PhD Curriculum Requirements for Neuroscience

Ph.D. candidates majoring in Neuroscience must take at least 72 graduate credits.  These 72 credits include the core course requirements (below) and applicable research credits earned.  Credits taken during a student's M.S. program in Neuroscience at Iowa State University may count towards their Ph.D. in Neuroscience.

Additional coursework for both Ph.D. and M.S. degrees may be selected by the student in consultation with his/her Program of Study (POS) Committee to meet departmental requirements and to satisfactorily prepare the student for their research project.

Graduate credits of B or better earned at another institution may be transferred at the discretion of the POS Committee and with the approval of the Neuroscience Program and the ISU Graduate College.

Additional information relating to credits required for graduate degrees can be found in the ISU Graduate College Handbook.

Neuroscience Core Curriculum requirements include:

Neuroscience PhD Students Take All of the Below
NEURO 556 Cellular, Molecular & Developmental Neuroscience 3 credits Alt. Fall,
Odd Years
NEURO 557 Advanced Neuroscience Techniques 3 credits Alt. Spring,
Odd Years
NEURO 661 Current Topics in Neuroscience 2-3 credits

Alt. Spring,
Even Years Repeatable


Journal Club in Neuroscience*See Footnote

1 credit Fall & Spring
NEURO 696 Neuroscience Seminar*See Footnote 1 credit Fall & Spring
NEURO 699 Research Variable Fall, Spring & Summer
BBMB 404 Biochemistry I 3 credits Fall
BMS 537 Neuroanatomy 3 credits Spring
STAT 587 Statistical Methods for Research Workers 4 credits Fall, Spring & Summer
MANDATORY ETHICS TRAINING: All Neuroscience students are also required to complete 1 credit hour of ethics training. 

*Footnote: NEURO 690 & NEURO 696 are taken each Fall & Spring semester in which the student is enrolled in the program.

In addition to the above coursework, all Neuroscience PhD students are required to take a minimum of six credits of approved elective courses. 

Pre-approved Neuroscience Electives (Minimum of 6 credits)
A ECL 551 Behavioral Ecology 3 credits Alt. Spring, Even Years
AN S 670 Molecular Biology of Muscle 3 credits Alt. Fall,
Even Years
BIOL 354 Animal Behavior 3 credits Fall
BIOL 436 Neurobiology 3 credits Fall
B M S 354 General Pharmacology 3 credits Spring
KIN 572 Neural Basis of Human Movement 3 credits  
PSYCH 410 Behavioral Neurology 3 credits Fall
PSYCH 519 Cognitive Neuropsychology 3 credits  
PSYCH 598C Seminar in Cognitive Psychology: Cognitive Neuroscience Credit Fall & Spring


Non-native English speakers must pass the English Requirement as established by the university.  Depending on the results of this exam additional courses may be required to meet English proficiency standards. 

Neuroscience graduate students are required to teach one semester as part of their training for an advanced degree.   Students whose first language is not English must take and pass the Oral English Certification Test (OECT) test to be eligible to teach.