The Neuroscience Training Program (NTP) Student Handbook contains relevant information for current NTP graduate students. This page is meant to highlight some of the guidelines and policies that students ask about most frequently.

To review the Student Handbook in its entirety please click here.

If there are any questions about the guidelines and policies outlined in the NTP Student Handbook, feel free to contact the NTP Office.

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Graduate School Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree

All requirements of the Graduate School must be met.

The Graduate School Academic Guidelines (https://grad.wisc.edu/acadpolicy/) includes information about the Graduate School’s administrative and academic policies. The Guidelines contains information on those aspects of graduate training at the University of Wisconsin that apply to all graduate students regardless of their field. The rules of the Graduate School are stated in the Guidelines, and you are responsible for knowing them. The Graduate School is the final authority in determining compliance. You can disregard the sections dealing with requirements for the minor since the Program does not require a minor.

Another Graduate School publication that you should be familiar with is the Graduate School Catalog.

Updates to the publications occur as needed, and the electronic version is the official document of record.

Program Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree

General Program Requirements for all students

  • Complete Individual Development Plan (IDP)
  • Attend Neuroscience Research Symposium and Neuroscience Poster Session
  • Attend Chalk Talks (first-year students only)
  • Meet with Advisory Committee (each fall and spring semester for students who are not dissertators, each fall semester for dissertators)
  • Fulfill program ethics requirements.

General Program Course Requirements

These course requirements are common for all students in the Program:

  • First-Year Requirement: NTP  610 and NTP 611
  • Professional Development Course: fall semester of first year
  • Mid-Level Course Requirement: One approved course from each of two broad areas of neuroscience (see list of approved courses on the NTP website.)
  • Neuroscience Seminar Course, Neuroscience 900: all fall and spring semesters, including subgroups when relevant
  • Statistics Course: Competence in quantitative methods, e.g., statistics, must be demonstrated. Numerous options are available to meet this requirement and include UW-Madison courses as well as courses taken elsewhere. A list of UW-Madison statistics courses commonly taken by NTP students and additional student feedback can be found here.

Registration Requirements

Neuroscience Research Symposium

Neuroscience Poster Fair

Chalk Talks

First Year Information

Laboratory Rotations and Choosing a Thesis Advisor

Individual Development Plan (IDP)

Discover PD

Advisory Committee



Preliminary Examination

Presentation of Thesis Proposal in Neuroscience Seminar

Dissertator Status

Dissertation and Oral Defense

Time to Degree

Training in the Responsible Conduct in Science


Teaching Fellowship in Neuroscience (TFN)Forms


NTP Peer Mentoring Program

The NTP Peer Mentoring program was created to foster reciprocal relationships between mentors and mentees where both can learn and grow from each other’s knowledge and experience. The goals of the NTP Mentoring program are as follows:

  • Increase student satisfaction and retention.
  • Contribute to a holistic student support system.
  • Develop meaningful connections between new and more experienced students.
  • Facilitate more opportunities for social and networking interactions within the wider NTP community.

All incoming students will be paired with senior students in the program for the year. The senior students will serve as mentors to provide new students with a variety of perspectives on everything from life in Madison, grad school, transitioning to a new town, lab rotations, etc. Current students are also invited to participate as mentees if they so choose. Mentors and mentees are expected to meet at least once per month, preferably in person but e-mail, phone, or other forms of contact are acceptable when necessary. All mentors and mentees are required to attend the welcome event each Fall semester. For additional information regarding the NTP Peer Mentoring Program please refer to the NTP Peer Mentoring handbook.

The Neuroscience Seminar

Subgroup Meetings

The purpose of the Seminar study group or “subgroup” is two-fold.  The first is to educate students in the group about the topic area and its place in current neuroscience research.  To accomplish this, the study group should function as a graduate seminar, albeit of limited scope and duration.  It is the responsibility of study group leader(s) to ensure that assigned papers are reviewed critically and that issues in the topic area are discussed in depth by the members of the group.  This assumes that an agenda or format will be prepared for each meeting.  Similarly, it assumes that students will take seriously their responsibility to read assigned papers and to participate in the discussion at each meeting.  Performance in the subgroup will be graded by the faculty member(s) in charge of the group.

