MEHU Graduate Program Policies



  1. MEHU graduate students must be able to produce scholarly research papers based on seminars, research, and/or qualifying exams and theses within a reasonable time frame.
  2. MEHU graduate students must be able to physically attend IMH courses in our classrooms and at other locations on campus.
  3. MEHU graduate students must be able to meet in person with professors and to attend scheduled Brown Bags and Colloquia.
  4. MEHU graduate students must be capable of effectively reading and comprehending, visualizing, and interpreting texts and visual materials–printed, archival, and electronic.
  5. MEHU graduate students must be able to effectively understand, interpret, and respond to lecturers, case conferences, and other forms of oral instruction.
  6. MEHU graduate students must be able to effectively read or listen to, interpret, and carry out verbal and written instructions with reasonable proficiency in the English language.
  7. MEHU graduate students must be able to provide and receive constructive criticism to and from students and faculty in the classroom and in public settings.
  8. MEHU graduate students must be able to effectively present bioethics and humanities information to colleagues, employees, and patients in various settings of an academic health-science center.


The advisor is the student’s primary intellectual and professional mentor, advocate, and guide through the thickets of the curriculum.  Upon entering the program, students will be assigned to an advisor who will help them begin planning their course work.  As they proceed through the graduate program, they are encouraged to choose an individual advisor based on their evolving interests and needs.  Students should meet regularly with their advisors to discuss all their major choices, questions, problems, and decisions.  Candid, open discussion between advisor and student is essential for effective communication.  Students should turn to their advisors when problems arise with research, courses, or interpersonal conflicts.  If a student finds that he or she is incompatible with an advisor, the student is free to request a change to a more compatible faculty member.

In accordance with GSBS Bylaws (3.22), grades of each student are to be forwarded, at mid-term, to the Graduate Program Director, and any student with less than a B-average will be summoned to a meeting with the Program Director and the student’s advisor, who will evaluate the student’s academic performance and provide a course of action to remedy apparent problems.  Also in accordance with GSBS Bylaws (3.22), students in the process of writing their dissertation are required to meet with their supervisory committee at least once each year to discuss their progress and future (career) plans.


Students are expected to attend all Brown Bag Seminars and Colloquia.  The official word is that attendance is "not mandatory but expected."  Unless students are out of town or under duress, they should attend.  The regular times and schedules are as follows:  Colloquia, 2nd Thursday of the month, 11:30 a.m.-1:00p.m.; Brown Bags, 4th Tuesday of the month, 12:00 noon-1:00 p.m.

Students who wish to present at a Brown Bag or Colloquium should schedule their presentations early in the academic year, as the slots fill quickly.  Out-of-town visitors who can present on only one date may be given priority

Brown Bags are less formal than colloquia and offer an opportunity to present a work-in-progress for comments and suggestions by IMH faculty and students.  Students, faculty, and visiting scholars may wish to use a Brown Bag to get feedback on a paper or presentation that they will be delivering elsewhere.  The presenter has twenty minutes to outline his or her project or paper.  Twenty-five minutes are allowed for discussion.  To schedule a Brown Bag, please contact Christi Retzer at 409-772-9396 or

Colloquia are more formal than Brown Bag presentations.  Their subject is usually a completed written work, which is copied and distributed at least one week in advance.  The presenter selects a discussant to review the work carefully and deliver a critique.  The time in colloquia is usually divided as follows:

10-15 minutes                         Author's summary

10-15 minutes                         Critique by assigned discussant

45-60 minutes                         Open discussion

Presenters are expected to be well organized and to have synthesized the material they are presenting.  They should not read or quote printed material (including their own papers) extensively.  Presenters should be aware of the audience's prior knowledge of their topics, so as to offer enough by way of background and definitions but not to take time providing unnecessary background.

