Student's Guide

In tune with the feel of Portland itself, OHSU prides itself in doing things a little different than other universities. One such unique distinction is that OHSU is largely a graduate institution, thereby obviating a teaching requirement and leaving more time for classes and research; however, there are a number of teaching opportunities in the Portland area available to interested students. Another distinction of OHSU is its extraordinarily large number of neuroscience faculty. From channel physiology to animal behavior, there is a comprehensive representation of neuroscience research available to Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP) students. This benefits students by allowing leverage in choosing a compatible thesis lab, and by providing students with a large resource from which advice, collaborations, and technical skills can be employed towards successful completion of a thesis project. NGP students also enjoy a constant stream of seminars from some of the world’s most successful and engaging neuroscientists. These lectures are often followed by lunch where NGP students can discuss a range of topics -- either scientific or non-scientific -- with the guest speaker.


The NGP program itself is rigorous, thorough, but also a lot of fun. The first year, although not necessarily the busiest, is probably the most challenging as incoming students adjust to the graduate-level coursework, search for a compatible thesis project through various laboratory rotations, and prepare for the written qualifying exam at the end of the year. During the second year students begin their thesis work and finish up a few remaining class requirements. The remaining years students are focused on completing their oral qualifying exam, dissertation, presenting data, attending meetings, writing grants, and making the gradual transition from “student” to “scientist”.

Other unique, albeit less scientific bonuses OHSU offers its students is the opportunity to commute to campus via bicycle for a monetary reward, via the Portland Streetcar , or via the Portland Aerial Tram. Furthermore, NGP students can hammer out that doctorate among vistas of Portland and the Cascade Mountains, the companionship of docile wildlife, the quiescence of neighboring forests, and the kindred of the relaxed, approachable West Coast culture.