Program components

Lab Rotations

During the first year, students will contact potential thesis/dissertation advisors and complete rotations to learn techniques and explore research areas of interest. Typically, students will experience 2-3 rotations before deciding on a mentor to work with during their thesis/dissertation project.


Students begin the program with two years of courses in neuroscience, molecular and cellular biology, methods, ethics, and research seminars (Course Descriptions). Neuroscience classes are led by faculty from the Neuroscience Graduate Program.

Doctoral Candidacy and Defense

After completing all of the course requirements, students take a qualifying exam for admission to doctoral candidacy at the end of the second year. The semester after successfully completing their qualifying exam, students are to present a dissertation research proposal.  Once approved by the student's committee, they are expected to work on their dissertation research full time while attending the weekly seminar series. Students are expected to present their research regularly and participate in ASNB Program activities. Upon successful defense of the dissertation project the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology will be awarded (Ph.D. requirements). The student handbook provides further details on this process.