The Neuroscience Graduate Program, which was begun in 1983, has its headquarters in the Department of Neuroscience at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Consisting of 64 faculties drawn from various departments across the University, it serves as the hub of a broad spectrum of efforts for the training of graduate students, encompassing molecular, cellular, developmental, systems, cognitive and computational neuroscience as well as neurobiology of disease. Each year, from a pool of-200 applicants, we typically matriculate 10-12 Ph.D. candidates as well as 1-4 candidates for combined M.D./Ph.D. degrees (who are admitted through a separate process). Students enter the program with diverse undergraduate backgrounds ranging from computer science to biochemistry. In the first year they are required to take a year-long integrative lecture course with lab entitled "Neuroscience and Cognition" as well as a seminar on "Science, Ethics and Society". Research opportunities are presented to students through a Departmental Retreat, Lab Lunches (which feature work-in-progress) and a Mini-symposium series by Program Faculty specifically designed to help first-year students choose their research rotations. This information is used to help pick three 12-week lab rotations which are typically completed by the end of the first academic year, following which, a thesis lab is selected. By the end of the second year, students complete 6 additional elective courses, many of which are chosen from a list of 12 small seminar-style courses in Neuroscience specialties. Following completion of a Comprehensive Exam at the end of Year 2, students write and defend a Thesis Proposal which is written in the form of a Pre-doctoral NRSA. Each student is advised by two Prethesis Advisors in Years 1 -2 (at 3 month intervals) and an individualized Thesis Advisory Committee thereafter (at 6 month intervals). Thesis Advisory Committees make reports to the Graduate Program Steering Committee which carefully tracks the progress of each student in the program as well as setting overall program policy. At present, 85 students are enrolled in the Neuroscience Graduate program. The average time to complete the Ph.D. has been 5.3 years. Of the students who have graduated from our program greater than 93% have remained in academic biomedical research. Here, we request stipend support for five students during their first two years in the program.
The mission of the Program is to train the next generation of neuroscientists to teach and perform research in both basic and clinical neurosciences. The Training Program also serves as a focal point for the faculty and for fostering interactions among students and other investigators doing research in neuroscience.
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