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. In the first year, students choose among the faculty to conduct typically two to four laboratory rotations. These rotations serve as the basis for choosing an advisor for the student’s dissertation research towards the end of the first year. The first-year course 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. During the second year, in addition to beginning their independent research projects, students take more specialized coursework designed to complement and enhance their own research. Completion of all coursework requirements usually occurs in the second year. In the third year, students are expected to pass the major area paper, be advanced to candidacy, and continue work on projects that may be a portion of their Ph.D. dissertation. Completion of the requirements for the Ph. D. are contingent on successful presentation and defense of a written dissertation proposal, an oral presentation of dissertation work before the Neuroscience Graduate Program, a written dissertation, and successful defense of the dissertation. The candidate’s dissertation research must constitute an original and significant contribution to the field and is to be fully presented in the candidate’s dissertation. The dissertation work must be of a quality acceptable for publication in a recognized, peer-reviewed scientific journal.
The students’ program of courses is developed through close consultation with their faculty advisor and their graduate advisory committee. 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.