Qualifying Exam


All Neuroscience students must complete a qualifying exam before the start of their third year. Because clear, succinct oral and written communication are essential for any successful research career, the qualifying examination consists of a written research proposal on the student's thesis topic and an oral defense of the proposal in front of a faculty panel.

The qualifying exam tests the student’s ability to identify and communicate the importance of the chosen research area, to create a timely and testable hypothesis, to design a rational and in-depth series of experiments to rigorously test the hypothesis, and to defend all experimental approaches to be employed in the proposed studies. During the oral examination, students should also be prepared to entertain questions outside the thesis topic area and probing one's general scientific knowledge.

Guidelines for the Neuroscience Qualifying Examination may be found in the Program Guide weblink

Contact Information









Thomas Biederer, PhD
Program Director

Administrative Office
Arnold 209
Phone: 617-636-3796
Fax: 617-636-2413

Synapse Neurobiology Program


The Synapse Neurobiology Training Program is an important aspect of training in Neuroscience at Sackler.

Center for Neuroscience Research


The CNR provides state-of-the-art approaches to contemporary problems in neuroscience.
Learn more  weblink

Apply to the Sackler School


The priority application deadlines are as follows:

December 1: Basic Science Division PhD Programs

February 15: Building Diversity in Biomedical Sciences

March 31: Post-Baccalaureate Research Program

May 1: Clinical & Translational Science, MS in Pharmacology & Drug Development