Neuroscience

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The Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP) is a dynamic, multidisciplinary program focused on current neuroscience concepts and techniques to train & award students Ph.D. or M.S. degrees in Neuroscience. Faculty available to mentor students come from a number of different UM Colleges and Departments and specialize in a variety of perspectives and approaches, including: neurochemistry, neuromolecular dynamics and drug design, cellular neurobiology and physiology, behavioral neuroscience, biophysics, and the neurobiology of disease. Dr. Sarah Certel serves as the Director of the NGP. Participating faculty and students also benefit from the close association between the NGP and the Center for Structural & Functional Neuroscience (CSFN).

Courses start at the end of August each year, with general coursework and research rotations the focus in year one. At the end of the first year, students are expected to select an advisor in whose lab they will work to conduct independent research towards a dissertation throughout their tenure in the program. The Research Advisor serves as a mentor to the student and assists the student in assuring that all deadlines and procedures are followed. Prior to selection of a research advisor, the Graduate Education Committee will advise first year students.

In addition to selection of an Advisory Committee, students must prepare a plan of study that includes all courses to be taken. The plan of study must subsequently be endorsed by the Advisory Committee. Any changes in the plan of study, once approved, require approval of the Advisor, Advisory Committee, and the Graduate Standards Committee.

During the second year, students must complete an informational seminar (BMED 594) on an informational topic approved by the Research Advisor. At the beginning of the third year, students must complete the comprehensive qualifying exam. This exam includes both a written component, typically an NRSA-type format grant proposal, and an oral portion that evaluates the candidate’s general knowledge of the neuroscience discipline, and their ability to apply that knowledge in the research setting and in written and oral communication of research and scientific ideas. A process for selection of the written proposal topic is described in Program Policies.

A dissertation research proposal should be completed and endorsed by the Advisory Committee no later than the middle of the fifth semester in attendance. A research progress seminar should also be presented during the third year. Students will spend their remaining time in the program conducting research to assemble a written doctoral dissertation, completing the program with the doctoral dissertation defense.

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