Doctor of Philosophy in Neurosciences
University requirements for the Ph.D. are described in the "Graduate Degrees" section of this bulletin.
The interdepartmental Neurosciences Program offers instruction and research opportunities leading to a Ph.D. in Neurosciences. The requirements for a Ph.D. degree follow those of the University and in addition are tailored to fit the background and interests of the student. Accepted students receive an award covering tuition, a basic health plan, and a living stipend. Qualified applicants should, where possible, apply for the predoctoral fellowships in open competition, especially those from the National Science Foundation. December 2 is the deadline for receipt in the Neurosciences Program office of applications with all supporting material.
Applicants should familiarize themselves with the research interests of the faculty and indicate their preferences clearly on the application form.
Since students enter with differing backgrounds, and the labs in which they may elect to work cover several different disciplines, the specific program for each student is developed individually with an advisory committee. All students are required to complete the basic introduction to neurobiology (NBIO 206 or equivalent). Students must also take five advanced courses, four of which must be distributed among four of the following core areas: systems and behavioral neuroscience, molecular and cellular neuroscience, developmental neuroscience, clinical neuroscience, and computational neuroscience. The fifth advanced course is chosen by the student in an area related to the student's research interest, and may be selected from outside the Neurosciences core with prior approval from the program director and the student's adviser.
Students usually rotate through several labs during their first year, although they may choose to begin thesis research on entry. After the first rotation, students may rotate both within and outside the Neurosciences Program. Required course work should be completed by the end of the second year. Passing of a comprehensive oral preliminary examination given by the student's advisory committee is required for admission to Ph.D. candidacy. This examination is usually taken by the end of the second year. The student is required to present a Ph.D. dissertation, which is the result of independent investigation contributing to knowledge in an area of neuroscience, and to defend his or her dissertation in a University oral examination, which includes a public seminar.
Medical students may participate in this program provided they meet the prerequisites and satisfy all the requirements of the graduate program as listed above. The timing of the program may be adjusted to fit their special circumstances.