GUIDELINES: Neuroscience PhD Program

Table 1. Overview of Neuroscience Ph.D. Program

Requirement Provides Expected normal progress
Core courses Breadth and Integration: Introduction to fundamentals of neuroscience; survey and integration of various disciplines contributing to neuroscience; study and exchange of neuroscience research methods and results; an interdisciplinary student cohort The Survey and Integration of Neuroscience I (NRSC 5100) and II (NRSC 5110) courses will be completed by the end of Year 2. Participation in the Advances in Neuroscience (NRSC 6100) Research Seminar (3 semesters) may be completed at any time, but in most cases will be completed by the end of Year 3
Neuroscience depth/focus courses Advanced expertise in several of the fundamental areas of neuroscience These 3 additional neuroscience courses should be completed by the end of Year 3
Neuroscience-related discipline specialization Expert specialization in a neuroscience-related discipline All additional specialization courses should be completed by the end of Year 4
Doctoral Thesis State-of-the-art independent research contribution to neuroscience Prospectus: end of Year 3; Thesis: end of Year 5




Credit Hour Requirements

A total of 28-34 hours of graduate level courses are required for the Neuroscience PhD. Of these 28-34 hours, 11 or 14 hours consist of Neuroscience Core breadth and integration courses, 6-9 hours consist of Neuroscience depth courses, and the remainder are derived from Neuroscience-related discipline specialization courses (Table 2).

Required Neuroscience Core Courses

Survey and Integration of Neuroscience I (NRSC 5100; 2 credit hours for advanced students; 5 credit hours for students without advanced preparation)

Survey and Integration of Neuroscience II (NRSC 5110; 3 credit hours)

Advances in Neuroscience Research Seminar (NRSC 6100; 3 semesters required at 2 credit hours per semester)

Total: 11 credits for advanced students; 14 credits for students without advanced preparation

Required Fundamentals of Neuroscience Depth Courses (6-9 credit hours)

Students will also be required to take a minimum of 3 additional Neuroscience-related courses (2-3 credit hours/course) that will provide greater depth and focus on Neuroscience fundamentals than will be possible to cover in the year long Survey and Integration of Neuroscience course. The courses that will fulfill this requirement are Neuroscience-related courses that have been approved by the participating faculty in the Neuroscience Program (see Table 3). The specific depth courses that each student takes will be selected from the approved list by the student in consultation with their primary faculty advisor. These depth courses will provide the student with advanced expertise in several of the fundamental areas of neuroscience.

Neuroscience-related Discipline Specialization (11+ credit hours)

In addition to the above neuroscience courses, students will be required to take a sequence of courses that provides an advanced graduate-level specialization in a discipline that contributes to the field of Neuroscience. In most cases these specialty courses will consist of a sequence of graduate courses offered within the faculty advisor's department/program of affiliation. This specialization is comparable to a minor requirement. The goal of this specialization requirement is to make students experts within a discipline of Neuroscience.

Table 2. Summary of Credit Hour Requirements


Credit hours

Survey and Integration of Neuroscience I (NRSC 5100)

2 or 5

Survey and Integration of Neuroscience II (NRSC 5110)


Advances in Neuroscience Research Seminar (2 unit/sem) (NRSC 6100)


Neuroscience depth courses (2-3 units/course)


Additional Neuroscience-related discipline courses





Comprehensive Examination

In accordance with the graduate school requirements, students will be required to take a comprehensive exam which they must pass in order to advance to doctoral candidacy status. Successful completion (grade of B- or better) of the Survey and Integration of Neuroscience I and II courses will fulfil the Neuroscience component of the comprehensive exam. In addition, the student must pass a comprehensive exam in their area of specialization. The format of the specialty comprehensive exam will be determined by the student's advisor and will be appropriate for the advisor's department/program of affiliation.



All Neuroscience PhD students will be required to complete a doctoral thesis with a primary Neuroscience focus. The thesis/dissertation will represent original state-of-the art research of quality suitable for publication in a reputable scientific journal. The student's thesis advisor must be a participating faculty member of the Neuroscience program. In addition, the student's thesis committee must include at least 1 additional Neuroscience faculty member from outside the student's area of specialization. In accordance with the requirements of the Graduate School, the student's committee must be comprised of a minimum of 5 faculty members that have graduate faculty appointments. The committee will be formed by the student's advisor, upon approval of the slate of members by the Director of the Neuroscience PhD Program.


