Graduate Program in Pathobiology

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Program Principles & Policies


The health and wellness of students are of utmost importance to us here at Johns Hopkins. If you are struggling with anxiety, stress, depression, or other wellbeing-related concerns, please consider contacting the Johns Hopkins Student Assistance Program (JHSAP). If you are concerned about a friend, please encourage that person to seek out counseling. JHSAP can be reached at 443-287-7000 or Additional resources are available at

If you have a disability or any health issue and may require accommodations in this course, please contact the Disabilities Services Coordinator for graduate students in the School of Medicine (Catherine L. Will, , 410-614-3385) to discuss your specific needs.


Each Pathobiology student is assigned to an Advising Group, along with 5-6 fellow students with diverse backgrounds and interests, and in various academic phases of their PhD. The groups meet with their faculty advisor two to three times a year for one hour sessions which are organized by the student group leader. During these sessions (meant to be quite informal--over coffee, for example), the advisor checks in with each student in the group to discuss their progress to date and any issues or challenges they may be facing in their classes or lab. The idea of doing this in a group setting is that the more junior students can learn from the more senior students and the advisor can help to moderate the discussions that ensue.

The hope is that this will promote connections among the students and provide them an additional faculty member contact (who is not their PI) to touch base with about how things are going on a regular basis. The overall goal is to encourage ongoing communication and keep improving the students' experience in the Pathobiology program.


Johns Hopkins is a community committed to sharing values of diversity and inclusion in order to achieve and sustain excellence. We firmly believe that we can best promote excellence by recruiting and retaining a diverse group of students, faculty and staff and by creating a climate of respect that is supportive of their success. This climate for diversity, inclusion and excellence is critical to attaining the best research, scholarship, teaching, health care and other strategic goals of the Health System and the University. Taken together these values are recognized and supported fully by the Johns Hopkins Institutions leadership at all levels. Further, we recognize that the responsibility for excellence, diversity and inclusion lies with all of us at the Institutions: leadership, administration, faculty, staff and students. More details and resources can be found at the following link:

Pathobiology faculty members serve on the Pathology Diversity Committee. These faculty, along with the Pathobiology Program admissions committee are dedicated to reinforcing the Pathology Diversity Plan. The Plan focuses on the recruitment, retention, and inclusion of diverse individuals, including underrepresented minorities and persons from disadvantaged backgrounds. See more at the following link:

Pathobiology Program Graduate Student Policies


Students will take all core courses listed as required in Course Descriptions per their academic year, unless otherwise determined by the Program Directors. Students will refer to their individual academic year Student Handbooks for specific academic and procedural requirements. General Pathobiology Program and SOM requirements are stated below.


All students are expected to read and follow guidelines stated in current posted policy available at the following link:


Administrated by the Doctor of Philosophy Board

From the Doctor of Philosophy Board website:
There are three fundamental requirements for the Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University: dissertation, residence, and oral examination. None of these requirements can be modified or changed without unanimous consent of the schools and the Provost.

  1. Dissertation: All Ph.D. students must successfully complete a dissertation in accordance with relevant school and program guidelines prior to degree conferral.
  2. Residence: All Ph.D. students must have completed two consecutive semester of full-time study prior to degree conferral.
  3. Oral Examination: All Ph.D. students must successfully pass a required oral examination conducted by five faculty members. The oral examination must include the chair and at least one other member from outside the candidate's home department.

It is university policy that all program and university requirements for the Ph.D. must be completed in 12 years or less from start of the doctoral program. The Doctor of Philosophy Board reviews all candidates for the Ph.D. prior to conferral to ensure that the fundamental requirements for the Ph.D. have been met within the timeframe delineated.


Students whose thesis advisors/mentors have left Hopkins may continue their project under the Hopkins faculty member and graduate with a Hopkins Ph.D. if they meet all requirements. The thesis advisor/mentor must continue their financial obligations (stipend, insurances, and supplies). If a student moves out of state with the mentor, the student is still considered a Johns Hopkins graduate. The student can waive Hopkins health insurance if covered by a similar plan at the mentor's institution.
It is desirable that students working outside the country or at distant sites within the country return to Hopkins for thesis advisory committee meetings. If that is not possible, however, students will submit written progress reports yearly which will be evaluated by the thesis advisory committee. The committee will then send a written evaluation of the document to the student and place a copy of the evaluation in the student's Pathobiology file.


Full-time graduate students are expected to devote their entire professional effort to completion of the degree requirements for their graduate programs. Accordingly, employment and/or consulting by full-time graduate students, for organizations other than Johns Hopkins University, is ordinarily not allowed. When a graduate student has completed all course work and oral exam requirements and has progressed sufficiently toward completion of the dissertation requirements, he or she may request an exception to this policy. (The procedure for initiating such a request is available in the Pathobiology office.) In no case should such an exception commit the full-time graduate student to an outside commitment in excess of sixteen (16) hours per week. Students are reminded that adherence to this policy and full written disclosure of proposed outside employment is considered part of their commitment to abide by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine honor code.


The Pathobiology Program provides stipend, tuition, and health and dental insurance for graduate students through their first year of study. At the beginning of the second year, the mentor assumes stipend support as well as individual medical and dental insurance for the student. Pathobiology covers the student's tuition for the duration of their studies. Students are responsible for the ongoing assessment of their student accounts and should bring any discrepancies to the attention of their Program Coordinator in a timely manner in order to correct any issues.


Students wishing to transfer into the Pathobiology program from other programs must enter the normal admissions process. Within Hopkins, a student may transfer from another mentor to a Pathobiology faculty mentor in our program with consent of the mentor and the Pathobiology Program Director. The student has to satisfy the Pathobiology coursework requirement to be admitted as an advanced student with permission of the Pathobiology Program Director.