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Ph.D. Neuroscience Track

The Ph.D. program is intended for students who plan to become academic faculty or to assume research positions in industry. It is designed to provide:

  • A broad knowledge of the fundamentals of neuroscience
  • Training in a wide range of modern experimental techniques
  • Practice in the working skills a scientist requires
  • Mastery of the student's chosen research specialty

Broad knowledge of neuroscience is provided by the Neuroscience Core and elective graduate courses provide specialized education appropriate to the student's research.

Experimental skills are provided by a course in Neurobiology Techniques, which trains students in a wide variety of experimental methods appropriate to invertebrate and vertebrate preparations.

Working scientific skills are provided by:

  • Seminars in Neuroscience, in which students and faculty present their research or lead discussions of recent journal articles
  • A Grant Writing Workshop, in which each student writes and submits grant proposals to internal and external funding agencies and critiques the grants of the other students

Research experience is provided by laboratory rotations followed by the design and implementation of a Ph.D. dissertation.

The course of study depends on the student's research area and academic history and is determined by negotiation among the student, the student's adviser, and the advisory committee. However, all Ph.D. students must provide evidence of mastery of the material contained in the Neuroscience Core, Neuroscience Techniques, and in Biostatistics either by acceptable performance in these courses here or by having passed equivalent courses elsewhere. If taken here, students are expected to finish these courses within the first two years. All Ph.D. students must also take Seminars in Neuroscience every quarter and complete the Grant Writing Workshop.

During their third year, students must pass a qualifying examination and provide an acceptable research proposal to their adviser and advisory committee. In their remaining years, students concentrate on their research and on taking appropriate elective courses. The Ph.D. degree requires a minimum of 135 total credit hours (including research and thesis hours), of which 45 hours must be formal course work. Students are encouraged to finish the Ph.D. program in five years; the average is five and one-half years.