The NSP at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is an interdisciplinary program of study and research leading to the doctoral degree.
We offer a rigorous yet flexible program designed to foster the growth of the student through research activities, close interactions with faculty, and exposure to top neuroscientists through our seminar series and attendance at professional meetings.
Recognizing that there are many paths to success in neuroscience, the program imposes few specific requirements. Students design their own programs leading to the Ph.D., with oversight by faculty committees ensuring appropriate depth and breadth of training. The NSP has over 85 affiliated faculty from more than 20 departments, and over 60 students, studying the brain from a broad range of perspectives.
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.
There are a few required courses. All first year students enroll in the core course sequence, Interdisciplinary Approaches to Neuroscience, in the fall (NEUR 542, section IAN) and spring (NEUR 543, section IAN). This course emphasizes the concepts and methods, rather than facts, within the many fields of Neuroscience in which our faculty conduct research. The weekly seminar series (NEUR 520, section SEM) features weekly presentations by outstanding neuroscientists from around the country and is required of all pre-Qualifying Exam students, for a total of four semester hours. The journal club (NEUR 500, section FIN) 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.
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 PDP), together with an additional approved ethics course on core topics in ethics (MCB 580, Section A - Res Ethics & Responsibilities or CB 552, Section A - Ethics in Toxicology). This is a minimum requirement. Students are encouraged to take advantage of ethics training opportunities on and off campus, throughout their graduate careers.
Numerous other courses are available from the Neuroscience Program and through other departments. For more information, please see the complete Class Schedule, or the Course Catalog.
Students in the Neuroscience Program are are supported with an annual stipend and a tuition waiver for the normal duration of their graduate careers. This amount may vary by student depending on the support package, but will always meet or exceed the program's minimum rate. The stipend and waiver can vary based on the type of appointment that is provided. Support can be as a fellowship, research assistantship, or teaching assistantship. There is a general fee that is the student's responsibility.