Course of Study

Overview

To maintain full-time status, all students MUST register for a minimum of

Also, students must generate and continually update an IDP (individual development plan) using myidp.  The Thesis Committee will approve all IDPs at the biannual meetings.

The Office of Graduate Studies has implemented an on-line information system for graduate students. Seguidor, when fully implemented, will be the repository to document student progress throughout his/her academic career. All students must use the system. Detailed instructions are available for students and faculty on the Graduate Studies Seguidor web site.

Course requirements for graduation:

Courses by year:

Year 1

The Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences (IGPBS) has replaced the Biomedical Research Training Program at UNMC starting for Fall 2016 students and onward. Classes, restrictions, and requirements of IGPBS are similar to BRTP but not exactly the same.

IGPBS Neuroscience students take courses within the UNMC College of Medicine graduate curriculum. These courses provide a fundamental background in biochemistry, cell biology, physiology, neuroscience and immunology. Faculty members from various campus departments teach these courses. This unified year-one syllabus also provides students the opportunity to get to know their colleagues on campus.

Note: Course syllabi are available to registered students via Blackboard.

Year 1 Fall Semester

Required
IPBS 803 - Fundamentals of Receptors and Cell Signaling (1 credit hr)
PHAR 820 - Current Methods in Neuroscience (2 credit hrs)
PHAR 896 - Research Other than Thesis (1 credit hr)
PHAR 950A - Special Topics: Journal Club (1 credit hr)
PHAR 970 - Seminar  (1 credit hr). Students must attend 15 weekly seminars.
UNO Course: PSYC 9010 (Pro Seminar: Stat Mthd I) (3 credit hr) (as a UNO course, you will need to submit an intercampus form to Graduate Studies)

Year 1 Spring Semester

Required
NSC 922- Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience (Neurobiology I) (3 credit hrs)
NSC 932- Systems Neuroscience (Neurobiology II) (3 credit hrs)
PHAR 999- Doctoral Dissertation (1 credit hr)
PHAR 950A - Journal Club (1 credit hr)
PHAR 970 - Seminar - (1 credit hr)

Optional: Students interested in optional courses should consult their advisor or the department's Chair of Graduate Studies.

Summer Semester (two sessions)

Required
PHAR 999 - Doctoral Dissertation. Four (4) credit hours in the 8 week session of the Summer Seminar.

Additional first year requirements:

Students must complete three laboratory rotations each lasting 5-7 weeks during the first semester.

Rotations must be completed by the start of the second semester.

These rotations provide an introduction to research systems, techniques and approaches. Equally important, these rotations help students in selecting an advisor for their dissertation research. The rotations are credit in PHAR 896.

Selecting a Thesis Committee:

A Thesis Committee must be assembled and convened within three months after joining the laboratory where the student's dissertation research will be done and no later than July 31st of the first year.  The Thesis Committee will assist the student in selecting future course work. Thesis Committee meetings must be held every six months and minutes recorded (obtain meeting template from department Graduate Studies assistant). It is the responsibility of the student to schedule these meetings.

The student, in consultation with his/her mentor, selects members of the Thesis Committee. A committee

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Year 2

After the mentor has been chosen, students should begin to enroll in PHAR 999 instead of PHAR 896.

Year 2 Fall Semester:

Required

An elective course related to your research interests and confirmed by your Thesis committee.

PHAR 950A - Journal Club (1 credit hr)
PHAR 970 - Seminar (1 credit hr). Students must attend 15 seminars each semester. Besides attending weekly seminars, second year students must present a 10 minute seminar (fall OR spring semester)
PHAR 999- Doctoral Dissertation(adjusted so that the total credit hours equals nine)

Optional
PHAR 950 - Graduate Pharmacology/Special Topics (2 credit hrs)

Students interested in pharmacology may also consider PHAR 815 - Medical Pharmacology I (5 credit hrs) and PHAR 817 - Medical Pharmacology II

The student must meet with his/her Thesis Committee during the fall semester second year and every six months thereafter. Scheduling timely committee meetings is the responsibility of the student. This information is tracked through Seguidor. Recording minutes from these meetings is required; obtain meeting template from department Graduate Studies assistant.

Year 2 Spring Semester:

Required

Another elective course related to your research interests and confirmed by your Thesis committee.

PHAR 950A - Journal Club (1 credit hr)
PHAR 970 - Seminar (1 credit hr). Students must attend 15 seminars each semester. Besides attending weekly seminars, second year students must present a 10 minute seminar (fall OR spring semester)
PHAR 999- Doctoral Dissertation(1-2 credit hrs)

Optional
GCBA 932 - Neurobiology II (3 credit hrs)
PAMM 857 - Medical Immunology (2 credit hrs)
PHAR 816 - Medical Pharmacology II (5 credit hrs)
PHAR 930 - Neuroimmunology (3 credit hrs)
CIP 920 - Ion Channels and Disease (course offered every other year in the spring; check with course director on diseases being studied) (2 credit hrs)

Year 2 Summer Semester:

Required
PHAR 999 - Dissertation Research. Four (4) credit hours in the 8 week session of the Summer Seminar.

The student's Thesis Committee may recommend additional courses to help a student with his/her project.

Additional Second Year Requirement - Comprehensive Exam

By the end of year two, a student must be working with his/her Thesis Committee to set topic/date/time for Comprehensive Exam.

The Comprehensive Exam is based on a research proposal that is not the same as the student's thesis project unless the research is a new project that is very different from the current research funded in the mentor's laboratory.

The first attempt of the Comprehensive Exam must be completed by the beginning of the first semester, year three.

