Guidelines for Graduate Study

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IV. Pre-Qualifying Pro.edures

The following steps are designed to prepare the student for the Qualifying Examination and to satisfy the requirements for advancing to thesis research.

  1. Diagnostic Committee

    1. A Diagnostic Committee is appointed by the Program Director during the student’s first semester on campus. This Committee consists of three Neuroscience Program faculty members, including the student’s advisor, who represent three different areas of concentration (see iv, below). The Program Director also designates a Chair for this committee.

    2. The Diagnostic Committee meets with the student at least once during the first semester on campus. The Diagnostic Committee, in consultation with the student, defines a tentative major and two minor areas of concentration based upon the student’s interests, assesses the student’s preparation in the selected concentration areas and in Neuroscience generally, lays out a plan for course work, and, where appropriate, specifies one or more apprenticeships. A written copy of this plan, signed by the Diagnostic Committee members, is placed in the student’s file by the advisor.

    3. Plans for the First Year Project should be discussed at a meeting with the Diagnostic Committee. It is recognized that the interests of the student may evolve with time, and that subsequently the recommended course work leading to the qualifying examination, any planned apprenticeships, and the composition of the Diagnostic Committee may change accordingly. Changes in Diagnostic Committee membership may be proposed by the student, Committee members, or other Neuroscience Program faculty. The goal is to keep the membership in accord with the student’s areas of concentration and research interests. Approval of changes rests with the Program Director.

    4. One major and two minor areas of concentration will be chosen by each student in consultation with his/her Diagnostic Committee. There is considerable flexibility in the choice of concentration areas; students and their committees should strive for appropriate balance between breadth of knowledge and depth in specific areas. Students should look to the program web site for guidance and examples. The web site will feature a regularly updated list of faculty research interests, and the concentration areas of all current students. The areas of concentration will be approved by the Program Director.

    5. Subsequent to the required meetings, the Diagnostic Committee may, if the student so desires, arrange further informal meetings to assess the student’s progress.

    6. The Diagnostic Committee evaluates the student’s First Year Research Project and decides whether or not the student passes.

    7. The Diagnostic Committee should retain advisory supervision over the student until the Preliminary Examination Committee has been confirmed and approved by the Graduate College.

  2. Teaching Requirement

    1. All students must complete a minimum of one semester of service as a teaching assistant (one semester @50% or 2 semesters @25% appointment). This must involve a course in which direct didactic contact with students occurs, such as a laboratory or discussion section. A position as a grader is not sufficient to meet this requirement. This requirement must be completed prior to the Preliminary Examination, or in the same semester as the Preliminary Examination.

    2. Alternatively, this requirement may be met by an education outreach activity under the supervision of a Neuroscience Program faculty member. A plan for meeting the teaching requirement by this method must be submitted to and approved by the Executive Committee. Examples of such activities include K-12 classroom visits, participation in Brain Awareness Week events, and lectures given in community forums.

  3. Neuroscience Seminar

    All students who have not passed the Qualifying Examination must sign up for Neur 520 section 1, the weekly seminar, and regular attendance is required.

  4. Journal Club Seminar Course

    All first and second year students are required to take Neur 500, which will be offered only during the fall semester of each year. If the time of Neur 500 conflicts with coursework or teaching responsibilities, the student may petition the Director to fulfill this requirement in an alternative fashion.

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Last Revised May, 2007