Graduate Study in Neurosciences - Coursework

Core and Elective Courses

The neuroscience courses are subdivided into required core courses that all students must complete and elective courses that represent two major fields:

  • Cell and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience

Additional Required Coursework

  1. Additional course requirements include one core course from each of the following themes:
    1. Biobehavioral Neuroscience
    2. Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
    3. General Neurobiology
  2. In addition, all students are expected to take a course in Bioethics or Issues of Scientific Integrity and receive training in effective oral communication and teaching (Teaching Principles course).

Time to Complete Required and Elective Coursework

All required and most elective courses are completed in the first two years of the program.

Likely Curriculum

Since the Neuroscience Program has faculty at KU-Lawrence and the KU Medical Center, the core curriculums are approached slightly different.

Likely Curriculum by Campus

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

The neuroscience curriculum is subdivided into core courses that all students must complete and electives representing the 2 major specializations,

  • Cell and Molecular Neuroscience and
  • Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience.

There is considerable flexibility in the curriculum to accommodate specific interests of the students and course availability. Course choices should be done by consulting your mentor and the Director of the Neuroscience Program prior to establishing a graduate committee. A 5-member faculty advisory committee including at least 3 members of the neuroscience program should be in place at the beginning of the second year of study to help the student choose electives if needed but more so to provide guidance on the research progress. Students should meet with the committee in the Fall of their second year of study and present their research progress to the committee and an outline of their thoughts for preparing a 6 page proposal for their oral defense in the spring/summer of the second year

Continued enrollment in the neuroscience seminar is required and students are expected to present a yearly seminar. This can constitute a literature review for first year students and subsequent presentations are typically on research progress.

Students also receive training in the responsible conduct of research and teaching in the neurosciences. For the Ph.D., the student completes the core curriculum as well as research skills training, comprehensive oral examination, preparation of a dissertation, and final oral examination and defense of the dissertation.

All students must complete a research skill. Commonly used areas are radiation biology and radiation safety, cell culture methodology, techniques of electron and confocal microscopy, molecular biology laboratory training, computer science training, statistics, and training in electronics and instrumentation.

Note: Contact your department or program for more information about research skills and responsible scholarship, and the current requirements for doctoral students. Current Lawrence and Edwards Campus policies on Doctoral Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship are listed in the KU Policy Library.

Given the breadth of neuroscience research, the Neuroscience curriculum at KU-Lawrence is individualized for each student’s needs and interests. However, there is a series of core courses the student will need to either have taken or complete during the program. A range of elective courses in statistics, genomics, medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, toxicology, sensory and developmental neurobiology or molecular cell biology may supplement the core courses. Credit hours listed.

Core Curriculum for the Ph.D. in Neurosciences

The following is the core curriculum for the Ph.D. in KU Lawrence Graduate Study in Neurosciences program:

Successful completion of the following Neuroscience courses:

BIOL 636  Biochemistry I (or another graduate level biochemistry ) 
BIOS 720Analysis of Variance (offered through KUMC statistics program) 
P&TX 730     Advanced Pharmacology I - CNS and ANS (Neuropharmacology - offered through KU Pharmacology and Toxicology) 
P&TX 742Experimental Pharmacology 
NURO 799Neuroscience Seminar Series ( Required each semester) 
NURO 800Neuroscience Teaching Principles 
NURO 801Issues in Scientific Integrity 
NURO 803Neuroscience Literature Review I 
NURO 805Neuroscience Literature Review II 
NURO 825Research in Neuroscience 
NURO 846Advanced Neuroscience (offered through KUMC Neuroscience program) 
NURO 848Molecular Mechanisms of Neurological Disorders (offered through KUMC Neuroscience program) 

   * Completion of written and oral comprehensive exam

The following is a likely curriculum for a student enrolling in the KUMC Graduate Studies in Neurosciences program:

Year 1: Fall Semester

  • IGPBS Module1: Protein Structure, Thermodynamics, Kinetics
  • IGPBS Module 2: Cell Metabolism
  • IGPBS Module 3: Molecular Biology
  • Lab rotations
  • Neuroscience seminar

Year 1: Spring Semester

  • Advanced Neuroscience
  • IGPBS Module 4: Cell and Developmental Biology
  • IGPBS Module 5: Molecular and Physiological Basis of Disease
  • Lab rotations/Faculty research seminar series
  • Neuroscience Seminar

Year 2: Fall Semester

  • Course in Bio-Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Course in Cell and Molecular Neuroscience
  • First Elective for Molecular & Cellular Neuroscience or Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience
  • Second Elective for Molecular & Cellular Neuroscience or Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience
  • Neuroscience Seminar

Year 2: Fall Semester

  • Completion of written and oral comprehensive exam
  • Research Skill
  • Bioethics
  • Neuroscience Teaching Principles

Year 3: Fall/Spring Semester

  • Dissertation Research

Year 4: Fall/Spring Semester

  • Dissertation Research