Curriculum for Doctor of Philosophy in Neuroscience (PhD)

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The PhD Degree Program in Neuroscience provides students with an opportunity to earn a doctoral degree in the fast-growing and opportunity-rich area of biology. While DSU provides students with a comfortable, familiar and nurturing environment in which they can pursue their Ph.D. in Neuroscience, the program also has linkages with faculty researchers at the University of Delaware and the A.I. duPont Children's Hospital that provide opportunities for DSU students to access a broad range of research training with high-profile investigators working at the cutting edge of neuroscience research.

Our Ph.D. program brings together students and faculty throughout the state making it a truly inter-institutional program. As students of the only biology-based neuroscience degree program in the state, DSU students will be recruited by neuroscience researchers at all institutions, while our specialized neuroscience graduate courses and seminars will be attractive to students in UD's biology and psychology graduate programs who are interested in neuroscience. In addition to providing opportunities to students, DSU's neuroscience Ph.D. program will contribute to scientific workforce development in Delaware by offering new educational and research training opportunities to state residents.

Neuroscience Research at DSU

Currently, DSU has fourteen faculty conducting neuroscience research in three departments; faculty at DSU are supported by grants from the National Institute of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), other governmental agencies, and private foundations.

Degree Requirements of the Neuroscience PhD Program

The program will require at least 60 credit hours, with 40 from coursework.

Qualifying examination
Students are required to take a two-part qualifying examination in which part I consists of a written examination covering material related to the coursework taken within the first two years. In part II, the students must write and defend a research proposal choosing from a list of topics generated by the faculty. For those not successfully completing the examinations, some of these courses can be applied to one of our master's degrees, if the student so chooses.

Teaching Requirement
Each student, upon achieving candidacy, is required to complete the teaching strategies course and to teach the equivalent of 4 credit hours, or one lecture course, before completion of the degree program.

Research Dissertation
A research dissertation must be presented and successfully defended as part of the requirements for graduation.

Financial support
Students in the PhD program typically will be supported with tuition scholarships, research and/or teaching assistantships so that they may focus full-time on their studies and research.

Core courses


Course # Course Name     Graduate Course Credits
BIOL-503 Introduction to Neuroscience 3
BIOL-505 Experimental Design and Biostatistics 3
BIOL-612 Neurochemistry 3
BIOL-622 The Physiology of Excitable Cells 3
BIOL-610 Functional Anatomy From Neuron to Brain       3
BIOL-535 Current Techniques in Biology 2


Foundation courses (must take two of these three (3) choices):
Course # Course Name  Graduate Course Credits
BIOL-520 Cell Biology 3
BIOL-521 Molecular Biology 3
Select one from below:
Biological Mechanisms - 3 credits
Advanced Biochemistry - 3 credits
Bioorganic Chemistry - 3 credits


Seminar courses (required):


Course # Course Name  Graduate Course Credits
BIOL-590 Professional Development I 2
BIOL-591 Professional Development II 1
BIOL-700 Current Topics I 1
BIOL-701 Current Topics II 1
BIOL-603 Strategies for Effective Teaching in Biology       1
BIOL-604 Scientific Integrity 1





Course # Course Name  Graduate Course Credits

Electives (at least three (3), with advisor's approval)






Course # Course Name  Graduate Course Credits
691, 692
Thesis Research 3 (each)
BIOL-800 Dissertation Research 8 (at least)


Total credit hours for graduation: 60


Suggested Electives for Neuroscience doctoral program (3 credits each)*:


Course # Course Name Course # Course Name




Cell Morphogenesis






Molecular Genetics & Genomics


Proteins: Structure and Function


Molecular Endocrinology


Nervous System Disorders


or, the third Foundation course

*In addition to the electives listed above, other courses at DSU or UD may count towards elective credits pending prior approval by the dissertation advisor and departmental graduate programs committee or Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at DSU