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Graduate Training in Neuroscience

Research Training
We offer both MSc and PhD degrees through the graduate training Department of Neuroscience. Students graduate with a degree in Neuroscience, typically 2.5 years for a MSc, and 4.5 years for a PhD. Our members were traditionally organized by Research Groups. Some of these exist today, but most neuroscientists are associated directly with the new Hotchkiss Brain Institute. Calgary has a long history of promoting communication between basic and clinical researchers, and the Brain Institute was created in part to capitalize on this to increase the amount of translational research opportunities. Our lab is well equipped and funded through 5 year grants from national agencies, and have active collaborations with other labs worldwide. Check here to see the lab!

Costs / Salaries
We currently provide a stipend of $25,000 Cdn per year. Many students earn more than this by competing for funds from external agencies and through local awards administered by the Dept. Neuroscience or the Faculty of Graduate studies.


Tuition currently is $5,700 for the first year of a MSc program and during a PhD program until completion of candidacy (typically year 2-3). After this the tuition decreases to $1,800, with fees providing substantial rate cuts for all public transportation. The Department of Neuroscience also offers sufficient salary support to virtually eliminate tuition fees for PhD students! The province of Alberta dictates that foreign students be charged twice the resident tuition fee, but our lab guarantees to cover the cost of tuition.

The cost of living index for Calgary is comparable among Canadian cities and below that of most European cities. The lack of Provincial Sales Tax in Alberta further reduces all daily expenditures. A two bedroom apartment rents between $900.00 and $1200.00 Cdn, with several apartment complexes within walking distance of the university.


See Below for Excerpts from our Policies and Procedures Manual:

"Training for a graduate degree in neuroscience involves apprenticeship to an established investigator, i.e., the supervisor. It is the supervisor's responsibility to educate students first to ask important questions, and second, to devise and carry out experiments to answer such questions. Regular meetings of the Supervisory Committee ensure exposure of students to diverse points of view, but the Department of Neuroscience operates in an "open-door" fashion such that many faculty can contribute to the education and training of students. The objective of all these faculty-student interactions is to produce graduates who can critically evaluate original literature, formulate testable hypotheses, demonstrate skill in designing experimental procedures, carry out experiments, and effectively communicate the results both verbally and in writing. Although these expectations apply to both M.Sc. and Ph.D. students, Ph.D. candidates are expected to demonstrate a greater degree of independence and originality. Ph.D. dissertations must demonstrate a mature, at least partially original and independent, preferably multi-disciplinary, approach to an important question. One component of the program is a series of mandatory and optional courses.

Mandatory courses

Students enroled in the M.Sc. program must take a course that runs over the course of two terms and covers the basics of Cellular and Molecular, Systems, and Developmental Neuroscience. Students enroled in the Ph.D. program must take this course and another based on discussions with their Supervisory Committee, with the option of gaining credit for an approved course offered external to the University. The objective of these courses is to educate students in all areas of contemporary neuroscience research in sufficient depth such that any general neuroscience seminar should be comprehensible. To provide the necessary breadth of expertise, these courses are team taught by specialists in the relevant areas. Nevertheless, little background knowledge is assumed other than a normal undergraduate science education. Despite this "ground up" approach, evaluation of original research papers are an important aspect of these courses, which also highlight both general experimental techniques and research areas of contemporary importance.

Optional courses

A number of optional, specialised courses are available that are designed to provide in-depth knowledge in a variety of areas of neuroscience. These courses vary in their format and expectations, but generally focus on specific research topics with an emphasis on recent advances and controversies, as well as details of techniques. The objective of these courses is: to provide students with a knowledge base of sufficient depth in their own specialty such that any publication in this area should be accessible. Although considerable general and specialised knowledge is provided by these courses, overall education of students is provided by integration of coursework with all other aspects of the program, e.g., research training, Neuroscience Research seminars, journal clubs, lab meetings, candidacy exams and Supervisory Committee meetings.

The fundamental responsibility for graduate student progress throughout the program rests with the supervisor. Because the process of graduate training contains a major element of apprenticeship, the supervisor is not only a teacher but also a major factor in determining the relationship of the candidate to the scientific community, and is also important for the student's career opportunities. To assist both the supervisor and the student, a Supervisory Committee is appointed. The Supervisory Committee meets with the student at least once a year to approve and monitor all aspects of the student's program."

 

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  | X. Zhan | H. Asmara | G. Sahu | J. Miclat | C. Szalay |