Curriculum and the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior offers first-year students an integrated set of lecture and lab courses on the fundamentals of neuroscience and offers advanced students specialized courses and seminars. Our four core courses are taken in the first year:

Molecular Neuroscience (lecture and workshop)
Cellular Neuroscience (lecture and lab)
Systems Neuroscience
Behavioral Neuroscience

Further information on core and advanced courses can be found in the UCI General Catalogue.

UCI General Catalogue

Students in our graduate program are expected to complete each component of the curriculum satisfactorily and to maintain an overall GPA of 3.3. To graduate, they must also complete four advanced graduate courses, which may include offerings from other departments. Students also teach a neurobiology lab (see Teaching & Related Training), attend our regular departmental colloquium, and participate in the department’s NeuroBlitz series of student research presentations.


Annual Advisory Meetings, Advancement to Candidacy and Graduation

Between the first and second year, students select a three person faculty advisory committee to evaluate academic progress. The committee meets annually, with the exception of years 3 (advancement to candidacy) and 5 (defense).

Graduate students making normal progress in our program are expected to advance to candidacy for the Ph.D. in the third year. To advance, students prepare a document with 1) a critical review of research issues and scientific literature in their field and 2) a proposal that includes specific plans for the dissertation research. A faculty committee evaluates the document and, in an oral exam, assesses the student’s ability to answer questions about his or her chosen field, details of the planned experiments, and broader issues in neurobiology. Details concerning the Advancement can be obtained from the Graduate Advisor.

Our students spend most of their remaining years finishing their research and writing the dissertation. The final exam is an oral defense of the thesis before the student’s doctoral committee. The normative time-to-degree for the School of Biological Sciences is five years; recent students in our program have completed the Ph.D. in 4-6 years.

Learn more about how to navigate through the graduate student experience.