Neuroscience Graduate Program

The Neuroscience Graduate Program is designed to give you a well-rounded educational experience. The curriculum includes courses, directed by neuroscience faculty, that are designed to provide you a strong background in all facets of neuroscience. Courses are also available from the core curriculum of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Laboratory Rotations

In addition to the coursework, during your first year, you will familiarize yourself with the different approaches to neuroscience research by embarking on a series of rotations in the laboratories of Neuroscience faculty. The purposes of the laboratory rotations are to provide a way for you to get to know the faculty and the focus of their research and to gain experience in a variety of experimental techniques. Research rotations are expected to lead to the selection of a thesis research project.

Qualifying Exam

At the end of the first year, you will choose an advisor. Your advisor and the Thesis Advisory Committee will guide you in developing a suitable thesis research project. You will then take a qualifying exam, which is administered by members of your Thesis Advisory Committee. This exam is designed to test your ability to synthesize, write up, and defend a scientific research project. The research proposal may cover any area of neuroscience research and typically (but not necessarily) represents a project being conducted or contemplated your thesis project. Upon the successful completion of the qualifying exam and satisfying the necessary course requirements, you will be formally admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D.

Journal Clubs

Neuroscience Journal Clubs are available to help students and faculty apply their knowledge and keep up-to-date with the current state of their specialty area within the neuroscience field. See a listing of the journal clubs with information about each one. 

Chalk Talks

Neuroscience students have regular opportunity to share their research with their peers. Each student is scheduled to present once a year at the monthly student chalk talks, usually held the second Tuesday of each month at noon in room S740. Chalk talks are informal presentations without slides or prepared visuals, where presenters verbally explain their work and use whiteboard illustrations if desired. The first Tuesday of every month, three students take 20 minutes each to present their work and ask for feedback. Thus, students not only learn about current research but are able to solicit valuable comments on their own projects and practical suggestions for improvements in experimental design and procedure. For the first years, the chalk talks are a time when students present informally to one another, share project ideas or current data, ask questions, or just discuss interesting new techniques. Complimentary lunch is provided, with vegetarian options. We look forward to seeing you at next month’s talks!

Career Development

The BCM Career Development Center offers many workshops and seminars as well as one-to-one counseling and other services to help plan for your future career from your first days of graduate school through graduation day and beyond.