Faculty can assign a grade of “unsatisfactory” if they have spoken with the student about expectations and they feel as though the student’s actions has earned them an “unsatisfactory” grade. The faculty member must report these grades to the Director, who will enter the grade for the student. If a student receives an “unsatisfactory” grade, that student must participate in another subgroup in addition to the program requirement in order to make up the grade. If the faculty member in charge of the additional subgroup decides that the student’s work is “satisfactory” they must report that to the Director, who will change the grade for the student’s previous subgroup to “satisfactory”.

Seminar Presentations

The second aim of the study group is the preparation of lecture/discussions for the Neuroscience Seminar that will present a critical analysis of specific aspects of the topic area.  Typically, each study group will prepare three lecture/discussions for presentation, and the group will invite and host an outside speaker who will deliver a complementary Neuroscience Lecture.  In general, the Seminar presentations will be given by individual students in the group.  Each Seminar presentation should be rehearsed, but not over‑rehearsed, in the group to establish style, content, and accuracy.  Usually this can be accomplished in one practice session, or two at most.  If additional sessions are necessary, they should not be scheduled during regular group meetings.  Subgroup members are not required to attend any additional practice sessions.

All Neuroscience graduate students are expected to participate in two Seminar study groups during each of their first three years in the Program and one study group thereafter.  In addition to attending the Seminar regularly, active participation involves making presentations in the Seminar.  Included in these presentations is your thesis proposal and presentations based on your work in Seminar subgroups.  The determination of student assignments for subgroup-related Seminar presentations is made by the Program Office on a rolling eligibility basis following a “last shall be first” sequence.  All first-year students are excused from making a presentation in the Seminar during the first semester of their first year in the Program.  However, first-year students may give a Seminar presentation during the second semester of the first-year, because they automatically become the most eligible students in the subgroup for making a Seminar presentation.

Upon completing a subgroup-related Seminar presentation, students are placed at the bottom of the eligibility list.  From time to time, more than one student with the same eligibility elects the same subgroup.  In those instances when there are more students with identical eligibility than there are available opportunities in the subgroup schedule for students to make a Seminar presentation, speaking assignments will be determined by chance, e.g., by drawing straws.

You are allowed one Seminar presentation waiver.  The waiver will excuse you from a subgroup-related Seminar presentation, but it can be used only once at your discretion during the course of training.  This waiver does not apply to the presentation of the thesis proposal.

N&PP students can use their Neuroscience & Public Policy Seminar talk to count as one of the two NTP subgroup talks.

Guest Lecturers

The outside speaker should be selected well before the anticipated lecture date.  The speaker should be aware that they will deliver one public lecture and will visit informally with students and faculty.  When a guest lecturer has been identified, please contact the Program office to coordinate a formal invitation, the guest’s travel and specific itinerary during the visit.

There are several opportunities for you to meet with invited speakers.  Usually, a student lunch is held on the day of the lecture.  These lunches are held around noon and give students a chance to meet with the speaker in an informal setting.  An e-mail invitation to these lunches is sent to all students in the Program approximately 1-2 weeks before each lunch date.  There is also time for you to talk with the speaker after the lecture.

Materials for Seminar Preparation and Presentations

A copy machine for photocopying articles related to Seminar presentations is available in the Program Office.  PowerPoint presentations are the most popular medium to present information in the Seminar because they are easy to prepare and inexpensive.  The Program has laptop computers (PC and Mac) and LCD projectors that can be checked out for presentations.  Contact the Program Office to check out computers or the projector. You are also encouraged to rent computers, projectors, mac adapters, etc. from the UW Libraries.

Student Representation on the Steering Committee

While authority and governance on major issues remains with the Program faculty at large (see Program-Wide Meetings), the Steering Committee oversees most of the routine business of Neuroscience Training Program.  The Steering Committee consists of ten faculty members and two student representatives.  Five faculty members are elected, and five are appointed by the Chair.  Traditionally, students in the Program have played an important role in helping to define Program policies.  Each year, students in the Program elect two student representatives to the Steering Committee.  The student representatives attend all Steering Committee meetings and bring student views and concerns to the Committee and vice-versa.  The student representatives are excused from those parts of Steering Committee meetings that involve discussion of individual students and faculty in the Program.  While University statutes preclude students from voting on most policy and procedural issues, the faculty in the Program take student opinion very seriously.  For example, the student representatives have the right to delay a Steering Committee vote on an issue until they believe that students in the Program have been fully informed about the issue and have had an opportunity to comment.

