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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.

After you accept our offer of admission, the GBS Finance Manager will send you an appointment letter formally outlining financial details.  If you have questions about the appointment letter, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Contact the GBS office if you have any additional questions or concerns.

  • UAB Email

    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.

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  • Health Insurance

    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. You will automatically be enrolled in UAB student health insurance unless you submit a waiver.  

    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.

    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.

    *Insurance waivers must be received by the deadline for each semester in order to opt out of the student health plan. 

    Student health insurance becomes effective on the first of the month of your applicable start date, noted on your appointment letter.

    Insurance Start Dates:

    • Fall: August 15 - December 31
    • Spring/Summer: January 1 - August 14

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  • B-Alert and 2-Factor Authentication

    B-Alert and 2-Factor Authentication

    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.

    You will also need to set up 2-factor authentication in order to access your UAB email and most UAB systems (not all). See this page for more information: https://www.uab.edu/it/home/security/2-factor

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  • Medical Clearance/Immunizations

    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.

    If you have any further questions, please contact Candace Ragsdale (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)  in UAB's Student Health Services Office. 

    Please visit the Student Health Services page for more information.

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  • Class Registration

    Class Registration

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

    Registration Deadlines: 

    • Summer term: May 1, 2024
    • Fall term: July 1, 2024

    Note: You will not be able to register for classes until you have set up your UAB Email/Blazer ID and registered for B-Alert notifications.

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  • HIPAA Training

    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.

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  • Payroll


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

    • You must set up your direct deposit. UAB does not typically* issue physical payroll checks. Download instructions on how to do this: Direct Deposit Initial Set-up. Direct deposit can be set up in Oracle no sooner than the first day of your appointment - you can find your start date on your signed appointment letter.

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

    • 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.

    *Note: You may not be able to log into Oracle until your start date and depending on if you start in the summer or fall term, your first check could be mailed to you, so be sure your mailing address on file is correct by logging in to the UAB Financial Affairs website (link above).

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  • Important Dates & Orientation

    Important Dates & Orientation

    First Day

    If you are a Neuroscience student (summer), your first day will be July 29, 2024 (July 28 is a travel day), for the Dauphin Island Sea Lab course. Early summer rotations start June 3, 2024.

    All other students will have their first day in August 2024 (8.07.24) which is fall orientation for all students. 



    For All Incoming Students: August 7,  2024 
    This will be a full-day orientation for all incoming GBS students. Further instructions will be shared at a later date.


    Theme Welcome Meeting

    Themes may hold a welcome meeting on August 8, 2024. Your individual theme directors will reach out with information regarding the meeting specifics.



    The annual GBS Symposium will take place virtually on August 9, 2024.  This event showcases research at UAB with poster and oral presentations by current students, and there will be a faculty poster session of labs looking for rotation students.


    IDP Workshop

    The Individual Development Plan (IDP) Workshop date is TBD, Fall 2024.

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  • GBS Academic Calendar

    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.

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  • Parking & Transportation

    Parking & Transportation

    ParkingStudent parking permits may be purchased online through the UAB Parking & Transportation Services Parking Portal.  Students are responsible for paying parking fees. 

    Bus Service: The Blazer Express Bus Service provides free transportation for students throughout campus.

    Alternative CommutesCommuteSmart rewards students who take alternatives commutes to campus including bicycling, walking, taking transit, and carpooling.

    Biking: Bike UAB provides information and resources for biking to campus.  Students receive a free helmet and U-lock if they register their bike with UAB.

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  • Rotations & Mentor Selection

    Rotations & Mentor Selection

    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. 

    For information, see the Research Rotations & Mentor Selection page

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  • Housing


    Resources for finding housing in Birmingham:


    It is recommended that you set up a virtual tour of the apartment or schedule a Birmingham representative to see the apartment in person before signing a lease.  If you are unable to visit or virtually visit Birmingham and apartments before moving here, try to secure temporary housing (e.g. AirBnB) while you look for apartments or contact Rent Monster to do Skype tours.

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  • Contingency Admission Items

    Contingency Admission Items

    Your admission may have been contingent on items such as submission of official transcripts or English proficiency scores (see your decision letter for details).  Official transcripts can be sent to the addresses below.  TOEFL scores can submitted to institution code 1856.  IELTS and PTEA scores can be issued electronically or sent to the addresses below.

    Most contingency items will not affect your ability to enroll in your first term; you must fulfill contingencies by the start of registration for your second term of enrollment.  You will not be allowed to register for your second semester of classes until all contingencies are cleared, so look for messages from the Graduate School on your student account in BlazerNet. Not clearing these will result in a hold that will prevent you from progressing in graduate school.

    If you have questions about a contingency, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    For United States Postal Service

    UAB Graduate School
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    For UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc.

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    For Email

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  • International Student Resources

    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 page for newly admitted international students for a wealth of information on transitioning to Birmingham and UAB.


    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 Language Support


    GBS International Student Webinar

    GBSO organizes a webinar hosted by current GBS students, International Student and Scholar Services representative, and GBS office representative to address questions or concerns for international students transitioning to UAB and Birmingham. Details will be sent out about the webinar when the event is scheduled. For the 2019 International Student Webinar presentation slides, see here.

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  • Student Loan Deferment

    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.

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  • Confirmation of Theme

    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.

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