Program Requirements

Please see below for an overview of a few of the Program requirements. This list is not exhaustive so please review the Student Handbook for more information.

If you have any other questions regarding NTP requirements, please review the Student Handbook or contact the office at

Once a committee is formed you are required to have a committee meeting every semester until you become a dissertator. As a dissertator you are required to have one meeting per year until your thesis defense.

For each meeting you have there is a required form you must fill out, see here or the Forms tab.

Core Courses:

*Every student must take the core courses.

– NTP 610, Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
– NTP 700, Professional Development for Graduate Students in Biomedical Sciences
– NTP 611, Systems Neuroscience
– NTP 701, Experimental Design and Statistical Methodology
– NTP 900, Neuroscience Seminar (every fall and spring)
– NTP 990, Research and Thesis credits (every semester)


*Every student must take two mid-levels courses.

– One Cellular/Molecular/Developmental Neuroscience mid-level
– One Systems/Behavioral Neuroscience mid-level

A list of available and qualifying courses in each category will be drawn up each year by the Curriculum Committee and made available to the students.

Approved mid-levels offered by semester are listed here. The UW Guide page has a comprehensive list of all available and approved mid-levels and can be found here.

Statistics Course:

Competence in statistics must be demonstrated. Numerous options are available to meet this requirement. A list of UW-Madison statistics courses commonly taken by NTP students can be found here.

The NIH and NTP both place a high value on responsible conduct of research and require students in the NTP to participate in research ethics training throughout their time in the program.

Students who entered the program prior to fall 2016:

You must complete an NTP ethics subgroup in your first and third years in the program and two NTP approved research ethics seminars each of the first three years of training in the Program.

Students who entered the program after fall 2016:

Below you will find the requirement listed by year in the program.

  • YR 1: Complete Professional Development and Ethics course. Course will cover all 9 NIH RCR topics led by NTP faculty.
  • YRS 2-3: Complete 2 ethics seminars (approved by the NTP office) each year in the program.
  • YRS 4+: Complete 1 ethics seminar (approved by the NTP office) each year in the program.

One semester of teaching is required as part of your training.

Typically, this involves being a laboratory instructor or section leader and should not require more than 10 hours per week. Financial compensation for this teaching is not always available, although it can sometimes be arranged depending upon the needs and resources of individual departments.

You may fulfill the teaching requirement in other ways as well. For example, teaching in the summer PEOPLE program fulfills one-half of the teaching requirement, and two summers of PEOPLE instruction fulfills the entire requirement.

Final approval of how you fulfill the teaching requirement is given by your Advisory Committee.

Subgroup Purpose

Subgroups have been an integral part of the Program since its inception. These special-topics seminars are designed to accomplish two goals:

  1. to provide curricular breadth representing, as best as possible, the wide diversity of our field;
  2. to develop presentation skills through Subgroup-associated seminar talks.

External reviewers of the T32 have often identified the Subgroup requirement as an important strength of the program. Use this opportunity to learn about unfamiliar topics and increase your breadth of knowledge in neuroscience!

Subgroup Assignment Process

  • Subgroups need to be balanced in enrollment. The number of seats available in a given subgroup is simple math (total number of seats needed / total number of subgroups = number of seats in a subgroup).  Sometimes we make minor adjustments, but we use this as a solid guide.
  • Students in their 4th year (or beyond) are assigned first – we need to be sure they are in a subgroup.
  • Students in their 1st, 2nd, 3rd year are assigned based on their preferences. In recent years, we’ve been able to assign everyone within their top 2 choices.

Subgroup Requirements

  • Students in their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year are required to participate in one subgroup each semester.
  • Students in their 4th year (or beyond) are required to take one subgroup each year.
  • All students are required to enroll in NTP 900 each semester and attend Monday afternoon seminar.
  • All students are required to present 2 subgroup talks over the course of their program.
    • All students are expected to give at least 1 subgroup talk by the end of their 2nd year.
    • Each year, students are invited to volunteer for subgroup talks. If there are not enough volunteers, the NTP Office works through a priority list to assign speakers. If you are curious about the priority list or where you sit on the list, please contact the NTP Office.

Note on a transition to the new system (effective beginning with the incoming class of Fall 2023):

  • Students who have already given 2 subgroup talks will be required to give 1 research talk (current system).
  • Those who have already given 1 subgroup talk will give 2 research talks.
  • Those who have given 0 subgroup talks will be required to give 1 subgroup talk and 2 research talks.
  • All current students will take a minimum of 4 subgroups.
  • The NTP Office will confirm the requirements with each student, and address any special cases not captured by this plan.