The Graduate Training Program in Neuroscience at Texas A&M University is designed to prepare students to become successful independent researchers that can help society meet wide-ranging needs in industry, medicine, defense and academic fields. Our interdisciplinary program spans several colleges (Science, Medicine, Liberal Arts, Engineering, Veterinary Medicine) thereby offering our students access to superb facilities, tools, and training and expertise not normally found in single departments. Our program promotes discovery by giving students a solid knowledge base in fundamental neuroscience and then putting them in position to conduct cutting-edge research using state of the art tools in a wide variety of research areas. The training program emphasizes flexibility by allowing each student to work with their thesis committee to design a unique degree plan that best suits his or her long-term objectives.
ROTATIONS AND RESEARCH
Three rotations with TAMIN faculty during the fall and spring semesters are required of incoming students. Those that hold a master’s degree are exempt from rotations if they choose and have the consent of their chosen PI. Students are expected to begin full-time in the lab of their choice by the end of the spring semester of year 1. From this point, students will focus almost exclusively on their thesis work. Student rotation forms can be found on the Student Resources page.
Members of the student’s thesis committee administer preliminary exams, which should be completed before the start of the third academic year. The student’s committee has broad leeway for defining the scope and narrative of the exams, but must include both a written and oral component. The Texas A&M Office of Graduate and Professional Studies sets standard eligibility guidelines and requirements for when the exam can take place (see the Preliminary Exam Checklist). Normally, the oral component of the preliminary exam includes a presentation of the student’s research proposal followed by a question and answer session in which the committee assures that the student is adequately prepared to conduct and complete the proposed research.
While the neuroscience program does not have any formal teaching requirements, there are teaching opportunities available in many of the departments composing TAMIN should students desire this additional training. Additionally, we encourage students to seek out training opportunities through the Texas A&M Center for Teaching Excellence.
SYMPOSIA & SEMINARS
TAMIN host a yearly Neuroscience Symposium. Additionally, TAMIN and its affiliated departments offer numerous seminars featuring speakers from across the country.
TAMIN offers travel awards to support graduate student presentations at national research conferences.
Our graduate students are highly active in the local community (visit our Outreach & Activities page). Students regularly participate in the Brazos Valley Walk to End Alzheimer’s and organize a yearly Brain Day for elementary school students. Additionally, students organize the yearly Neuroscience Symposium. Volunteer events are sponsored by TAMIN and the Texas A&M Society for Neuroscience Chapter.
LIFE IN COLLEGE STATION/BRYAN
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COURSEWORK AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS
Completing a Ph.D. requires 96 credit hours of coursework, successfully passing oral and written preliminary exams at the end of the students second year, and completion of an original research project that comprises the student’s dissertation. A typical timeline is summarized here (NRSC PhD Timeline). The formal coursework includes two foundation courses that all students take, a statistics and experimental design course, and four electives that are tailored to the students research focus. Depending on the student’s background and research objectives, additional coursework may be recommended by their thesis committee. The rest of the credit hours are largely accounted for by credit given for attending weekly research seminars, journal clubs and time spent in the lab. Details and an example of a typical Degree Plan are shown in the TAMIN Roadmap to Ph.D. Available neuroscience (NRSC) courses and other approved electives are listed below. For a list of all courses at Texas A&M University, click here.
NRSC 601: Principles of Neuroscience I (3 Credits)
NRSC 602: Principles of Neuroscience II (3 Credits)
NRSC 603: Neuroanatomy (4 Credits)
NRSC 604: Biomedical Neuroendocrinology and Endocrine Disorders (3 Credits)
NRSC 605: Neuroanatomical Systems (3 Credits)
NRSC 606: Learning (3 Credits)
NRSC 609: Physiological Psychology (3 Credits)
NRSC 611: Molecular Biology of Differentiation and Development (3 Credits)
NRSC 615: Perceptual Processes (3 Credits)
NRSC 634: Comparative Neurobiology (3 Credits)
NRSC 635: Biological Clocks (3 Credits)
NRSC 636: Signaling in Behavior and Development (3 Credits)
NRSC 640: Neurobiology (1-5 Credits)
NRSC 641: Principles of Neuropsychology (3 Credits)
NRSC 644: Neural Development (3 Credits)
NRSC 649: Seminar in Behavioral Neuroscience (3 Credits)
NRSC 671: Experimental Design for Behavioral Scientists (3 Credits)
NRSC 681: Seminar (1-3 Credits)
NRSC 685: Directed Studies (1-4 Credits)
NRSC 689: Special Topics in Neuroscience (1-4 Credits)
NRSC 691: Research (1+ Credits)
BIOL 609: Tools in Molecular Biology
BIOL 698: Behavior, Genes and Evolution
MSCI 601: Principles of Medical Sciences
MSCI 610: Pathogenesis of Human Disease
NEXT 603: Advanced Neuropsychopharmacology
NUTR 669: Experimental Nutrition and Food Science Laboratory
PSYC 689: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
VIBS 617: Cell Signaling