Welcome to the BIMS Class of 2023!
Congratulations on your admission to the UVA Biomedical Sciences PhD program and welcome to the UVA School of Medicine!
We are proud that you all come from different backgrounds and experiences. As some of you start your PhD program, you will be following in the footsteps of an admired parent or relative. For others, you may be the first in your family to graduate from college. We are committed to supporting each of you through this transition into graduate school and to help you get started on the right foot as you take this first important step in your biomedical research training and start working towards your PhD.
Below, you will find important information about what you need to do to get started in the BIMS program at UVA, help you transition to graduate school, and life in Charlottesville. Please be sure to check back frequently as this page will be updated as new information arrives for each new class.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us with questions about any of these items.
- Activate your UVA IT accounts – Deadline: as soon as possible
- Contact your first-year advisor – Deadline: May 5, 2023
- Submit a Student ID photo – Deadline: June 1, 2023
- Arrange your first-year rotation start date – Deadline: June 1, 2023
- Submit final UG transcripts to admissions – Deadline: July 1, 2023
- Update your Local Address in the Student Information System (SIS) – Deadline: July 1, 2023
- Establish Direct Deposit in the Student Information System (SIS) – Deadline: July 1, 2023
- Complete and Submit Pre-Entrance Health Form – Deadline: August 1, 2023
- Register with Student Disability Access Center if needed – Recommended deadline: August 1, 2023 if requesting academic accommodation
July 3. Preferred start date for first year BIMS students
July 3 – August 11. FIRST ROTATION
July TBD (noon). Introduction to summer activities (lunch; Location TBD)
July 13 – August 10. Summer Prep – Build Your Research Community Discussions (location TBD)
5:45-7:00 PM; Thursdays
July 13, July 20, July 27, Aug 3, Aug 10 (by zoom)
July 11 – August 10. Meet the Faculty talks (in person – Pinn Hall room 1014)
(T/Th 9-10:30 AM)
August 14 – 15. CORE COURSE ORIENTATION
August 16. Picnic (sponsored by GBS) – Location TBD
You can find the full academic calendar here for 2023-2024 by May 1, 2023.
To Do List
You will need to activate your email account, Office 365 account, UVA Zoom account, and navigate other items on the UVA Student IT Checklist. If you have IT-specific questions, the IT Help contact information is posted on the New to UVA IT Checklist Page. Note: Although you are affiliated with the UVA Health System, please do not follow any of the instructions for HS employees for passwords and other IT setup.
Your UVA computing ID is a random alpha-numeric designation that has already been assigned to be used as your email “name”. You can (and many students do) create an alias that allows recipients to identify you more readily (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org).
Importantly, you have been assigned a first-year faculty advisor who will be your primary mentor as you transition to the BIMS graduate program in late Spring 2023, through selection of all of your rotations, into Winter 2024. You are not expected to make these important decisions on your own and strongly encouraged to work closely with your assigned advisor.
You were introduced to your advisor in an email from Janet Cross and Adrain Halme. Please contact your faculty advisor early, so you can begin to discuss rotation options in preparation for joining us this summer.
All members of the UVA Health System are required to wear a HS ID badge when in the buildings. As a graduate student in the School of Medicine, your ID badge provides access to Health System buildings for your classes and lab rotations. It is not necessary to have a UVA Student ID badge unless your lab rotation is in a location other than one of the main Health System buildings.
Steps to secure your ID (after activating your UVA email account):
- Pull your 9-digit University ID from SIS
- Follow the detailed instructions for creating and then uploading your your PASSPORT-STYLE photo to the Academic ID Card Office
- Be sure to click “Submit” to complete the submission process
- Contact [BIMS person] to confirm your photo has been successfully submitted
NOTE: Keep your ID safe and never loan it to anyone. The HS ID badge provides the following: Identification; library circulation privileges; building access (including medical research buildings); meal plans; flex dollars (student only); Cavalier Advantage Access to University services (laundry, vending, Newcomb Post Office); Student Health facilities (student only); access to recreational facilities; charge privileges at University Bookstore locations (student only); admission to athletic events (student only); University Transit; Charlottesville Transit
NOTE: If you already have a UVA ID badge – either Academic or Heath System, you will need to surrender your current ID to be replaced by a new version as a BIMS student. You have the option to swap your current ID photo for an update (see directions above).
