Policy on Essential Capacities for Matriculation, Advancement, and Graduation for PhD Students

(Non-Academic Standards for PhD Students)


All PhD students must meet our academic, non-academic, and professionalism standards to matriculate, to progress through the curriculum, and to meet the requirements for graduation from the Zucker School of Medicine.

PhD education requires that the accumulation of scientific knowledge be accompanied by the simultaneous development of specific skills and competencies. Without the capability to meet our standards, students cannot fulfill the requirements of all the courses and original research at the Zucker School of Medicine.

Reasonable accommodations may be required by otherwise-qualified individual candidates to meet the standards specified below. The Zucker School of Medicine is committed to providing qualified students with reasonable accommodations in accordance with applicable law so that they may complete their course of study and research experiences. The Zucker School of Medicine will provide accommodations that are reasonable, do not cause an undue hardship on the university, are consistent with the standards of the PhD profession, and are recommended by the Office of Academic Success, in consultation with the University's Office of Student Access Services. For more information about the school's policy on equal access and accommodations, please refer to the Policy on Equal Access to the Educational Program.

Academic & Professionalism Standards

Refer to the Zucker School of Medicine's Statement of Professionalism for PhD Students for a full listing of the School's professionalism standards. For a full listing of the Zucker School of Medicine's advancement and graduation requirements, please refer to the Policy on Academic Advancement and Graduation.

Non-Academic Standards

All PhD students at the Zucker School of Medicine must meet the following standards, with or without reasonable accommodations, which are grouped in six broad areas:

  1. Perception/Observation
    Students must be able to perceive, by the use of senses and mental abilities, or functional equivalent, the presentation of information through: small group discussions and presentations; large-group lectures; one-on-one interactions; demonstrations; laboratory experiments and experimental findings; written material; audiovisual material.
  2. Communication
    Students must be able to skillfully communicate verbally (in English), non-verbally, and in written form (in English) in a timely fashion with faculty members, other members of the team, study subjects, families, and other students, to: elicit information; convey information, orally and in writing; clarify information; create rapport; interpret non-verbal aspects of communication; develop collaborative relationships.
  3. Motor/Tactile Function
    Students must have a requisite motor function and tactile ability, or functional equivalent, to meet the competencies required for graduation and to: attend (and participate in) classes, groups, and activities that are part of the curriculum; perform in a reasonably independent, efficient, and competent way in sometimes chaotic research environments or under time constraints.
  4. Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities
    Students must exhibit the requisite cognitive abilities and effective learning techniques to assimilate the detailed and complex information presented, and to: learn through a variety of modalities, including but not limited to: classroom instruction, small group, team, and collaborative activities, individual study, preparation, and presentation of reports, and use of computer technology; retain, retrieve, measure, calculate, reason, analyze, synthesize and transmit information across modalities; recognize and draw conclusions about three-dimensional spatial relationships and logical sequential relationships among events; formulate and test hypotheses that enable effective and timely problem-solving in a variety of settings.
  5. Behavioral Attributes, Social Skills, and Professional Expectations
    Students must be able to demonstrate the requisite behavioral, social, and professional skills to meet the competencies required for graduation and to: fully utilize their intellectual abilities, exercise good judgment, promptly complete all responsibilities attendant to the collaborative teamwork in a laboratory; handle and manage heavy workloads and to function effectively and independently under stress; adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility, and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in biomedical research; care for all individuals in a respectful manner regardless of gender, age, race, sexual orientation, religion, or any other protected status identified in the University's Non-Discrimination Policy; display professionalism, compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation throughout the educational processes.
  6. Ethical and Legal Standards
    Candidates for admission must acknowledge and provide a written explanation of any felony offense or disciplinary action taken against them by another educational institution prior to matriculation in the Zucker School of Medicine. In addition, should the student be convicted of any felony offense while in school, the student must immediately notify the Associate Dean for Student Affairs of the nature of the conviction. Failure to disclose prior or new offenses can lead to disciplinary action, which may include dismissal, by the Zucker School of Medicine.

References to Regulations and/or Other Related Policies:
Policy on Academic Advancement and Graduation
Policy on Equal Access to the Educational Program
Statement of Professionalism for PhD Students

Last Updated: July 2020