MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Due to our program reorganization, the information below applies only to students who joined the Neuroscience Program prior to Fall 2017!

Prospective students, please click here to find a listing of our current reorganized Programs and here for the latest Neuroscience Program information.

Contact Person

               Dr. Harel Shouval

Course Requirements

In addition to the general GSBS course requirements, the core requirements of the program are:

In addition to completing the core requirements of the Program, students may choose to complete requirements for a particular track as follows:

Additional notes:

Candidacy Exam Format: On- or Off-Topic Exam

The candidacy exam is to be taken during the spring semester of the student’s second year. The exam must be passed by the end of the summer of the second academic year.  The exam is designed to meet two objectives:

  1. To evaluate the student’s ability to develop a hypothesis, write a proposal that tests that hypothesis, write a proposal and defend an original research project. 
  1. To evaluate the breadth of student’s general neuroscience knowledge as gained from the Core Courses taken in the first year of study.

The candidacy exam requires the student to select a research problem in the neurosciences and propose an experimental approach to solve it. The research problem should be broad, requiring experimental approaches from multiple disciplines, and may be outside the area of the mentor’s laboratory and student’s anticipated dissertation research. Although most breadth questions will be derived from the research proposal, the student will be responsible for all areas covered in the core curriculum.

There are four phases to the candidacy exam:

  1. Selection of a topic approved by the advisory committee and production of a one-page abstract submitted to the program manager and the Academic Standards Committee
  2. Writing a proposal in NIH small-grant format
  3. Passing an oral examination based on the submitted proposal consisting of a 15-20 minute presentation followed by a period of open questioning by a five-member committee.
  4. The chair of the student’s examination committee will submit an evaluation form to the GSBS Academic Standards Committee describing the outcome of exam.

Candidacy Exam Process

Candidacy Exam FAQs