Program-Wide Meetings

Program-Wide Meetings are held twice yearly.  All faculty and students in the Program are encouraged to attend.  The purpose of these meetings is to keep members apprised of ongoing activities and business, receive standing committee reports, solicit new ideas or comments/suggestions, and vote on major issues, if necessary.  Larger issues such as major changes in curriculum, seminar structure, or leadership issues will be discussed and voted upon in Program Meetings.

Student Representatives


Student Membership on Program Standing Committees

There are openings for up to two students to serve on each of the Program’s Standing Committees except for those dealing with individual students or faculty issues: Admissions, First Year Advisory, Faculty Trainers, and Student Funding Committees.  At least one student will serve on each Committee during each academic year.  A call for nominations of Committee representatives will be sent by the Program Office to all students once per academic year, generally prior to the fall semester.   In the event that no student is elected or volunteers to participate on a particular committee, it is the responsibility of the student representatives to name a student to serve.

In addition to the responsibilities defined by their respective Committees, student committee members also are responsible for forwarding copies of any Committee minutes to the student representatives on the Steering Committee within one week of each Standing Committee meeting.  Additionally, student members also will notify all Program students of relevant meeting and event dates, proposed Program changes, and other matters of interest to students.  This notification should occur within one week following the Committee meeting or two weeks before any such meeting, event or effective date of a proposed Program change, whichever is earlier.

Student Representatives

Standing Committees

The list of current Standing Committees, including a description of the purpose of each Committee, is given below.  Unless otherwise noted, the roles of the student members on each Committee are identical to those of faculty members.


The Curriculum Committee is responsible for proposing the general standards of the Program’s core curriculum requirements for consideration by the Steering Committee and/or Program faculty.  The Committee makes both broad and specific recommendations regarding course sequences and requirements, and it evaluates the appropriateness of a specific course for fulfilling these requirements.


This Committee has the responsibility for meeting the NIH mandate that all students supported by the federal government shall receive annual instruction in the responsible conduct of research (scientific ethics).

First-Year Student Advisory

The First-Year Student Advisory Committee serves in lieu of an Advisory Committee for all first-year students in the Program, and the Committee is responsible for first-year students until they choose a major professor.  The Committee advises students on all aspects of the Program throughout the first year, from orientation in the fall to choosing a major professor in the spring.  It is also responsible for handling any student issues that may arise after the first year, including academic, personal, or disciplinary problems.

Diversity Enhancement

The Program makes vigorous efforts to encourage applications of admission by qualified minority students and to recruit these students to the Program. The Diversity Enhancement Committee oversees the Program’s Diversity Enhancement Speaker Series, arranges visits by minority students from high schools and colleges, attends area recruitment fairs, helps coordinate the Program’s participation in the IBS-SRP Neurobiology program and sends representatives to schools with large minority enrollments in an effort to increase the number of minority student admissions. Members of the committee also participate in the Biosciences Opportunities preview weekend (BOPs), an annual preview weekend hosted for prospective underrepresented students at UW-Madison.

Seminar Topics

This committee is responsible for the choice of seminar topics on the ballot for the Neuroscience seminar series, which is then selected by vote of the faculty and students.  This entails surveying students and faculty for interesting topics and, when necessary, recruiting faculty to organize these seminars.

Neuroscience & Public Policy Program Steering Committee

This committee is responsible for exploring ways to increase program visibility and recruitment of top applicants, exploring funding opportunities and the faculty on the committee review N&PP applicants and advice the NTP Admissions Committee on suitability of applicants to the N&PP programs. The Chair of this committee, elected by the committee, will serve as the N&PP Director for a 3-year term that is renewable once.

Student Led Committees

The NTP also has two student-led committees that students can join. These committees are made up of only students and are responsible for student led initiatives and work with the Program to organize programming for the Program at large. The programming and initiatives led by these committees are completely dependent upon the committee members, the goals they set for the year, and the work put in by the committee to be successful.

NTP Health & Wellness Committee

This committee organizes events that promote health and wellness for students and faculty affiliated with the NTP. Examples of past events include sessions on mindfulness, financial health, and working with the Program to provide healthier snack alternatives for seminar.

NTP Outreach

The NTP Outreach Committee spearheads outreach programming for the Program. This includes planning curriculum for events, working with the Program to obtain new outreach materials, and increasing the diversity of populations we reach with neuroscience outreach in the community.

