While there are no rigid prerequisites for admission to the neuroscience program, the optimal background of entering students would include courses in biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, and mathematics. Each subdiscipline of neuroscience requires a different degree of preparation in each of these areas, and students with inadequate backgrounds in the basic biological, physical, and behavioral sciences are required to satisfy the deficiency after admission to the program.
The program is designed to encourage involvement in research at every stage. Thus, upon admission, students choose advisors based on their areas of interest. The students make their academic home in the advisors’ laboratory and engage in research apprenticeships there.
The first-year requirements are designed to provide students with fundamental information for more advanced training. Courses in the first year include a survey course in neurobiology, cell structure and function, and medical neuroscience. Students also work closely with neuroscience graduate program faculty through laboratory apprenticeships in the first year to begin formulation of a research program. During the second year, students take more specialized courses such as developmental neurobiology, neurophysiology, and behavioral and cognitive neuroscience. Completion of all course requirements usually occurs in the second year. It is also during this year that students begin to choose laboratories in which they concentrate research efforts, and begin to formulate a topic for a major area paper used for advancement to candidacy toward the Ph.D. Various laboratory rotations are encouraged during the first two years of training. In the third year, students are expected to pass the major area paper and continue work on projects that may be a portion of their Ph.D. thesis. Completion of requirements for the Ph.D. are contingent on successful presentation and defense of a written proposal, an oral presentation of dissertation work before the neuroscience graduate program, a written thesis, and successful defense of the thesis.
The students’ program of courses is developed through close consultation with their faculty advisor. Attention is placed on flexibility in the program. Each student’s program is tailored to meet individual needs and interests.
There is no foreign language requirement. The Neuroscience website may be consulted for further information.