Summer rotations begin the first week of July – the exact start date should be the week of July 3, must be negotiated with your rotation mentor, and should be clearly communicated in writing between you and your mentor.
- We encourage you to not identify all three of your rotations by June 3rd, or even before the fall semester begins.
- The BIMS Meet the Faculty summer series will begin July 11. There are many faculty that are doing fantastic research both within and outside of the area(s) you are currently considering, many of whom you have not yet met or discovered on the faculty research webpages. This series will allow you to meet BIMS mentors who are actively seeking new students for their research labs. They will be giving short presentations on their research and mentoring philosophies. This is a great opportunity to learn about the full range of research at UVA and to identify other potential rotation mentors for the fall and spring rotations.
- Being passionate about your thesis research is critical but identifying a mentor who will effectively support you during your PhD training (and after) is equally important for your development as a scientist and for your career. When exploring rotation labs, don’t be afraid to ask faculty about their mentoring approach and the environment of their lab. Both factors can have a huge impact on your experience in graduate school, and ultimately your career options and trajectory once you get your PhD.
- Dr. Ben Barres, who was both a pioneer and advocate for equal opportunities in science, published a brief guide to picking a graduate thesis mentor, How to Pick a Graduate Advisor. Dr. Barres (1954–2017) was Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology at Stanford University and one of the world’s leading researchers on the role of the brain cells known as glia.
For some incoming students, the final piece to complete your matriculation into BIMS is the submission of your official undergraduate transcript. Once you’ve completed your undergraduate degree requirements, please request an official copy of your transcript – it must include all final semester courses, the degree you were awarded, and the date on which your degree was conferred. Please have the transcripts sent or transmitted electronically to the UVA Central Graduate Admission Office using the email address, or mailing address, or courier address shown below:
Electronic transmission: email@example.com
USPS Mail: Central Graduate Admissions Office; University of Virginia; PO Box 401110; Charlottesville, VA 22904
Courier (FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc.) service:
Central Admissions Office; Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program Admissions Office; 1001 North Emmet Street; Room 232, Carruthers Hall; Charlottesville, VA 22903
The UVA Student Information System (SIS) contains your official University student record. Students use SIS for course registration, checking student financial charges and awards, tracking academic progress, and more.
Importantly, once you have signed a lease for housing in Charlottesville, please update your local address in SIS. While most communications from BIMS and UVA will be via email, it is important your student profile is current and accurate. Please also update your address and other contact information if/when it changes as you matriculate.
Your first-year stipend ($35,000) will be paid monthly ($2,916.66) via the Student Aid Financial System (a component of SIS). You must set up direct deposit for this payment in SIS no later than the first week you are in the lab, so your pay is not delayed.
UVA requires students to have direct deposit to receive monthly stipend checks and reimbursements. You must enroll in direct deposit via the Student Information System (SIS).
Your first-year stipend will be paid monthly through SIS – it is important that you enroll by July 1, 2023, so your first pay is not delayed. Your first stipend disbursement will be the week of July 24, 2023.
- Once in SIS, select Financials in the left menu, and then Finance Center.
- Click Sign Up for Direct Deposit.
NOTE: Your first stipend check will be prorated based on your first day in the lab, so it is important you share your rotation start date with your advisor and BIMS admin.
*Please note: All School of Medicine students (including BIMS) are required to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Please find additional information at the links below.*
All new UVA students are required to submit a Pre-Entrance Health Form when they first begin as a student at the University of Virginia.