Vacation Policy

Each student is expected to notify their PI and the Program when they plan to take a vacation the semester PRIOR to the trip. This notification will serve to inform the Program that the student will be away from campus. The program will assume the student has discussed the trip with the PI and was given permission by the PI to be away from lab. If a student is enrolled in classes it is inadvisable to schedule a vacation during the semester.

Primary Affiliation

Although you work and reside in the academic department of your major professor, your only formal affiliation with the University of Wisconsin is as a graduate student with the Neuroscience Training Program. Thus, whenever identification of your University home department is required, the Program and not your professor’s department should be cited. It is important to include this identification when you present research at scientific meetings or publish. If you received support from the Program’s training grant at any time during the conduct of your research, the following statement should be included on posters and in papers: “This research was supported by National Research Service Award (NRSA) T32 GM007507.”

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Assistance in the First Year and Later

The first year of graduate school can be a challenging time in your life, with new surroundings and considerable demands on your time.  While developing a sense of independence is important in a research program, you should be absolutely assured that we are here to help you with problems in any way we can, whether they be of a professional, academic, or personal nature.  There are several resources available to you.  The First-Year Advisory Committee oversees all issues and student plans relating to first-year students and is also charged with assisting students in later years.  You may consult with any of these members, who have a lot of experience in helping incoming students.  If you would like to contact the members of the First-Year Advisory Committee please contact the office.

Josh Knackert, Outreach Specialist, is an excellent sources of information about all aspects of the Program. Feel free to drop in to chat with either Josh at any time.  Please also note that the Program’s Director, Mary Halloran (mchalloran@wisc.edu; 608-263-7875) would be happy to meet with you as well.

Master’s Degree

The Program does not have an elective Master’s degree program and does not award the Master’s degree under normal circumstances but may do so for students who have decided not to complete the requirements for the Ph.D. degree. Students wishing to be considered for a terminal Master’s degree must:

  • satisfactorily complete one year of coursework that covers molecular, cellular and integrative neurobiology
  • complete 30 credits, 15 of which must be completed in courses numbered 700 or higher or in NTP courses 610, 611, 629, 630, 670, 675, 735,  777 or in courses outside of the NTP that have been identified as graduate level
  • participate for at least two semesters in the Neuroscience Seminar
  • Submit a manuscript suitable for publication or the equivalent of part two of the preliminary exam to their Advisory Committee for approval. Approval should occur once the student has presented either option at their Advisory Committee meeting.

Grievances and Appeals

If you feel that you have been treated unfairly by the program, faculty, staff or another student, there are set procedures for trying to resolve the grievance or conflict.  In general, the policy is to initially try to resolve the conflict at the lowest level but make your way step by step to higher levels as necessary. For example, if you have a grievance with your mentor, try to resolve it by talking to him/her first. If that is not satisfactory, contact the chair of the department or the Director of NTP. The next levels are the Associate Dean of the School of Medicine and Public Health and the Dean of the Graduate School. More information can be obtained at the following website:  http://grad.wisc.edu/acadpolicy/#97.

Financial Information

Sources of Support

  1. Neuroscience Training Program Grant.  These traineeships come from a training grant awarded to the Program by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.  These traineeships pay tuition and fees and a 12-month stipend.  First priority for the annual traineeship slots is given to the incoming first-year students who are doing research rotations to choose a lab.  Any remaining slots are awarded by the Student Funding Committee on the basis of a competitive application submitted by the student and faculty mentor.  Students who are supported by the training grant are eligible for a $300 travel allowance.  Reimbursement for the travel allowance must follow University regulations and are submitted via E-Reimbursement.  These regulations are published in the Travel Reference Guide that is available on the web (http://www.bussvc.wisc.edu/acct/policy/ppindex.html). Please contact the Program office prior to travel to coordinate the most efficient means of providing payment in advance or reimbursement for the travel.
  2. Outside Fellowships.  Various fellowships, administered by federal or private sources, are available to graduate students in the biological sciences.  The Program encourages you to seek outside fellowships when appropriate.  Some examples of fellowships that have been awarded to Neuroscience students in recent years are offered by the National Science Foundation (https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/grfp/Login.do)  and Individual Predoctoral Fellowships NRSA F31, F31 Diversity Fellowships, and F30 for MD/PhD students (https://researchtraining.nih.gov/programs/fellowships). Information about outside fellowships can also be obtained from the Program Office (9531 WIMR II, 608-262-4932) or from the Fellowships Office of the Graduate School (217 Bascom Hall, 608-262-5837).
  3. Advanced Opportunity Fellowships.  These Fellowships are awarded by the Graduate School, through the SciMed Graduate Research Scholars Program (SciMed GRS) to entering students of specific underrepresented minority ethnicities. Qualified incoming students are nominated by the NTP Admissions Committee to receive these fellowships and will be notified individually if selected.
  4. Research Assistantships.  Research grants and contracts awarded by outside agencies to support the research projects of individual faculty members and may include funds for Research Assistantships that can be held by graduate students.  Research Assistants receive remission of all tuition, but not segregated fees.

