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Doctor of Philosophy in Neurosciences

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Ph.D. Degree Program


At the Medical Center, students begin by taking the courses offered in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in the Biomedical Sciences. Students take all the core courses in the IGPBS, which focus on cellular and molecular biology. In addition, students take courses in ethics and professional development. During the first year of graduate studies, students participate in three lab rotations, performed with any of the faculty. Students choose their lab rotations. At the end of the first year students choose a mentor.

In addition, many neuroscience courses are offered on the Lawrence campus. Televideo links bridge the distance, and many students take courses on both campuses.


The comprehensive written and oral examinations are administered during the second year of full-time graduate study. The student writes an NIH-style proposal that describes the proposed dissertation research. The oral portion of the comprehensive examination tests the student’s knowledge base

Before the comprehensive examination, completion of a research skill is required.. All students in doctoral programs must meet the research skills and responsible scholarship requirement of the university.

Neuroscience Ph.D. students meet these requirements during their IGPBS year of study by taking GSMC 857 Biographics, GSMC 852/GSMC 855 Introduction to Biomedical Research I and II, and GSMC 856 Introduction to Research Ethics.

The goal of the comprehensive examination is to verify that the student has the depth and breadth of knowledge needed to complete the project. After successfully completing the comprehensive examination, the student becomes a doctoral candidate. The student must complete original research and compose a dissertation. The student presents these results in formal seminars and must defend the dissertation to the doctoral committee.

Teaching Expertise

Each student must gain teaching experience by assisting in selected medical courses. Courses are chosen with the help of the adviser and graduate director.


The student must complete original research, write a dissertation, and satisfactorily defend it in a final public seminar and oral examination. One or more parts of the dissertation must be suitable for publication in appropriate peer-reviewed scientific journals.

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