Skip to main content

Resources for All Current Students

As a graduate student at UNC you should become familiar with the resources available to you. Do not try to solve problems on your own! Knowing where to turn when a problem arises, or how to put a safety mechanism in place before a problem arises, can be an important part of your success.

This page contains information and links to UNC offices, guides, policies, and contacts relevant to bioscience graduate students. If you have a suggestion for a resource that should be added to this page, contact Dave McDonald (david.mcdonald@unc.edu).

If you, a classmate, or a lab member is looking for resources related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at UNC, you have a few different options of who to contact or where to look.

In the UNC School of Medicine, students and faculty have the Office of Inclusive Excellence as the main hub for trainings, certificate programs, and support. For the College of Arts and Sciences, the main resources page is through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Each department and school at UNC has a Diversity & Inclusion Liaison who lead DEI initiatives for their students, faculty, and staff.

For departments in the UNC College of Arts and Sciences, complete list of Diversity & Inclusion Liaisons is located at this link.

A list and map of UNC’s gender neutral bathrooms can be found here.

Accessibility Resource Center: ARS is an office dedicated to supporting students in academic settings with physical disabilities, learning differences, accommodations for medical conditions, and other accessibility concerns. If you believe you need an accommodation in class or in lab, you must self-identify with ARS before anything can be put in place.  ARS can also help you navigate testing for ADHD or other learning differences. For workplace accommodations see the EOC Accommodations page.

The Learning Center: UNC’s Learning Center support students in their academic pursuits. Academic coaching can help any student get organized approaching lab work, reading papers, or create a study plan for your qualifying exams. If you have ADHD, or if you think you might, consider participating in the Graduate Student Working Group which is focused on time management, work life balance, motivation, and accountability (register here or for more information, email Miranda Elston). If you do have ADHD or a learning difference, read more about the ADHD/LD services available to you or make an appointment with an ADHD specialist who can help you navigate graduate school and maximize your success.

The Writing Center:  UNC’s Writing Center supports student writing in a variety of ways. All UNC students can schedule an in-person appointment with a writing coach or submit writing samples to an online coach who will provide specific feedback. This set of guides on scientific writing can be helpful to those who want to improve their writing skills. International students for whom English is a second language can access a wide variety of resources including writing groups, courses, and speaking groups. All international students will want to check out these guides for helpful ESL tips on academic writing.

Cultivating a network of friends and colleagues is an important strategy for success as a professional. UNC has a wide variety of communities available to graduate students, some focused around STEM and some around other identities.

UNC Centers that support student communities

The Graduate School Handbook: All policies and procedures set forth by the UNC Graduate School, the unit which governs all BBSP PhD programs. Below are direct links to some commonly requested policies.

Graduate Student Professional Federation (GPSF): Advocacy organization for graduate students.  GPSF representatives operate the Graduate Student Honor court, advocate for the interests of graduate students on campus committees, fund graduate student groups, and host events for graduate students.

Graduate school is rigorous and demanding. Many graduate students struggle with depression, anxiety, or other mental illness during their training. While it is common to experience these issues, you don’t have to suffer. With help you can manage your symptoms and live a balanced, fulfilling life.  Below are a few of the options available to BBSP graduate students.  If you are unsure where to turn, you may reach out to Dave McDonald (david.mcdonald@unc.edu or 919-843-3387) for a consultation. While Dave is not a trained mental health provider, he is able to direct students to appropriate resources.

Mental Health & Wellness Program: The School of Medicine has a trained mental health provider who works with PhD students: Amanda Hall, MSW, LCSW, LCASA. Amanda is available to meet with students one-on-one to address mental health concerns by providing short-term counseling and referral to additional resources. To make an appointment with Amanda, email her at amahall@email.unc.edu.

UNC Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS): In addition to Amanda Hall as our BBSP-specific CAPS counselor, students can also go directly to CAPS to be seen for urgent needs without an appointment for counseling or medication management. CAPS is located on the 3rd floor of the Student Health Clinic. If you do not know where CAPS is located or are uncomfortable walking over there on your own, Dave McDonald and others in the OGE are available to walk with you. In addition, CAPS has a phone line that is available 24/7 for immediate needs, and you can find out how to contact them on their website.

Other resources outside of UNC-CH

Biomedical research increasingly requires the ability to collect, process, and analyze data quantitatively. This page is a collection of resources available to UNC researchers, both on-campus and virtually. If you know of other resources that may be useful to others, let us know.

Workshops through Health Sciences Library: HSL offers a suite of individual sessions on topics related to bioinformatics and computational biology. A sampling of the workshops offered are listed below. For course availability, schedule, and further details, please click here.

  • Introduction to UNIX for Biologists
  • Introduction to Sequencing Technology
  • Introduction to Analysis of Next Generation Sequencing Data
  • Introduction to Protein Data Bank and Pymol
  • Browsing Genes and Genomes with Ensembl and Ensembl Genomes (Full day workshop)

Online Resources

Probability and Statistics

Other Online Resources

Your PI is invested in your success and is an important source of support and mentoring during your training. In addition, the individuals listed here a resource to you. Seek them out when you need advice or additional support.