Audience members are expected to have read the papers that are the subjects of colloquia and to allow the presenter to complete his or her summary before commenting or questioning.  Requests for simple clarification are exceptions to this general rule.  To schedule a colloquium, please contact Marcy Sifuentes, Phone:  409-772-3396 or E-mail:  msifuent@UTMB.EDU.

The annual IMH Student Research Colloquium is a special day when at least six students from the program present their most important work, respond to a faculty critique, and then answer questions from those attending.  Each presentation may take only twenty to thirty minutes; STRICT TIMING IS OBSERVED. After each presentation, a selected faculty member (having carefully read the work) may offer a penetrating-but-encouraging ten-to-fifteen minute critique. Then there are questions from the floor; the shorter the presentation and critique, the longer the discussion.

Typically, the IMH Student Research Colloquium is in the Spring Term and lasts all one day from about 8:00 a.m. to about 4:30 p.m.  Breakfast and lunch may be provided.




The Enterprise Learning Management (ELM) system is a web-based application used to administer and maintain UTMB’s professional development and compliance-related training.  The system was introduced in September 2013, and it serves as the platform for delivering and tracking course content, schedules, enrollments, and completions.

All UTMB employees are required to complete the Enrollment Survey in the
ELM system for FY17. This allows the system to assign the appropriate courses.

Mandatory compliance training is required of all faculty, staff, and students each fiscal year.  Training can be completed either online or at classes provided by the Office of Institutional Compliance on campus throughout the year.  Students are required to complete several modules—some every year, some every two years.  Individual progress can be tracked online.  Students log-in with their student ID number unless they are an employee or on stipend, in which case they need to log-in using their UTMB employee number.  Among the modules students may be required to complete are General Compliance, HIPPA, Sexual Harassment, Information Protection, Computer Ethics, Computer Virus Protection, E-mail Etiquette, and Password Protection.  The UTMB deadline each year is August 31st.  Students who do not complete their mandatory compliance training will not be allowed to register for classes the following semester. Students on stipend who do not complete their mandatory compliance training will be suspended from their employee position and their stipend payments will cease.


End-of-course evaluations are required for all GSBS courses that are graded A-F.  End-of-course evaluations for GSBS courses that are graded S-U can also be requested but are not mandatory.  The GSBS Executive Committee voted in July and August 2007 to reaffirm this policy, which is required for accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).  Beginning with the fall semester 2007, students are required to complete evaluations in any course graded A-F in order to receive a grade in the course. However, if a course has fewer than five students, the course instructor has the option not to require a course evaluation. If the instructor does require a course evaluation in such a case, the evaluation will be reviewed by the graduate program director and summarized for the instructor. If the instructor is the graduate program director, the evaluation will be reviewed by the GSBS Dean for Academic Affairs. If a completed evaluation form is not received from a student, an Incomplete (I) grade will be reported to the Office of Enrollment Services.  If the course evaluation is not completed within thirty days, the grade of I automatically converts to a grade of F (failure in the course). The evaluations are anonymous and are available to the course director and instructor(s) only after grades have been assigned.


All graduate students will be issued a UTMB e-mail account, and the GSBS requires that graduate students maintain their UTMB e-mail accounts until they have graduated.  It is important that students must become avid e-mail users; many important messages regarding class information are sent on a regular basis by e-mail.  E-mail is considered a standard method of corresponding in the GSBS and throughout UTMB. 


Students do not have to be at UTMB to access their UTMB e-mail accounts.  Any student may access his or her UTMB e-mail account from any web browser by going to Exchange Webmail:, and logging in using UTMB user name and password.  It is very easy to do.   


Below are the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) guidelines for student-faculty interactions.  They offer a basic framework for understanding the responsibilities on both sides of the student-faculty relationship.  Although these guidelines are written primarily for graduate students in basic science programs, the general principles apply equally to medical humanities students and faculty.  Points 3 and 4 under student responsibilities are particularly important: students have the primary responsibility for knowing the regulations, policies, and degree requirements that govern their graduate education.  Most such information is available in this Handbook, but students should always err on the side of caution by double-checking with their advisor, the interim graduate program director (Dr. Jones), the graduate program coordinator (Donna Vickers), or the associate dean for student affairs (Dr. Joan Nichols).

