Graduate Bulletin

Spring 2018

Requirements for Admission

The Graduate Program in Neuroscience does not accept a student whose goal is a M.A. degree. In exceptional instances, a student already in the Program may be awarded a M.A. degree upon completion of an approved course of study, including 30 graduate credit hours, a comprehensive examination, a research thesis, and the minimum requirements of the Graduate School.

Requirements for the PhD in Neuroscience

A. Course Requirements
1. Core courses in neuroscience (BNB 561, BNB 562, BNB 563, BNB 564). A four-semester series taught by members of the Program; the student is introduced to a broad variety of topics. These will be taken in the Fall and Spring semesters of the first and second years.

2. Neuroanatomy (BNB 560), Developmental Neuroscience (BNB 565), and Neurobiology of Disease (BNB 566). These are required short courses elaborating on fundamental topics in Neuroscience.

3. Laboratory Rotations in Neuroscience (BNB 555). A two-semester course in the Fall and Spring semesters of the first year. Students conduct research rotations in laboratories of three program members and present oral reports on their research.

4. Writing Neuroscience (BNB 551). This course is taught in the Fall semester of the first year. It provides training in the basics of scientific communication, with a strong emphasis on writing and revision. Practical exercises are designed to give experience and feedback in commonly needed aspects of scientific writing.

5. Advanced Neurobiology and Behavior Seminar (BNB 697). Seminar presentations delivered by faculty, students, associates, and visiting speakers.

6. Electives. At least two additional graduate-level courses in various biological, physical, or mathematical sciences must be selected by the student in consultation with the student’s advisor. Students may take additional elective courses if they desire.

B. Thesis Proposal
At the end of the second year of study, each student must successfully propose and defend an outline of their thesis research.. The proposal consists of a written document and an oral presentation.

C. Advancement to Candidacy
The faculty will recommend a student to the Graduate School for advancement to candidacy upon satisfactory completion of all course requirements and passing their thesis proposal.

D. Student Seminars
All students who have advanced to candidacy are required to give a departmental seminar on their dissertation work annually.

E. Ph.D. Dissertation
A dissertation that constitutes an original and significant contribution to the field of neuroscience is required for the Ph.D. The work must be of a quality acceptable for publication in a recognized scientific journal. At the end of the first year, students initiate a dissertation research program in a Program faculty’s laboratory. After advancement to candidacy, the student and advisor will assemble an advisory committee to guide the dissertation research. Upon completion of the dissertation research, the student will present a seminar based on the dissertation. Following this the student will be given an oral examination on the dissertation research and related areas by the dissertation committee.

F. Teaching Requirements
To gain experience in teaching, the Program requires that all students serve as teaching assistants for two semesters during the first two years of study.  Students who enter the program from the medical school’s MSTP program are required to serve as TA’s for one semester.  Usually, TA assignments are to courses taught by Program faculty. Assignments are made to minimize impact on research productivity in the second year of study.

G. Residence Requirement
The University requires at least two consecutive semesters of full-time study. The demands of the course of study necessitate a longer period of residence.

H. Academic Standing
All students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average at all times. Due to the importance of BNB 561, BNB 562, BNB 563, and BNB 564 as the basis for advanced study in Neuroscience, students who have a grade of less than a B in these courses must remediate or repeat them satisfactorily prior to defending the thesis proposal and advancing to candidacy. Any student who fails to receive a grade of B or better in more than one required course will be reviewed for possible termination from the Program. Research (BNB 599 and BNB 699) is graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Any student who receives a grade of U in a research course will be reviewed for possible termination from the Program.


Requirements for the MA in Biological Sciences

Completion of this track will require 30 credits from the approved PhD curriculum in Neuroscience and a thesis.


Requirements for the MS in Biomedical Science

A total of at least 30 graduate credits with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater are required for the MS degree. Of this, at least 8 credits must be earned in core courses in cellular, molecular and systems neuroscience. Students must also complete 4 credits in seminar courses designed to enhance reading, writing and presentation skills.

Research skills are at the center of the program and all students are required to complete a minimum of 14 credits of research related courses comprised of Introduction to Neuroscience Research, Neuroscience research practicum and Neuroscience Thesis work. A research thesis is required at the culmination of the program.

Core Curriculum: 

  • NEU 501: Introduction to Neuroscience Research (Summer II, 3 credits)
  • NEU 502: Reading, writing and speaking Neurobiology (Fall, 2 credits)
  • NEU 521: Introduction to cellular neuroscience  (Fall, 3 credits)
  • NEU 522: Introduction to molecular neuroscience (Fall, 3 credits)
  • NEU 531: Sensory and motor systems (Spring, 2 credit)
  • NEU 532: Neural Plasticity, Learning and Memory (Spring, 2 credit)
  • NEU 533: Neural systems, emotion and cognition (Spring, 2 credit)
  • BNB 560 Introduction to Mammalian Neuroanatomy (Spring, 1 credit)
  • BNB 697: Neuroscience Seminar Series (Fall, Spring, 1 credit)
  • NEU 548: MS Research Practicum in Neuroscience 3-5 credits (Fall, Spring, Summer)
  • NEU 549: MS Thesis Research in Neuroscience 

Students must complete at least 8 credits from NEU521, NEU522. NEU531, NEU532. NEU533 and BNB560.