The Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP) at OHSU aims to train predoctoral students in modern neuroscience concepts and techniques. The large faculty (140+ strong) has expertise in all areas of neuroscience, including molecular, cellular, systems, behavioral, and medical neuroscience. The curriculum is flexible and courses are largely completed in the first year, permitting students to focus on the essence of graduate training -- independent research in a mentor's laboratory -- as soon as possible.
Students in the Neuroscience Graduate Program at OHSU arrive in Portland between July and September; early arrivals take advantage of the delightful Portland summer and can carry out one or more laboratory rotations.
In September, attendance at the annual NGP Retreat is highly recommended, as this event serves as an introduction to the program for first-year students. The retreat is held away from Portland (recently at Timberline Lodge) and features two days of talks, workshops, and fun.
Curriculum and Advancement
Courses start at the end of September. The first-year curriculum, a series of courses that all students take, emphasizes all aspects of neuroscience (cellular, molecular, systems, and disease). The program emphasizes training in reading and dissecting the primary literature, the focus of the seminar course. Students also participate in laboratory rotations in the first year, using these rotations to help choose a thesis lab. During the first year, students are advised by faculty members, who guide them through courses, including advanced electives and rotations.
At the end of the first year, students take a comprehensive written exam, which tests students both on their grasp of the neuroscience core curriculum and on their skills in understanding neuroscience papers. At the of the second year, students take the oral qualifying exam, which allows them to become a Ph.D. candidate. The qualifying exam consists of a written component, which is a thesis proposal in the format of an NRSA grant, and an oral defense. An optional writing course sponsored by the Vollum Institute is of great use to many students in preparing for the written exam.
Completion of Thesis Work
Subsequently, the student chooses a thesis exam committee, who guides their dissertation research. Students are evaluated at several points during their participation in the program, and are subjected to several yearly requirements, including a thesis committee meeting every six months and a talk on their research.
Finally, the culmination of a student's graduate career is the assembly of a written Ph.D. thesis and its oral defense.
Following graduation, most NGP students go on to postdoctoral fellowships; although the program is relatively new, NGP graduates have become successful in academics.
Advising describes advising of NGP students.
First-Year Curriculum specifically lists the course taken in the first year of the program.
Lab Rotations fills you in on how to pick a rotation mentor and what to expect during a rotation.
Electives & Seminars provides information about electives and seminars, which continue graduate education beyond the first year.
Progress Evaluation indicates the four points where a student's progress in the program is evaluated.
Candidacy & Thesis describes the three major hurdles to obtaining a Ph.D.: passing the comprehensive written exam, taking the oral qualifying exam, and defending the thesis.
FAQ answers questions about the program.
Neuroscience Graduate Program
Oregon Health & Science University
Mail Stop L474
3181 S.W. Sam Jackson Park Road
Portland, OR 97239-3098
Phone: (503) 494-6932
Fax: (503) 494-5518