PhD in Anatomy & Neurobiology (And Vesalius Module)

This 64 credit doctoral program includes courses in Anatomy and Neuroscience that are part of the Medical School curriculum, are offered within this department or are offered by related departments on the Medical Campus. An integral part of the program is the requirement for students to participate as Teaching Fellows in Medical and Graduate school courses as part of our Vesalius Teaching Apprenticeship. The PhD program is designed to produce well-rounded biomedical scientists who expect to include both research and teaching in their career.

 The PhD curriculum consists of required courses, seminars and electives as well as Dissertation Research. Overview of the 64-credit PhD program:

  • Required Courses: 44-48 credits, including 4 credits of Department Seminar Courses.
  • Electives and/or Research: 20-24 credits

To see more details on the courses we offer, please visit the Course Description page.

Required Courses (Anatomy focus: 48; Neuroscience focus: 44)

Medical Gross Anatomy
OR Systems Neurobiology
Medical Neuroscience 4cr AN703
Fundamentals of Cell & Molecular Neurobiology 4cr AN777
Cognitive Neuroscience
OR Biomedical Imaging Foundations
4cr AN811
Methods in Neuroscience 4cr AN718
Advanced Neuroanatomy (even years)
OR Special Topic: Graduate Histology (odd years)
OR Cells, Organs and Tissues
Exptl. Design & Statistical Methods
OR Elementary Biostatistics
OR SPH Introduction to Biostatistics
Vesalius 1: Teaching in Biomedical Sciences 2cr AN806
Vesalius 2: Teaching Apprenticeship (fulfilled by Teaching Fellow assignments) variable AN809
Scientific Writing 2cr AN815
Professional Skills 2cr AN715
Research Colloquium in Anatomy & Neurobiology (Journal Club)*
*Journal Club is taken once per year, but only one time for credit
2cr AN802
One Departmental Seminar Course 2cr List Below

One Departmental Advanced Seminar Courses:

Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (even years) 2cr AN702
Dynamic Modeling (on demand*) 2cr AN820
Neurobiology of Aging (odd years) 2cr AN707
Neurobiology of Visual System (on demand*) 2cr AN807
* on demand = 4 or more students

Department Elective Courses include:

Advanced Clinical Anatomy 2cr AN708
Vesalius 3: Mentored Teaching Project (Practicum) 2cr AN805
Special Topic: Graduate Histology (odd years) 2cr AN803
Molecular Basis of Neurologic Disease 2cr MS783
Methods of Functional Imaging of the Brain 2cr IM630
Forensic Biology 2cr FS702
Forensic Pathology 3cr FS712
Molecular Biology of Forensic DNA 3cr FS720
Human Anatomy and Osteology 4cr FA712
Advanced Human Osteology 4cr FA806

Requirements for the PhD Vesalius Module:

Students are required to have taken at least two of the following prerequisite courses to pursue the Vesalius Module:

Medical Gross Anatomy 8cr AN701
Medical Neuroscience 4cr AN703
Systems Neurobiology 4cr AN810
Cognitive Neuroscience 4cr AN811

The Module consists of three courses/components, two of which (Vesalius 1 & 2) are included in the list of required courses for all PhD students. The program begins with a course on the development of teaching skills in the biomedical sciences. This is followed by a teaching apprenticeship (160 hours service as a Teaching Fellow in one or more of the medical or graduate required courses, above), and concludes with a Mentored Teaching Project that involves the development of a didactic lesson or exercise under the direct mentorship of experienced and award-winning faculty.

Vesalius 1: Teaching in the Biomedical Sciences 2cr AN806
Vesalius 2: Teaching Apprenticeship variable AN809
Vesalius 3: Mentored Teaching Project (Practicum) 2cr AN805


Example of a typical curriculum for PhD students (see required courses and options above)

Year 1: Fall

Medical Gross Anatomy or Systems Neurobiology                  8cr/4cr   AN 701/AN 810

Medical Neuroscience (Credits assigned in Spring)                 4 cr        AN 703

10-12 cr

Year 1: Spring

Cognitive Neuroscience and/or Advanced Neuroanatomy      4 cr/4 cr AN 811/AN724

Vesalius 1: Teaching in the Biomedical Sciences                        2 cr    AN 806

Research Colloquium (Journal Club)**                                        2 cr    AN 801/802

**Journal club is taken once every year but only one time for credit

Elective(s) (see list above)                                                                2-4 cr

10-14 cr

PhD students typically rotate through 2-3 labs during the Spring semester. This enables them (and faculty research mentors)
to find a lab in which dissertation research will be performed.

Year 2: Fall

Fundamentals of Cell & Molecular Neurobiology                      4 cr    AN 777

Exptl. Design & Statistical Methods or Elementary Biostats.  2 cr    AN 704/MS 700

Cells, Organs and Tissues (Histology) or elective(s)                  4 cr    AN 722

Scientific Writing                                                    2 cr    AN 815

10-12 cr

Year 2: Spring (Note this is when most students take their PhD qualifying exam)

Advanced Seminar (1 required, see list above)                                   2 cr    (see list above)

Professional Skills for Students in the Biomedical Sciences            2 cr    AN 715

Elective(s)                                                                                                   Variable

Year 3: Fall

Research                                                                                        Variable

Elective(s) (see list above)                                                         Variable

Vesalius 2: Teaching Apprenticeship
(continues to 160 hrs)                                                                 6 Cr    AN 805

Year 3: Spring

Research                                                                                          Variable

Elective(s) (see list above)                                                            Variable

Advanced Seminar (see list above)                                             Variable

Year 4: Spring-Fall

Research and Dissertation                                                           Variable

Year 5: Spring-Fall

Research and Dissertation                                                           Variable

Dissertation Defense