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Program of Study

Photo by Carissa Violante
Star on Sterling Hall Ceiling

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 their progress. The advisory committee may be 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 five courses 1) Principles of Neuroscience, 2) Foundations of Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, 3) Foundations of Systems Neuroscience, 4) Comparative Neuroanatomy, and 5) Bioethics in Neuroscience. Students must also complete at least three additional courses, to include a quantitative and statistical course, 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. By the end of the third year, a thesis committee is formed comprising the thesis adviser and at least three other faculty members whose research interests are germane to the student’s project. Upon successful completion and the submission of an approved dissertation prospectus, students are admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. This stage of the program involves independent study, research, and preparation of the dissertation in consultation with the thesis committee.

The Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program has an active seminar series which hosts 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.

Jessica Nelson - Yale University Medical Researcher

Jessica is a recent neuroscience graduate from Daniel Colón-Ramos' Lab. Driven by curiosity about how the human brain works, Jessica's research focused on understanding more about serotonin movements and how they contribute to depression and autism.