I would like to extend a special welcome to all prospective applicants to the Neuroscience Training Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Choosing to pursue graduate studies in neuroscience is an important decision, and I am pleased to provide information about the Ph.D. program in neuroscience at UW-Madison, the Neuroscience Training Program, and its many exceptional opportunities.
The Neuroscience Training Program at UW-Madison is an interdepartmental graduate program. It is not a department and it is not administered within the Dept. of Neuroscience. There are several benefits of being an interdepartmental graduate training program. Because it is not a department, the Program is not responsible for many departmental activities such as faculty hires, faculty tenure or undergraduate students. Our main responsibility is graduate education in neuroscience! Faculty in the Program are selected for their commitment to graduate training and are well-funded, bringing in over $35 million of research funds each year.
With nearly 100 faculty members in the Program from over 22 departments, numerous opportunities exist for students to pursue their research and training goals. Since the Program’s inception in 1971, over 180 Ph.D. degrees in neuroscience have been awarded. In order to prepare students thoroughly for a career in neuroscience, the Program includes emphasis on several aspects of training. Students gain experience and knowledge through course work (including a course in professional development), seminars, doctoral research in the laboratory of their faculty mentor, teaching, and community outreach. Special emphasis is given to training students to present lectures in public forums with confidence. The world-renowned faculty, state-of-the-art research facilities, and commitment to graduate education and success at a personal level make the Neuroscience Training Program at UW-Madison exceptional. We are proud of the achievements of our graduates: median time to degree is 5.1 years (about two years less than the national average), over 90% have first-authored publications from their thesis research, and nearly 50% of our graduates who have had their Ph.D. for five or more years have tenure-track faculty positions at academic institutions which is two or three times more than the national average in life sciences.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison is a stimulating place to be for a graduate student. The intellectual atmosphere, the social and academic environments, and the support services for graduate students are outstanding. UW-Madison is consistently ranked among the premier research universities in the country: it is one of only two universities in the country to be ranked in the top five for research expenditures for 20 consecutive years. Unlike many other elite research institutions, research labs at UW-Madison are oriented more towards graduate, than post-doctoral training, which accounts for the outstanding publication records of our graduates. A great asset of UW-Madison is the emphasis on interdisciplinary studies, cross-campus collaborations, and integrative research.
In addition to our traditional training in research and teaching leading to a Ph.D. degree in neuroscience, we have recently established several integrated dual degree programs in Neuroscience and Public Policy and in Neuroscience and Law. For both of these dual degree programs, students earn a Ph.D. degree in neuroscience through the NTP, and either a Master of Public Affairs (M.P.A./M.I.P.A.) degree in domestic or international policy through the La Follette School of Public Affairs or a J.D. degree from the UW-Madison Law School. More information on these dual degree programs is available on the N&PP website.
Neuroscience as a discipline is at a vital juncture. Groundbreaking advances such as mapping of the human genome, development of advanced molecular, genetic, and imaging technologies, and novel integrative approaches have expanded knowledge about the workings of the brain as never before. With this increased understanding, neuroscientists now envision significant treatments for numerous diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases, psychiatric illnesses, and developmental and emotional disorders. The Neuroscience Training Program is in the forefront of this progress. I invite all prospective applicants to seriously consider the Program for graduate study. An exciting and fulfilling experience is waiting.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Mary C. Halloran, Ph.D.
Director, Neuroscience Training Program