Program Curriculum

Overview of Program Requirements

Students are required to earn a minimum of 135 graduate-level term-hour credits. At least 100 hours must represent credit hours earned in the Department of Behavioral Neuroscience (hours labeled BEST). These credit hours may be Research courses (BEST 601  or 603), didactic courses, journal clubs, nano courses, or seminars. 

Required courses: 

  • CONJ 620 Introduction to Biostatistics for the Basic Sciences or other relevant Statistics course 
  • MGRD 650 The Practice and Ethics of Science 
  • BEST 607 Issues in Behavioral Neuroscience Seminar 
  • NEUS 624 Cellular Neurophysiology
  • NEUS 625 Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology
  • BEST 642 Systems Neuroscience 

New graduate students participate in 2-4 research rotations during their first year. The objective of rotations are to (a) match the interests of the student with available research opportunities and (b) assign faculty who are willing and have the resources needed to serve as the student's faculty mentor after the first year.

During the first year of graduate training, students are expected to obtain experience in the critical evaluation of original research reports. The reprint exam serves to set a standard of competency in the critical evaluation of research articles and in oral expression, a standard which students are expected to attain early in their graduate career. In addition, it helps faculty to identify areas of weakness in this skill.

All students must pass a written qualifying examination to advance to candidacy for their Ph.D.  The qualifying exam follow the format of a formal NIH-NRSA proposal and includes three parts:

  1. Written proposal
  2. Oral presentation
  3. Oral examination

All students must pass an oral examination and dissertation defense in order to receive their Ph.D. It is generally expected that students will complete this requirement during the 5th year of training.

Please note that this is a brief overview and does not include all detailed program requirements.