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 and the Chair of the SAC, the students choose rotation laboratories.


Students are required to take 3 rotations; one during the summer, fall, and spring of the first year. A 4th rotation is possible in the summer of the second year. After each rotation, students make a presentation in the Student Seminar Series. A student must successfully complete 3 rotations to be eligible to take the comprehensive examination.


During the first summer rotation, students are engaged full-time in laboratory research with the exception of the summer course. During the Fall and Spring rotations, 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).

Pre-Rotation Form

Students should complete this form prior to starting the rotation. Contact your SAC chair to receive this form via DocuSign.

Post-Rotation Form

Students should complete this form within one week of completion of each rotation. Contact your SAC chair to receive this form via DocuSign.