Graduate Student Resources
Use the menus below to navigate through numerous resources available to graduate students. New students will find some of these resources particularly helpful.
FacilitiesLaboratory, office & meeting space:
- Faculty and graduate students in the department are housed in Coker Hall, Fordham Hall, Wilson Hall, and the Genome Science Building. Student offices are generally located near their major adviser.
- Student mailboxes are located in Coker Hall. Mail should be addressed to your name at:
Department of Biology
CB# 3280, Coker Hall
120 South Road
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3280.
- The departmental fax number is (919) 962-1625.
- Keys for access to the outside doors and student offices in Biology buildings are assigned through Jason Worrell. Please contact him directly for more information.
- Conference rooms can be reserved online via our Room Reservation Request Form. Please make sure to review the departmental room calendar to check availability before making a request (you will be prompted to sign in with your ONYEN and password to access the calendar).
Libraries: Couch Biology Library – The science library annex in Wilson Library houses the majority of the on-campus collection of natural and mathematical sciences. for information, including locations and holdings of other libraries on campus, consult the UNC Libraries website.
Computing Services: The Biology Department maintains various departmental IT services and resources. The BioHelp group (led by Hínár Polczer) assists faculty, staff and students with information technology related questions or requests. Help requests for computing problems should be submitted via the Help Desk. (under “Type of help needed”, select “Biology IT Support”).
Sending FedEx Shipments: If you need to send a package as part of your work with a laboratory, please ask for the assistance of your assigned lab’s manager. These staff members are the authorized representatives of the department to process all shipments.
Ordering supplies and reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses: To order supplies, or to obtain forms for reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses, contact your major professor (for research-related expenses) or course instructor (for TA-related expenses).
Departmental Visual Arts: The departmental visual arts are located on the third floor of Coker Hall. For requests, contact Susan Whitfield. You must provide a charge account number to use this service (get this number from your major professor).
NC Residency & Tuition Waiver
Out-of-state students are expected to obtain in-state residency as soon as possible because the University’s out-of-state tuition waiver funds are very limited in number. This means that it is helpful for students to do a few things as soon as they arrive in North Carolina. We strongly suggest that students obtain an NC driver’s license, register their car here, register to vote, actually vote in November, and perhaps join the public library (Carrboro/Chapel Hill). Students need to apply one year after they “set up residency” in NC (July or August after their first year). You should review the guidelines and on-line application for in-state status.
NOTE: You cannot get a NC license or register your car until you have valid car insurance. This often means getting insurance in the state and bringing proof of insurance with you.
To get your car registered, you will need to bring your license (and another ID), the title, and proof of insurance to the DMV registration place. There is one conveniently located at the corner of Elliot Drive and Franklin Street. They will then tell you to get your car inspected and get the inspection sticker, which you could do all at once if you drop your car off first at Chapel Hill Tire 942-8723 at University Mall (shopping center by Harris Teeter on Estes Drive) or at another inspection station of your choosing.
To get your license, you will have to take the eye test and NC drivers test on the computer, so reviewing the driving rules first is a good idea. The most convenient location is off of NC 54 bypass and NC 54 business (104 V Carrboro Plaza, 919-929-4161). Be sure to bring your old driver’s license, proof of your residence (lease, any bill/letter mailed to your new address with your name on it, etc), your insurance, and your checkbook. To be safe, check the ID options online and the NC DMV Newcomer’s guide for other helpful tips.
Biology Graduate Student Association (BGSA)
The Biology Graduate Student Association (BGSA), organized by the Departmental graduate students, sponsors one or two seminar speakers each year, puts on an annual departmental symposium and departmental picnic, and organizes various social activities.
The BGSA would appreciate any input you have on happenings within the department! If you have any ideas for the departmental symposium, social activities, outreach activities, etc. please feel free to contact any of the officers below.
Visit our official website!
- President: Anna Parker
- Vice President: Dana Lim
- Treasurer: Elizabeth Green
- Secretary: Ellysa Vogt
- Web Manager: Luke Havens
- Committee Organizer: Brian Lerch
- Student Representatives: Emily Harmon, Jack Linehan, Julie Geyer
- GPSF Representative: Katherine Malinski
Living in Chapel Hill
Where to live: Most students live off-campus, and the options are numerous. There are a wide range of nearby apartments and townhouses located on bus lines into campus that are well within most students’ budgets. Some students decide to begin their stay in University housing. There are several dorms for graduate students and on-campus married student housing. Others rent townhouses or houses, and there are rentals in the surrounding countryside that provide rural living options. Below you will find links to campus maps as well as a housing guide compiled current Biology graduate students.
What to do:
After a long stretch of work in the lab, it’s always refreshing to walk up to Franklin Street to find an interesting place to enjoy some food and drink. Several places feature live music with a small cover charge or a “pass the hat” policy. Also located in downtown Chapel Hill are the Morehead Planetarium and the Ackland Art Museum. The ArtsCenter, also in Carrboro, showcases local companies or national touring groups in a 350-seat theater. The PlayMakers Repertory Company is a full-season theater group right in Chapel Hill with exciting performances. Further down the road, Walnut Creek is a major amphitheater with top name performers and several festivals. Just outside town is the N.C. Botanical Garden with extensive walking paths, and Duke Forest is a large area north of Chapel Hill with lots of trails. There are many local farmer’s and flea markets, including a large farmer’s market on Saturday mornings in nearby Carrboro.