Students will

  1. interact with faculty and staff in a mature, professional, and civil manner in accordance with University policies governing nondiscrimination and sexual harassment;
  2. exercise the highest integrity in taking examinations, writing papers, and in collecting, analyzing, and presenting research data;
  3. take the primary responsibility for informing themselves of those regulations and policies that govern their graduate education; and
  4. take the primary responsibility for making sure they have fulfilled all requirements for the degrees they seek.

Faculty will

  1. interact with students in a professional and civil manner in accordance with University policies governing nondiscrimination and sexual harassment;
  2. impartially evaluate students regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, or other criteria that are not germane to academic evaluation;
  3. not allow personal rivalries with colleagues to interfere with their interaction with any graduate student;
  4. attempt to create in the classroom and the laboratory an atmosphere that encourages creative and independent learning; and
  5. provide verbal or written comments and evaluation of students’ work in a timely manner.

Faculty mentors will

  1. have a clear understanding with graduate students about their specific research responsibilities, including time lines for completion of research and the thesis or dissertation;
  2. discuss laboratory authorship policy with students in advance of entering into collaborative projects;
  3. not impede a student’s progress toward the degree in order to benefit from the student’s proficiency as a research assistant;
  4. acknowledge student contributions to research presented at conferences, in professional publication, or in applications for copyrights and patents;
  5. provide their best efforts to assist their students in developing to the limit of their capability, and in securing postgraduate positions; and
  6. familiarize themselves with policies that affect their students.

In the process of a graduate education, it is also important that the student recognize that

  1. they must devote an appropriate amount of time and energy toward achieving academic excellence and earning the advanced degree;
  2. faculty time is a resource, which must be carefully allocated in ways that are most beneficial both for the faculty member and for the student(s) he or she supervises;
  3. the faculty advisor provides the intellectual and instructional environment in which the student conducts research, and may, through access to research funds, provide financial support;
  4. an active, productive research program reflects well on all involved, faculty and student, and can only enhance the possibilities for future success; and
  5. it is the student who is ultimately responsible for developing himself or herself into a successful and productive medical humanist.


The Institute is able to provide financial support at various levels to only a few highly qualified graduate students. Graduate student support is offered with the understanding that recipients are half-time UTMB employees and are obligated to work twenty hours a week. Specific work requirements vary according to supervisor and funding source. Funding sources may include Graduate School stipends, Institute funds, external grants, and other programs. Decisions about financial support of students are made annually, based on a combination of demonstrated academic merit, financial need, and research qualifications. All incoming and current students are eligible for support and receive equal review. The faculty generally makes these decisions at a spring meeting, where grades, letters of recommendation (in the case of incoming students), annual student-progress reports, petitions of need, and other relevant professional or academic accomplishments are considered.

Students receiving financial support should understand that 1) funding decisions are made one year at a time; 2) funding is contingent on academic progress in the program, availability of resources, and satisfactory performance of assigned work; and 3) the duration of funding will not exceed four years.

Ideally, students on stipend and their supervising faculty should consider the work as a form of apprenticeship. Effort will be taken, when possible, to encourage mutually beneficial partnerships. Both students and faculty can request the Graduate Program Director to make a particular assignment, or a reassignment, although the result of the request cannot be guaranteed.

