Interdepartmental Neuroscience Graduate Program

The Interdepartmental Neuroscience Graduate Program (INGP), administered through the Institute of Neuroscience offers robust graduate training in Neuroscience across departments at the University of Oregon.  The goal of INGP is to train students to think independently, creatively, and critically about problems in neuroscience. We aim to train students in a variety of  skills that will prepare students for  a successful research, teaching, policy or industry career. Students can enter INGP through the department of biology, human physiology, psychology, mathematics, and physics, depending on their interest. Majority of our students enter through the department of biology, which allows students to complete three rotations during their first year, in order to help students identify a laboratory in which to do their dissertation research. Students who enter through psychology, physiology and mathematics begin in their dissertation labs immediately. Regardless of how students enter INGP, they are provided with a set of mentors at the peer, and faculty level. All graduate students are required to teach for at least one academic year during their graduate career; at least a portion of this teaching takes place the first year.

A flowchart showing different departments that graduate students may apply through to be in the Institute of Neuroscience at the University of Oregon.

Typical Student Timeline and Funding:

  • 1st year: Each term (3 per year) students complete a rotation of their choice (if admitted through Biology), TA for course (through home department), take courses (typically 1 per term), and complete quarterly exams (1 per term). Students are typically funded through a TA position through their home department during their first year. Students admitted to INGP through biology select their dissertation lab at the end of their first year. Students who qualify may also apply for a T32 training grant.
  • 2nd year: Students assemble their dissertation advisory committee (DAC), and take a qualifying exam, written in an F31 grant application format on their dissertation topic. Many students are funded through a T32 training grant, or their dissertation lab during their second year. 
  • 3rd year: Students continue their research in their dissertation lab, and take any supplementary courses that may enhance their research. Students meet with their DAC to ensure they are making progress, and to address any concerns. Many students are funded through a T32 training grant, or their dissertation lab during their third year. 
  • 4th year: Students continue their research in their dissertation lab, and take any supplementary courses that may enhance their research. Students meet with their DAC to ensure they are making progress, and to address any concerns. Many students are funded through their dissertation lab, or a TA position, during their fourth year. 
  • 5th year and beyond: Students continue their research in their dissertation lab, and defend their final thesis. Many students are funded through their dissertation lab, or a TA position, during their final years. Average completion time for students through biology is just under 6 years (5.89 years).

Training

Students typically fall into a defined training program, however, training can be tailored to fit a student’s need and research interest. The two training programs we offer are: 1) cellular, developmental and molecular neuroscience, and 2) systems, cognitive and theoretical neuroscience. Students take courses and journal clubs specific to these topics to enhance their knowledge. 

Typical courses, journal clubs and meetings:

  • Cellular, Developmental and Molecular 
    • Courses: Molecular genetics, advanced biochemistry, developmental neurobiology, developmental genetics, cellular neuroscience, systems neuroscience. 
    • Journal clubs: developmental and cell biology, developmental neurobiology.
    • Meetings: developmental interest group, zebrafish groupie.  
  • Systems, Cognitive and Theoretical 
    • Courses: cellular neuroscience, systems neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, computational neuroscience, combinatorics, stochastic processes, neural networks.
    • Journal clubs: systems neuroscience, theoretical neuroscience. 
    • Meetings: neural circuits and behavior, zebrafish groupie, joint theory lab meetings. 

Stipend and Benefits

Stipend levels are adjusted annually to be competitive with those offered by other major research institutions. Sources of support include research assistantships, graduate teaching fellowships, and federally supported training grants (T32). Several training grants are available to provide support for students, to fund student travel, to bring in outside speakers, and to enhance the overall training program. Students admitted to the training program will automatically be considered for support by an appropriate training grant. 

Student Support

Research institutions that are diverse in gender, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, and perspective foster greater creativity and promote synergistic, collaborative innovation and interactions. As an institute, we're passionate about creating an inclusive environment that promotes and values diversity. There are a variety of active student groups that serve to support trainees throughout their graduate career.

Non-exhaustive list of active student organizations: 

  • Womxn in Neuroscience: a group focused on gender issues in neuroscience and developing ways to reduce bias to promote a more inclusive scientific community for all.
  • UO Women in Graduate Sciences: an organization that strives for gender equality by focusing on the professional development of women in all disciplines of science to enable them to become successful contributors to their fields. 
  • Community for Minorities in STEM (CMiS): an organization established to promote the participation and success of minorities in the broadly defined field of STEM.
  • UO LGBT+ in STEM: a group that aims to create a community for LGBT+ people in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, while providing education around LGBT+ issues for all people in the STEM fields.

Graduate students are part of the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF), a union that advocates for graduate students on campus. They have negotiated with the University so that fellows receive a competitive stipend and benefits package. This includes full medical, dental, prescription, and vision coverage. There is also childcare on campus for students with children.

Apply now! 

Current Applications to do graduate work in the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Graduate Program can be made through the Biology Department or Psychology Department, although students are welcome from other departments including Human Physiology, Computer Science, and Mathematics.