Following the Preliminary Examination, the Executive Committee evaluates each student's overall progress. The Committee considers the results of course work, opinions of faculty, (especially those with whom the student has done research), performance in the Neuroscience 700 seminar and results of the Preliminary Examination.
Once a student is deemed qualified to be a candidate for the Ph.D., he/she is recommended to the Graduate School. When the University and the Graduate School requirements have been met, the candidate will receive a "Candidate's Certificate" and may proceed to form a Dissertation Committee and undertake a Ph.D. research project.
Research Proposal and Dissertation Committee
Each student is expected to write an original Ph.D. research proposal, including a brief review of pertinent literature and results of preliminary work. The student, in consultation with their mentor, will present a one page summary of the proposal and nominations for members of the Dissertation Committee to the Executive Committee.
After approval by the Executive Committee the student will meet with his/her Dissertation Committee for approval of the proposal before the Program formally nominates the Dissertation Committee to the Graduate School. A minimum of five faculty members must constitute the Dissertation Committee (three of whom must be members of the Program). The establishment of the Dissertation Committee and the submission of the research proposal must occur in the third year.
Semi-annual meetings of the Dissertation Committee are expected, which provide strong intellectual and personal support to help the student complete a first rate dissertation. After the research proposal is approved, it is the responsibility of the mentor and Dissertation Committee to keep the Executive Committee informed of the student’s progress.
Dissertation and Oral Defense
The requirements for a completed thesis are determined by the Dissertation Committee in consultation with the research mentor and the student. A dissertation will often consist of an introductory chapter, three first authored, peer-reviewed research papers, and a summary chapter. The student must present a public seminar on the dissertation research followed by an oral defense of the dissertation before the Dissertation Committee.