  • Your Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Student Services Manager (SSM): Your DGS and SSM are specifically invested in your progress and your well-being. They have experience with common student issues. It is important to keep the program informed if you are having any difficulty that impacts your performance because they can assist in resolving issues.
  • Dave McDonald, Office of Graduate Education: Dave can provide advice and coaching to students who are experiencing a difficult issue. Typically Dave will also provide a connection with other appropriate on and off campus resources. Dave can be reached at david.mcdonald@unc.edu or by phone at 919-843-3387. Dave is available any time to answer questions, to advise on an unusual situation, for coaching, or to direct you to resources. You can email her to set up an appointment (david.mcdonald@unc.edu).
  • (Position Open), Associate Dean for Student Affairs: (Name), based in in the Graduate School, is a resource for all UNC graduate students and can advise especially on unusual or difficult situations. Many students have the misconception that seeking advice from someone in The Graduate School is equivalent to filing a formal complaint, but this is not the case. The Graduate School is a valuable resource for you at any stage. (Name) can be reached at (email) or by phone at (phone).
  • Office of the Dean of Students: The Office of the Dean of Students (DOS) is concerned with the well-being of all students on campus. You do not need an appointment to meet with someone in the Dean of Students office.  Walk In Hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
  • UNC Ombuds: a confidential resource for all UNC-CH students, faculty, and staff. The Ombuds office can offer advice, coach individuals on responding to a situation, mediate conflicts, and more. As with The Graduate School, the Ombuds does not have to be a ‘last resort’ option and is not a formal complaint process. You can contact them anytime, and no one has to know. To make an appointment email, email one of the staff in the office directly.
All graduate students have a right to a safe, respectful working environment free of harassment. Students also have a right to an ethically responsible scientific environment, and as UNC scientists they have a responsibility to conduct their own science ethically. The links below point to UNC policies governing ethical and professional behavior relevant to biomedical graduate students, as well as options for reporting policy violations. Click here to access all UNC Policies.

David McDonald is available for consultation if you are unsure about how to handle a specific situation or whether it constitutes a policy violation.

UNC SOM Student Mistreatment Report Form

The UNC SOM is committed to a positive learning environment that is conducive to learning. Mistreatment can include speaking insultingly, belittling, threatening, attacking, retaliating, and other behaviors. On the above page is also a link to the mistreatment policy which goes into more detail.

UNC-CH Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Related Misconduct 

  • safe.unc.edu: UNC’s portal for information and reporting incidences of discrimination, harassment, interpersonal violence, and stalking.
  • File a report: more information about reporting options including anonymous support. Most individuals employed by UNC to whom a student might choose to make a report are considered Responsible Employees and must report these incidences to the Title IX office. This helps the university coordinate a response. Anonymous reporting options are described here.
  • Gender Violence Services Coordinators: confidential support staff in the UNC Women’s Center (the GVSC are not responsible employees and can keep conversations confidential)
  • Guide to getting support [pdf]

UNC-CH Policy on Research Misconduct [pdf]

UNC-CH Policy on ADA Reasonable Accommodations

Report any Policy Violation: scroll down the page to select the type of concern you are reporting.

UNC Ombuds: a confidential resource for all UNC-CH students, faculty, and staff. The Ombuds office can offer advice, coach individuals on responding to a situation, mediate conflicts, and more. Contacting the Ombuds office is not necessarily at ‘last resort’. It can be a first step, a place to get advice. Their resources page contains many helpful links on conflict resolution.

The Carolina Ready Safety App for Apple and Android devices has great tools and information for you to safely work at UNC. You can have a friend watch your progress across campus, set automatic check-ins, report a tip, or call for help.

Campus Police: If you feel unsafe contact the campus police (919-962-8100) right away and report the incident. If it is an emergency, you can dial 911.

UNC MoveSafe: after-hours transportation options.

Compass Center for Women and Families (*confidential)
This off-campus resource provides confidential bilingual (English and Spanish) services for individuals and their friends/family who are experiencing emotional, physical, verbal, economic, or sexual abuse from an intimate partner or family member. Services include crisis counseling, safety planning, help with protective orders, support in civil and criminal DV court, support groups, and information and referrals Also provides information, referrals, and support groups. Services are provided to people of all races, classes, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations and gender identities. You can call their 24-hour hotline at 919-929-7122.

UNC Gender Violence Services Coordinators (*confidential)

  • Cassidy Johnson, 919-962-1343
  • Holly Lovern, 919-962-7430
  • Email: gvsc@unc.edu
  • Hours: Monday through Friday from 9am to 4pm

Orange County Rape Crisis Center (*confidential)

This off-campus center supports the community with a bilingual (English and Spanish) 24-hour crisis intervention service that provides support and assistance to survivors of sexual assault and adult survivors of child sexual abuse, their families, and friends. Information and referrals concerning law enforcement, medical, and legal processes can also be accessed through the hotline. Support groups are available throughout the year for female-identified, male-identified, LGBTQ-identified, and secondary survivors of sexual violence. Programs on sexual assault awareness and prevention are also provided. You can call their 24-hour hotline at 866-935-4783.