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Neurobiology and Behavior

Understanding the brain represents both a major scientific challenge and a wonderful research opportunity. Investigations into the mechanisms of neural function require an interdisciplinary approach using the knowledge base and techniques of anatomy, biochemistry, molecular biology, physiology, pharmacology, and the behavioral sciences. Neuroscientists and their students must use these different approaches in their research and training if they are to make inroads to solving the major questions in neuroscience.

The University of Washington has met this challenge by establishing the interdisciplinary graduate program in neurobiology and behavior. The laboratories of more than 120 faculty members in over 20 departments within the School of Medicine, College of Arts and Sciences, and College of Engineering have combined efforts to form the doctoral training program, continuing a long history of collaborative efforts that cross University boundaries.

The program is designed to allow students to obtain both broad training in the neurosciences and more intensive coursework in specific areas of interest. The program emphasizes flexibility and encourages students to take responsibility in the design of their own curriculum. Students have the opportunity to work with faculty whose interests span the breadth of neuroscience research. Graduates of the program are well prepared for a variety of careers involving academic, research, industrial, and public policy positions.

Graduate Program

Graduate Program Coordinator
T471Health Sciences, Box 357270
(206) 685-1647

Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirements

  1. Applicants must have completed a baccalaureate or advanced degree by the time of matriculation; degrees emphasizing biology, physical or natural sciences, and mathematics are preferred.
  2. GRE scores: general test required; subject test not required, but recommended
  3. Minimum three (3) letters of recommendation
  4. Statement of purpose and curriculum vitae
  5. All must be submitted online via the Graduate School application process.

Applications received after the deadline are considered at the discretion of the directors.

Students who have emphasized either biological or physical sciences in their undergraduate careers are invited to apply. Applicants are requested to send a copy of their academic record, GRE scores (including, if possible, scores on a subject test such as chemistry, physics, molecular and cellular biology, psychology, or biology), and three letters of recommendation from the persons who can best evaluate their potential for success in graduate study. New students enter the graduate program September 15. Applications received on or before the deadline are given full consideration. Applications received after the deadline are considered at the discretion of the directors.

Degree Program Requirements

90 credits, to include:

  1. Credit Requirements: 20 graded credits of coursework with NEUBEH core curriculum and 10 credits of graded/ungraded elective courses approved by the curriculum committee chairs and the student's advisers.
  2. First Year: Students complete most of their formal course requirements, select a permanent adviser, and establish a doctoral Supervisory Committee. A typical first-year class schedule includes the NEUBEH 501, NEUBEH 502, NEUBEH 503, NEUBEH 504, NEUBEH 532, NEUBEH 559 series, three lab rotations, and three quarters of the seminar series and journal clubs. Following the third rotation, students generally choose a permanent dissertation adviser in whose lab they pursue research for the rest of their educational career, generally four to five years.
  3. Second Year: Students form their doctoral Supervisory Committee by the end of winter quarter, define their doctoral projects, take additional elective courses, and participate in a teaching internship for a minimum of two quarters (or equivalent), and hold their first committee meeting.
  4. Third Year and Beyond: By the end of autumn quarter of the third year, the student completes the general examination and is conferred official PhD candidacy by the Graduate School. The student then focuses on dissertation research and continues to meet with the Supervisory Committee annually. Annual student evaluations and progress reports are due each spring quarter. When the Supervisory Committee agrees that a student is ready, the final examination is scheduled. Upon successful completion of that examination and acceptance of the completed dissertation by the Graduate School, the student is conferred the PhD degree.

Financial Aid

The NEUBEH program provides a salary with benefits (insurance plus tuition) for the first three quarters of study during rotations. Once the student has entered a dissertation laboratory, support is provided by the department of the dissertation adviser. Students maintaining satisfactory academic progress receive funding for the duration of their graduate training.