At the commencement of the assignment, and whenever necessary thereafter, faculty will discuss their expectations and work requirements with their students. Faculty and students should enter into an informal or formal agreement concerning both expectations and requirements at this time. As with any apprenticeship, the work can be varied, but will in any event provide the student with experience in one or more areas at which s/he will need to be adept as a scholar. The nature of the work will be contingent on both the needs of the faculty and on the aptitude, interest, and experience of the graduate student. Faculty need, however, will be weighted more heavily in the event of conflict. In distributing work assignments, faculty and the Graduate Program Director will make an effort to accommodate combined-degree students’ graduation and licensure requirements.  Work may take a variety of forms, including but not limited to assisting faculty with any aspect of research, writing, or presentation, including attending and/or presenting at meetings and colloquia. As a student progresses through the program, his or her stipend-supported work ideally will require more skill and pertain more directly to his or her area(s) of interest.

Students who are grant-supported must meet the relevant requirements of the grant, including the specific number of hours required to be devoted to the project, as directed by the supervising faculty member.

The following is a general policy regarding work responsibilities and work evaluation of graduate students receiving financial support. Specific questions should be addressed to the student's work supervisor.

Responsibilities of Graduate Students Receiving Support

Students receiving support have the following responsibilities:

  1. completing all work and research assignments on a timely basis as specified by the supervising faculty;
  2. reporting on work and research progress as scheduled by the supervising faculty;
  3. attending all standing and scheduled work meetings;
  4. notifying supervising faculty of any absence from work and, when reasonable, obtaining advance authorization;
  5. submitting sick leave requests in accordance with UTMB policies for half-time employees; 
  6. requesting special leave requests when they will be away from UTMB for any reason during the regular work week; and
  7. evaluating their work assignment and experience at the end of each term, or at the conclusion of an assignment if the assignment does not last at least one full term. The evaluation will be provided to supervising faculty.


Continued financial support will depend on satisfactory evaluation of assigned work. The following procedures will be used:

  1. Students will be evaluated at the end of each term or at the conclusion of an assignment if the assignment does not last at least one full term, based on their work product.
  2. The specific research or work to be evaluated will differ according to supervisor, but general areas include productivity; progress over the prior term's work, quality of research, and ability to work with supervising faculty, graduate assistants, and other researchers.
  3. Performance will be evaluated as excellent, satisfactory, or unsatisfactory.
  4. Evaluations will be documented, reviewed with the student, and placed in the student's file.

Unsatisfactory Evaluation

Students evaluated as unsatisfactory are expected to use the subsequent term to return their work to a satisfactory level. The following stipulations apply to all unsatisfactory evaluations.

  1. An unsatisfactory evaluation will result in a probationary period of one term.
  2. An unsatisfactory evaluation for two consecutive terms will result in termination of funding.
  3. Termination of funding may be appealed (see below).
  4. Graduate students must be notified that they are on probation for one term and that an unsatisfactory evaluation the following term will result in termination of funding.
  5. During the probationary period, supervisor and student will meet monthly to monitor work progress.

Appeals Process

The following procedures apply for appealing an evaluation:

  1. Graduate assistants who wish to appeal termination of their funding must first bring their concerns to the supervising faculty for discussion and, in light of this discussion; supervising faculty may revise the evaluation and place a revised evaluation in the student's file.
  2. Students who wish to continue the process must bring their appeals to the graduate program director and are also encouraged to discuss the evaluation with their advisors. The Graduate Program Director will discuss the evaluation and appeal with the supervising faculty, who may revise the evaluation and place a revised evaluation in the student's file.
  3. Students who continue to pursue the process must finally bring their appeals to the Institute Director, who will then discuss the evaluation and appeal with the supervising faculty and the Graduate Program Director. Supervising faculty may revise their evaluation and place a revised evaluation in the student's file.  However, one's supervising faculty is under no obligation to reverse an unsatisfactory evaluation or to work with any graduate student whose work they deem unsatisfactory for more than one semester.


Bylaws of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences 4.5731 (Voluntary Leave of Absence)

Permission for three terms of leave of absence from a graduate program may be granted by the dean, subject to approval by the program director.  Such permission will be granted only on written application and after an interview with the program director and the dean/assistant dean. Conditions for approval of the student's return to the program and school may be included in any approval of a voluntary leave of absence. Students requesting a voluntary leave of absence will be required to complete the term in which they are enrolled before the leave is granted. Otherwise, the student must withdraw from the graduate school.

