amount to cover the cost of your dependent(s) is your responsibility and will need to be cleared from your student account before the end of each semester in which coverage costs post to avoid a hold on your registration.

You will automatically be enrolled in UAB student health insurance unless you submit a waiver.  If you are asked to submit documentation to enroll in health insurance, use an Alabama address so your account is billed for in-state insurance.  If you have not moved here yet, please click "Moving to Alabama but don’t know my address yet" or use the GBS address:

SHEL 120
1720 2nd Ave S
Birmingham, AL 35294

For additional information, see the UAB Student Health Services Insurance & Waivers Information.  If you have questions, contact Student Health through the Patient Portal or by phone at (205) 934-3580.

Student health insurance becomes effective on:

  • Early Admits: June 1, 2018
  • Neuroscience student: July 12, 2018
  • Fall Admits: August 6, 2018


During any emergency or severe weather situation, the UAB Emergency Management Team will use B-ALERT, the university’s emergency notification system, to communicate through voice calls, SMS text messages, and e-mails to the entire campus all at the same time.  To register for B-ALERT or update your existing information in the system, visit the B-ALERT website.

Deadline: Prior to registering for classes the first time.

Medical Clearance/Immunizations

To ensure a safe and healthy campus, UAB requires all entering students to satisfy immunization/TB requirements and provide documentation of those immunizations through Patient Portal.  See a list of immunization requirements and instructions for submitting your medical clearance documents here.

Class Registration

The GBS Curriculum Manager will provide you with detailed information regarding registration, which is done via Blazernet.

Deadline: Summer term: May 1 & Fall term: July 1

NOTE: You will not be able to register for classes until you have completed:

  • UAB Email/Blazer ID
  • B-Alert notifications

HIPAA Training

HIPAA training is required to maintain privacy and security of medical data and information.  See instructions for completing the training here.

Deadline: Prior to the start of your first rotation.


You will receive your paycheck the last business day of each month.

  • For students starting in June, you will receive your first paycheck, covering June 1-30, on June 30.
  • For students starting in July, you will receive your first paycheck, covering July 12-31, on July 29.
  • For students starting in August, you will receive your first paycheck, covering August 6-August 31, on August 31.

To ensure timely payment, all students must do the following:

  1. Check to make sure your local address and phone number are correct in Oracle. Instructions to update your name and home address are available on the UAB Financial Affairs website.
    Deadline: Early admits: June 8, 2018 & Fall admits: August 14, 2018
  2. You must set up your direct deposit. UAB does not issue payroll checks. Download instructions on how to do this: Direct Deposit Initial Set-up (pdf).
    Deadline: June admits: June 8, 2018; August admits: August 14, 2018

Note: You may not be able to log into Oracle until your start date.

Important Dates & Orientation

First Day

If you are an early admit (summer), your first day will be June 1, 2018, which is summer orientation and the start of your rotation.

If you are a Neuroscience student (summer), your first day will be July 12, 2018, which is your orientation day for Dauphin Island.

All other students will have their first day on August 6, 2018, which is orientation. The first day of class will be August 7, 2018.



For Early Admits: June 1, 2018 | BBRB 170 | 9:30am - 12:00pm
This will be a brief orientation for students starting in the summer.  Photos will be taken for UAB ONE card, so dress accordingly.  Parking will be provided.  Instructions for parking will be sent prior to the event.

For All Incoming Students: August 6, 2018 | BBRB 170 | 8:00am - 5:00pm
This will be a full-day orientation for all incoming GBS students.  Photos will be taken for UAB ONE card and GBS headshots, so dress accordingly.  Breakfast, lunch, and parking will be provided.  Instructions for parking will be sent prior to the event.



The annual GBS Symposium will take place August 10th, 2018 at the UAB Hill Student Center Ballroom.  This event showcases research at UAB with oral presentations and poster sessions by current students, and there will be a faculty poster session of labs looking for rotation students.

GBS Academic Calendar

See the GBS Academic Calendar for course and rotation dates, which do not always align with the UAB Academic Calendar.

Time off is a matter of individual negotiation between the student and the student’s research mentor and course directors.  For example, time off around Thanksgiving is dependent on the course schedule and your lab; it may not follow the UAB Academic Calendar.


Student parking permits may be purchased online through the UAB Parking & Transportation Services Parking Portal.  You must have your UAB ONE Card (student ID) in order to apply for parking, and you obtain your ONE Card at orientation.  Students are responsible for paying parking fees. 


All incoming students are expected to complete three research rotations during the first year before choosing a mentor for their thesis work.  Students should choose their rotation labs in consultation with their theme director.  

