As students pursue neuroscience graduate degrees, they can look forward to many challenging opportunities to participate in cutting-edge research programs, internships, and volunteer programs.
Neuroscience Research Opportunities
Most neuroscience graduate schools have programs that are research-focused and provide opportunities for students to actively participate in topical brain research programs and clinical research programs as they earn credits toward master’s and doctoral degrees.
The University of Miami has an interdisciplinary neuroscience graduate program leading to a Ph.D. degree. Its objective is to train highly qualified individuals for independent brain research and neuroscience teaching careers. The program emphasizes cellular, molecular, and integrative approaches to neurobiology.
A series of laboratory rotations helps students choose from a variety of neuroscience research laboratories for their dissertation research. Faculty laboratories are well equipped for state-of-the-art brain research and include numerous sophisticated electrophysiological setups, laser confocal and digital image analysis systems, advanced molecular biology and biochemistry equipment, and sophisticated bioinformatics capabilities.
At the University of California, Berkeley, the integrated neuroscience graduate program is a campus-wide organization that brings together numerous faculty members with state-of-the-art laboratories from a variety of departments.
UC Berkeley’s program includes a series of graduate-level courses, 3 neuroscience research laboratory rotations during the first year, placement in a thesis laboratory in the second year, a qualifying examination that includes a thesis proposal at the end of the second year, 2 semesters of teaching assistantship, and approximately 3 years of in-candidacy, full-time research ending with the thesis defense.
The Center for Neural Science at New York University (NYU) has a graduate doctoral program that is designed primarily to provide brain research training at the highest level. The program emphasizes engaging students in neuroscience research throughout their tenure in the program.
The core curriculum includes rotations in 2 or 3 of the center’s research laboratories. By the end of the first year, students have usually selected an area and lab where they want to pursue their dissertation research.
NYU’s Center for Neural Science also hosts a 10-week summer research program for NYU and non-NYU undergraduates interested in careers as neuroscientists, during which they actively participate in research projects in the laboratories of the university’s science faculty. Student internships involve all phases of brain research from experimental design to data analysis and communication of results.
Other neuroscience internships and opportunities to do volunteer work in the field are abundant. Students should ask their adviser about specific opportunities in their area of interest.