Guidelines for Graduate Study

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II. Course of Progress

Year 1, Fall Semester. New students register for Neur 520 section 1 (seminar) and Neur 500 (first/second year journal club) in addition to courses reflecting their specific initial interests in the field and/or identified gaps in their undergraduate training.  Courses for this first semester are suggested by the student’s advisor.

During this semester, students will meet at least once with their Diagnostic Committee for the purpose of identifying areas of concentration (one major and two minor) and devising a strategy based on coursework, independent study, and in some cases work in different laboratories, that will prepare them for the Qualifying Examination.  Information on selecting areas of concentration is given below.

In this and all successive semesters until the Preliminary Examination is passed, students should also register for Neur 590 (Individual Topics in Neuroscience) to ensure that they meet the Graduate College requirement of registration for 12 hours of graduate credit.

All students are expected to enter a laboratory during this semester, including those who have not yet chosen the laboratory in which they plan to conduct their dissertation research.

Students should attend meetings of the Neuroscience Student Organization (NSO), and are encouraged to attend Neuroscience Program social events.

Year 1, Spring Semester. Students again register for Neur 520 section 1 in addition to other courses in neuroscience and related disciplines.

Students will also plan and begin work on the First Year Project, seeking, as necessary, the advice of their Diagnostic Committee. During the summer, students will continue working on the First Year Project.

Participation in off-campus summer training courses such as those offered at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) or Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) is also encouraged.

Every year, each student will be asked to fill out a brief form outlining the progress made that year (see III.  Annual Review of Students).  The due date will be announced by the Program Director.

Year 2, Fall Semester. Students register for Neur 520 section 1, Neur 500, and those courses needed to prepare for the Qualifying Examination. The First Year Project is completed.  Students begin to plan dissertation research. 

Year 2, Spring Semester. Students register for Neur 520 section 1, and continue to take courses. Early in the semester, students meet with their Diagnostic Committees to present and defend the First Year Project.  Also during this semester, or before the start of Year 3, students will take the Qualifying Examination if they have not already done so. After passing the Qualifying Examination, a Preliminary Examination Committee is appointed with input from the student and his/her advisor – this Committee is subject to review and approval by the Graduate College. By this time students are engaged in dissertation research.

During the summer, students continue dissertation research; again, participation in off-campus training courses is encouraged. Students are encouraged to participate in the NSO and Neuroscience Program social events.

Year 3, Fall Semester. Students are engaged in dissertation research and in preparation of a research proposal that will serve as the basis for the Preliminary Examination.  Students are encouraged to participate in the NSO and Neuroscience Program social events.

Year 3, Spring Semester Students are engaged in dissertation research.

Subsequent Years. The Preliminary Examination is taken as soon as the plan for the dissertation research is sufficiently formulated (see Section VII), but in no case later than 6 months prior to the Final Dissertation Defense.

After passing the Preliminary Examination, a Dissertation Committee is appointed with input from the student and his/her advisor.  Students should register for Neur 599 (Thesis Research), and continue to register for Neur 599 until the dissertation is defended and deposited. Upon successful defense of the dissertation, students who have met all other program requirements (First Year Project, Qualifying Examination, Preliminary Examination, teaching requirement, and requirement for training in ethics and responsible conduct of research) will receive the Ph.D. in Neuroscience.

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Last Revised May, 2007