Bylaws of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences 4.5732 (Emergency Leave of Absence)

The graduate school may determine that under certain emergency situations, such as severe illness or injury, a student may be granted an emergency leave of absence.  The grades assigned for courses in which the student is enrolled at the time of the emergency will be determined by application of the appropriate graduate school policies and by the dean in consultation with the student's program director and the instructor(s) for the course(s) in which the student is enrolled.  The dean will include in the approval of such a leave conditions to be met before approval of the return of the student to the school. The student reinstated in the graduate school after an emergency leave will have a course of study designed by the student's program.


Graduate students may take unlimited Research hours before being admitting to candidacy.  However, the GSBS Policy states that “after successful completion of the qualifying examination, students will be allowed to register for Research (6097) a maximum of three (3) terms.  Failure to be admitted to candidacy by the end of the third term after successfully completing the qualifying exam is grounds for dismissal from the graduate school.”


By the end of each summer term, students must submit a completed Milestones Agreement Form (Appendix Q), to be signed by the student, the student’s advisor, and the Program Director (Policy implemented by GSBS July 2013).


Websites:  and

            Like all UTMB employees, MEHU graduate students are expected to dress appropriately for their role at UTMB.  When students are representing the IMH on UTMB committees (such as the Institutional Ethics Committee) or taking part in clinical rounds, they should follow the general UTMB guidelines (IHOP Policy 3.7.2), as well as any specific guidelines of the department in whose activities they are participating.


New Students

Immediately before the beginning of the fall term, new students are required to attend an orientation session. Instructions regarding when and where the registration session will be held and what forms will be required will be provided to newly admitted students by the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences office (4.429 Levin Hall, 409-772-2665).   The exceptions to this are spring and summer semesters, as there is no formal orientation session.

When there is no formal orientation session, the new students are allowed to walk their registrations through. They will be given instructions by their school’s department or student affairs office regarding what forms are required to be presented to Enrollment Services in order to complete registration and when they may begin the process. 

Note: All health forms and immunization records MUST be submitted to Student Wellness and clearance is required for registration.

Immunization and Screening Requirements:

TETANUS TOXOID, REDUCED DIPTHERIA TOXOID AND ACELLULAR PERTUSUSSIS (Tdap):  One dose of Tdap replacing one decennial Td booster for all students and a single dose at an interval of two years from last Td for all students involved in direct patient care.  NOTE: A dose of TETANUS/DIPHTHERIA (Td) within the last ten years will be accepted for students not engaged in direct patient care and a dose within two years for students involved in direct patient care.

MEASLES (Rubeola or red measles): If you were born in or after 1957, you must have either documentation of two doses of measles or two doses of MMR vaccine (separated by at least 30 days) after 12 months of age OR a titer result adequate to indicate immunity.

MUMPS: If you were born in or after 1957, you must have either documentation of one dose of mumps or MMR vaccine after 12 months of age OR a titer result adequate to indicate immunity.

RUBELLA (German Measles): Required for all students. You must have either documentation of one dose of rubella or MMR vaccine after 12 months of age OR a titer result adequate to indicate immunity.

VARICELLA (Chickenpox): You must have two immunizations, a report of a positive titer, or report a date of illness. Please note this is the ONLY immunization that may have a date of illness reported as documentation of satisfying the requirement.

HEPATITIS B: A series of three immunizations and documentation of a positive titer 4-6 weeks after the third immunization.  (The second immunization is given 4 weeks after the first and the third at least 8 weeks after the second and 16 weeks after the first.  It takes a minimum of 4 months to complete the series of three immunizations.)

