Student Responsibilities

Students are expected to maintain high standards of professionalism throughout their tenure in the MSTP and take an active role in program activities (e.g., recruiting, student committees).

Students in the UAB MSTP are required to:

  • Maintain an appropriate level of professional behavior in all interactions with faculty, students, staff, and patients, and an acceptable level of academic performance in all medical and graduate courses. 
  • Maintain an up-to-date student profile on the MSTP website, and submit an updated C.V. and activities spreadsheet to the MSTP Program Manager annually by July 15th
  • Routinely monitor UAB and UAB Heersink SOM email accounts, and respond to emails from the UAB MSTP staff and/or directors in a timely manner (i.e. within 48 hours)
  • Certify Effort Reports (or else students will not get paid)
  • Attend monthly MSTP Translational Medicine Research Seminars (CAMS) and the Annual MSTP Retreat or obtain excused absence prior to seminar/retreat date
  • During graduate research years, schedule thesis committee meetings every 6 months
  • Submit a PDF copy of your PhD dissertation to the UAB MSTP Office once approved by the Graduate School for binding purposes
  • Register for and complete the MSTP laboratory rotations within the required period
  • Participate in the annual Medical Student Research Day during the rotation and PhD dissertation phase of the program
  • Adhere to all UAB and UAB Heersink SOM Policies on Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages, Chemical Substance Abuse and having a Drug-Free Campus.  These policies are in effect at all UAB MSTP sponsored events, including, but not limited to, recruitment events and the annual retreat
  • Every MSTP student must take at least 1 advanced class or journal club for a letter grade in order to calculate a GPA for his/her/their graduate school transcript. 

Disciplinary Action & Dismissal
MSTP students will be evaluated in the same manner as other students participating in the same courses, clerkships, or other experiences. Students who fail to maintain an acceptable level of performance in either medical or graduate courses will be subject to review by the MSTP Directors. The MSTP Directors may recommend academic disciplinary measures, which can include (a) academic probation, which may include temporary suspension of student's stipend; (b) performance of additional or remedial work, if extenuating and other circumstances so warrant; or (c) involuntary leave of absence or dismissal from the program (see further provisions regarding dismissal below). These recommendations apply to the student's current status with either the UAB Heersink SOM or their specific graduate programs if an acceptable level of performance and conduct is not maintained. 

If students demonstrate repeated episodes of unprofessional behavior or fail to maintain an appropriate level of academic performance based on UAB Heersink SOM standards or specific graduate program standards, appropriate actions will be taken by the MSTP Directors in consultation with the MSTPAC.  These actions may include (a) a letter in the student's academic file (available to residency programs and potential future employers) detailing the unprofessional behavior or academic probation, (b) temporary suspension of the student's stipend, or (c) dismissal from the program.

Disciplinary actions by the MSTPAC will be subject to appeal by the student to the Deans of the medical and graduate schools, whose decision will be final. Depending on the student’s status at the time of the disciplinary action, the student has the opportunity to appeal the actions of the MSTPAC and MSTP Directors. The appeal processes can be found here: 

Dismissal for academic or other reasons from either the graduate or medical component of the program will constitute dismissal from the entire MSTP.  Voluntary resignation from either component of the program will constitute resignation from the entire MSTP. 

Consequences of being dismissed from the program or voluntarily resigning from the program:

  • If the student wishes to pursue either the MD or the PhD degree only, then the student must re-apply to the appropriate admissions office.  There is no guarantee of acceptance.
  • All financial benefits of the MD-PhD Program end at the time of dismissal or voluntary resignation.  The student becomes responsible for all tuition and fees if he/she/they is accepted into the graduate or medical programs at UAB.  If the student was not an Alabama resident at the original time of admission, then the tuition charged will be at the non-resident rate.
  • After dismissal or voluntary resignation, all programmatic benefits end. The student will no longer receive priority scheduling of UAB Heersink SOM clinical clerkships, the student is now required to complete all clinical requirements of the UAB Heersink SOM (including the Acting Internships and electives not required by the MSTP), and the student is no longer guaranteed an assignment to the Birmingham campus.

Letter of Recommendation & Transcript Requests

The MSTP Directors do not automatically write letters of recommendation for MSTP students who are applying to residency programs.  However, MSTP students are welcome to ask the Directors and/or MSTPAC members to write letters if they wish.  Such requests will gladly be accommodated.

MSTP students may request UAB Heersink SOM transcripts for the purpose of applying for fellowships, etc.  You can process this request for UAB Heersink SOM transcripts at Graduate School transcripts can be request through the UAB One Stop Office at

Student Committees and Representation.

Students are expected to become involved in program activities.  UAB MSTP opportunities are discussed as follows:

Student Representatives: The student representatives are responsible for maintaining communication between students and the administration.  Although they can always go directly to the administration, students should feel free to contact their representatives about any problems they may see with the program.  The Student Reps communicate viewpoints/ideas on behalf of students, as well as explain old and new policies to students on behalf of the administration.  Student Reps are expected to attend monthly MSTP staff meetings and be involved with the inner workings of the program. Student Reps also serve as our MSTP Representatives to the Graduate Student Association (GSA).

Student Representative Positions

  • Rising MS-II (1 year term)
  • Rising GS-I (first year of 2 year term)
  • Rising GS-II (second year of 2 year term)
  • Rising GS-III/IV (1 year term)
  • MS3/MS4 (1 year term)

Event Committee:  The Event Committee is responsible for the Annual MSTP Retreat and the Annual Spring MSTP Graduation Reception.  In addition, they are responsible for helping organize all student interactions during recruitment, such as student hosts, dinners, social hours, the second visit party, and so on.

