Guidelines for Graduate Study

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V. First Year Project

  1. All students will undertake a research project during the first year on campus, designed in collaboration with the research supervisor. The purpose of this First Year Project is to permit the faculty to assess the aptitude of the student for research, and to ensure that during the first year on campus each student has found an appropriate laboratory "home."

  2. The project should be designed so that it can be completed toward the end of the first semester of the second year. It is expected that the data obtained may be preliminary in nature; a complete set of results is not necessary to fulfill this requirement in a timely manner. Students may use this requirement to "try out" a laboratory, to initiate what they hope will evolve into their dissertation work, or to learn a new method. The student may collaborate with others as necessary, but the student’s individual contribution to the design and conduct of the project must then be made clear in a cover letter appended to the written paper.

  3. The Diagnostic Committee will evaluate both written and oral presentations for the student’s understanding of the scientific issues addressed, rationale of the research approach, methods used, and interpretation of any results obtained. However, the research project upon which the First Year Project is based need not have been brought to fruition.

  4. The Diagnostic Committee will meet with the student early in the Spring Semester of the second year to evaluate the First Year Project. A research paper describing the project results will be submitted to the student’s Diagnostic Committee by the end of Final Examinations in the Fall of the second year, or at least two weeks prior to the meeting, whichever is sooner. The meeting will consist of an oral defense of the paper to the committee. The paper should follow the format of a journal paper and must include introduction (including review of the relevant literature), methods, results, and discussion sections, plus a complete list of references. Further instructions on specific details of the format will be provided by the Program Director.

  5. A student is deemed to have passed the First Year Project upon approval of the written paper by the Diagnostic Committee. The decision of the committee must be conveyed to the Program Office by the research advisor as soon as possible after the committee meets to evaluate the project and prior to the sc.eduled public presentations.

  6. Students who do not meet the First Year Project requirement on sc.edule must meet with the Program Director to review their progress. The Program Director will then confer with the Executive Committee, who will decide if the student can remain in good standing in the program after failure to meet this requirement.

  7. If the results for the First Year Project evaluation are satisfactory, an additional celebratory presentation based on the First Year Project is presented to the Neuroscience faculty and students in the second (Spring) Semester of the second year. Members of the Executive Committee shall attend the presentations and award a prize to the student making the best presentation.

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Last Revised May, 2007