The PhD in Neuroscience program curriculum includes courses on the fundamentals of biomedical sciences and in interdisciplinary neuroscience. Advanced courses are aimed at helping students amplify and add specialization to their educational experience.
In addition to coursework, PhD students go through multiple steps to ensure rigorous training in scientific writing, oral communication, and cutting-edge research. Graduates of the PhD program are thoroughly prepared for a variety of career options, including moving on to postdoctoral studies at the world's most prestigious research institutions. See where our Alumni are now.
At the start of the 3rd semester, students will take the preliminary exam which consists of written and oral components based on broad knowledge of Cellular and Developmental Neuroscience, Neuroanatomy, Behavioral Neuroscience, and Systems Neuroscience. The written component is a take-home, open-book format. The oral component includes fielding questions from the preliminary exam committee, which are based on the written answers provided by the student.
By the end of the 4th semester students will take their qualifying exam. As part of the exam, students write a mock R01 research grant application based on their current research interests. Students then meet with their qualifying exam committee to defend the significance and innovation of their proposed qualifying exam studies.
After completing the qualifying exam, PhD candidates spend the majority of their time designing and implementing their thesis research. Students form a dissertation advisory committee and then prepare and defend their thesis proposal. Students meet frequently with their advisory committee who ensure that the research is rigorous and positions the student to succeed in future stages of their careers. After completing their thesis research, students submit and publicly defend their thesis.
MS CURRICULUM: THESIS OPTION
The MS in Neuroscience program curriculum provides MS students with a well-rounded education on the fundamentals of biomedical science and interdisciplinary neuroscience, while providing a rich, and rigorous research experience (Drexel University Catalog). MS students receive excellent training in scientific writing, research presentation, and cutting-edge research. Graduates of the MS program in neuroscience are well prepared for many careers in the medical science field, including positions in industry, pursuing medical school, or continuing their research interests as PhD students at institutions across the country. See where our Alumni are now.
Students who wish to continue their PhD graduate studies at Drexel after completing their MS degree may apply to the PhD program with advanced standing.
At the end of the 2nd semester, MS students form a dissertation advisory committee who will help the students design and implement their thesis research. After completing their thesis research, students will submit and publicly defend their MS thesis research.
MS CURRICULUM: NON-THESIS OPTION
While most MS students matriculate into the Thesis MS program, there is also the opportunity to join the Non-Thesis MS program (Drexel University Catalog). The curriculum for Non-Thesis students focuses primarily on coursework related to fundamentals in biomedical science, interdisciplinary neuroscience, and neuropharmacology. Although there is only a limited research component, students are nonetheless exposed to general concepts in scientific research that accentuate what they learn in coursework. Graduates of the Non-Thesis MS program receive a rigorous education that positions them for careers in industry or continuing their education as medical, veterinary, or PhD students.
MS LITERATURE REVIEW
At the start of their 3rd semester, MS students form a literature review advisory committee who guides the student to select a topic for development of a literature review. Review topics range across a broad spectrum of neuroscience areas of research but must be based on the primary research literature.
Program Level Outcomes
Graduates of the Master of Science/PhD in Neuroscience program will achieve six program level outcomes that describe the skills, competencies and knowledge gained through completion of the program curriculum.
- Have broad-based, multi-disciplinary knowledge of advanced neuroscience, from molecules to cells to systems, including developmental, cellular, behavioral, anatomical and physiological neuroscience, and including injury, disease, and treatment of nervous system disorders
- Have hands-on skills in conducing primary research in the neuroscience, including experimental design, conduct of experiments, interpretation of data, and presentation of results
- Have gained real-life experience in participating in scientific meetings and other discussion-oriented endeavors requiring intellectual discourse on cutting-edge issues in neuroscience
- Have gained insight and commitment into the ethics of biomedical research as it applies to the neurosciences
- Have a thorough knowledge of the scientific literature that relates to their specific research projects, as well as skills in how to effectively use the scientific literature to achieve future goals
- Be articulate spokespeople for the neurosciences, both within the scientific and lay communities