The college spectator sports here are world-class. Student tickets are available for our exciting UNC Tar Heel men’s basketball and football games. Admission to most other games, such as men’s and women’s soccer, women’s basketball, lacrosse, and baseball, is free to students. Down the road the Durham Bulls provide great baseball entertainment on warm summer nights. The Carolina Hurricanes are a professional hockey team that play at their new stadium only 20 minutes from Chapel Hill. Local biking clubs provide strenuous activity as they explore the surrounding countryside. In short, it is likely that whatever your tastes and life-style, you will be able to find stimulating activities that are accessible in Chapel Hill.
And when it’s time to hit the road for a trip, you are only three hours by car from the North Carolina coast with its lovely and historic beaches, including Kitty Hawk, the site of the first heavier-than-air plane flight in the world. You are also only three hours east of the majestic Smoky Mountains, part of the Appalachian range. Smoky Mountain National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway in the western part of the state offer truly stunning views of some of the oldest mountains in the world. And the large metropolitan areas of Atlanta, Georgia, and Washington, DC are only 4-5 hours by car. Raleigh Durham International Airport is ever-expanding to accommodate more travelers, and it is easy to fly almost anywhere from here. Chapel Hill has a moderate climate, with mild winters (snow is rare) and warm summers.
Transportation & Parking
All Chapel Hill buses are free. They have campus routes, so you may wish to use them as your primary mode of transportation. For schedules, check the Town of Chapel Hill Transit website.
There is an express bus to and from Duke University available to students and faculty. The schedule is found on the website. The Robertson Express Bus is operated by Go Triangle and riders need to present either a GoPass or pay the $3.00 fare when boarding. Please visit the Transportation and Parking website for more information on how to obtain a GoPass.
There are many bicycle racks to which you can attach (and lock) bicycles on campus and in town. You are encouraged to register your bicycle at the UNC Department of Public Safety. They have a brochure you may wish to get concerning bicycle use. If you don’t drive to campus, consider registering with the Commuter Alternative Program (CAP).
Harassment & Grievance Policies and Resources
To form your Graduate Advisory Committee, report the names of your committee members to the Biology Department’s Graduate Student Services Manager (the GSSM). The GSSM will then check each member’s faculty status, and complete PART I: REPORT OF DOCTORAL COMMITTEE COMPOSITION on the “Report of Doctoral Committee Composition & Approved Dissertation Project” form. Once Part I has been completed by the GSSM, you will need to obtain the signature of each committee member, and then return it to the GSSM, who will obtain the signature of the Director of Graduate Studies.
Before your Oral Comprehensive Examination, obtain a “Doctoral Exam Report” form from the Biology Department’s Graduate Student Services Manager (the GSSM). The GSSM will complete the form with your name, PID# and Department information. Once you have completed your oral exam, have your committee chair (i.e. your adviser) sign PART II: REPORT OF ORAL EXAMINATION on the “Doctoral Exam Report” form, and then return it to the GSSM.
After you submit your Written Examination to your committee, obtain your “Doctoral Exam Report” form from the Biology Department’s Graduate Student Services Manager (the GSSM). After passing the exam, have your committee chair (i.e. your adviser) sign PART I: REPORT OF PRELIMINARY WRITTEN EXAMINATION, and then return it to the GSSM.
Before your Feasibility Meeting, obtain your “Report of Doctoral Committee Composition & Approved Dissertation Project” form from the Biology Department’s Graduate Student Services Manager (the GSSM). After you have passed, have all members of your committee sign PART II: REPORT OF APPROVED DISSERTATION PROJECT, and then return it to the GSSM.
For Annual Committee Meetings in each year in which you do not submit another form, print the “Annual committee report” form. Then, have all of your committee members sign it, and deliver it to the Biology Department’s Graduate Student Services Manager (the GSSM).
Once your Pre-Defense Committee Meeting is complete, please have your graduate advisory committee sign the “Pre-Defense Meeting” form and then deliver it to the Biology Department’s Graduate Student Services Manager (the GSSM).
Before your Defense of Dissertation, obtain your “Doctoral Exam Report” form from the Biology Department’s Graduate Student Services Manager (the GSSM). After you have passed, have all members of your committee sign PART III: REPORT OF THE FINAL ORAL EXAMINATION, and then return it to the GSSM.
When your Written Dissertation is ready for final committee approval, obtain your “Doctoral Exam Report” form from the Biology Department’s Graduate Student Services Manager (the GSSM), and have all members of your committee sign PART IV: REPORT OF THE FINAL DISSERTATION, and then return it to the GSSM.
All forms from the UNC Graduate School are compiled here.
If you have further questions about the above forms, then please contact the Biology Department’s Graduate Student Services Manager.
The Suggestion Box for EEOB grad students is here. This is a way for students to provide input and feedback to improve the strength and operation of the EEOB graduate program. Your suggestion will be sent to the EEOB Director of Graduate Studies. Unless you include your name, your suggestion will be anonymous.