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At the completion of a course, students are normally assigned a grade of Honors, High Pass, Pass or Fail. Seminar or research courses are usually graded either Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory. The Graduate School requires that Ph.D. students obtain a minimum of two grades of Honors in regular term courses by the end of the second year of study.

Courses graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory may not be used to fulfill the Honors requirement and students must maintain a High Pass average to remain in good academic standing.

Laboratory Rotations

Laboratory rotations are an essential component to interdisciplinary training, and each student is required to complete two rotations by the end of the second semester. The rotations must be in different laboratories and, preferably, in different areas of Neuroscience from at least two departments. At least one of these must be in the lab of an INP faculty member. The minimum duration of a rotation is one semester or a full summer. Each rotation should be long enough to allow the student to gain technical expertise and an appreciation of the practical aspects of an area of Neuroscience. The laboratory rotations serve the dual functions of broadening a student's background and helping in the choice of a future thesis advisor. Should a particular laboratory not meet the needs of a student, he/she is encouraged to consider moving to another lab.

The Qualifying Examination

A primary objective of an interdisciplinary program is training well-rounded students. The qualifying examination is viewed as one means of obtaining that goal. The Graduate School requires that "A general oral or written qualifying examination, separate from course examinations must be passed by the student in the major subject offered and such subordinate subjects as may be required by the department concerned." The INP qualifying examination involves both a written and an oral component and must be completed by the end of the second year of study.

Thesis Prospectus

The Graduate School requires that all students submit a brief outline of proposed thesis work by the end of the sixth term (May 30). Students will not be allowed to register for the fourth year of study without an approved prospectus. This prospectus should consist of a written summary of research accomplished and planned, together with a tentative title for the thesis. The prospectus must be approved by the thesis committee, including the thesis advisor, and by the Program Director.

Admission to Candidacy

Students who have satisfied the INP course requirements, the Graduate School Honors requirement, have successfully completed the qualifying exam and have an approved prospectus will be formally admitted to Candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. The Graduate School requires that this be completed before the beginning of the seventh semester

Thesis Defense

All INP students are required to present a public seminar of their thesis research. This seminar is immediately followed by a closed oral defense of the student's thesis research.

Residence Requirement

The minimal residence requirement for the graduate school is three years; the maximum period of enrollment for the Ph.D. degree is normally six years. Maximum time may be extended by a special petition, but only if all requirements for the Ph.D. except for the completion of research and submission of the dissertation have been fulfilled.

Teaching Responsibilities

An important aim of the INP is to provide students with teaching experience. Students are required to complete two semesters of teaching. This requirement needs to be completed during the student's tenure during graduate school.


The Interdepartment Neuroscience Program has a number of courses that are required for the program and for completion of a PhD as well as electives to choose from.