The JDP is a very demanding, but equally rewarding, program for both students and mentors. Students enter the JDP to become scientist-clinicians, and a key component in their training is their four to five years of intensive research experiences in the labs of their mentors.  Mentors provide essential financial support, as well as guidance and supervision leading to increasing roles for the students in a successful research program.  Financial support for students primarily comes from their mentors’ research grants, and the students are employed to perform lab duties required by the funded research project(s).  Students may also be funded as trainees or fellows through institutional training grants or individual fellowships. 

Regardless of the type of employment and funding, students are expected to actively engage in lab activities for training purposes for 20 hours per week. As students advance in their research training and experience, it is expected that students will increase in the independence of their research competencies. The first major step in the latter process is the student’s Second Year Project (similar to a masters thesis to be completed during the second year) and the final is the dissertation.  Usually there are multiple additional studies leading to joint meeting presentations and publications.

Again, all of this takes a huge, multi-year commitment from both mentors and students.  As important as the lab experience is, the research activities need to be coordinated with other essential and demanding components of the JDP—especially, intensive coursework during the first two years and substantial clinical activities after the first year.  In order to succeed in all components of the JDP, students and mentors need to have close, ongoing communication as to schedules and requirements within and outside of the lab. In general, students and mentors should meet at least once a week throughout the time students are in the program.  This document is intended to outline basic expectations of the JDP for mentors and their students.


Effective Fall 2023, the JDP guarantees a minimum stipend that matches the UC San Diego local minimum guarantee each year (currently $32,49526,352 for 2023-2024).

Students and their mentors should discuss the level of stipend support each year and how it will be distributed.

Faculty should only solicit a student if they anticipate having at least three and preferably four to five years of support for that student at the time the student matriculates. A faculty member should not ask to recruit a new student if they have been or are unable to support any current student.

Incoming Students

For incoming first year students, the discussion about support will be part of the admissions offer package, typically concluded by mid-April.  Be aware that incoming students often erroneously expect that their support will start fairly soon after they get here (i.e., that they will get their first check around September 1 after the August start of Fall semester), and many of them may have planned their finances with that expectation. It is rare that new students will get their first check as early as September 1, and it may be as late as October 1.  So, students need to be told specifically when to expect thei first stipend check.  If the first check is delayed beyond this for any reason, the faculty mentor needs to provide that information to the incoming student and let him/her know when to expect the first check.  For each incoming student, this should be discussed before August 1 so students can plan.

Upper Year Students

For those students already matriculated in the program, discussion of the following year’s stipend should occur on or before the end of the spring semester, if possible.  We are required to provide stipend information to both graduate offices before the end of the SDSU academic year, and we need final dollar amounts to do that. Our expectation is that faculty will discuss the next academic year stipend amount with each student before this information is given to the graduate and program coordinators.

Should faculty begin to have funding problems and should it begin to look as if the faculty member is going to have a problem supporting a student, the faculty member should immediately notify the program co-directors (Lauren Brookman-Frazee and Vanessa Malcarne) to discuss options.  The faculty should not require that the student find his/her own funding. In other words, the faculty mentor is responsible for making sure the student is funded. Students may elect to apply for their own funding if they desire and if it is consistent with their career goals; however students should not be “made” to apply for funding because a faculty mentor is running out of support funding and has told the student he/she must find his/her own. There are extremely limited options available, including teaching, that could be used to support students beyond the third year.  Again, this would need to be discussed with the co-Directors as early as possible to find out what options are available.

Student Health Services/Health Insurance

For a full list of resources available to JDP students, please visit our Student Health & Well-Being page.

Student Health Services

All JDP students are eligible for health services at SDSU with a valid ID Card.  Student Health Services on the SDSU campus provide medical services for any health problems listed on their website.  When presenting a student ID card at SDSU Health Services, if Health Services staff raise a question about whether one is indeed a student, please ask the staff person to contact the SDSU JDP Program Coordinator for verification of student status.

JDP students paying tuition and fees at UC San Diego are eligible for health services at UC San Diego with a valid ID Card.

Health Insurance

All students must have health insurance during their time in residence in the program.  Health insurance is typically provided by the internship site during the internship year.

In general, mentors provide health insurance to students as part of their funding package.  Health insurance options can be provided via employment/fellowship support through SDSU or UC San Diego, the SDSU Research Foundation, the VA, or another well-established mechanism. Insurance may be automatically provided as part of a package of funding, or funds may be provided to cover the cost of purchasing insurance. Students may be covered by GSHIP (SDSU), UCSHIP (UC San Diego), insurance offered through their place of employment, or insurance purchased via Covered CA

Students who have major medical coverage elsewhere (e.g., through a parent, spouse, or partner) can elect to not sign up for or purchase health insurance options offered through the program. These students will simply need to show proof of insurance to the universities when asked.

For the subgroup of students each year whose tuition and fees are paid at UC San Diego, they will automatically get UC SHIP for their health insurance.  The cost for UC SHIP is included as part of tuition and fees. For more information about UC SHIP, visit UC San Diego’s Student Health Insurance website.

For all other students, health insurance options will depend on their source of funding. Both SDSU’s GSHIP and UC San Diego’s UCSHIP have been available to our students, as well as options via the Covered California marketplace.

Note: For students appointed to the NIAAA T32 alcohol research training grant (PIs: Dr. Edward Riley and Dr. Andrea Spadoni) assigned to SDSU for tuition/fees/health insurance, please work with the T32 Coordinator regarding your health insurance options.

Obviously there are a variety of ways the requirement to provide students with health insurance can be met, and students have a right to know how their coverage will occur.  Each mentor must discuss with his/her student how health insurance will be provided for the upcoming academic year.  This conversation should occur by June of each year.

Although we understand the importance of consistency of source of health insurance, it is not possible for us to guarantee that you will have the same health insurance plan each year, because health insurance options depend on your funding.  Our goal as a program is that you will have continuous, comprehensive, health insurance during your time in residence in the program.

Work Schedules

This section has been temporarily removed from our website and is currently being revised to reflect recent changes in how student compensation and benefits are provided.

Vacation Time

This section has been temporarily removed from our website and is currently being revised to reflect recent changes in how student compensation and benefits are provided.

Updated 8/21/2023