Program of Study

Each student entering the Neuroscience Track is assigned an advisory committee, which is responsible for establishing the student’s course of study and for monitoring his or her progress. The advisory committee may be subsequently modified to include faculty with expertise in the student’s emerging area of interest. Although each student’s precise course requirements are set individually to take account of background and educational goals, the course of study is based upon a model curriculum designed to ensure broad competence in modern neuroscience. The core curriculum comprises four courses 1) Principles of Neuroscience, 2) Neurobiology, 3) Structural and Functional Organization of the Human Nervous System, and 4) Bioethics in Neuroscience. Students must also complete at least three additional courses from the broad list of more advanced neuroscience courses and can take as electives any course listed in the graduate school handbook.

Each student is required to complete at least two rotations by the end of the first year. The rotations should be in different laboratories, preferably in different areas of neuroscience. By the end of the second year, students are required to pass a qualifying examination. Under the guidance of the qualifying examination committee, students study selected literature from four specialized areas of neuroscience. Following study sessions with each member of the committee, the student will complete a written examination based on the readings. This is followed by an oral examination with the members of the committee. Upon successful completion of the qualifying examination and the submission of an approved dissertation prospectus, students are admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. By the third year, a thesis committee is formed comprising the thesis adviser and three other faculty members whose research interests are germane to the student’s project. This stage of the program involves independent study, research, and preparation of the dissertation in consultation with the thesis committee.

Both the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program and the Neurobiology Graduate Program have active seminar series hosting national and international leaders of the neuroscience community. The numerous seminars provide students with the opportunity to interact on a one-to-one basis with visiting neuroscientists in an informal setting. To maintain regular interaction between members of the student body, Neuroscience students participate in the regular "Student Research Talks" series. At these seminars students give informal presentations of their research-in-progress. This provides graduate students an opportunity to have their work evaluated by their peers and faculty. In addition, student-directed journal clubs bring graduate students in Neuroscience together to discuss current papers in the field. Members meet on a biweekly basis and take turns leading the discussions. Participants choose topics and papers of interest to them. These journal clubs are excellent opportunities to practice presenting papers in a congenial and collegiate atmosphere, to keep apprised of neuroscience research, and to maintain contact with fellow students, events, and research within the expansive Yale neuroscience community.