Neuroscience Graduate Program - Ph.D. Candidacy

Ph.D. Candidacy

The following two exams must be passed to advance to candidacy for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Neuroscience:

Comprehensive Exam: The comprehensive exam is a two-part exam that is administered after the end of the first and second semesters. The exam is designed to ensure that students have attained an understanding of core neuroscience knowledge and are able to effectively communicate this knowledge. The exams cover material taught in the first-year courses as well as the Graduate Proseminar Series. Students are asked to answer four of six essay-type questions over a period of four hours.

Preliminary Exam: The preliminary exam is comprised of a written research proposal and an oral defense of the proposed research. Before the beginning of the fifth semester of study, students are required to generate a written research proposal in the format of an NIH R01 grant application. This research plan includes specific aims, significance, background, experimental design and detailed methods of the proposed thesis research. Once the written proposal is approved by the Thesis Committee, students will orally present the proposal to the Committee and defend its significance and approach. Acceptance of the project by the Thesis Committee constitutes passage of the Preliminary Exam.