Program in Neuroscience
1352 Jordan Hall
University of Virginia
P.O. Box 801408
Charlottesville, VA 22908-1408
(434) 982-4285 Fax: (434) 243-6549
Neuroscience has evolved as a vital and dynamic field involving
the anatomy, biochemistry, pharmacology, and physiology of the brain and their
relationship to behavior. This range of disciplines combined for the study of
a singular and remarkably complex organ (the brain) dictates the need for unique
interdisciplinary study. The Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program at the University
of Virginia has been developed to provide such an opportunity. It coalesces
over 50 faculty from more than 14 departments into a unified program for graduate
study, leading to the Ph.D. degree in Neuroscience.
Prerequisites While there are no rigid prerequisites
for admission to the neuroscience program, the optimal background of entering
students would include courses in biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, and
mathematics. Each subdiscipline of neuroscience requires a different degree
of preparation in each of these areas, and students with inadequate backgrounds
in the basic biological, physical, and behavioral sciences are required to satisfy
the deficiency after admission to the program.
Requirements The program is designed to encourage involvement
in research at every stage. Thus, upon admission, students choose advisors based
on their areas of interest. The students make their academic home in the advisors
laboratory and engage in research apprenticeships there.
The first-year requirements are designed to provide students
with fundamental information for more advanced training. Courses in the first
year include a survey course in neurobiology, cell structure and function, and
medical neuroscience. Students also work closely with neuroscience graduate
program faculty through laboratory apprenticeships in the first year to begin
formulation of a research program. During the second year, students take more
specialized courses such as developmental neurobiology, neurophysiology, and
behavioral and cognitive neuroscience. Completion of all course requirements
usually occurs in the second year. It is also during this year that students
begin to choose laboratories in which they concentrate research efforts, and
begin to formulate a topic for a major area paper used for advancement to candidacy
toward the Ph.D. Various laboratory rotations are encouraged during the first
two years of training. In the third year, students are expected to pass the
major area paper and continue work on projects that may be a portion of their
Ph.D. thesis. Completion of requirements for the Ph.D. are contingent on successful
presentation and defense of a written proposal, an oral presentation of dissertation
work before the neuroscience graduate program, a written thesis, and successful
defense of the thesis.
The students program of courses is developed through
close consultation with their faculty advisor. Attention is placed on flexibility
in the program. Each students program is tailored to meet individual needs
This program is administered by the Neuroscience Graduate Committee,
which is chaired by Doug Bayliss in the Department of Pharmacology.
There is no foreign language requirement. The Neuroscience
website may be consulted for further information.
BIO 1505 - (3) (Y)
BIMS 710 - (1) (Y)
Formal training in scientific integrity and ethical principles
BIMS 812 - (5) (Y)
Cell Structure and Function
Introduces cellular, molecular, and developmental neuroscience.
Includes the cellular and molecular biology of neurons and glia, intercellular
signaling in the nervous system, and neuronal development and plasticity. Lectures
and directed readings of primary literature.
NESC 703 - (5) (Y)
An analysis of current research on the interrelationships of
structure and their functions in bacterial and eukaryotic cells. Special emphasis
is placed on the functions of cellular membranes as related to neuromuscular
activities and on cellular interactions as related to cancer.
NESC 706 - (5) (Y)
Fundamentals of Neuroscience
Provides a comprehensive and integrated understanding of the
structure and function of the central nervous system. Stresses the structural
and functional interrelationships of the various regions of the brain and spinal
cord, and the cellular, molecular, and developmental biology of the nervous
system. Laboratory sessions include brain dissections and examination of microscopic
NESC 707 - (2) (Y)
Tutorial in Fundamentals of Neuroscience
Corequisite: NESC 706.
Examines fundamental issues raised in NESC 706
and reviews literature on a wide range of current topics, such as the molecular
NESC 720 - (3) (Y)
Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience
Covers regulatory systems that operate on behavior, including
behavioral neuroscience topics (circadian rhythms, drug addiction, neuroethology,
social behavior) and cognitive neuroscience topics (physiology of learning and
memory, perception, cognition, aging).
NESC 801, 802 - (2) (S)
Seminar in Neuroscience
Prerequisite: Permission of program director.
Topics of current interest
in neuroscience are presented and discussed by both the program faculty and visiting
neuroscientists from other
NESC 808 - (1) (Y)
Neuroscience Graduate Student Seminar Series
Students give forty-five minute presentations to their peers
each week. Provides a chance for practice and improvement in giving lectures
and an opportunity to receive advice from fellow trainees and attending faculty.
Gives all members of the program updates on the progress and scientific interests
of the students.
NESC 815, 816, 817, 818 - (2) (S)
Introduction to Research
Prerequisite: Permission of program director.
acquaints the student with applied theory and current techniques in addressing
research problems in neuroscience.
NESC 850, 851 - (1-3) (Y)
Directed Readings in Neuroscience
Prerequisite: NESC 706, 707, and 708. or permission
of program director.
Selected readings in neuroscience under the direction of
a program faculty member.
NESC 997 - (3-12) (S)
Non-Topical Research, Preparation for Doctoral Research
For doctoral research, taken before a dissertation director
has been selected.
NESC 999 - (3-12) (S)
For doctoral research, under the supervision of a dissertation
PHY 862 - (2) (Y)
Selected topics in neurophysiology, emphasizing synaptic organization
of the brain: how neurons convert physical stimuli into the sensations they
evoke and how movement is controlled through integrative neuronal action. Explores
the mechanisms of learning and memory at the neuronal and molecular levels.
STAT 500 - (3) (Y)
Introduction to Applied Statistics
Introduces estimation and hypothesis testing in applied statistics,
especially the medical sciences. Measurement issues, measure of central tendency
and dispersion, probability, discrete probability, distributions (binomial and
Poisson), continuous probability distributions (normal, t, chi-square, and F),
and one-and two-sample inference, power and sample size calculations, introduction
to non-parametric methods, one-way ANOVA and multiple comparisons. Students
must enroll in STAT 598 for 1 credit (Applied Statistics Laboratory).