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BBSP Rotation Schedule | BBSP Rotation Policy | Summer Rotations | Thesis Lab Selection Process | Rotation Advertisements

2014-15 BBSP Rotation Schedule

Fall: Monday Aug 25-Friday Nov 7 (ok to start before Aug 25)
Rotation choice form due August 22
Poster session on Fall rotation: nov 24-25

Winter: Monday Nov 19-Friday Feb 6
Rotation choice form due Oct 17
Written Report on Winter rotation due: Feb 27

NOTE: Two official BBSP Holidays during this rotation – Nov 27-28; Dec 23-Jan1

Spring: Monday Feb 9-Friday Apr 24
Rotation choice form due: Jan 16 (*summer rotation students see below)
End of Year Talk on Spring Rotation: May 11-May 22

Thesis Lab Choice Forms Due: Apr 24
*summer rotation students joining early: due Jan 16

First Day in Thesis Lab: April 27
*summer rotation students joining early: Feb 9, start of Spring rotation

BBSP Rotation Policy

The spirit of this policy is to encourage students to take their time setting up rotations and consider carefully all their options. Likewise we want to acknowledge that ‘informal’ arrangements truly are subject to change (due to a variety of unforeseen factors) and therefore we discourage making commitments before the defined time periods listed below.

  • Students are asked not to set up anything beyond the Fall rotation before arriving
  • If students do a Summer rotation then they are eligible to set up their second (and if they like their third) rotation during Orientation week.
  • For students who do their first rotation in the Fall, then these students can select their second (and if they like their third) rotation anytime after Oct 17th.
  • While students and faculty are encouraged to have a discussion with each other about the possible thesis projects and whether or not a lab is accepting thesis students for the coming year, neither students nor faculty should make commitments to each other until the Thesis Lab Decisions are made in May (see below for exception for summer rotation students). The reason for this is to encourage both students and faculty to keep an open mind and fully explore all their options. We also want to ensure that all students have a real opportunity to rotate in, prove themselves in, and choose a potential lab rather than have students rush to commit to a “popular” lab because they fear it will fill up. Similarly, we want faculty to have an opportunity to test out the mentor-mentee relationship with as many students as they reasonably can without feeling premature pressure from a student to make a decision.

    2013-14 BBSP Rotation Policy
    Rotation Grade Guide
    BBSP Policy Regarding BBSP Students with Previous UNC Lab Experience

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Summer Rotations

Funding for summer rotations

The BBSP does not have the ability to cover the cost of summer rotations students. Therefore, PIs are asked to fund any summer rotation student they agree to host. A significant advantage for PIs who host a summer student is the chance to have the undivided attention of an incoming student before classes begin. This will likely be a significant recruiting tool for faculty interested in attracting graduate students to their laboratories. The estimated cost to PIs for summer rotations is available anytime by contacting the BBSP office ( In general students will contact faculty directly to inquire about the possibility of a summer rotation. We will compile a list of faculty willing to support a summer rotation student, and use this list to guide students who are interested in a summer rotation but are having trouble finding a lab on their own.

We realize that many of you may be interested in having BBSP students rotate in your lab but may not be interested or willing to pay for the summer rotation period. If this is the case you should NOT agree to host a summer rotation but instead simply wait until the “normal” rotation periods begin during the academic year to take on a BBSP rotation student.

Summer rotations and thesis lab selection

Students that did a full summer rotation are allowed to select a thesis lab at the end of the Winter rotation. Please note, you are not required to make a commitment to a student who did a summer rotation and wishes to join your lab early. It is perfectly appropriate to wait and make your decision about what student you would like to have in your lab until all BBSP rotation periods are over.

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Thesis Lab Selection Process

To formalize the choice of a thesis advisor and PhD program, the BBSP requires each student to complete a Thesis Lab sign off form. See below for information about the different sections of the form.

  1. The top part of this form (Student Name, Date, Thesis Mentor, First Year Group, PhD Program, Short description of proposed thesis project) is informational and should be completed by the student.
  2. “PhD student”: here the student signs to indicate they have met with the DGS of their program and their PI and understand how their academic progress will be measured, and that they understand their funding may be contingent upon maintaining satisfactory progress.
  3. “Thesis Advisor”: Here the thesis advisor (you) should print the name, sign and date the form. Please do not sign this until you have met with the student, and if your department or center requires it, your chair. By signing you agree to mentor the student and to provide financial support during their PhD training. Taking a student into your lab also incurs a charge to your center or department chair (see #5) below.
    For joint-mentorship arrangements the student should use the ‘comentor Thesis Lab form’. Each PI will sign and indicate their % financial support to the student. If the funding source is a shared grant, please indicate how you would share funding if there was not grant. This information is used to assign the student charge to your center or department chair. Students who are financially supported 50% by each faculty member will incur a split charge to the departments, whereas a 100%/0% arrangement will send the full charge to the center or department of the 100% faculty. If you have questions about this please contact Anna O’Connell at
  4. “Director of Graduate Study”: Here the DGS for the PhD program indicated in the informational section should print their name, sign and date the form. We request this to ensure that the student has had a conversation with the DGS of the PhD program that they plan to join. The signature of the DGS is an acknowledgement of the student joining the PhD program, it is not a financial commitment to the student.
  5. Department Chair (and Center Director where appropriate): Here the Department Chair (and Center Director if the PI is located in a Center) should print their name, sign and date the form. Signing this form is an agreement to pay the reinvestment charges associated with this match, and is an indication that at the time the student joins the thesis mentor’s lab there is adequate funding (from the mentor) to support the student in the lab. Furthermore it is an indication that the signing party is responsible for assisting the PI in obtaining support for the student (via bridge funding, training grant support, TA assignments, etc) should it be necessary in the future.

    Parts 1-3 are to be obtained by the student and then the form should be turned into the BBSP office. The remaining signatures on the form are obtained by the BBSP office.

    Please note: it is possible for a students to join a program other than one associated with their PI, but only if there is a good academic reason for the choice. Ultimately it is the proposed PhD program’s decision whether or not to allow this and it is usually handled on a case-by-case basis.

Rotation Advertisements

BBSP faculty can post rotation advertisements directly to a discussion forum on the BBSP student resources site. This is a SharePoint site and is only accessible using your onyen/onyen password. The Faculty Rotation Opportunities thread is the only thread faculty have access to on the student site. Note that while attachments are possible, they are a bit difficult for the reader to notice and then if they are noticed, require a download process. Therefore we encourage you to keep the posts very concise and link to your lab website, papers or other external pages rather than rely on a PDF flyer. To post an ad please follow the link below:

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