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 anoral 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.