Program of Study
You will develop an individualized study program, leading to the Ph.D. degree in four to five years.
The program offers many opportunities for research completed either collaboratively or independently. In addition, activities associated with teaching or research assistantships will provide further valuable experience. Depending on your interests, the program is sufficiently flexible to prepare you for an academic career or for a research career in the private sector.
By specializing in psychobiology and behavioral neuroscience, you acquire an understanding of the fundamental principles of general experimental psychology as well as training in the methodology of behavioral neuroscience. The Behavioral Neuroscience Program is an integral part of the University-wide Neuroscience Program. This program affords you additional training opportunities in anatomy, biochemistry, pharmacology, physiology, and molecular neuroscience.
You will pursue an individualized program of study, prepared in cooperation with your faculty adviser, that gives consideration to program core requirements as well as your background, interests, and competence. During the first two years, collaborative research with your faculty advisor and coursework in Behavioral Neuroscience program generally fulfill the requirements of the M.A. degree. The specific details of the Behavioral Neuroscience graduate program are described here.
Every student is encouraged to complete at least one year of teaching experience at the undergraduate level. Typically, the preferred time to do this is the year immediately after you complete your master's degree, or the third year of study. Most students find that the teaching experience not only prepares them for positions as instructors after graduation, but also helps in preparation for the Candidacy Examination (CE). Successfully completing the CE admits you to Ph.D. candidacy. Most students complete the program after four or five years of study.
There is no further formal coursework to be taken once you pass the CE. Instead, you focus your full-time efforts on research related to the Ph.D. dissertation. Sometimes, students complete a dissertation plan during the third year of study. This is done so that a pilot project, which will determine the feasibility of the proposed dissertation, can be completed. All dissertation proposals must be approved by your thesis committee that is composed of your advisor and at least two other faculty members.