- All new BIMS students must complete the School of Medicine (MD, BIMS, PHS) and School of Nursing (undergraduate, graduate) students: PEHF (2022-2023).
- Please complete the School of Medicine PEHF accurately and upload it to the HealthyHoos patient portal no later than August 1, 2023. NOTE: If your form is not received by the due date, you will be subject to a late fee of $100, for which you will be personally responsible.
- The PEHF must be completed and signed by a health care provider. Completing this form with your doctor before you arrive in Charlottesville is strongly encouraged as your immunizations must be current before starting your rotation.
- Questions? Contact Student Health Medical Records at firstname.lastname@example.org or 434-924-1525.
Incoming BIMS students may request academic and/or housing accommodations based on a disability or medical condition by registering with the Student Disability Access Center (SDAC). Students requesting academic accommodation are encouraged to do so well before the start of the Core Course in August.
To register, visit the SDAC website, select Apply for Services, and complete the online form.
Questions? Contact the Student Disability Access Center at 434.243.5180 or SDAC@virginia.edu.
International Student Checklist
- Complete all immigration documents for your I-20.
- Complete the checklist on the International Studies Office Newly Admitted Students webpage.
- Complete International Student Online Orientation.
- Complete all items on the To Do list above by the stated deadlines.
Check in with the International Studies Office (ISO) and attend ISO Orientation.
International student wages (bi-weekly through UVA Payroll) and stipends (monthly through Student Financial Services) may be taxable. It is important to know that taxable status and the tax rate is based on the pay type and treaties specific to your home country. Please reach out to your BIMS Administrator to be connected with the UVA Compliance Analyst responsible for international tax issues before the Core Course begins in August.
Preparing to Arrive
Graduate students, whether single, married, and/or with families, can apply to live in furnished and unfurnished apartments On-Grounds at UVA. University Gardens is an eight-building complex north of the University that contains one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. Copeley Hill. is a larger complex located near the Law School with one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Faulkner Drive Rooms feature furnished rooms with full private baths and shared living space. Single students may also apply to live on the Range near the UVA Rotunda.
VAMA | Blue Ridge, a non-profit organization, is the largest association of rental property owners in the Charlottesville area. Members are committed to providing excellent housing opportunities for students and townspeople alike. VAMA | Blue Ridge members adhere to Federal and State Fair Housing Laws and represent over 100 communities/management companies consisting of 15,022 apartments, houses, townhouses, and other properties in the Charlottesville area.
UVA Housing and Residence Life provides a comprehensive listing of Off-Grounds housing options for students. Once you have established your UVA email, you can create an account for Off-Grounds Housing, search listings, seek potential roommates, and post on the message boards.
The Health System campus is made up of the UVA Main Hospital, the Emily Couric Cancer Center, UVA Children’s Hospital, multiple outpatient clinics, administrative offices and buildings, and several buildings and sections of building dedicated to biomedical sciences research.
This map will help you locate buildings where rotation labs and courses are located. Buildings are listed on the left and highlighted on the map with purple polygons. While the majority of lab and classroom space is on the main Health System campus (near the hospital), additional research buildings include Snyder (located at the Fontaine Research Park) and Gilmer, Chemistry, and PLSB (located near Scott Stadium) – included on the Google map provided above.
Many current students live close enough to the Health System to be able to walk or bike to class and/or lab. The University Transit System (UTS) and Charlottesville Area Transit (CAT; free to UVA students – need to present current/valid UVA ID) expand housing options and provide great options in bad weather. Both UTS and CAT bus routes are tracked on the Transloc app, or can be found online for riders’ convenience.
Parking. Current students have multiple parking options On-Grounds, although options on the Health System are limited (talk to advanced students for tips). It is important to be familiar with and follow parking policies across Grounds, including at Recreation facilities.
NOTE: Unpaid parking fines will negatively impact your ability to register for classes.
