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Program Curriculum Year 1


A printable version of the Program Curriculum (8/16/2010) can be downloaded here.

We expect that students of Neuroscience will be well-versed in a broad specturm of relevant topics in the biological sciences in order to promote the interdisciplinary nature of the science. Courses during the first semester of the first year will thus be geared toward the biochemical and molecular underpinnings of cellular Neuroscience; the second semester will focus more on "systems" Neuroscience, including, the physiological, anatomical and behavioral aspects of the discipline.

Brain BeeThe first year academic program will be based on a core neuroscience course that will be presented in two parts during the first and second semester as well as courses in cell biology and neuroanatomy. Students will be expected to take basic science courses (including the neuroscience core) for two semesters before specializing in one of the three tracks. Students will also be expected to perform research rotations with their faculty of choice (at least two different experiences during the first year). Students are expected to register for a minimum of 12 hours credit each semester.

Always check the Course Schedule in myUIC (see Quick Links) to determine the availability of a course each semester.

 

During the first semester all students will be required to take:

Course Number Course Name Credits
NEUS 501 Foundations of Neuroscience I
3
GCLS 503 Cell Biology
3
NEUS 506 Research Rotations
3-6
  Elective chosen from courses listed under Second year core
2-4
NEUS 595 Seminar in Neuroscience
1

Students who enter the program without a foundation in Biochemistry (3-4 credit hours at the 300 level) or General/Organic Chemistry may be asked to take GCLS 501 Biochemistry their first semester in lieu of an elective.

During the second semester, students will be required to take:

Course Number Course Name Credits
NEUS 502 Foundations of Neuroscience II
3
NEUS 403 either Human Neuroanatomy
3
BioS/NEUS/PSCH 483 or Neuroanatomy
4
NEUS 506 Research Rotations
3-6
  Elective chosen from courses listed under Second year core
2-4
NEUS 595 Seminar in Neuroscience
1

During the summer semester of their first year, students will complete their research rotations and select a thesis research advisor before the start of the Fall semester.


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Evaluation of Student Progress During the First Year

During their first year, students experience a rigorous program comprised of both formal coursework and laboratory experiences. Successful completion of both educational experiences is required for advancement.

Competency in formal courses are evaluated by written tests and oral presentations on assigned topics. Thus, successful completion of the first year and progression to the second year of study is first and foremost contingent upon the student (1) keeping in good academic standing. Graduate students in the Neuroscience Program are considered to be in good standing during their first year if they have a minimum graduate grade point average of 3.0 (A = 4).

Second, students must obtain satisfactory evaluations by faculty advisors during their research rotations. Students are guided by the Director of Graduate Studies and Program Chair to experiences that represent the different areas of concentration in Neuroscience program. Competency in research is evaluated by the research advisor in consultation with the Director of Graduate Study. At the end of the Fall and Spring semesters, first year students are required to present Research Rotation talks where they are asked to give a short presentation on their research experiences and respond to questions from the faculty and their peers. This serves as an additional opportunity for evaluation of the students’ ability to conceptualize information and express their understanding of that information. First year students have numerous additional opportunities to practice making presentations and integrating material across the several concentrations by participating in Journal Club with their fellow students. This experience brings together all of the Neuroscience students to discuss not only their own research but critical topics in the Neuroscience literature that spans the multiple concentrations. All students are expected to lead discussion on various topics and receive feedback from participating faculty and peers.

Thus, successful completion of the first year and progression to the second year of study is also contingent upon the student (2) demonstrating progress in developing research skills as determined by faculty evaluation and ultimately (3) securing a thesis advisor who will agree to support the student through research or other funding sources available to the advisor (which could include training grants, foundation or National Research Service Awards, Departmental Teaching or Research Assistantships, etc.). In the event that a student’s GPA falls below 3.00 and/or the student has not secured a thesis advisor who will arrange for his/her continued support by the end of the Summer semester of the first year, that student will not be allowed to continue in the Program.

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