Comprehensive Exam

Prior to comprehensive exam, review all department and Graduate Studies requirements (note: Request for Scheduling Comprehensive Examination is done via Seguidor).

Research proposal:

Guidelines for Research Proposal and Defense:

Not achieving these milestones without a very good reason (e.g. major illness, family tragedy, birth of a child) will prohibit the student from registering for classes.  Examples of unacceptable reasons:  mentor not available, could not get the committee together.

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Year 3
After passing the comprehensive exam, the requirement of 9 credit hours per semester is dropped as the student is now a Ph.D. Candidate.

Year 3 Fall Semester

Required
PHAR 950A - Journal Club (1 credit hr)
PHAR 970 - Seminar (1 credit hr). Students must attend 15 seminars per semester.  Besides attending weekly seminars, a student must present a 20 minute seminar, either in the fall OR spring, during the third year.
PHAR 999 - Doctoral Dissertation (1 credit hrs - ).

Optional
CIP 814/PHAR 814 - Scientific Writing (2 credit hrs)

Year 3 Spring Semester:

Required
PHAR 950A - Journal Club (1 credit hr)
PHAR 970 - Seminar (1 credit hr). Students must attend 15 seminars per semester.  In addition to attending weekly seminars, a student must present a 20 minute seminar, either in the fall OR spring, during the third year.
PHAR 999 - Dissertation Research for Ph.D. candidates (1 credit hr)

Optional
CIP 814/PHAR 814 - Scientific Writing (if not taken in fall semester)

Year 3 Summer Semester:

Required
PHAR 999 - Dissertation Research. Four (4) credit hours in the 8 week session of the Summer Seminar.

PHAR 999 - Dissertation Research. One (1) credit hours in the 8 week session of the Summer Seminar if you have passed your Comprehensive Exam before the Summer started.

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Year 4

Year 4 Fall Semester

Required
PHAR 970 - Seminar (1 credit hr). Students must attend 15 seminars each semester.  In addition to attending weekly seminars, a student must present a 40 minute seminar (fall OR spring semester) during the fourth year.
PHAR 999 - Dissertation Research (1 credit hr)

Year 4 Spring Semester

Required
PHAR 970 - Seminar (1 credit hr). Students must attend 15 seminars each semester.  In addition to attending weekly seminars, a student must present a 40 minute seminar (fall OR spring semester) during the fourth year.
PHAR 999 - Dissertation Research

Year 4 Summer Semester (two sessions):

Required
PHAR 999 - Dissertation Research. Four (4) credit hours in the 8 week session of the Summer Seminar.

PHAR 999 - Dissertation Research. One (1) credit hours in the 8 week session of the Summer Seminar if you have passed your Comprehensive Exam before the Summer started.

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Year 5 and beyond

Fall Semester

Required
PHAR 999 - Dissertation Research (1 credit hr)
PHAR 970 - Seminar (1 credit hr)

Spring Semester

Required
PHAR 999 - Dissertation Research (1 credit hr)
PHAR 970 - Seminar (1 credit hr)
Dissertation defense  Seminar

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Seminars, journal clubs and laboratory meetings

In order to obtain a pass grade for PHAR 970, students must attend a minimum of 15 weekly department seminars per semester.

Seminars: Guest speakers from other departments and institutions are invited to present their research at formal department seminars (generally held on Fridays).

In addition, graduate students must present their research annually for input and discussion. Students should review the above requirements for seminar presentations.

Journal Clubs: Students participate in the department's journal club (PHAR 950A) for three years. Each student presents and critiques a paper from the recent research literature, with questions and discussion from their peers. The journal club focuses on a different topic each year, and students receive Special Topics in Pharmacology credit for their participation.

The goals of these sessions are to develop students' skills in

In addition, students are exposed to a wide variety of new research techniques and experimental systems as well as keeping up with the latest advances in understanding topics related to pharmacology and neuroscience.

Laboratory Meetings: In addition, most laboratories have their own research meetings on a regular basis. Laboratories with shared interests may hold joint meetings, with a focus on planning day-to-day experiments and solving specific problems related to the ongoing research. Students are active participants in these sessions, together with faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and research technicians.

M.D., Ph.D. Students
Ph.D. course requirements of M.D., Ph.D. students are the same as for other PEN Graduate Students.  They will need to complete three credited courses, one of which must be at the 900 level.

All PEN M.D., Ph.D. students must take PHAR 901- Receptors and Cell Signaling (3 credit hrs) and a statistics course (Bio 808 or 818) if not already taken.

Note, six credited courses could be waived if the student fulfilled the required courses as part of the UNMC Medical School Curriculum. Documentation of the waived courses, signed by both the student's Thesis Committee chair and the department's Graduate Studies Committee chair,  must be sent to UNMC Graduate Studies' office.

Formation of the Thesis Committee must be done within one year of joining the lab, and the comprehensive exam must be done within 1.75 years after joining a lab.

Grievance Policy/Procedures

The PEN department and all of UNMC is dedicated to treating all students fairly. However, if a student feels he/she has been mistreated the university has inform and formal procedures.  Please review the Graduate Studies office grievance resolution procedures.

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2016-2017 Committee Members

Keshore Bidasee, Ph.D., Chairman
Kaushik Patel, Ph.D.
Jeffrey French, Ph.D.
Stephen Bonasera, Ph.D.
Woo-Yang Kim, Ph.D.
Dan Monaghan, Ph.D.
Tony Wilson, Ph.D.
Huangui Xiong, M.D., Ph.D.

Mr. Reed Felderman
(administrative assistant)

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