PhD Requirements

PhD Program Requirements Image


Program requirements are detailed in Guidelines and Regulations for Doctoral Study in the CNUP Training Program. These written guidelines and regulations are presented to entering students and provide the student with detailed information on all aspects of the training program. Key aspects of the training program are listed below.


  • Students start research in a laboratory they select immediately upon entering the program.
  • Students gain experience in at least two laboratories, through rotations during the first year.
  • Students choose a doctoral advisor no later than the end of August of the first year.


  • A sequence of three core courses that are typically completed in the first year:
    • Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology I
    • Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology II
    • Systems Neurobiology
  • 2–3 elective courses (there are many from which to choose).
  • A statistics course and an ethics course.
  • Proseminar in Fall Term of Year 1 (informal weekly presentations by faculty of ongoing research).
  • A Grant Writing course.
  • Research seminar (regular attendance is required throughout graduate training).
  • Journal Club (regular attendance at a broad-based student-run journal club is required until students have advanced to candidacy).


  • In general, second-year students serve as teaching assistants to members of the training faculty for a one-term course.


  • Preliminary exam (referred to as the "reprint exam," this exam is taken at the end of the first year and tests the student's ability to orally present and critically evaluate a published research report).
  • Comprehensive exam (this exam takes the format of a grant application).
  • Doctoral dissertation and defense.

Student Evaluations

  • Annual evaluation by the CNUP Student Evaluations Committee (also mid-year evaluation of first-year students).
  • Second year research evaluation.