The purpose of the research rotations is to learn about the neuroscience problems being addressed and the strategies and methods employed in different laboratories. The rotations expand the student's familiarity with areas and techniques in research and assist the student in choosing a laboratory and mentor for dissertation research. With the assistance of the Program Director, Chair of the SAC, and Faculty Advisor, the students choose laboratories through which they will rotate.
Students are required to perform 3 rotations: These should expose the student to various experimental approaches and be in at least two different departments/research areas. Students make a presentation about each rotation at neurolunch. A student must successfully complete rotations to be eligible to take the comprehensive examination.
The rotations take place during the summer, fall, and spring of the first year. A 4th rotation is possible in the summer of the 2nd year. Many students take advantage of this opportunity to study abroad. See also our link describing summer opportunities.
Expectiations of the rotation: During the first summer rotation, students are engaged full-time in the laboratory research with the exception of Neurofest. During the rotations during the school year, a compromise between the demands of the course load and the rotation must be achieved. This compromise changes as the demands of the courses change (e.g. mid-term exams), but, on average, students should expect to spend at least 15-20 hours per week in lab. Achieving at least passing (B) grades in all courses and a B average overall must remain a priority. Failure to achieve this academic minimum jeopardizes the graduate status of the student.
Prior to beginning work, students should discuss their current course load demands with their rotation mentors and arrange a tentative work schedule for the rotation. The mentor should be sensitive to the changing demands of the courses. The student should realize that graduate school is a full-time occupation and plan to utilize time off from coursework as time to do experiments (i.e. although everyone needs a vacation, some fraction of the school holidays are to be used to make progress on your research project).
For pre- and post-rotation forms, click here.