The qualifying examination for advancement to candidacy for the PhD must be taken during the second year of study. This exam will consist of two portions, a research proposal and an oral defense of the research proposal to a committee of three faculty members representing three different sub-specialties of neuroscience (chosen from the following areas: Molecular & Cellular; Developmental, Plasticity & Repair; Behavioral, Cognitive & Systems; Human Neurobiology).
No teaching is required the first year. All students must complete teaching assignments in both their second and third years in the program. Teaching develops student knowledge of neuroscience and is required regardless of source of stipend support. Students must serve as a teaching assistant in one of the following neuroscience-related courses in the second year: NSCI 225, NSCI 301, or GRMD 357. Students in the third year teach in NSCI 225, NSCI 301, GRMD 357, or NSCI 110, or in other related courses including ANNB 201, BIOL 261 or 262, GRMD 354 and PSYC 221 or 222 (or any approved by the steering committee and home department).
Laboratory rotations occur in the first year of the program, and involve a student spending full time undertaking a research project in the laboratory of a neuroscientist. First year students can complete a 7-week rotation upon arriving in July. There is a 14 week window in the spring, prior to the start of GRMD 357, during which a student may choose to do one 14 week rotation or two 7 week rotations. Students who did not do a rotation the summer prior to their first year may undertake a final 7 week rotation following the Neural Science course, but must join a dissertation lab by August 1st.