Research Resources and Policies

BGS students are introduced to the research conducted by faculty in their graduate group through their group’s website and other supplemental resources, which may include poster sessions at orientation, lab rotation booklets, faculty mini-talks for first year students, seminars, research-in-progress talks, annual retreats, and advising sessions.


New BGS students are given their choice of a free Windows or Macbook laptop when coming to Penn. More details and sign-up forms are sent to students in the summer before orientation. The BGS laptop policy can be found here

If students are in need of a short-term loan, Penn Libraries allows borrowing of tablets and laptops for in-library and take home use, ranging from 4 hours to up to 3 days with renewal options. Please see their website to review which libraries offer these services and how to access them. 


Penn offers a rich array of research resources through its many centers and institutes.  In addition, the Perelman School of Medicine is home to many core facilities for research.  The Biotech Commons is another important resource for BGS students; it includes an extensive collection of electronic journals and databases, 3D and poster printing, study space, workshops, and reference services.

Lab Notebooks

Students should refer to the Policies and Guidelines section of the Acquisition and Management of Data module of the BGS RCR/SRR website for an extensive description of lab notebook options and resources.

As Penn researchers, all BGS students have free access to LabArchives for managing lab data electronically.

Statistical Support

BSAC (Biostatistics Student Analysis Core) is a free biostatistics analysis service provided by MS and PhD students within the Graduate Group in Epidemiology and Biostatistics (GGEB)!

Their mission is to provide accessible and high-quality statistical support to the Penn trainee community, and provide opportunities for Biostatistics students to engage with statistical collaborations in the community. BSAC is made possible through the support from GGEB and the Division of Biostatistics. 

See their intake form for more information and to sign up.

Software and Computing

BGS students may obtain a free annual subscription for Prism software to download on their own computer.  Each spring, students are notified by email of the opportunity and enroll via a form, but students may request access throughout the year by completing this form. If you currently have Prism but want to switch it to a new computer, please contact Candace Cain.

BGS students may obtain a free license to Adobe Creative Cloud. Each fall, students are notified by email of the opportunity and enroll via a form, but students may request access throughout the year by completing this form.

Penn Software Licensing provides an array of statistical and other software to students free of charge, including MATLAB, SPSS, and Qualtrics. Students interested in obtaining a MATLAB license should email the following information: HostID, operating system, and computer user name. See the following instructions for help locating this information. 

The Penn Libraries provide access to a Virtual Computer Lab (vLab) for students to access software applications normally accessible in Library computer labs. Additional information about software available in Penn's Libraries is available here.  

Each summer, GCB students organize a Programming Bootcamp using Python for students in other graduate groups.  

All students have free access to software video tutorials on LinkedIn Learning.   

Students may arrange access to research computing resources through their labs.  

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As researchers, graduate students are held to many of the same policies and expectations of faculty and staff researchers.  Students in BGS undertake lab safety training organized by the office of Environmental Health and Radiation Safety.  Students also undertake supplemental lab-specific training in topics including animal research and human subjects research in accordance with their research projects.  All students must undertake HIPAA training, including annual refreshers.

Many of these policies are covered in BGS training in the Responsible Conduct of Research and Scientific Rigor and Reproducibility.  Some of the key research-related policies that apply to BGS students are listed below:

Note that allegations of student research misconduct are handled according to the University’s Procedures Regarding Non-Faculty Research Misconduct.