TUBERCULOSIS (TB) SKIN TEST (PPD): You must have a skin test and reading within 6 months of enrollment. TB skin tests are also required on an annual basis while enrolled OR if you have a history of a positive PPD:

CHEST X-RAY: Required ONLY if there is a history of a positive PPD test reading.  You must provide documentation of the date of the positive PPD and a negative chest x-ray taken after the date of the reported positive PPD.

Please note that report of illness DOES NOT meet the requirement for measles, mumps, or rubella. You must provide dates of immunization or positive titer reports.

UTMB complies with the State of Texas Higher Education Mandatory Immunization Requirements and recommendations of the Texas Department of State Health Services Immunization Division and the CDC.  Immunizations MUST be completed before a student may participate in direct patient care.

Continuing Students

Enrollment calendars will be sent to students along with the registration instructions and deadline dates. For current information ask for assistance.

Students must complete their registration on-line by going to  There is a $100 late fee for students who register after the deadline.  Also, by using this site, students will be able to view and update many of their records at UTMB and pay their tuition and fees. 

Please see pages 7-8 of this Handbook for a complete two-year IMH curriculum.  Some classes are offered only every two years.  It is wise for students to check with their advisors about when certain classes (especially required ones) will be offered.


Bylaws of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences 4.6134

 Admission to candidacy for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy requires: 

  1. A report from the program director that the student has passed the qualifying examination;
  2. submission of an application for candidacy and an approved research proposal; 
  3. conversion of all incomplete (I) or not reported (NR) grades to regular grades, resolving any failing grades (F, WF or U) on the transcript as prescribed in 4.5711 Academic Performance;
  4. an overall grade point average of 3.0 or better;
  5. good academic standing; except that a student on continuing probation as defined in Section 4.5712 may advance to candidacy if all other provisions of this section (4.6134) are fulfilled;
  6. written agreement to serve from a full supervisory committee as defined in 4.6133;
  7. fulfillment of all program requirements; and
  8. approval by the dean of the graduate school. 

After successful completion of the written portion of the Qualifying Examination (Section 4.732) students will be allowed to register for Research (6097) a maximum of three (3) terms.  Failure to be admitted to candidacy by the end of the third term after successfully completing the Qualifying Examination is grounds for dismissal from the graduate school (Section 4.5713, Academic Policies).


Every student is required to submit an annual progress report, which is due on January 17.  This report must be signed by both the student and the advisor.  If the report has not been submitted by January 31, the student will receive a reminder notice.  If the report has not been submitted by February 21, the graduate program director will request that the dean place the student on academic probation.  Contact Christi Retzer, to obtain the necessary forms and directions for completing them.



          All incoming students are required to obtain TDCJ security clearance and to attend a one-time orientation class prior to orientation.  Contact Christi Retzer, to obtain the necessary forms and directions for completing them.


Bylaws of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences 4.6213 

All Requirements for the Master’s degree must be completed within four years from date of first admission as a regular graduate student.  If the work for the Master’s degree requires more than a four-year period, permission to continue must be obtained from the candidate’s graduate program faculty and the dean of the graduate school.


Bylaws of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences 4.6113

There are three time limits for the doctor of philosophy degree. 

  1. After successful completion of the written portion of the Qualifying Examination (Section 4.732) students will be allowed to register for Research (6097) a maximum of three (3) terms.  Failure to be admitted to candidacy by the end of the third term after successfully completing the Qualifying Examination is grounds for dismissal from the graduate school (Section 4.5713, Academic Policies);
  2. A final, approved copy of the dissertation and all related forms must be submitted to the graduate dean within 90 days of successful completion to the defense of the dissertation; and
  3. All requirements for the doctoral degree must be completed within five years after admission to candidacy.  Any student who fails to complete the requirements within this specified time must reapply for admission to candidacy.