Student Safety Resources
Signing up for text message alerts for Main Grounds as well as Health System Emergency Notifications will keep you in the loop regarding everything from siren testing to gas leaks, and everything in between.
We strongly encourage incoming students to register for the alerts system.
BIMS and the School of Medicine
Graduate Biosciences Society (GBS)
Queer in Medical Science (QIMS) listserv
Women in Medical Science (WIMS)
Multicultural Student Services
Health and Wellness
As noted previously, all UVA students are required to have health insurance coverage. The BIMS financial award package includes a Graduate Student Subsidy that covers the cost of the Aetna Student Health Plan premium directly (via an award in SIS). The Aetna coverage period begins August 1, 2022 and ends July 31, 2023. Please contact advisors in the UVA Department of Student Health and Wellness if you have specific questions regarding plan coverage. International students can find additional details here regarding waivers and coverage expectations.
As with any health insurance, the premium (covered by BIMS) secures a plan for individuals to have health insurance coverage for a myriad of medical care. Please note that medical expenses not covered by the Aetna plan are your responsibility (out-of-pocket). Unpaid medical services – either at the Department of Student Health and Wellness or at any UVA medical facility – will transition to your student billing account and will negatively impact your ability to enroll. It is imperative you work with all UVA-affiliated providers to arrange payment so your academic status is not adversely affected.
Questions about the Aetna plan, including coverage for dependents, qualifying life event changes, and similar are answered here.
Dental insurance is a separate, optional component of the Aetna Student Health Plan. While your BIMS award includes the cost of this plan premium, it is not paid directly on your behalf. If you elect to enroll in this coverage, you must pay the premium out-of-pocket and forward the email receipt to your BIMS administrator for reimbursement. Reimbursements are processed in approximately 14 days and will appear as a direct deposit per that enrollment process in SIS (see To Do list above).
The UVA Department of Student Health and Wellness provides medical, mental health, and accessibility services to all current UVA students. They are located at 550 Brandon Ave. – roughly two blocks from the Main Health System campus.
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is a division of the Department of Student Health and Wellness, and works to facilitate the emotional, relational, and academic development and success of enrolled students by providing culturally sensitive clinical services, outreach, consultation, and assistance with referrals.
Starting 10/4/21, all UVA students who pay the comprehensive health fee (which BIMS pays on your behalf) will have free access to telehealth counseling services through a UVA CAPS and TimelyCare Partnership. Resources for students include 12 free, scheduled telehealth counseling visits with a licensed mental health provider, an on-demand service called TalkNow, which allows students to connect with a mental health professional any time of day, either by phone or video, and psychiatric care and management.
First Year Academics: 2023-2024
July 1 – August 11. FIRST ROTATION
October 2 – November 10. FIRST/SECOND ROTATION (depending on summer rotation)
January 2 – February 9. SECOND/THIRD ROTATION (depending on summer rotation)
February 12 – March 22. THIRD/FOURTH ROTATION (required if third, optional otherwise)
Once you have been registered for Summer Session (BIMS will take care of this for you), you will likely receive a notice indicating a tuition balance due. DO NOT PAY TUITION AND FEES at any time.
You are, however, always responsible for parking, library and other fines, as well as any other personal expense that is transmitted to your account in Student Financial Services. Failure to pay these charges will result in a hold on your SIS account and an inability to enroll in the subsequent semester.
November 22 – 24, 2023. Thanksgiving Break
December 18, 2023 – January 2, 2024. Winter Break
The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs is the central administrative unit responsible for creating a University-wide focus on graduate education and postdoctoral training. They have posted a collection of additional resources, pulling from areas across Grounds as well as Charlottesville and the surrounding area.
Additional resources for the Charlottesville area:
- Charlottesville Guide
- Visit Charlottesville
- Jefferson School African American Heritage Center
- Albemarle County: New Resident Guide
- Shenandoah National Park
- Virginia Wine Country
- Welcome to Virginia