Formal Requirements

Article Index

Requirements for the Ph.D.

 To obtain the Doctor of Philosophy degree, a Behavioral Neuroscience student must have completed the Master’s Degree, Qualifying Exam and a total of at least 24 research credits (830: 701; 702) and 48 course credits. Each of these are described in detail below.


Program Deadlines

 * Master’s Committee formed and proposal defended: End of 3rd semester

* Master’s Thesis successfully defended: End of 5th semester

* Qualifying Exam completed: End of 7th semester.


If a student enters the program with an acceptable Masters from another institution, then the deadline for completion of the Qualifying Examination is the end of the 5th semester.

The Master's Thesis

 1. Master’s Proposal

 A Master’s Thesis Committee must be formed, whose membership must be approved by the Area Coordinator, Vice Chair for Graduate Studies and Department Chair. The format for the Master’s proposal is flexible, to be determined by the student and his or her advisor. A written proposal is approved in advance by the committee. Discussion and approval of the proposal takes the form of the student’s meeting with the committee as a whole; and if needed, with members individually.


2. Written Master’s Thesis

 Since an important goal of the Master’s process is a research publication, a publication-quality paper will fulfill the written requirement. (Granting of the Master’s Degree will be independent of whether the paper is accepted for publication.) This will be a full-length research paper written in the appropriate style of a high-quality peer-reviewed journal. The style will be that of the journal to which the paper is submitted, and need not adhere to the APA style, since our area publishes in a variety of journals. Two restrictions apply: 1) if the paper is submitted in a reduced format, such as a brief communication or a Nature report, then a separate, full-length paper would still be required for the Master’s Thesis; and 2) the format must be consistent with the requirements of the Graduate School (see “Style Guide for Thesis and Dissertation Preparation, April, 2004). The latter concerns certain clerical details, rather than content or length, and states that style is to be determined by the student and advisor. In case of a discrepancy between Graduate School and journal requirements, two versions of the same document can be generated.


3. Oral Defense of the Master’s Thesis

 The format resembles that which the student will encounter later, in defending the Doctoral Dissertation. The student will make a 30- to 45-minute presentation, open to anyone interested, followed by a closed session with the Master’s Thesis Committee.