The Committee on Neurobiology is an interdepartmental committee designed
to provide training and instruction for students interested in the biology
of the nervous system, and to encourage communication and the exchange
of ideas between faculty members and students interested in neurobiology.
Recent technical and conceptual developments in neuroscience have produced
remarkable growth in this field. The committee reflects this growth in
its structure, having members from different departments whose research
interests include a broad spectrum of approaches from the biochemical
and molecular to the behavioral and comparative. The committee aims to
provide broad training in technical and theoretical aspects of the neurosciences.
The Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
Students initially are admitted to the Division of the Biological Sciences
and must meet divisional requirements. The progress of each student will
be supervised during the first one or two years by the chair of the Committee
on Neurobiology until the student chooses a thesis advisor. Upon choosing
a thesis advisor, an advisory committee chaired by a faculty member who
is not the students thesis advisor is formed. The advisory committee
consists of at least four faculty members with a majority being members
of the Committee on Neurobiology. As a students focus changes, the
composition of the advisory committee may be modified.
Each student is required to take at least nine basic science courses.
Usually these courses will be taken during the first year and part of
the second year. Required courses include a series of courses on cellular,
developmental, molecular and systems neurobiology and a course in cell
biology. Elective courses focus on topics such as neuropharmacology, systems
neurophysiology, development, physiology of ion channels and statistics.
During the first year, in addition to taking courses, students rotate
through different laboratories. There is not a required minimum of rotations
but students usually rotate through two to four laboratories and pick
a research lab by the end of their first year. Toward the end of the second
year, students write a preliminary examination consisting of a critical
essay, which is followed by an oral defense. The topic of this exam does
not overlap with the expected topic of thesis research. During the third
or fourth year, the student writes a thesis proposal and defends this
before the advisory committee. For the purposes of the divisional requirements,
this is the examination testing the candidates qualifications for
The original observations included in the final Ph.D. dissertation should
be judged suitable for publication. The final oral examination for the
Ph.D. degree consists of a public seminar and a private defense conducted
by the advisory committee and by other such members of the University
faculties as may be deemed suitable.
This page last revised on 8/29/2003