The purpose of the comprehensive examinations is to evaluate students on their basic knowledge of neuroscience and their analytic and synthetic abilities in critically reading scientific literature, formulating testable hypotheses, and designing experimental strategies.
The comprehensive exam includes two components. A written comprehensive exam is taken after the first year of coursework, and an oral qualifying exam is taken during the second year. Students must pass both parts of the examination before advancing to doctoral candidacy and beginning full-time thesis research. The ascension to candidacy must occur no later than the beginning of the third year in the program.