Introduction to the Program
Thank you for your interest in the Graduate Program in Neuroscience
at the University of Minnesota. We are a large, multidisciplinary
program consisting of over 100 faculty members from all parts
of the University of Minnesota, over 25 departments from over 10
colleges. The multidisciplinary nature of our Ph.D. program
is one of its most significant strengths. Often the most novel
and interesting research comes from the bringing together
of two disciplines, and this multidisciplinary approach is
supported by the collaborative environment at the University
Itasca Lab Course
When you start your graduate training in our program, you
begin your studies in July with a five-week laboratory course
covering a range of topics in molecular, cellular, and systems
neuroscience. Held at the Lake Itasca Biological Field Station
at the Itasca State Park located northwest of the Twin Cities,
this intensive course is a completely "hands-on"
experience, with students carrying out both classical and
cutting edge experiments in a modern, well-equipped laboratory.
Only available at the University of Minnesota, this nationally
recognized course will give you an unparalleled introduction
to the excitement of neuroscience.
After returning from Itasca in late August, you will spend
your first year studying our core curriculum. This is designed
to cover all the broad areas in Neuroscience, from molecular
neurobiology and genetics to computational neuroscience. Formal
classes begin in September. The first year's core curriculum
includes courses in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience, Systems
Neuroscience, Developmental Neuroscience and Behavioral Neuroscience.
The program boasts a faculty:student ratio of more than 1:1,
as there are over 100 faculty members who are members of the
Graduate Program in Neuroscience.
Lab Rotations and Minor
You will then choose four laboratory rotations. These rotations
will enable you to experience potential fields of study for
your doctoral work in Neuroscience and facilitate the selection
of an appropriate advisor and thesis topic. You will be expected
to select your Ph.D. thesis advisor by the end of the first
year. In addition, you must take an additional 12 credits
in a supporting or minor field. These are usually finished
by the end of the second year. Typical minors or supporting
programs include cell biology, molecular biology, physiology,
statistics, psychology, medicine and computation. A rich array
of specialized elective courses is offered through the neuroscience
program and other departments throughout the University. We
strongly encourage our students to master collateral areas
of knowledge by enrolling in these courses, which can be tailored
to meet each student's academic needs.
A program-sponsored course, the "Career Skills
Course," offers the opportunity to ask all of those
questions you always wanted to ask about graduate school and
a career in science. Journal clubs and weekly seminars offered
by many departments, including the Department of Neuroscience,
provide ample opportunity for students to keep up-to-date
on developments and issues in neuroscience. We also offer
a weekly Neuroscience Colloquium, where faculty and students
from the Graduate Program in Neuroscience have an opportunity
to share their work and lunch in a friendly, collaborative
atmosphere. This gives everyone an opportunity to see the
diverse research opportunities here at the University of Minnesota.
Many new collaborations start with these weekly research presentations.
The second year and subsequent years are filled with the
most exciting and challenging aspects of our graduate program:
defining a thesis topic and establishing a research program.
The Graduate Program of Neuroscience is multidisciplinary
and collaborative. Because there are over 100 faculty associated
with the program, students find that their opportunities for
research are vast. During this time, you will work closely
with your advisor, and your ideas and hard work will produce
not only a doctoral thesis, but also the neuroscience of tomorrow.
The complexity of research necessitates a multidisciplinary
approach and a collaborative environment to be successful.