Beginning September 1, 2016, the Program target stipend is $26,000.  If your starting stipend is below the target stipend (i.e., Research Assistants, Trainees and some outside Fellowships), it will supplemented either by the Program or your major professor up to the target stipend level.

Mechanisms of Payment

Checks are paid on the first of each month for the preceding month’s work.  Your first paycheck will be available at the beginning of the month following your first full month of employment or appointment.  For example, if your appointment begins on September 1st, your first check will be available October 1st.  Paychecks are deposited directly at your financial institution following completion of a direct deposit authorization form. If you need to change the institution or account where your check is deposited, a new form must be filled out.  Direct deposit authorization forms are available online at: http://www.bussvc.wisc.edu/howto/Payroll/pay-direct-deposit-auth-uw1032.pdf and may be completed and turned into the Program Office at anytime.


If you are appointed as a Trainee or a Fellow, taxes will not be withheld from your paycheck by the University.  However, the support that you receive is considered taxable income.  The University provides trainees and fellows with a summary of stipend payments each January.  You may need to file an estimated quarterly tax return with the federal and/or state government.  For students who are appointed as Research Assistants, the University is required to withhold State and Federal income taxes on the entire stipend based on your W-4 information.  Please note that you may change the number of exemptions on your W-4 at any time.  Forms are available in the Program Office.  You may wish to consult IRS publication 970 (Tax Benefits for Education) or IRS publication 678 (Foreign Students and Scholars) for further information about tax reporting.  Copies may be requested by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM or they can be downloaded from the IRS website (http://www.irs.gov/ ).  State tax forms are available for downloading on the web (https://www.revenue.wi.gov/Pages/Form/2016-TaxIndividual.aspx).

*Please note that the Program office cannot offer tax advice. Please consult the following page provided by the University for tax filing resources: http://uwservice.wisc.edu/tax/filing-resources.php.


For information on the various types of graduate student loans, contact the Office of Student Financial Aid (333 East Campus Mall #9701, 262-3060).  This Office also can provide short-term loans during temporary financial crises as well as financial counseling.

Benefits Including Health Insurance

As a UW-Madison Graduate Assistant, you are entitled to State Group Health Insurance.  As soon as you arrive, you should contact the Program Office (9531 WIMR II) to receive information describing the benefits that are available to you, including health insurance, life insurance as well as supplemental dental and vision insurance and excess medical insurance. A link to the University Benefits Services page also provides helpful information: http://www.ohr.wisc.edu/benefits/. Read this information carefully as there are different deadlines for the various benefit programs, but in general you should return all forms within 30 days of your appointment date.  The health insurance application must be received on or before your first month of employment to have effective coverage in that month. For example, if your appointment begins September 1, the program office must have completed health insurance application no later than September 1 in order to have coverage for the month of September.

There are several plans offering services within the State Group Health Insurance Program.  They offer different types of coverage ranging from the Standard Plan to Health Maintenance Organizations.  You may elect to change your health plan once each year during a two-week “open” enrollment period, which typically falls in October.  Changes made during dual-choice are effective January 1 of the next year.

If you get married, divorced or have/adopt a child while appointed as a graduate assistant, please consult with the Program Office regarding changes to your benefits. Typically, you have thirty days from the date of a major life event to change your coverage.

Graduate assistants (excluding teaching assistants and program/project assistants) are not eligible for vacation, sick, holiday or other leave benefits.  Requests for vacation, sickness, maternity leave, or holidays should be reasonable and are approved by the student’s major professor.

