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 we conclude this year's recruitment season, Felita Milon (Finance and HR Manager) will send you an Appointment letter.

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

Set up your UAB email account

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.

Mandatory student health insurance

UAB requires all graduate students to have health insurance, and you must either elect or decline student health insurance.

Single-coverage student health insurance through UAB VIVA is available at no cost to GBS students. Family coverage is available at a low cost to the student. Students can sign up for health insurance through their Student Portal located in BlazerNet (see instructions below).

Student health insurance posts 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.

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

Instructions to release your student health/registration hold from your account (which also includes insurance waiver)

  • Log in to BlazerNet:
  • Click “Personal Information” at the top of the page.
  • Click “Mandatory Student Health Insurance Selection/Waiver” towards the bottom of the page.
  • Verify if you will be returning in the fall.
  • Verify the address where you will live while taking classes at UAB. This step is very important. Any student who uses an out-of-state address in this section will be charged for out-of-state insurance. If you have not moved here yet, please click "Moving to Alabama but don’t know my address yet."
  • Click either "I will have my own personal health insurance coverage" if you do not need student health insurance (because you have outside insurance either through parent or spouse) or "I wish to purchase health insurance coverage through UAB" if you do not have private insurance and need student health coverage.
  • If you choose to waive coverage, you will be asked to provide coverage information. Enter information and click on "Confirm insurance."
  • The final screen should summarize your choices.
  • Go back to BlazerNet home and the hold should be removed.
  • If you encounter a problem, please contact Candace Ragsdale at Student Health by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at (205) 996-2589.

Instructions on signing up for health insurance:

If you did not sign a waiver, you need student health insurance, which is a requirement for all graduate students. See the link below to download an application. There are several potential start dates: June 1 (early summer admit), July 14 (Neuroscience Theme) or August 8 (most popular start date).

Please use the GBS address—1825 University Blvd, Birmingham AL 35294—on the application where you are expected to list your local address. This will ensure you are seen as a local versus out-of-state student.

Student health insurance becomes effective on:

  • Early Admits: May 1, 2018
  • Fall Admits: August 8, 2018

Useful Links

Deadline to sign-up: August 1

B-Alert emergency announcements

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

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.

Deadline: A month following your first term.

Registering for classes

The GBS Curriculum Manager, Jessica Stephenson, 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 the items above:

  • Blazer ID account
  • B-Alert notifications
  • Opting In/Out of mandatory health insurance.

HIPAA Privacy and Security 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.

Payroll information

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: Early admits: June 8, 2018 & Fall admits: August 14, 2018

Important dates

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 Summer Admits: June 1, 2018 | BBRB 170 | Time TBA

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 where to park will be sent prior to the event. Please be advised that students will not be reimbursed for parking elsewhere.


For All Incoming Students: August 6, 2018 | BBRB 170 | 8:00am - 5:00pm

This will be a full-day orienation 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 where to park will be sent prior to the event. Please be advised that students will not be reimbursed for parking elsewhere. 



GBS Symposium on August 10th, 2018 at the UAB Hill Student Center Ballroom


Parking permits may be purchased through UAB Parking & Transportation Services.  You must have your UAB ONE Card in order to apply for parking, and you obtain your ONE Card at orientation.

Helpful Links:

Students are responsible for paying parking fees by the deadline set by Parking and Transportation to avoid late 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.  Rotations do not need to be set up before you arrive on campus.

Choosing a Rotation Lab:

Students should contact faculty to request a face-to-face meeting to learn more about faculty research interests and to discuss doing a rotation in that lab. 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 who offer graduate research training in highly diverse areas of the biomedical sciences 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.

GBS Rotation Dates:

  • Summer Rotation (Early Admits): June 1 - August 3, 2018
  • Early Fall Rotation: August 13 - October 12, 2018
  • Lab Rotation 2: October 15 - December 14, 2018
  • Lab Rotation 3: January 7 - March 8, 2019
  • Lab Rotation 4: March 11 - May 10, 2019

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

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 affiliation

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.


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.

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

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.

Join the incoming student Facebook group

A Facebook group has been created for incoming students to connect with one another.  Request to join it here.

Student loan deferment forms

Often students who are requesting a student loan deferment while in graduate school need forms filled out by a UAB official with details on the graduate program.  Those forms can be sent to the UAB Office of Student Financial Aid to be filled and signed.