Current Neuroscience Courses

The neuroscience courses for the program are outlined in Table 3. Additional courses can be petitioned to be added to this list.

Table 3. List of Current and Pending Courses

Course department and number Course title
Neuroscience Core Courses  
NRSC 5100 Survey and Integration of Neuroscience I
NRSC 5110 Survey and Integration of Neuroscience II
NRSC 6100 Advances in Neuroscience Research Seminar
Department of Chemistry, College of Arts and Sciences  
CHEM 5800-3 Cell Regulation
CHEM 5801-3 Advanced Signal Transduction and Cell Cycle Regulation
Department of Computer Science, College of Engineering  
CSCI 5622-3 Neural Networks / Machine Learning
CSCI 6622-3 Advanced Neural Networks / Machine Learning
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology  
EBIO 5800 Animal Behavior
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering and Applied Science  
ECEN 5811-3 Neural Signals
ECEN 5831-3 Brains, Minds and Computers
Department of Integrative Physiology, College of Arts and Sciences  
IPHY 5440-3 Vertebrate Endocrinology
IPHY 5700-5

Vertebrate Histology

IPHY 5730-3 Motor Control
IPHY 6010-3 Sleep Medicine Seminar
IPHY 6640-3 Systemic Cardiovascular Regulation
IPHY 6650-3 Cellular Cardiovascular Physiology
Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, College of Arts and Sciences  
MCDB 5210-3 Cell Structure and Function
MCDB 5250-3 Topics in Developmental Genetics
MCDB 5426-3 Cell Signalling and Developmental Regulation
MCDB 5471-3 Mechanisms of Gene Regulation in Eukaryotes
MCDB 5777-3 Molecular Neurobiology
MCDB 5680-3 Mechanisms of Aging
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, College of Arts and Sciences  
NRSC 5545Neurobiology of Addiction
PSYC 5032-3 Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
PSYC 5015Affective Neuroscience
PSYC 5052-4 Behavioral Neuroscience (overlaps with NRSC 5100, depending on Instructor)
PSYC 5072 Clinical Neuroscience
PSYC 5082 (2 or 3 units depending on the specific offering) Seminar: Special Topics in Biopsychology; can be taken multiple times
PSYC 5092-3 Hormones and Behavior
PSYC 5102-3 Advanced Behavioral Genetics
PSYC 5112-3 Concepts - Behavior Genetics
PSYC 5132-3 Behavioral Neuropharmacology
PSYC 5162-3 Developmental Behavioral Genetics
PSYC 5175-3 Computational Cognitive Neuroscience
PSYC 5212-3 Gerontology: A Multidisciplinary Perspective
PSYC 5232-3 Molecular Genetics/Behavior
PSYC 5262-3 Mammalian Neuroanatomy
PSYC 5272-3 Neuronal Plasticity
PSYC 5385-3 Ethology/Comparative Psychology
PSYC 5665-2 Prosem: Higher-level perception & attention
PSYC 5665-2 Prosem: Learning and memory
PSYC 5685-2 Prosem: Sensory Processes
PSYC 5815-2 Prosem: Language
PSYC 5815-2 Prosem: Higher-level cognition
PSYC 7215Mathematical Modeling of Cognition
PSYC 7536-2 Theories and Research in Emotion
PSYC 7536-2 The Social Brain
Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences  
SLHS 5252-3 Acquired Adult Language Disorders
SLHS 5282-3 Acquired Cognitive Disorders
SLHS 5292-3 Motor Speech Disorders and Dysphagia
SLHS 5576-2 Communication Neuroscience
SLHS 6006-3 Advanced Hearing Science
SLHS 6564-3 Auditory Processes: Neurodiagnostics
SLHS 7100-3 Cognitive Bases of Human Communication and its Disorders
SLHS 7540-3 Auditory Processes: Physiology, Assessment, and Management of the Vestibular System
SLHS 8206-3 Models of Speech Production and Perception