Neuroscience Curriculum

Students in the Neuroscience Track complete their core curriculum by taking Functional Neuroanatomy, any 2 of the 3 Neuroscience courses listed below and a statistics course. Students will choose at least 6 credit hours of additional elective courses that suit the individual student's needs. Any course required by other IBS tracks is acceptable as an elective. Other graduate level courses can be used to satisfy the elective requirement upon approval from the track director.

Seminar - Students must take at least 4 semesters of Neuroscience Seminar with Special Topics. Special Topics includes a discussion of a publication by the seminar speaker followed by a meeting with the seminar speaker. After this students must either take Neuroscience Seminar without Special Topics or attend at least one seminar course or journal club suited to their research topic.

Symposium - All neuroscience students must take Neuroscience Symposium in the Spring term of each year. Students may opt not to take this course if they are defending their dissertation that semester.

Teaching - Students are expected to assist with teaching in Medical Neuroanatomy lab at least one term. The total time commitment in lab is 15 hours for one term. Students may opt for additional teaching experience by volunteering for more than one term. Students should take Functional Neuroanatomy before completing this requirement.

Required Curriculum

Core courses

Additional requirements

Elective courses

  • any additional 6 credit hours (not including seminar/symposium type classes)

Laboratory Rotations

Students are required to do three lab rotations with IBS program faculty. These rotations can occur during any of the six prescribed rotational periods during the first year. After three rotations a student may begin work in their chosen mentor's lab or may elect to do more rotations. A mentor's lab must be identified by the end of the first year.

Admission-to-Candidacy Exam

At the end of their second year students must pass a qualifying exam before admission to Ph.D. candidacy. For the exam students write a grant application in the form of an NIH F31, National Research Service Award (NRSA) that is not on a topic directly related to their Ph.D research. As part of the examination the student gives an oral presentation and defense of the application to their graduate committee. Students are expected to demonstrate mastery of the required Neuroscience coursework.

Thesis Proposal

By the end of their third year students write a second NIH F31 grant application based on their ongoing and proposed Ph.D. research. This proposal is discussed with a student's graduate committee before approval to continue research.

Sample curriculum

Year 1

Fall Semester

Spring Semester

End of Spring Semester/Summer

  • Choose Mentor and begin research
  • Take admission to candidacy exam

Year 2

Fall Semester

Spring Semester

End of Spring Semester/Summer

  • Choose Mentor and begin research
  • Take admission to candidacy exam

Year 3

Year 4 and Beyond

  • Dissertation Research
  • Neuroscience Seminar - each term
  • Neuroscience Symposium - Spring term
  • Students defend their dissertation before their faculty committee to complete the requirements for the Ph.D. degree.

Contact Us


Co-Director: Joseph Callaway, Ph.D., (UT Health Science Center)
Co-Director: Jian Zuo, Ph.D., St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Integrated Biomedical Sciences Program
University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Wittenborg Anatomy Building, Room 221
875 Monroe Avenue
Memphis, TN 38163
Phone: 901-448-8497

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