Neuroscience PhD

Major: Neuroscience
Degree Awarded: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Calendar Type: 
Minimum Required Credits: 123.5 
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 26.1501
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code:

About the Program

The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies within the College of Medicine offers an interdepartmental and multidisciplinary graduate program in Neuroscience leading to a PhD degree. The program provides a vibrant research component leading to published scientific work in reputable journals, as well as training in the panoply of research and presentation skills required to conduct and disseminate the research. Students are provided with a curriculum of integrated courses that include the essentials for biomedical research and courses that span cellular, developmental, systems and behavioral neurosciences, as well as neuroanatomy, injury and disease of the nervous system. Upon completing these programs, students pursue careers in academic research, teaching, pharmaceutical research, industry, government, academic administration, public policy and beyond.

The PhD program trains individuals to conduct independent hypothesis-driven research and to teach in the neurosciences. The program includes two years of coursework as well as original research leading to published thesis work. Laboratory rotations begin in the fall of the first year.

Additional Information

For more information, visit the College of Medicine's Neuroscience program website.

Admission Requirements

Students interested in cellular, systems (including neuro-engineering,) and behavioral neuroscience are encouraged to apply. There are no minimal requirements but applicants should be competitive with regard to grades, GRE scores, research experience, and letters of recommendation. Applicants are encouraged to use email to contact any of the faculty of the program with whom they may share scientific interests to discuss their suitability to the program and/or potential projects in relevant laboratories.

The Drexel University College of Medicine, School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies has a rolling admissions policy, which means that complete applications are reviewed as they are received. Applicants are therefore advised to apply early as decisions to accept or deny admission may be made before the official deadlines.

Additional Information

To learn more about applying to Drexel College of Medicine programs, visit the College of Medicine’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies website.

About the Curriculum

Students in both the PhD and MS programs begin their coursework with a core curriculum. The curriculum consists of a series of core courses that are shared by all of the biomedical graduate programs in the medical school and a series of programmatic courses. All students in the Neuroscience program must take the core curriculum, although the possibility exists for students to be excused from a particular course if they are able to prove that they already have the necessary knowledge required of the particular course.

During the second year, students select elective courses and begin their thesis research in consultation with the Advisory-Examination Committee. At the end of the second year, students take a comprehensive examination to qualify for PhD candidacy.

There are three rotations in the curriculum for which the student will be assigned a grade. The purpose of these rotations is to enable the student to select the most appropriate graduate advisor to supervise the research project for the student. The Neuroscience program director and Steering Committee will advise each student on the selection of rotations, as well as on the progress and outcome of rotations. Flexibility will be afforded in certain situations in which the student may be able to select an advisor before completing all three rotations or in situations wherein it is advisable to terminate a particular rotation early in favor of another choice.

Courses Repeatable for Credit

As well as taking all required courses, MS and PhD students may re-enroll in courses having the status “repeatable for credit” (such as journal club, seminar, and research courses) for the duration of their program in order to meet the total number of credits required for graduation.

Degree Requirements

For additional graduation requirements, refer to the School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies Handbook and the Neuroscience Program Policies and Procedures.

During the third year, students develop a plan for their doctoral research in conjunction with their thesis advisor. A formal, written thesis proposal is then presented to the student’s Thesis Advisory Committee. Acceptance of this proposal after oral examination by the Committee leads to the final stage of doctoral training. PhD candidates then spend the majority of their time on thesis research. After concluding their research, they must submit and publicly defend their thesis before the Thesis-Examination Committee.

PhD students may enroll in courses having the status “repeatable for credit” (such as journal club, seminar, and research courses) for the duration of their program in order to meet the degree completion requirement of credits.

Program Requirements

Required Courses
IDPT 500SResponsible Conduct of Research2.0
IDPT 502SLearn Early As Professionals I (LEAP I)1.0
IDPT 504SLearn Early and Practice (LEAP II)1.0
IDPT 533SCore Principles in Biochemistry & Cell Biology4.0
IDPT 600SThesis Defense9.0
NEUR 500SStatistics for Neuro/Pharm Research2.0
NEUR 501SNeuroscience 1st Lab Rotation4.0
NEUR 502SNeuroscience 2nd Lab Rotation4.0
NEUR 508SGraduate Neuroscience I2.0
NEUR 520SNeurobiology Topics I *8.0
NEUR 521SNeurobiology Topics II **6.0
NEUR 600SNeuroscience Thesis Research ***63.0
NEUR 602SMedical Neuroscience6.0
NEUR 609SGraduate Neuroscience II2.0
NEUR 610SGraduate Neuroscience III4.0
Advanced Electives1.0-4.0
Select at least one of the following Advanced Electives
Advanced Neuroscience
Motor Systems
Suggested Electives
Advanced Cell Biology
Neuroscience 3rd Lab Rotation
Prin of Neuropharmacology
Teaching Practicum I
Teaching Practicum II
Teaching Practicum III
Total Credits119.0-122.0

* Taken each Fall from Year 2 until Year 5 

** Taken each Spring from Year 2 until Year 4

*** Taken each semester starting the Second Year, until Thesis Defense 

Sample Plan of Study

First Year
IDPT 502S1.0IDPT 504S1.0
IDPT 533S4.0NEUR 502S4.0
NEUR 501S4.0NEUR 602S6.0
NEUR 508S2.0NEUR 609S2.0
 11 13
Second Year
NEUR 500S2.0IDPT 500S2.0
NEUR 520S2.0NEUR 521S2.0
NEUR 600S9.0NEUR 600S9.0
NEUR 610S4.0Advanced Elective
 NEUR 611S or 634S1.0-4.0
 17 14-17
Third Year
NEUR 520S2.0NEUR 521S2.0
NEUR 600S9.0NEUR 600S9.0
 11 11
Fourth Year
NEUR 520S2.0NEUR 521S2.0
NEUR 600S9.0NEUR 600S9.0
 11 11
Fifth Year
NEUR 520S2.0IDPT 600S9.0
NEUR 600S9.0 
 11 9
Total Credits 119-122
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