Disability Information

The University of Wisconsin-Madison campus has an office to assess students for accommodations because of a disability.  For more information on these services, please visit the McBurney Center website (http://www.mcburney.wisc.edu/ ).  Providing documentation of disability is the responsibility of the student.  Eligibility for services is based on a combination of the student’s description of need, the thoroughness of the disability documentation, and documentation policies.  At the conclusion of the intake a verified individualized services and accommodations plan (VISA) is written for each student and training in use of the accommodations or services is provided.

Mental Health Resources On and Off Campus

Your health insurance provides some coverage for mental health services.  In addition, Counseling Services through University Health Services is available on campus free to all students.  In addition to individual counseling, group sessions are available.  Groups of special interest to graduate students include a Graduate Women Group and Dissertation Support Group.  For more information on Counseling Services, please visit their website (https://www.uhs.wisc.edu/mental-health/).

Funding for Travel to Scientific Meetings and Courses

All travel expenses for which you expect to be reimbursed should be approved before travel occurs. Contact the Program office prior to travel to learn about state and federal guidelines.

Funding Through the Program

Students supported by the Program’s Training Grant are eligible for $300 of travel expenses.  In addition, the Program holds an annual NTP Travel Award Competition in May. The Program awards $500 travel allowances that can be used in the following fiscal year (July 1-June 30). There is a short application that needs to be filled out to apply for these awards.  The Student Awards Committee administers this competition.

Outside Funding

There are several opportunities for students to obtain outside funding for travel.  Many meetings have competitions for student travel awards.  Here are just a few examples.

  1. SACNAS offers travel scholarships to attend the SACNAS National Conference. More information can be found on their website (http://sacnas.org).
  2. The Society for Neuroscience offers Trainee Professional Development Awards to graduate students and post-doctoral fellows planning to present at the conference. More information can be found here: http://www.sfn.org/Awards-and-Funding/Individual-Prizes-and-Fellowships/Professional-Development-Awards/Trainee-Professional-Development-Awards
  3. The UW-Madison Graduate Student Council and Graduate Student Professional Development Office offer Vilas Travel Awards for dissertators. Information regarding this award can be found on the Graduate School website (https://grad.wisc.edu/studentfunding/grantscomp/research/).

Guidelines for Reimbursement of Entertainment Expenses

Entertaining Guest Speakers/Interviewing Applicants

Typically, speakers in the Neuroscience Lecture Series and interviewing applicants meet with students and faculty in the Program for meals during their visits to Madison.  The Program has funds to reimburse faculty and students for these meetings.  In order to distribute these funds equitably, the following rules for reimbursement apply (in addition to state and/or federal rules).

Student Lunches

  1. Students in the Neuroscience Training Program will be reimbursed for lunch only with guest speakers sponsored by the Program and applicants interviewing with the Program.  Students are encouraged to go to lunch with other speakers, such as those who give departmental seminars, but reimbursement cannot be provided by the Program for these lunches. Reimbursement for alcoholic purchases is not allowable.
  2. The reimbursement rate per student is $18.00 including tax and tip.  This rate is the current reimbursement rate set by the state legislature for in-state lunches.
  3. To process a reimbursement, the Program Office needs the original receipt including an itemized bill for the cost of the lunch and a list of people who attended the lunch. If an itemized bill is unable to be provided by the restaurant, please notify the Program Office when the receipt is turned in.  Reimbursement takes approximately 1-2 weeks.

Student Dinners

  1. The reimbursement rate per student is $30.00 including tax and tip.  This rate is the current reimbursement rate set by the state legislature for in-state dinners.
  2. To process a reimbursement, the Program Office needs the original receipt including an itemized bill for the cost of the dinner and a list of people who attended the dinner.  If an itemized bill is unable to be provided by the restaurant, please notify the Program Office when the receipt is turned in.  Reimbursement for alcoholic beverages is not allowable. Reimbursement takes approximately 1-2 weeks.

Any variations from these guidelines must be approved prior to the event by the Program Office.


Brain Awareness Week

The Program is involved in many outreach activities.  The biggest outreach effort of the Program is Brain Awareness Week (BAW).  BAW is a national outreach effort spearheaded by the Society for Neuroscience and the Dana Alliance.  Each year, the Program participates in this campaign by providing brain information for free to children and adults.  The Program typically sponsors various events, including Science Expeditions and a collaboration with the Madison Children’s Museum to provide an educational experience for children and adults.  Faculty and students volunteer their time to operate stations that children visit to learn more about the brain.  Activities in the past have included optical illusions, memory testing, constructing a pipe cleaner neuron, exploring the senses, and seeing a human brain.

