Changing Research Groups

section VI, Article 4

Scholars are advised to expect ups and downs in their research progress and in their professional relationships with their P.I. and fellow group members. At times, considering other options can be a healthy exercise even if you do not ultimately pursue a change of group.

Changing groups is relatively uncommon in our graduate program, but it is an option. If, for personal or professional reasons, a change of group is right for you, you are encouraged to discuss begin by discussing your options with any member of the graduate admin team.

Procedure for Changing Groups

  1. Scholar submits a letter to the Graduate Committee describing the reason for the requested change AND an up-to-date research progress report.
  2. Scholar’s current advisor submits a letter to the Graduate Committee outlining the scholar’s research progress and the length of continuing support. Note: This is not required for first year scholars.
  3. Prompted by the DGS, the scholar’s new advisor will approve the change of group in writing (email is acceptable.) The letter should outline conditions for continued progress towards the degree and the status of financial support.

The procedure for changing groups in the event of an advisor’s departure from Emory is usually different from the process outlined above (see Box 6.A).

What happens if my advisor leaves Emory?

In the discipline of chemistry, it is uncommon, but not unheard of, for faculty to make career changes that affect students. Specifically, it is always possible that an advisor might choose to move their lab to another institution or to depart academia entirely for personal or professional reasons.

In the event of a faculty departure, there are several possible outcomes:

  1. A graduate scholar chooses to move with the faculty member to a graduate-level position at another institution and withdraws from Emory upon the faculty member’s departure;
  2. A graduate scholar seeks a new group placement at Emory prior to the current advisor’s departure;
  3. The graduate scholar leaves Emory (with or without pursuit of a terminal M.S. degree) to pursue other opportunities.

In each case, scholars are encouraged to work with the graduate admin team to ensure a smooth transition. As a first step, the admin team will arrange a meeting with affected scholars to discuss relevant policies and procedures. These discussions will include the status of financial support and support for the completion or transfer of key projects and equipment from the current lab.

Scholars are encouraged to discuss any concerns about a possible faculty departure with the graduate admin team. In most cases, scholars will not encounter this particular obstacle during their graduate career. This information is provided to allay undue fears and ensure transparency about the support graduate students can expect when they face professional obstacles.


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