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Doctor of Philosophy in Neurosciences

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Ph.D. Degree Requirements

The neuroscience curriculum is subdivided into core courses that all students must complete and electives representing the 2 major specializations,

  • Cell and Molecular Neuroscience and
  • Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience.

The core curriculum includes research rotations in 2 laboratories of the student’s choice during the first year. Laboratory rotations offer first-hand research experience. Students complete 2 rotations in faculty research laboratories in the first year. Laboratories are selected by the student and the co-directors. After the rotations, each student chooses a research adviser and begins an independent research project.

Students also receive training in the responsible conduct of research and teaching in the neurosciences. For the Ph.D., the student completes the core curriculum as well as research skills training, comprehensive oral examination, preparation of a dissertation, and final oral examination and defense of the dissertation.

Note: Responsible scholarship requirements were approved after this catalog was finalized. Contact your department or program for more information about this requirement for doctoral students.

Core Curriculum for the Ph.D. in Neurosciences

First Year, Fall Semester   First Year, Spring Semester  
BIOL 750 Advanced Biochemistry 3 PHSL 846 Advanced Neuroscience 5
Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience course 3 BIOL 646 Mammalian Physiology 4
BIOL 752 Cell Biology 3 Lab rotations  
Lab rotations   NURO 800 Neuroscience Teaching Principles 2
NURO 799 Neuroscience Seminar Series 2 Research skill:
1 lecture course or 1 laboratory course
3
    NURO 799 Neuroscience Seminar Series 2
Second Year, Fall Semester   Second Year, Spring Semester  
NURO 801 Issues in Scientific Integrity
(offered in the fall every odd-numbered year)
1 Completion of written and oral comprehensive examination  
Cell and Molecular Neuroscience course 3    
First elective for Cell and Molecular Neuroscience or
Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience
3    
Second elective for Cell and Molecular Neuroscience or
Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience
3    
NURO 799 Neuroscience Seminar Series 2    
Third Year, Fall Semester   Third Year, Spring Semester  
NURO 999 Doctoral Dissertation   NURO 999 Doctoral Dissertation  
Fourth Year, Fall Semester   Fourth Year, Spring Semester  
NURO 999 Doctoral Dissertation   NURO 999 Doctoral Dissertation  

Students must

  • Complete 1 core course from Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience;
  • Complete 1 core course from Cell and Molecular Neuroscience;
  • Complete 1 core course from General Neurobiology;
  • Take Bioethics or NURO 801 Issues in Scientific Integrity; and
  • Receive training in effective oral communication and teaching by enrolling in 1 semester of NURO 800 Neuroscience Teaching Principles, which includes a teaching experience.

Neuroscience Courses

Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience

  • BIOL 701 Topics in: Brain Disorders and Neurological Disorders (3)
  • NURO 844 Neurophysiology (3)
  • PSYC 961 Biological Foundations of Psychopathology (3)

Cell and Molecular Neuroscience

  • BIOL 673 Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology (3)
  • NURO 775 Chemistry of the Nervous System (3)
  • NURO 848 Molecular Mechanisms of Neurological Disorders (3)

General Neurobiology

Neuroscience Seminar

  • NURO 799 Neuroscience Seminar Series (2)

Scientific Integrity

  • NURO 801 Issues in Scientific Integrity (1)

Teaching Experience

  • NURO 800 Neuroscience Teaching Principles (2)

Continued enrollment in the neuroscience seminar is required, and students present at least 2 seminars during their graduate careers. In consultation with a 5-member faculty advisory committee including at least 3 members of the neuroscience program, each student chooses electives that provide training relevant to the research goals.

All students must complete a research skill. Commonly used areas are radiation biology and radiation safety, cell culture methodology, techniques of electron and confocal microscopy, molecular biology laboratory training, computer science training, statistics, and training in electronics and instrumentation.

After the first 2 years, students take the comprehensive oral examination. This consists of a research proposal in the general area of the doctoral research, written in NIH format, and an oral examination on the proposal and on general knowledge in neuroscience and related fields.

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