See Sections 4.55, 4.561, 4.562, 4.5621, and 4.5622 

Courses may be added or dropped with appropriate signed approvals prior to the twelfth class day of the fall and spring terms and the tenth class day of the summer term.  Courses dropped by these deadlines will not be recorded on the transcript.  Courses dropped after these deadlines are recorded on the transcript with a grading symbol of “W,” withdrew, with no indication of level of performance, provided the student does not drop (withdraw from) all courses in the current registration.  Students may drop a course(s) after the course begins and before it ends, by preparing a brief written statement explaining the reason for dropping the course(s) and securing the signature of the instructor, the student’s program director, and the dean. 

            Students may not withdraw from a course after the final class meeting of the course.  Students with more than two (2) grading symbols of “W” on their transcript or more than one (1) “W” in the same course shall be subject to dismissal from the graduate school.


The following was presented at a Brown Bag by an IMH professor to assist students in their research and writing in this program:

Students enter the IMH graduate program with a wide variety of experiences in research and writing.  Those experiences generate certain assumptions that often need critical review.  For example, students should not assume that what they believe constitutes “research” is what IMH professors mean by “research” in the medical humanities.  Another example involves term papers.  Students should not assume that what they think is a “term paper” is what IMH professors expect when requiring a term paper.  Each professor should explain “research” and “term paper” as used in each course.  Moreover, each professor should be explicit about the criteria used to evaluate a term paper for a particular course.  If a professor fails to do this, each student is responsible for obtaining information directly from the professor who is the instructor for that course (or professors if more than one is teaching).  Moreover, IMH graduate students should never assume that what “research” and “term paper” means to one professor is what they mean to all other IMH professors.

Some entering students have written a Master’s thesis.  A few IMH students have received Master’s degrees for their work; these theses are in the IMH library.  If you are planning to write a Master’s thesis, examine the work of previous students.  Then negotiate the meanings of “research” and “thesis” directly and explicitly with your supervising professor.  Moreover, negotiate a style of interaction and evaluation, as well as a timetable for your work.  Will the professor critique and discuss rough drafts?  Will the professor want to read one chapter at a time or all chapters at once (rough or polished)?  What criteria will be used in evaluating progress in preparing the thesis?

Some graduate students who complete their comprehensive exams in preparation for a doctorate are frightened about the prospect of conducting research for a dissertation.  They “run” into some hiding place and invoke a Muse for inspiration.  Others discover that they can progress more acceptably by engaging in regular dialogues with their supervising professors, addressing both the meaning of “research” for a particular dissertation and the pros and cons of possible dissertation topics. Yet, nothing spurs more progress than creating drafts of chapters and offering them (like sacrifices) to the supervising professor for critique and suggestions.  A doctoral student who negotiates a style of interaction and evaluation with the professor usually progresses well, especially if they agree on a timetable for the production of chapter drafts.  Some students think they should suffer alone at their computers until those “perfect” chapters are really ready for their professors.  Fear, anxiety, self-doubt, and paralysis often accompany this approach.  Courage, persistence, dialogue, and diplomacy are better approaches.

Entering students have been exposed to a wide variety of books about research and writing.  IMH professors hope that IMH graduate students will not assume that they have developed adequate research and writing skills.  Improving and perfecting these skills is a lifetime endeavor that is made easier by a willingness to learn from the advice of others.  The following books are inexpensive and extremely useful.  An excellent introduction to the meaning of research is Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams, The Craft of Research (Chicago, 1995).  Two style manuals are excellent:  Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (Chicago, 1996) and Diana Hacker, A Pocket Style Manual (Bedford Books, 1997).  Students can learn much more from Joseph M. Williams’s Style: Toward Clarity and Grace (Chicago, 1995) and Judith M. Meloy, Writing the Qualitative Dissertation:  Understanding by Doing (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1994).  Consult your teachers and supervising professors for additional suggestions.  Revising one’s drafts (more than once), with the guidance of a caring mentor, is an effective approach for most graduate students.

            The ultimate resource is The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010).

See pages 7-9 of this Handbook for the titles of IMH master’s theses and pages 10-19 for the titles of IMH doctoral dissertations.

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