Curriculum

We have designed an innovative curriculum for our graduate students which emphasizes a broad overview of basic principles in molecular, cellular, systems, and behavioral neuroscience as well as critical thinking required for cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research.  All required Core coursework is completed by April of the first year in order to get students into their dissertation laboratories as quickly as possible.

First Year - Fall Core Curriculum

Course NumberCourse Title


BSR 1706
BSR 1705

Principles of Neural Science, Behavior, and Brain Pathophysiology
Unit 1: Systems Neuroscience
Unit 2: Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

BSR 1010 Biostatistics
BSR  5701 Translational Neuroscience Seminar Series
BSR 4702 Selected Topics in Neuroscience
BSR 1006 Lab Rotation

First Year - Spring Core Curriculum

Course NumberCourse Title

BSR 1707
BSR 1708

Principles of Neural Science, Behavior, and Brain Pathophysiology
Unit 3:Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience
Unit 4:Pathophysiology of Neurological & Psychiatric Disorders

BSR 6705 Topics in Clinical Neuroscience *
BSR  5701 Translational Neuroscience Seminar Series
BSR 4702 Selected Topics in Neuroscience
BSR 1007 Lab Rotation

*Includes direct patient contact

Second Year - Fall Core Curriculum

Course NumberCourse Title
BSR  5701 Translational Neuroscience Seminar Series
BSR 4702 Selected Topics in Neuroscience
BSR 8000 Independent Research
Variable – see course catalogue Advanced Elective 1*

Second Year - Spring Core Curriculum

Course NumberCourse Title
BSR  5701 Translational Neuroscience Seminar Series
BSR 4702 Selected Topics in Neuroscience
BSR 8000 Independent Research 
Variable – see course catalogue Advanced Elective 2*
  Thesis Proposal

*Students are welcome to take advanced electives in Neuroscience or in other training areas (e.g., genetics, pharmacology, cancer, developmental biology) to suit your research interests.

Third Year and Beyond

Course NumberCourse Title
BSR  5701 Translational Neuroscience Seminar Series
BSR 4702 Selected Topics in Neuroscience
BSR 9000 Doctoral Dissertation Research 

Requirements

Neuroscience PhD students take a dedicated neuroscience curriculum in year one, comprising four core courses and one additional clinical neuroscience course:

1. Systems Neuroscience (Unit 1)

2. Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience (Unit 2)

3. Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience (unit 3)

4. Molecular Pathogenesis of Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders (unit 4)

5. Topics in Clinical Neuroscience (includes direct patient contact)


Neuroscience Works-in-Progress, Seminars, and other Requirements

During the first year you will be required to take Selected Topics in Neuroscience, which combines Works-In-Progress (WIP) talks by senior students with a journal article discussion of paper(s) authored by that week’s speaker in our Translational Neuroscience Seminar Series.  Additional requirements during the first year include Biostatistics, Responsible Conduct in Research, and the Translational Neuroscience Seminar Series.  During this first year, you will typically complete two or more laboratory rotations with the goal of choosing a mentor and thesis laboratory by the end of your first year in the program.

In the second and subsequent years as a Neuroscience PhD student, you will take advanced electives, some of which are offered annually while others are offered every other year. At least two advanced electives are required.  You will find a list of current electives on the Curriculum page.  You are also required to present WIP research updates annually in Selected Topics in Neuroscience.

As an incoming student you are assigned a faculty advisor, who, along with the neuroscience training area directors, will assist you with course and rotation selection by customizing an Individualized Development Plan based on your interests and prior experience. Additionally, all incoming students are assigned a "Big Brother or Sister", a current Neuroscience PhD student, who can serve as an additional resource to aid in the transition to graduate school and provide help in navigating courses, rotations, housing and related things.  After choosing a thesis laboratory and mentor by the end of year one, you assemble a new faculty advisory committee that will provide feedback on your thesis research; this committee will meet at least once a year for the duration of your thesis research.

You will next focus on preparing a thesis proposal, which includes both a written document and an oral presentation, usually completed between Years 1 and 2, allowing your committee to evaluate the proposed thesis project, your background knowledge, and your ability to integrate this within the framework of a coherent research plan. The format of the written thesis proposal follows the current guidelines for an NRSA (NIH) predoctoral fellowship application, which will facilitate submission of the proposal to external grant funding agencies such as the NIH.

The Thesis Proposal Exam Committee comprises at least four voting faculty members, and usually includes all members of the student’s advisory committee plus additional faculty as required. This committee must also include your thesis mentor as a non-voting committee member.  As a student, you generally have two opportunities to pass both written and oral components of the thesis proposal.  The PhD degree is awarded following successful defense of the thesis dissertation.

Apply Now

Application Deadline
December 1, 2015