The Interdepartmental PhD Program in Neuroscience (NSIDP) is one of eighteen Graduate Programs in Biosciences at UCLA. The NSIDP has an independent admissions process and an independent curriculum, but all programs share some of the administrative structures.
Neuroscience research at UCLA is not restricted to an individual department. In fact neuroscience-oriented laboratories can be found across campus, from the School of Medicine to the College and the School of Engineering. Active collaborations between groups with different research focuses are the norm. These collaborations are fostered by financial incentives, intellectual curiosity and a structure for promotion that values collaborative work. Collaborations are always depending on graduate students and postdoctoral scholars and in fact are frequently initiated not by principal investigators but by graduate students. Thus, its is beneficial to have a graduate program that reflects the collaborative atmosphere at UCLA in its design.
Interactions are not limited to groups within the NSIDP. There are collaborations with groups in the humanities, cancer biology and structural biology. They are also not limited to UCLA and encompass laboratories across the US and across the globe. At UCLA we breathe and thrive on collaborative work because we believe that everybody brings something unique to the quest to figure out how the brain works, and working together we have a better chance for advancing our understanding. The NSIDP strives to enable its students to develop the critical skills to identify an experimental question, to obtain the technical and intellectual tools to address the question and to hone the skills of communicating the question, path and potential answers to experts and to the general public. Rather than providing graduate students with vocational training in Neuroscience, the NSIDP strives to help students obtain the intellectual skills to identify, frame and solve problems. These skills are indispensable for a successful career in Neuroscience but will also prepare students extremely well for a wide variety of other career paths.