Communications Committee: The Communications Committee is responsible for writing and producing “The Vulcan Letter,” the MSTP quarterly newsletter that showcases MSTP students while highlighting the national recognition the MSTP continues to accrue.  They also keep in touch with alumni to learn about their experiences after graduation, and are responsible for keeping the MSTP website up-to-date. 

Griffin Society: The Griffin Society is named for Frank Monroe Griffin, Jr., MD, who founded the UAB MD-PhD training program in 1985 and directed the MSTP for 13 years.   Dr. Griffin attended the Medical University of South Carolina and received his MD in 1966.  He extended his training as an intern and resident in the Department of Medicine, and a Fellow in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama.  He spent 2 years at the US Naval Hospital in Illinois, and 2 years as a Research Fellow at Rockefeller University prior to returning to UAB as a faculty member.

The Griffin Society at UAB serves to advance understanding of biomedical research by clinical residents, fellows, and MSTP students.  The society's activities involve MD-PhD residents and fellows in clinical training programs at UAB-affiliated hospital, MSTP students in all phases of the program, and UAB faculty with MD-PhD degrees.  

The society is the administrative center for our Clinical Continuity experiences (MSTP 795, CAMS), which help MSTP students maintain their clinical skills and allows them to explore multiple clinical specialties in order to help solidify their future residency/fellowship choices.  In addition, the Griffin Society is the sponsor of the Translational Medicine Journal Club.  The purpose of this journal club is to examine articles as a traditional journal club, but also to question the relevance of the articles to the treatment of human disease; this helps foster interactions between the ABIM Research Pathway and the MSTP. 

American Physician Scientist Association (APSA) Representatives: 

APSA is a national organization dedicated to addressing the needs of future physicians and their training and career development. They have an annual meeting each year in Chicago (usually in April) that is held in conjunction with the American Society for Clinical Investigation/Association of American Physicians. One member is named as the official UAB APSA Institutional Representative; the responsibilities of the institutional representative as detailed from the APSA website are as follows:

  • Serve as a liaison between APSA and the physician scientist student population at the represented institution.  This includes but is not limited to gathering feedback with regard to APSA directives and providing a voice for their students within APSA, as well as announcements of APSA events and projects.
  • Strongly encouraged to attend the Annual APSA Meeting in order to represent their institution during the APSA Business Meeting
  • Strongly encouraged to be an active member of APSA by serving on one of APSA’s four standing committees (Annual Meeting, Finance, Policy, and Public Relations).  These standing committees not only rely on the APSA Institutional Representatives and other APSA Members to achieve their goals but also heavily rely upon them for continuous feedback and advice to guide the individual committee’s path and future.
  • Gain the opportunity to serve on the APSA Executive Council.  Once an APSA Member has served in an Institutional Representative position, he/she/they become eligible to run for any of the positions on the Executive Council including President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer (Finance Committee Chair, Annual Meeting Committee Chair, Policy Committee Chair, Public Relations Committee Chair, Member-At-Large (to represent the MD-PhD voice), Member-At-Large (to represent the MD-only voice), and Member-At-Large (to represent the social sciences/ humanities).
  • Strive to exemplify the goals and missions of APSA on the local level at their home institution.

Southeastern Medical Scientist Symposium (SEMSS) Representatives:

SEMMS is sponsored by the American Physician Scientist Association, and is hosted by MSTP students from UAB, Emory, and Vanderbilt. SEMSS seeks to (1) educate undergraduate students possibly interested in MD-PhD programs; (2) foster dialogue and networking among MD-PhD trainees at institutions in the Southeastern United States; (3) provide opportunities to present research beyond a school-wide setting. There are 3 committees for MSTP students to serve on, and each committee is composed of representatives from the hosting institutions.

  • Executive Committee:  The primary responsibility of the Executive Committee (EC) is to lead the other committee representatives in developing a successful conference.  The UAB EC representative will (1) draft a budget and ensure the necessary funds are available by composing and submitting grants / letters of request to intra- or extramural funding sources; (2) secure a location at which the conference will be held; (3) maintain contact with the APSA; (4) coordinate the conference in the weeks leading up to the event (i.e.: review abstracts, publish abstract book / program, secure poster presentation boards, print nametags, etc.); and (5) work closely with and assist the UAB Programming and Personal Relations representatives with their duties in all possible manners.
  • Personal Relations (PR) Committee: The PR Committee is responsible for establishing and maintaining contact with possible conference attendees.  The UAB PR representative will (1) maintain an online presence communicating conference details to participants and national organizations (APSA website,, Facebook page); (2) send conference notifications to undergraduate, graduate, and medical institutions around the Southeast via email on a consistent basis; (3) create fliers with conference details to distribute physically and electronically; and (4) organize social events the evenings before and after the conference to facilitate student networking.
  • Programming Committee:  The Programming Committee is responsible for the content of the meeting.  The UAB Programming representative will (1) establish a conference schedule; (2) plan topics for keynote and breakout sessions which are distinct from those of previous conferences; (3) nominate keynote speakers and breakout session panels/leaders; (4) contact and secure all keynote speakers and breakout session panelists/leaders; and (5) organize MSTP recruitment booths for participating institutions and other groups desiring booths for representation at the conference.