The graduate program leading to the Ph.D. in Neuroscience is designed as a five-year program. In the first year, students complete a required curriculum with a series of courses that are designed to provide the student with a strong background in all facets of neuroscience. This basic coursework is augmented by several elective courses that students choose to take in the areas of Molecular Neuroscience, Systems Neuroscience and the Neurobiology of Disease. Concurrently, first year students familiarize themselves with the different approaches to neuroscience research by embarking on a series of 3-5 eight-week rotations in the laboratories of Neuroscience faculty of their choice. The purposes of the laboratory rotations are to provide a vehicle for the students to familiarize themselves with the faculty and the focus of their research, to gain experience in a variety of experimental techniques, and to gain an appreciation for the diverse set of issues currently being addressed by the Faculty in the Department of Neuroscience. In addition, during the rotations students typically generate preliminary data that serve to help generate ideas for a thesis project.

At the beginning of the second year, students choose an advisor, enter into the lab full time, and, with the guidance of their advisor and Advisory Committee, they develop suitable thesis research projects. A qualifying exam is administered to determine the student's eligibility for admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. Eligibility is determined by examination of the student's basic knowledge of Neuroscience, their capacity for originality and their scientific approach to research. Basic knowledge is tested in the written examination; research originality and approach are evaluated with an oral examination. In the fall of the second year, the written qualifying exam is administered. The scope of the written exam is limited by the course work experience of Neuroscience graduate students and requires problem solving and comprehensive essay responses. In the spring of the second year students must pass their oral qualifying exam, which is administered by members of the student's Thesis Advisory Committee. This exam is designed to test the student's ability to synthesize, write up, and defend a scientific research project of the student's choice. The research proposal may cover any area of neuroscience research and typically (but not necessarily) represents a project being conducted or contemplated by the student for their thesis project. Upon the successful completion of the qualifying exam and satisfying the necessary course requirements, a student is formally admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D.

Over the next two years, students continue to dedicate themselves to completing their thesis project, honing their laboratory skills, and developing their ability to think critically. Twice a year, students meet with their Thesis Advisory Committee, which oversees the progress of the student's development and research project. At the completion of the Ph.D. program, students give a public seminar and defend their project in front of their committee.

To find out more about this program please visit their website Neuroscience - Baylor College of Medicine - Houston, Texas