A full time student registers for twelve credit hours per semester, which may include full courses (three or four hours), seminars and discussions (one or two hours) and independent research (from two to eight hours).
Two courses are required. The program seminar series (NEUR 520, section 1) features weekly presentations by outstanding neuroscientists from around the country and is required of all pre-Qualifying Exam students. The journal club (NEUR 500) features discussions centered on one or more papers, usually by the week's seminar speaker, who is often a featured guest. The journal club meets in the fall semester, and two semesters are required. The seminar and the journal club each count for one credit hour.
Training in ethics is also required. The requirement is met by completing the ethics portion of the Professional Skills and Ethics seminar course (NEUR 520 Section 2), together with additional workshops on core topics in ethics. One workshop is offered per semester, so that the complete set can be completed in two years or more, depending on individual students' schedules. Students are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities for ethics training at Illinois and off campus, throughout their graduate careers.