PEOPLE Program

The  Neuroscience Training Program coordinates part of the curriculum for the PEOPLE Program.  The PEOPLE Program is a UW-Madison based initiative to increase enrollment of underrepresented at UW-Madison.  Students in the Madison, Milwaukee, and Racine school districts as well as several tribal schools are eligible to apply following their first semester in high school and participate in activities at UW-Madison each summer until they enroll in college.  Successful completion of the PEOPLE Program, admission and satisfactory progress at UW-Madison guarantees a full tuition grant for up to five years.  The Program coordinates the unit in neuroscience for students during their first summer at Madison, where graduate students serve as instructors.  Generally, 10-12 graduate students from the Program participate in this activity.  This is a unique initiative to increase diversity at UW-Madison and encourage interest in neuroscience.

Other Outreach Opportunities

The Program also visits area middle school classrooms by request.  Graduate and undergraduate students, and faculty provide hands-on brain activities to students as well as families on occasions.  Occasionally students are brought to the UW-Madison campus to learn about neuroscience from our faculty.  Volunteers for these presentations are solicited via e-mail.  In addition, the Program regularly participates in other community outreach activities including family science nights/days at local schools.

Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate

The Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate (CID) was a multi-year self-examination and experimentation project spearheaded by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  Six fields of student were selected: chemistry, education (educational psychology and curriculum and instruction), English, history, mathematics, and neuroscience.  Department and programs from across the nation applied to participate.  The Neuroscience Training Program was a partner department/program in the neuroscience section of the project.

Major accomplishments during the Program’s participation in the CID include writing the description of prototypical Ph.D. recipient from the Neuroscience Training Program; conducting parallel surveys of current faculty and students; creating Double-Degree Program in Neuroscience and Public Policy (see page 15 for more information) and attending three meetings of participating programs at the Carnegie Foundation.  Additional information is available online at (http://www.carnegiefoundation.org).

Miscellaneous Information

Membership in the Society for Neuroscience

Student membership is available in the Society for Neuroscience at a nominal fee and all students in the Program are encouraged to join.  Members of the Society receive an informative, bi-monthly newsletter, a listing in the Society’s annual directory, eligibility to sponsor an abstract for presentation as first author, and reductions in the cost of publications and subscriptions.  Membership forms are available on the Society for Neuroscience website (http://www.sfn.org/).

Lectures, Seminars and Journal Clubs

Notices of upcoming special lectures and seminars from many departments are posted on the NTP website and sent out via e-mail. The Program sends e-mail notification to all faculty and students for relevant lectures and seminars. Program sponsored lectures and seminars also appear on the Program’s website (http://ntp.neuroscience.wisc.edu).  Journal clubs of interest to students in neuroscience appear on the web as well (http://ntp.neuroscience.wisc.edu/journal-clubs.htm).

Student Identification Cards

Student identification cards may be obtained by following instructions on the website (http://www.wiscard.wisc.edu). Before an ID card may be issued, students must register for at least one credit.  For ID card validation, fees must be paid.  A replacement card may be obtained free of charge if there is a name change, the picture needs updating, or the card is damaged.  The Wiscard functions as both a student ID card and building access on nights and weekends.  Contact the building manager for the building in which you wish to gain building access.

ASM Bus Pass Program/Parking

The Associated Students of Madison Bus Pass Program makes a free semester bus pass, valid on any Madison Metro routes, available to all registered students.  For more information see the ASM Bus Pass website (http://www.asm.wisc.edu/buspass.html).  Lost bus passes can be replaced for a small fee.  Parking for students is not available on campus except in unusual circumstances.  For more information on parking visit the Transportation Services website (http://transportation.wisc.edu/) .

My UW-Madison Portal

This is your personalized gateway to campus.  To access, use your NetID (the part of your e-mail address prior to @wisc.edu) and password to login (http://my.wisc.edu).  If you haven’t obtained a NetID yet, you can click on the link to activate your NetID.  Popular features include e-mail, calendar, online enrollment, course information, payroll records, financial aid and student records.  Students must use My UW-Madison to register for courses.

