The Program requires that first-year students complete Neuroscience 610 (Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience), and Neuroscience 700 (Professional Development for Graduate Students’ in Biomedical Sciences) in the fall semester.  In the spring semester Neuroscience 611 (Systems Neuroscience) should be taken.  Other course requirements include registration and active participation in Neuroscience 900 (Neuroscience Seminar) during each fall and spring semester that you are a student in the Program, and completion of the Mid-Level Course Requirement.  The Mid-Level Requirement can be met by taking at least one course from each of two categories, Cell/Molecular/Developmental and Systems/Behavioral/Computational, for a total of two additional courses in or relating to neuroscience.  A list of approved courses available in each category can be found on the NTP website and in the UW-Madison Schedule of Classes (

You may propose that additional courses be added to the list by the Curriculum Committee. You are required to propose courses for the Mid-Level Requirement prior to attending and completing them. If you are interested in proposing a course be added to the Program’s list of approved Mid-Levels please keep the following information in mind. Mid-level courses are intended to assure a minimum amount of breadth in neuroscience. These are intended to be rigorous courses focused on a topic directly related to neuroscience. The course should satisfy the requirement for 3 credits, although it is understood that some students may want the option to minimize the number of credits received and may want the option of taking the course for 2 credits. The course should cover a formal body of information related to the topic of the course. The form of these courses is open, ranging from formal lectures, to teach-oriented projects, to combined lectures and student-led discussion of primary research articles as well as other formats. However, it is expected that a mid-level course will involve more than a weekly journal-club type of course. There should be some mechanism for assessment of student knowledge, be it tests, a paper, or performance in presentations. In the case of a course involving a large number of student-presented papers, there should be a mechanism to promote discussion between both the students and the instructor of issues raised in a given paper. The simple reiteration of the results of a paper would fall short of the goal of these courses.

Competence in quantitative methods, e.g., statistics, must also be demonstrated. Numerous options are available to meet this requirement and include UW-Madison courses as well as courses taken elsewhere. Once your Advisory Committee has been formed, an agreement will be made between you and the Committee at its first meeting on the courses that will be taken for credit towards the Ph.D. degree. Part I of the Certification Form can be completed and filed in the Program Office at this time. A list of UW-Madison statistics courses commonly taken by NTP students and additional student feedback can be found here.

During the first year it is wise to choose non-required courses that will be useful regardless of future directions. Depending on a student’s background, courses in statistics, biochemistry, histology, molecular biology, etc., can be good choices. Alternatively, work on the Mid-Level Course Requirement may be started during the first year by taking one or more courses that have been approved by the Curriculum Committee for meeting the requirement. Unless a student has several prerequisite courses to complete, a typical first semester course load consists of Neuroscience 610, possibly one elective course, the Neuroscience Seminar, the Professional Development course, and Research and Thesis, for a maximum of 12 credits.

To return to the student handbook please click here.