Current Student FAQs

Reach out to the DGSA 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, coursework, and questions about qualifying preliminary examinations  and graduation requirements.

Students should consult with their advisors for guidance on their project progress, preparation for prelim, milestones to graduation, and selecting committee members. The DGS can also weigh in in these discussions as needed. If students feel like they have reached an impasse in discussions with their advisors and/or their committee members, they should reach out to the DGS, the DGSA, and/or the Chair.


An elective is any course outside of the required immunology core curriculum. The context of an elective course should relate to a student's project and enhance their career trajectory in the biomedical sciences (e.g., Roman history classes are not a suitable elective).

By the end of the Spring semester of the second year. Courses can be taken during the third year with prior approval of the DGS and the dissertation advisor.

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. Students who do 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 ensures that the University is aware the student is active and enrolled.


You can get this information from the DGSA.


This information can vary from year to year. Check T3 for the latest updates.

Talk to DGS first before making any commitments.

At latest by August 1 at the end of the first year, but it is strongly recommended to decide by late spring.

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. With faculty who have secondary affiliations, the Financial Backstop Agreement is required. Both of these forms are downloadable from the Affiliation with a Lab for Dissertation Research section of the website.

A comprehensive and up-to-date searchable list is available on the Duke Graduate School site.


It is usually 15 minutes including Q&A, but may vary by the number of students each year. Check with the course director for up-to-date guidelines.

We suggest the following:

  1. Check the Duke Event Calendar.
  2. Check the websites of other departments for seminars.
  3. Ask specific departments or programs to add you to their mailing list.


First year student stipends are divided into 13 equal payments. The first payment is made in August around the last working day of the month. Subsequent payments will also be around the last working day of the month although 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.

Talk to DGSA about stipends on NonComp. For stipends on Comp Payroll, DGSA can check with the business office or secondary faculty grant managers to figure out what happened.

For students on Comp 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 the Duke Finance website for further details.

Submit receipts for reimbursements to Darren Carlino in the business office.

Conference Travel

To apply for a Conference Travel Award, students need to submit the Travel Advance application form, a brief letter of intent, and a copy of the abstract to be submitted. Please see the TGS webpage on conference support for more details. 

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 the DGS. If questions relate to credit hours, please contact the DGSA. If unsure, email both the DGS and the DGSA with questions. Check the following items first:

  • Students should consult ‘Curriculum’ section of IMM website for required courses.
  • For RCR requirements, students should check the OBGE website as requirements vary by matriculation year.
  • Students can also check their RCR progress in DukeHub using the steps outlined on this TGS website. 

The DGSA will send reminders for required Annual Committee Meetings, deadlines to apply for graduation, etc. In December, the DGSA will check that second 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 the second year and will notify students who are short credits so they can adjust their schedules appropriately. If the DGSA identifies some other issue, they will notify the DGS and they will decide how to proceed from there.

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

Once you have the final version of your dissertation, please contact your DGSA at The department will pay for a gift copy for you and one for the department library. If your PI wants a copy, please get a fund-code number from him or her  to pay for their copy and provide it to Houda.

International Students

The EDI committee is in the process of assembling a guide on how to become established as a graduate student in the US. This guide is being created by compiling a wide variety of independent resources from across Duke, including the Duke International Student Center and Duke Visa Services. It is intended to be a starting reference point to help students become established at Duke. If you have any further questions beyond what will be provided in this guide, please reach out to the Director of Graduate Studies, the Director of Graduate Studies Assistant, the Duke International Student Center, or Duke Visa Services.