The PhD/Master of Science in Neuroscience (NEUS) program curriculum includes a selection of core courses in the fundamentals of biomedical sciences and a series of interdisciplinary graduate courses in neuroscience. In addition, elective courses are aimed at helping students amplify and add specialization to their educational experience.
The Neuroscience program includes two semesters of the school's core curriculum (completed during the first year) that is shared by all of the biomedical graduate programs and a series of program-specific courses for neuroscience students.
In the first year, students complete the core curriculum and at least two of three required research laboratory rotations. Each three-month-long rotation is spent in a different laboratory so students can gain exposure to diverse techniques and approaches.
During the second year, students complete the required courses for the Neuroscience program along with elective courses and begin their thesis research. Students also take a preliminary examination that is intended to test their knowledge based on the coursework. At the end of the second year, students take a qualifying examination for PhD candidacy.
Third Year and Beyond
During the third year, students develop a plan for their research in conjunction with their thesis advisor. A formal, written thesis proposal is then presented to the student's Thesis Advisory Committee. Acceptance of this proposal after oral examination by the Committee leads to the final stage of doctoral training.
PhD candidates then spend the majority of their time on thesis research. These projects are usually based in one of the schools several key areas of study, which include spinal cord and brain injury, cellular neurosciences, behavioral neurobiology and neuroengineering.
After concluding their research, they must submit and publicly defend their thesis before the Thesis-Examination Committee.
PhD Program Requirements
The PhD program involves the same rigorous course work as the MS program but a more intensive research component. Graduates of the PhD program will be thoroughly prepared for a variety of career options, including the option of moving on to postdoctoral work at the world's most prestigious research institutions.
MS Program Requirements
The MS program offers both a master's degree with a requirement of a laboratory research project for a thesis-based degree and a non-thesis degree program in which students can earn the degree by taking additional classes and writing a literature review paper. Students who wish to continue their graduate training after the master's degree may apply to the PhD program, and their credits may be applied to the doctoral program.
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 a 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 discussant-oriented endeavors requiring intellectual discourse on cutting-edge issues on 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