Written Qualifying Exam

Students must take the written qualifying examination after completion of the core courses. These exams test students’ ability to incorporate knowledge from diverse areas within neuroscience to form original research questions.

The written qualifying exam is administered in early September and it is typically taken at the end the first year. It is split in to three sections:

Systems Neuroscience
Cellular Neuroscience
Molecular Neuroscience.

Three hours are given for each section, and each section is administered on a separate day.

Exams are graded high pass / pass / low pass (passing) / low pass (requiring remedial work ) / fail. A student must achieve at least a low pass on all sections to pass the written qualifying exam. In some circumstances, a failing grade on a section can be rectified with clarification or extra work.

Prompts typically require students to write a grant application or review a paper based on a set of papers selected by the professor who has written the exam. These papers are made available prior to the exam date.

Students are allowed to prepare together and brainstorm ideas. Though, once in the exam room, no talking is allowed.

The exams are ONLY administered in September. If you are planning to take the exams, do not plan vacation during September. You must be on campus to take the exams.