Vision for the UCSF Neuroscience Graduate Program**
The UCSF Neuroscience Graduate Program (Neuroscience Program) aims to train students in the concepts and methods of modern neuroscientific research in order to impart the skills, knowledge, and enthusiasm needed to make impactful contributions to this field throughout their entire careers. In addition, the Neuroscience Program is committed to increasing the diversity of the neuroscience workforce by training students from diverse backgrounds and is strongly committed to combatting implicit bias, racism, sexism, and homophobia in academia.

Mission Statement of the Neuroscience Program
This program can prepare students to obtain tenure track academic research positions at top-tier R and RT level institutions in the United States and equivalent institutions abroad. In addition, the Neuroscience Program recognizes the widespread demand for excellent neuroscientists outside of academia and provides support for students who wish to pursue a variety of non-academic scientific careers including those in biotechnology, education, administration, policy/advocacy, and communication.

Goals of the Neuroscience Program
In order to fulfill this mission, the Neuroscience Program outlines the following goals which are expected of all graduates:

  1. General knowledge and understanding of modern neuroscience
  2. Theoretical understanding of a broad range of modern neuroscientific techniques
  3. Ability to read, critically assess, and review contemporary scientific literature
  4. Ability to identify outstanding questions in the field, and to design experiments that are ethical and viable to advance the field
  5. Practical expertise in techniques relevant to a subfield of neuroscientific research
  6. Capacity to produce high-quality grant proposals and scientific papers
  7. Clear communication of scientific research to both scientific and non-scientific audiences
  8. Conceptualization of the importance of mentorship, the variety of needs that accompany students of different backgrounds, and demonstration of mentorship ability

Requirements for Graduation
In order to assess the successful completion of the goals set out for students of the Neuroscience Program, the Program requires 1) an agreement of the student’s Thesis Committee that the student has demonstrated sufficient aptitude toward the above goals, as well as 2) the production of a Graduate Thesis in the form of a dissertation that demonstrates:

  1. The identification of an important gap in a subfield of neuroscience (i.e. production of a research question or questions)
  2. Knowledge of the relevant literature and previous work relevant to said subfield
  3. Design of a scientific project consisting of multiple experiments, successful completion of which would significantly advance understanding in this subfield
  4. Execution of several of the designed experiments, including analysis and rigorous interpretation of the data, which together either answer the proposed research question(s) or demonstrate significant progress towards answering said question(s) and detail the necessary future experiments which would result in such an answer.
  5. Ability to create a scientific work to the level of that found in high-quality scientific journals and grants. This may, but is not required, to include pieces from the student’s own scientific publications produced from their graduate work.

In addition to the dissertation, students are required to:

  1. Hold a Thesis Seminar, in which a curated portion of the dissertation is presented to an audience consisting of both neuroscientists and non-neuroscientists.
  2. Have published, or have begun the process of publishing, a first-author scientific paper in a reputable peer-reviewed journal (under exceptional circumstances the thesis committee may assess the adequacy for graduation based on meeting all of the other requirements for graduation without a first-author paper).

**This document was initiated by Michael Reitman, a senior student in the NS Program in 2020.