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Frequently Asked Questions for Graduate Students

Q&A Operations

No. Not at this time.

The regular requirements for incomplete grades apply during this period. In extenuating circumstances where the incomplete grade is related to the shift in instruction, you should request an incomplete grade from your instructor before grades are posted. All incomplete grades, except those for theses, dissertations, internships, or research courses must carry an alternate grade designation. The alternate grade will be finalized if coursework is not completed by the end of the next semester in which you are enrolled and the course is offered.

You may apply for a leave of absence from your program, which must be granted with thepermission of the Graduate Dean, provided that you request accommodations in advance. Theprocedures and implications for taking a leave of absence are explained in detail in Article II,Section 3 of the Graduate School’s Rules and Regulations. Please review this document andcontact your advisor and Director of Graduate Studies before requesting a leave of absence.Keep in mind that you will be unable to use university facilities during your leave, and there isno guarantee that you will be given the same financial support upon your return.

You must apply to the university as a Former Student Returning 30 days prior to thefirst day of registration for the semester you plan to attend.  You need not pay another applicationfee. Readmission is not automatic; your department or program will review your file and decidewhether you will be readmitted.

Please note that being a current Howard University student or a previous Howard University student does not automatically qualify you for a Former Student Returning designation. You are considered a former student returning only if you are returning to the same program to finish your graduate degree. Students enrolling in a graduate program for the first time are considered new entrants.  

Here are the steps to apply as a Former Student Returning online:


  1. Log-IN to Bison web 
  2. Select “Student Services.”
  3. Select “Admission and Orientation.”
  4. Select “Complete or Access Application.”
  5. Once you have found your program, select “Create New Application.”
  6. Complete and submit the application.
  7. Email your department and once you have officially submitted your file.

    If a student has a completed IRB application, students can upload the application in PDF format and email the form to Mr. Jahmal McCray at . Mr. McCray will review the application and inform the student investigator of the application status. If anything is missing or incorrect on the application, Mr. McCray will send an email informing the student of said errors. The student must email Mr. McCray the missing or corrected documents to complete the application process.


    Students should also be aware that The Office of Research and Regulatory Compliance has released new requirements for IRB applications. All investigators must have the following modules completed prior to submission to the IRB. If these requirements are not met, applications will be sent back to the investigators. The new modules are as follows:

    • Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) online module
    • Social and Behavioral Responsible online module
    • Conflict of Interest (COI) online module
    • Information Privacy and Security (IPS) online module


    These requirements plus the in-person RCR certifications must be submitted for IRB approval.

    If the application is deemed ready for submission, Mr. McCray will forward the application for the Dean’s signature and email the signed application to the student. Once the student receives the signed application, it is the student’s responsibility to upload the application to the Office of Research and Regulatory Compliance. Please see the list of email addresses from the ORRC.

    To better track and streamline the processing of research and other applications, the Office of Regulatory Research Compliance (ORRC) will begin accepting these submissions via newly designated e-mail addresses. This new process becomes effective September 11, 2017. Details are enumerated below.

    • Medical-IRB (Medical Institutional Review Board): For review of “Human Subjects Research” involving the study of specific diseases and conditions (mental or physical), including detection, cause, treatment and rehabilitation of persons; the design of methods, drugs and devices used to diagnose, support and maintain the individual during and after treatment for specific diseases or conditions; and/or scientific investigation.

    •  Non-Medical IRB (Non-Medical Institutional Review Board): For review of research that deals with human attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors and is often characterized by data collection methods such as questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, direct or participant observation, and non-invasive physical measurements (qualitative or quantitative).

    •  IACUC (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee): For review of research involving animals.

    •   IBC (Institutional Biosafety Committee): For review of research utilizing recombinant DNA or synthetic nucleic acid molecules, viral vectors, plasmid vectors, or other infectious agents, genetically modified plants or biohazardous materials (i.e. blood, human tissue, etc.)

    •  (Excluded Research): For review of studies and or projects that do not involve the use of human participants or human data, biohazardous materials, animals.

    • MTA (Material Transfer Agreement): For reviews, involving the transfer of incoming or outgoing biohazardous materials and data.

    •  For general communications or to report compliance issues/concerns

    • COI (Conflict of Interest)

    When submitting materials/applications, each e-mail should include items for only one study. For example, the e-mail may contain the protocol, consent document, and investigator brochure for one study.

    Submit only complete, fully-signed documents. An e-mail acknowledgement in place of a signed application will not be accepted. If electronic signatures are not available, the signature pages may be signed and scanned as a separate PDF document and attached to your submission e-mail. Unless requested, please do not submit additional study­ related information until the protocol has been approved.

    When submitting your materials to the IRB, IACUC, or IBC, the e-mail subject line must include:

    • Protocol # (if assigned)
    • Principal Investigator's last name
    • The type of submission (new project, amendment, renewal, protocol deviation, serious adverse events, etc.)


    The body of your e-mail must include a list of the documents being submitted, and each document's name should reflect its content. We recommend that version dates are included in each document naming nomenclature. Incomplete applications (i.e. missing required supporting document) will be returned.

    Q&A Academics and Online Instruction

    You should email your Graduate Advisor.

    Yes. Graduate courses during this time period, with few exceptions, will be synchronous, which means that faculty will continue to conduct classes through designated online platforms at the same time as they are currently taught. While some assignments may be self-paced, students are still expected to “attend” classes regularly, to complete required coursework, to participate in classes, and to meet weekly deadlines.

    In a synchronous online classroom, students usually interact through a combination of discussion forums, teleconferencing, and videoconferencing. Instructors may also require regular communication via phone, email, and/or social media.

    Email you instructor for questions about proctored exams. For comprehensive or qualifying exams, email your graduate advisor.

    Yes. You may access virtual resources through the library’s website, You may also access the websites of all consortium institutions.

    No.  The next RCR will be conducted in Fall 2020.

    Currently, all researchers should diligently prepare to work remotely and cease engagement in research on the Howard campus, where ever possible. Requests for exceptional circumstances (where research is lab/machine dependent), with justification, should be submitted to Dr. Bruce Jones through Dean Williams via email. Ask your faculty advisor to send the request with justification to

    Yes, course evaluations will be open two weeks prior to the beginning of final exams as outlined in Howard University’s academic calendar. Questions specific to the shift in instruction will be added to the evaluations.

    Announcements for competitive awards for academic year 2020-2021 (Douglass, Bouchet, McNair, Just-Julian and Sasakawa) graduate assistantships will be notified by no later than April 3, 2020.

    Academic programs will be notified of their allocations by no later than April 3, 2020. Academic programs must submit their recommendations to the Graduate School by no later than April 14, 2020.

    Travel is restricted through May 1, 2020. The Graduate School will accept applications for travel if the professional conference is scheduled after May 1, 2020 on a case by case basis. Students must meet the requirements as outlined in the Graduate School Travel Checklist and must submit the forms on the website under the Resource Finder. The students must submit the following completed documents to and should email Dr. Jones for questions. 

    There will be remote defenses held and recorded in Zoom meeting rooms. Prior to the student forwarding the defense package, the Director of Graduate Studies must send an Online Tele/Video Conference Request Form via email to Jahmal McCray at and Betty Goodwin to introduce the candidate and approve the submittal. Students should follow the procedures outlined in the resource guide.

    Within 48 hrs.

    Yes, departments will determine how to handle course restoration on a case-by-case basis.

    We do not recommend that you purchase regalia at this time. If you have already paid deposits related to commencement, please await additional information for refunds if that becomes necessary.