E-Mail and Information Technology

All students should set up e-mail accounts.  These are available automatically once you sign up for your NetID through My UW (http://my.wisc.edu).  The Division of Information Technology (DoIT) maintains a technology store (Tech Store) where students may purchase software, computers and other computer accessories.  Students are eligible to purchase discounted software (Adobe, Microsoft, etc.) through the Wisconsin Integrated Software Catalog.  This discounted software can only be purchased through the Tech Store.  Free anti-virus and firewall software is available for free download through DoIT (http://www.cio.wisc.edu/security-antivirus.aspx).  Wireless network is available throughout campus.

Neuroscience & Public Policy Program

The Neuroscience and Public Policy (N&PP) Program offers three degree tracks.  Students may elect to earn a Ph.D. degree in neuroscience, awarded by the Neuroscience Training Program (NTP), and either of two Master’s degrees that are awarded by the La Follette School of Public Affairs: a Master’s degree in Public Affairs (M.P.A.), with an emphasis on domestic public policy, or a Master’s degree in International Public Affairs (M.I.P.A.), or a J.D. degree in law which is granted by the Law School.  Each of the three degree tracks engages students in an integrated graduate program, specifically tailored for each track, that combines course work and laboratory research.

It is expected that most students will enter the N&PP Program as First Year students, but qualified students in later years of graduate study may apply to join the Program.  The requirements for the Ph.D. degree in neuroscience follow those established for the degree by the Neuroscience Training Program.  The requirements for the M.P.A. or M.I.P.A. degrees are determined by the La Follette School, and those for the J.D. degree by the Law School.

N&PP students will select an Advisory Committee by the end of the first academic year.  The Committee will include faculty drawn from neuroscience and public policy or neuroscience and law.  This Committee will advise the student during each of the years that the student is enrolled in the N&PP.  Each N&PP students’ thesis advisory committee must include

The monthly Neuroscience and Public Policy Seminar, which is open to all students, is a central element in the Program, and is a required course for all N&PP students during each semester in which they are enrolled in the Program. N&PP students assist the N&PP Director in choosing invited speakers for the seminar. Additionally, N&PP students will give a talk for the seminar about on a topic identified by the N&PP student giving the talk and approved by the N&PP Director. The topic will bridge neuroscience and public policy. In preparation for the talk, the N&PP student will work with their peer N&PP students with advisement from a faculty member who is expert on the specific topic. The topics covered will not overlap with their research presentation and will provide a valuable exercise for the N&PP students to further develop their speaking skills in neuroscience and public policy, something students, at present, do not have a uniform opportunity to do in the program. This talk will also count as one of the two subgroup talks NTP students are expected to present.

At the end of the sixth academic semester, or the eighth semester for J.D./Ph/D. students, N&PP students will write a position paper that bridges neuroscience and public policy or neuroscience and law.  This paper will replace the outside area paper required of NTP students as part of the Preliminary Examination.

In addition, N&PP students complete a summer internship in an institution or agency engaged in science policy.  The internship must be approved by the N&PP Program’s Steering Committee before it is undertaken.

Detailed information about the N&PP Program, the faculty who are involved, course requirements for the degree tracks that are offered, model timetables for each track, and other relevant material is available on the N&PP’s web site (http://npp.wisc.edu/).

Neuroscience & Public Policy Program Requirements

All students in the Neuroscience & Public Policy Program follow all requirements of the Neuroscience Training Program and either the La Follette School of Public Affairs or UW-Madison Law School. There are circumstances where N&PP students are allowed more time to complete certain requirements or other exceptions. A list is provided below of areas where N&PP students Neuroscience Training Program requirements are altered, please see those sections of the NTP handbook for more information.

To view the La Follette School of Public Affairs degree requirements, please see their website: http://www.lafollette.wisc.edu/

To view the UW-Madison Law School degree requirements, please see their website: http://law.wisc.edu/

Laboratory Rotations/Choosing an Advisor

N&PP students have the option of delaying their first rotation until the start of the spring semester of their first year and to finish three rotations by the end of the first year.  Neuro/Law students have the option of beginning their rotations during their second year.

Preliminary Exam

N&PP students will be given an additional year and Neuro/Law students an additional two years to complete the preliminary exam. N&PP students will write a position paper that bridges neuroscience and public policy or neuroscience and law. This paper will replace the outside area paper required of NTP students as part of the Preliminary Examination.

NTP Subgroup talks

The N&PP Seminar student seminar will count as one of the two subgroup talks N&PP students are expected to present during their time in the program.

Time to Degree

N&PP students should refer to the N&PP website for sample timelines for each of the degree tracks.