Current Students

Penn provides a variety of resources and supports to doctoral students across campus, including those detailed by the Graduate Student Center. Penn-wide resources can also be found at Hub@Penn. The following resources and practices for BGS students supplement those organized centrally.

  • Guaranteed fellowship support for the duration of training, with no arbitrary cut-offs; the guarantee includes funds if necessary to a) support students to conduct an additional rotation (beyond the 21 months of standard BGS support, prior to mentor support), b) provide transitional funding for students who change labs, and c) support senior students whose research mentor can no longer contribute sufficiently to a student's costs
  • Training-related expense awards to student who are awarded NSF fellowships
  • Relocation award of $2,000 for all incoming students
  • Annual travel funding (up to $1000/year) provided to any student traveling to present work at scientific conferences
  • Funding for students to obtain training outside of Penn (e.g, summer courses at Woods Hole)
  • Many active graduate student organizations, which receive funds from BGS as well as from GAPSA & BGSA
  • Opportunities to serve as a TA or in other roles for additional compensation, if desired
  • Option for full Penn Dental insurance coverage (50% provided by University, 50% provided by BGS)
  • Option for vision insurance coverage, supplementing PSIP-Aetna benefits (100% provided by BGS)
  • Choice of Mac or PC laptop upon enrollment with BGS fellowship
  • Software licenses paid for by BGS: Adobe Creative Cloud and Prism
  • Embedded counselor on PSOM campus with a focus on graduate students
  • Protected 21-month period to take classes, conduct multiple laboratory rotations with different faculty members, and explore different research areas prior to committing to full-time thesis research with a particular faculty member
  • Opportunity to transfer to a different graduate group throughout the first year if interests change
  • Opportunity to participate in one of several optional BGS-organized certificate programs (Medical Science, Public Health, Environmental Health) to enhance training, as well as the University-organized graduate student certificate programs
  • Opportunity to be appointed to one of more than 30 NIH training grants that support BGS students (if eligible) and receive additional training and guidance within a particular academic discipline (may also include some funds for travel and the like)
  • Candidacy exam based on student’s research project
  • Guidance and support for students preparing external fellowship proposals, including NIH NRSAs (F awards)
  • Freedom from TA responsibilities except in the 2 graduate groups that require them for training purposes
  • Options to undertake TAships and other positions for extra experience and compensation
  • Thesis committees that are not chaired by the thesis advisor and are appointed with student input, with the goal of advocating for the student when necessary and including time for the student to meet without the thesis advisor present
  • Individual Development Plans designed by a committee of BGS students
  • Extensive career development opportunities organized at the level of the graduate groups, training grants, student organizations, and BGS (with support from BGS budget)
  • Support for students to undertake career internships in industry, government, and non-profit settings
  • Support for students experiencing adversity or distress in the BGS community through the Trainee Advocacy Alliance
Quick links to common resources can be found below, as well as links to system access and commonly used forms.                                                                                                                  
Student Organizations
Career Development
System access 

Frequently used BGS forms are listed below for convenience. Most forms are also available under the relevant section of the Resources tab, along with associated policies.

Note: graduate group-specific forms are on the graduate group’s website.