Letter to Prospective PhD Students

The CNUP graduate training program includes more than 100 training faculty in the University's School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Medicine, and a similar number of graduate students. The great depth and breadth of faculty research interests available on our campus provide flexibility and opportunity for broad educational experiences in all aspects of the discipline, including cellular and molecular neurobiology, neural development, synaptic transmission, neural systems, neuroendocrinology, human cognitive function, and the biological basis of neuropsychiatric and neurological disorders. However, in administering the program, we have important features typical of smaller-sized programs, namely, communal support and individualized attention.

We ask that you review the faculty research interests in this site, and note the following three distinct features of our program.

First, the program is research-oriented. Thus, we offer incoming students the opportunity to arrive early so that they are well-immersed in a research project before classes start in late August. This feature reflects our belief that training in research is the most critical component of graduate education, and that courses are of most benefit when they can be related to ongoing research.

Second, the student group in the program is diverse. Our students are graduates of small colleges as well as large universities; some have degrees in biology, neuroscience or psychology, while others have training in chemistry, physics, mathematics, or engineering. Because of this diversity, students are given great flexibility in scheduling elective courses. This policy reflects our belief that training in neuroscience should conform to the individual interests and needs of our students.

Third, our program operates more like a community than like a collection of individuals. There is an unusual amount of productive scientific interaction among the faculty, and, in consequence, students working with one faculty member often work with others on shared research projects.

Throughout his or her graduate career, the progress of each student is monitored not just by the student's mentor but by an advisory committee of training faculty selected by the student. This policy reflects our strong belief that in a rapidly moving field like neuroscience, students are not likely to find all the expertise they need within one laboratory.

Thank you for your interest in our program. Please contact us with any questions you may have, and good luck with your plans for a career in neuroscience.


Brian M. Davis, PhD
Stephen D. Meriney, PhD

CNUP Co-Directors