About the Program

Graduate Training Leading to the Ph.D in Neuroscience at the University of California, Riverside

Neuroscience is a multidisciplinary approach to understanding nervous systems at levels ranging from the molecular and cellular to the whole organism. The goal of this Program is to prepare students for careers in research, teaching and/or scientific administration. Students are expected to learn the fundamentals of Neuroscience, starting with a required core sequence, become knowledgeable concerning a range of research methods as taught in a required Neuroscience laboratory course, and demonstrate capability in original research. Graduate student training ultimately reflects the research competence and specialties of the faculty, that is, the specific research training received by a graduate student is the responsibility of the major professor/mentor under whose guidance and in whose laboratory the student carries out the research projects leading to the degree. Students will benefit from an interdisciplinary training approach, tailored by the major advisor but enriched by the readily available expertise and laboratory facilities of program faculty with backgrounds ranging from chemistry to psychology. In addition to this training, it is our intention, through outside speakers and planned forums, to make students aware of alternate careers open to neuroscientists whose interests and talents might lead to areas such as biotechnology, science administration and the like.

The Interdepartmental Ph.D Program in Neuroscience at UC Riverside is aimed at providing high quality graduate training for students who come from a variety of undergraduate backgrounds but share a commitment and an intense interest in nervous system research. We currently have 37 faculty with expertise in various aspects of Neuroscience and whose principal appointments are in the Departments of Biology, Cell Biology & Neuroscience, Chemistry, Entomology, Psychology, and the Division of Biomedical Sciences.

A major part of training in Neuroscience is in supervised laboratory research, the student working with one or more of the Neuroscience faculty. Applicants are encouraged to make contact with faculty members whose work may correspond closely to their own individual interests. Contact information for each faculty member are given in the following pages. Applicants may also contact:

Dustin Domingo, Graduate Student Services Advisor

Ph.D. Program in Neuroscience
1140 Batchelor Hall
University of California
Riverside, CA 92521
(951) 827-0897 | TOLL FREE: (800) 735-0717

For further information and on-line application forms, go to the CNAS Graduate Student Affairs Center website, or call 1-800-735-0717.

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Students are normally supported for five years of graduate training. Eligibility for admission and financial support is determined on the basis of a number of factors including appropriate courses, grade point average, graduate record examination scores, etc. Prior research experience at the undergraduate level is deemed highly desirable.

Doctoral Degree in Neuroscience

Core requirements include:
  1. NRSC/PSYC 200A, 200B, 200C (Fundamentals of Neuroscience)
  2. One Research Methods course selected from NRSC 201 (Graduate Neuro Lab), CBNS/PSYC 120L (Undergraduate Neuro Lab), CHEM 125, CHEM 221A, CHEM 221B, CHEM 221C, CHEM 221D, PSYC 211, PHYS 139L
  3. Two courses or one course sequence selected from the following: CBNS 127, PSYC 203A, PSYC 203B, PSYC 203C, BCH 110A-BCH 110B-BCH 110C, BIOL/CMDB 200, BIOL/CMDB 201, BCH 241/CHEM 241, BIOL 203, BMSC 210A, BMSC 210B, BMSC 220, BMSC 230, ENTM 206 and ENTM 206L, CBNS 120. 
    Which of these course options are most appropriate to the student's career goals will be determined by the student in consultation with his/her guidance committee.
  4. During each quarter in academic residence every student will enroll and participate in the Colloquium in Neuroscience (NRSC 257 or NRSC 287), and, until passing the oral qualifying examination, every student will take at least two seminars, Special Topics in Neuroscience (NRSC 289, 2 units), during each year of academic residence. 
    One seminar per year will be required after the qualifying examination is passed.
  5. After completing the course requirements and no later than the ninth quarter in residence, the student will be given a two-part qualifying examination, one written and one oral.
  6. Regardless of whether financial support comes from Fellowships or Research Assistantships, etc., each student will be required to be a Teaching Assistant for at least two quarters in Neuroscience or related-area courses, such as those taught by their mentors.
  7. Within three months of advancement to candidacy, the student will be required to submit a written dissertation proposal to the Dissertation Committee for comments and approval. Before the dissertation is given final approval, the student must present a public lecture on the dissertation research to faculty and students in the program. Following the public lecture, the student will meet with the Dissertation Committee for an oral defense in accordance with the regulations of the Graduate Division.

The normative time to the Ph.D. degree is 16 quarters.

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