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Program Timeline

Normal progress toward the degree means that each student is expected to move through a series of milestones necessary to obtain the PhD at a reasonable pace and at the proper level of performance.

Under normal circumstances, students in the Neurosciences Program should be able to earn the PhD in less than 6 years. 

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Year 1


  • Complete Boot Camp
  • Complete Core Coursework  (NEU200 Series, Statistics NEU225, Mammalian Neuroanatomy NEU257, and Research Rounds NEU276)
  • Complete three Research Rotations
  • Attend SfN Conference
  • Select Thesis Advisor


Year 2


  • Begin Thesis Research
  • Finish Course Requirements; Scientific Ethics (NEU241), and Research Rounds (NEU276)
  • Minor Proposition Course and Exam (NEU280)
  • 1-2 Elective Courses (NEU221, etc.)
  • Complete TA Requirement (one quarter)
  • Select Pre-thesis Committee
  • Pre-thesis Committee Meeting


Year 3


  • Continue Thesis Research
  • 1-2 Elective Courses (to complete the 12 unit requirement)
  • Thesis Committee Meeting
  • Advancement to Candidacy


Year 4


  • Advancement to Candidacy
  • Dissertation Research
  • Thesis Committee Meeting


Year 5

  • Dissertation Research
  • Dissertation Defense