Current Student FAQs

In general, please reach out to the DGSA first for administrative questions regarding scheduling, finances, credit status, room reservations, and obtaining various forms. Contact the DGS for issues that require input on thesis projects, course work, and general questions about prelim. Students may want to consult their advisors first when they need guidance on their project progress, preparation for prelim, graduation, and selecting committee members; but the DGS is also happy to individually discuss these. When students have issues with their advisors and/or their committee members, students are welcome to talk with DGS, DGSA, and/or the chair.


An elective, by definition, is any course outside of the required immunology core curriculum. Generally speaking, the contents of elective courses should relate to students’ project and enhances their career trajectory in the scope of biomedical science. (e.g., Roman history classes cannot be considered electives.)

By the end of the Spring semester of 2nd year.

You can TA other courses after you’ve completed the IMM544 Principles TAship. You can also TA IMM701 Pillars of Immunology to satisfy the teaching requirement if IMM544 TA slots are full. Course directors will solicit TAs or you may approach them if you’re interested. A second TAship will receive a paid supplement on Comp Payroll.

Students must register for a 'CTN' (continuation) credit every semester including Summer until they graduate. Unless students are on an unpaid Leave of Absence, they should have this CTN credit for each semester. Registration for the CTN credit at minimum is required every semester (if the student is finished with coursework) so that the University is aware the student is active and enrolled, and so the student can access campus facilities such as Student Health by having tuition and fees charged to their bursar account. Payment will be made later in the semester by TGS, and that is fine, as the charge itself allows access. Payment has always come later, as the is the agreement TGS has with Student Health. This same arrangement applies to the health insurance charge for Duke Student Medical Insurance Plan (SMIP) which is generally paid by TGS in October.


Ask the DGSA.


Check T3. (Changes every year)

Please talk to DGS first before making decisions.

At latest by August 1 at the end of the first year, but strongly recommend deciding before summer for many reasons.

See the 1st year curriculum section of website for further details.

It is not encouraged unless there is a strong rationale. Talk to DGS.

The Lab Affiliation Form is required for all students, the Financial Backstop Agreement only for students affiliating with secondary labs. Both of these forms are downloadable from the 'Affiliation with a thesis laboratory' section of the website.


30 minutes including Q&A.

Numerous seminars are held at Duke and therefore it is difficult for the department to provide all the information. Instead, here are some suggestions:

  1. Check websites of other departments for seminars.
  2. Ask your advisor to forward seminar announcements.
  3. Ask the specific department or program to add you in their mailing list.


First year student stipends are divided into 13 equal payments such that the first payment should be in August around the last working day of the month. Subsequent payments will also be around the last working day of the month although they are sometimes earlier if there is a holiday. After students have direct deposit set up (set up in DukeHub for NonComp; set up in Duke@Work for Comp Payroll), stipends will be direct-deposited.

Tell DGSA for stipends on NonComp. For stipends on Comp Payroll, DGSA can check with business office or secondary faculty grants managers to figure out what happened.

For students on Compensatory Payroll, you should be able to find your W2 on Duke@Work.  For students on NonComp, make sure your address in NonComp is up-to-date since Payroll mails tax forms to the address on file. See Duke Finance website for further details:

Darren generally handles reimbursements although DGSA may need to see them first if tracking costs for an event.  A receipt is required for reimbursement.

Conference Travel

Students should first make sure they have their advisor’s permission to attend. To apply for a Conference Travel Award, the student will need to submit the application form, Travel Advance form, brief letter of intent, and abstract submitted. Please see the TGS webpage on conference support for more details: Those instructions should more appropriately say that ‘the applicant's advisor must commit to covering 30% of the total expense’ and for the application, the student will need to get a fundcode from the advisor and the advisor would need to agree to cover some of the expenses. The advisor should sign below the DGS signature line on the application form submitted to the DGSA. The cap on expenses covered would be $750 total since TGS would cover a max of 70% or up to $525 for domestic conference travel ($525 is 70% of $750) and for international conferences, the max the advisor would be expected to cover would be 30% or $225 ($225 is 30% of $750). Additionally, the advisor would typically cover any additional expenses above $750. The DGSA will need to submit all application documents to TGS on behalf of the student.  Following the conference, the student will need to submit all travel receipts to the DGSA within 20 days of returning from the conference. The student should order their original receipts by date and tape them to 8.5” x 11” paper (portrait style) with the expense purpose clearly indicated.  All receipts should then be scanned and submitted to the DGSA in a single PDF document.

Graduation Procedure

If you have questions relating to research, projects, and which classes can be considered electives, contact DGS. If the questions relate to credit hours, please contact DGSA. If not sure, email both DGS and DGSA with your questions. However, please first check the following items:

The DGSA will send reminders for required Annual Committee Meetings, deadlines to apply for graduation, etc. In December, the DGSA will check that 2nd year students have completed required IMM core courses or are registered to take them, and are on track to have completed 24 graded credits by the end of Spring of 2nd year and will notify students who are short credits so they can adjust their schedules appropriately. If DGSA identifies some other issue, DGSA will notify the DGS and they will decide how to proceed from there.

Please see TGS website for deadlines to apply to graduate and how to apply in DukeHub.

Once you have the final version of your dissertation, please remember to get bound copies made at the Textbook Store in the Bryan Center (Bryan Student Center, downstairs; 684-6793). They outsource to a binding company and do hardcover binding, not leather.  There’s a 4-6 week turnaround.  Student provides the thesis copies.  Cost is $15.50 for the title on the spine and $21.50 for the title on the spine and cover (please get the title on the spine and cover, $21.50, for the department copy). The Textbook Store provides shipping at $7 for first copy and $2.00 for every additional copy to that same address which the department will cover.

If your PI wants a copy, please get a fundcode number from them to pay for their copy and give it to DGSA. The department will pay for a gift copy for you and one for the department library. You will need to print out the Dissertation Binding Form, below, and bring it with you.

Dissertation Binding Form Instructions:

·       Most modern copy paper is now made to be acid-free so no need to worry about getting special paper.

·       Print 1 copy for the department plus an additional 1 or 2 copies of your dissertation depending on whether both you and your advisor want a copy.  If you don’t do the printing yourself, the Textbook Store recommends printing at:

·       For the printing on the dissertation, the department standard is for full name of student, full dissertation title, and graduation year on both the spine and the front cover.  We recommend single-sided printing for the initial pages up to the Table of Contents and then double-sided printing for the remainder of the dissertation.  Use color printing if you have tables that need it.

·       Choose a binding cover color from the ‘Summit Cloth Cover’ options, below.

·       Please fill out the binding form and bring it with you to the Textbook Store.  Leave blank: Account, Title No, Style, Volume, Frequency

·       Fill in ISSN if you have this number.  Check New Title, Pocket/Cloth, Thesis, enter your Name.

·       Instructions to Bindery: your name, dissertation title, graduation year on both spine and front cover.  Darren Carlino will pick up at Duke Textbook Store.

·       Enter your choice of Cover Color, Set of 2 or 3 if advisor wants one also, Print Color=gold



image of color options for binding covers