Evaluation

Evaluation of Student Progress

 

First Year Progress:  During the first year, students will experience a rigorous program comprised of both formal course work and laboratory research training.  Successful completion of both educational experiences is required for advancement.

Competency in formal courses will be evaluated by written tests and oral presentations on assigned topics.  In addition, students must obtain satisfactory evaluations by faculty advisors during their research rotations.  Students will be guided by the Director of Graduate Studies to experiences that represent the different areas of concentration in the Neuroscience Program.  Competency in research will be evaluated by the research advisor in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies. First year students will have opportunities to practice making presentations and integrating material in diverse areas of neuroscience by participating in Journal Club (NEUS 595) with their fellow students.  This experience will bring together all of the GPN students to discuss not only their own research but critical topics in the Neuroscience literature.  All students will be expected to lead discussion on various topics and receive feedback from participating faculty and peers.

GPN students must meet three requirements for successful completion of the first year and progression to the second year of study: First, students must maintain “good academic standing”.    Graduate students in the PhD Program are considered to be in good standing during the first year if they have a minimum graduate grade point average of 3.0 (A = 4.0).  Second, students must demonstrate progress in developing research skills. These skills will be acquired in research rotations and evaluated by faculty mentors in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies. Third, students must secure a Thesis Advisor by the end of the first year. The Thesis Advisor must agree to support the student financially by providing the stipend for all years after the first year of study until degree completion. The Advisor also agrees to assist the student in meeting all degree requirements and help the student prepare applications for external and UIC fellowships and other awards.

In the event that a student’s GPA falls below 3.00 and/or the student has not secured a Thesis Advisor by the end of the first year, that student will not be allowed to continue in the Program.

 

Second Year Progress:  During the second year, students will continue their elective course work in their chosen concentration and begin research in the laboratory of their chosen Thesis Advisor.  In general, the same assessment standards used in the first year will be applied during the second year, which includes the maintenance of a 3.0 GPA and satisfactory progress in the laboratory as evaluated by the Thesis Advisor in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies.  Students will maintain a continued exposure to the integrative aspects of the program through their required participation in Journal Club (NEUS 595), their participation in the Neuroscience Graduate Research Symposium each Spring, and their attendance at required seminars and special lectures.

 

Continuing Requirements:

Following successful completion of the Preliminary Examination, students will formally begin dissertation research.  By the end of the third year, students will be required to select a Dissertation Advisory Committee of at least five faculty members.  It is expected that this advisory committee will also be the Dissertation Examination Committee; however, it is reasonable for either the student or advisor to invite other faculty or technical experts to join the group to provide specific advice and expertise as needed.

The Dissertation Advisory Committee is ultimately appointed by the Dean of the Graduate College on the recommendation of the Program.  The committee has at least five members: it will normally include the Thesis Advisor, at least three other members of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience faculty (no more than two of whom can be from the home Department of the student’s thesis advisor), and it is recommended that at least one faculty member be from outside the Program (preferably from outside the University).   A procedural chair, who must be a full member of the Graduate College, will be selected by the Director of Graduate Studies.  At least two members of the committee must be tenured faculty at UIC; two must be full members of the Graduate College.  The student is required to meet with the Dissertation Advisory Committee at least once each year in the Spring.  The committee will serve in an advisory role and will work with the Thesis Advisor to evaluate student progress and ultimately determine when the student is ready to write and defend his/her dissertation.  The committee will be asked to submit a Progress Report to the Director of Graduate Studies each year to certify that they have met with the student and that the student is making satisfactory progress.  Students will maintain a continued exposure to the integrative aspects of the program through their required participation in Journal Club, their participation in the Neuroscience Graduate Research Symposium each Spring, and their attendance at required seminars and special lectures.

 

Final Graduation Requirements:

Students are required to obtain permission to graduate at the final meeting of the Dissertation Advisory Committee. The Dissertation Examination Committee must approve of both the written dissertation and its oral defense. The Dissertation Defense consists of a public seminar followed by a private meeting of the student with the Dissertation Defense Committee.