Choosing a Rotation Lab:

Students should contact faculty to request an in-person meeting to learn about faculty research interests and discuss doing a rotation in that lab.  The first rotation does not need to be set up prior to arriving on campus, but it is recommended to start reaching out to faculty a few weeks before the first rotation begins to gauge possible labs.

While rotations typically occur with faculty in the student's chosen theme, students are free to rotate with faculty in other themes and research areas.  Students can explore faculty using the following resources:

Check out this article by current student Gbenga Ojo for advice on choosing a rotation lab.

When a student secures a rotation, they must complete the Lab Rotation Verification Form.

Deadline for choosing first rotation lab: Early admits: June 1; Fall admits: August 13.


On-Campus Housing: The application for graduate student housing goes live in spring (typically April), and due to the small number of spaces, early application is encouraged. More information is available at the Student Housing website.

Off-Campus Housing: Information is available at UAB Off-Campus Housing and in this PDF.  A resource that is unaffiliated with UAB is Rent Monster, a free Birmingham apartment locator service.  It is recommended that you see an apartment in person before signing a lease.  If you are unable to visit Birmingham before moving here, try to secure temporary housing (e.g. AirBnB) while you look for apartments or contact Rent Monster to do Skype tours.

For people wanting to live near to UAB, common neighborhoods for housing are Highlands, Southside, Glen Iris, Five Points South, and Downtown.

If you are looking for a roommate, a great resource is the Facebook group for incoming GBS students.

Contingency Admission Items

Many students are admitted to Graduate Biomedical Sciences while in the final semester of undergraduate studies or a master's program. Your admission is contingent upon successful completion of that prior degree, so you may have additional steps (e.g. submitting a final transcript) to complete. Likewise, your admission may have been contingent on other factors.

You will not be allowed to register for the second semester until all contingencies are cleared, so look for messages from the Graduate School on your student account in BlazerNet and the GBS office. Not clearing these will result in a hold that will prevent you from progressing in graduate school.

Official transcripts can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or one of the mailing addresses listed here.

International Student Resources

UAB International Student and Scholar Services

The central point for services, programs, and activities for international students at UAB is International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS).  This office can assist with the Affidavit of Financial Support, Form I-20, visas, and more.  Check out their Compass guide for a wealth of information on transitioning to Birmingham and UAB including housing, buying a car, grocery stores, and more.


Proof of Financial Support

International students will be contacted by ISSS about submitting an Affidavit of Financial Support. You can provide your GBS appointment letter as proof of financial support, which is emailed to you after you accept the offer of admission.


Mentor Program

All incoming international GBS students are paired with a mentor.  The goal of the program is to make the transition to UAB and Alabama as smooth as possible.  The mentor is a current GBS student and can serve as a resource to discuss issues new students might be facing regarding coursework, lab rotations, accommodation, driver's license etc.


English Courses

For students wanting to develop their English language skills, UAB offers free community English classes.  Learn more.


GBS International Student Webinar

GBSO organizes a webinar to be hosted by current GBS students, International Student and Scholar Services representative, and GBS office representative to address any questions or concerns for students transitioning to UAB and Birmingham. See here for the 2018 GBS International Student Webinar. 

Student Loan Deferment

If you are requesting student loan deferment while in graduate school and need forms filled out by a UAB official, the One Stop office can assist with completing the form.

Selecting a Dissertation Mentor

The choice of a dissertation advisor/mentor is one of the most important decisions you will make as a graduate student. Thus, you should keep this matter in mind as you choose laboratory rotations and participate in lecture and seminar activities throughout your first year in the program.

Suggested Deadlines:

  • First year students arriving in August should select a dissertation advisor by June 1 of the following year.
  • Students who arrive during summer semester should make this decision in mid-February.

Students should make this choice in consultation with appropriate faculty so that the student and the faculty member can come to a mutually agreeable decision and arrangement. In special cases, students unprepared to make this choice may be allowed to complete an additional laboratory rotation during the summer term. A fourth rotation should be elected only after careful consideration, since doing so could delay the student's completion of the doctoral program.

Confirmation of Theme

Students enter with a given theme affiliation but have the flexibility to rotate with any faculty with active GBS status and may change theme affiliation if their research training interests change. Alternatively, faculty outside of a given theme may elect to join additional themes, if consistent with theme interests, wherein the student could retain his/her original theme affiliation. Additionally, first year theme-specific courses that may be required upon theme transfer can be completed in year two in fulfillment of advanced course requirements. Communication among the student, selected mentor, and both the original and the new theme directors will be necessary to facilitate transfer among themes. All students should confirm their theme affiliation at the time of selecting the dissertation mentor.