About the Program

Overall Philosophy

The Neuroscience and Cognitive Science (NACS) Program strives to educate exceptional scientists whose integrative training will form the basis for significant scientific contributions.  This is a research doctoral program designed on an apprenticeship model:  students train to become professional scientists by doing independent research and participating in all aspects of the profession under the guidance of a mentor.

The NACS program is committed to maintaining a culture of diversity, inclusion, and fairness. It does not tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, physical or mental disability, protected veteran status, age, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, creed, marital status, political affiliation, personal appearance, or on the basis of rights secured by the First Amendment.

Graduate Program

Support is available from research and teaching assistantships, training grants, and university fellowships, and typically includes tuition and health benefits. Funding opportunities are also available to students interested to work with advisors at local research institutions, such as the National Institutes of Health, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and Children's National Medical Center.

Students have extensive opportunities for interdisciplinary interactions through classes, seminars, special programs, and collaborative research across laboratories.

All students take a series of core courses designed to provide broad training in neuroscience and cognitive science so that they learn to appreciate the breadth of the field. In addition, students take specialized courses closely related to their research interests.

Individuals interested in the program should apply to NACS by December 1. It is encouraged that students contact NACS faculty members who have matching research interests to discuss possible mentorship arrangements.

Program Faculty

The NACS Program has faculty advisors in many departments on campus who lead state-of-the-art research laboratories. Each NACS graduate student will have a "home department." This is the department in which the student’s advisor has his/her appointment.  If the student conducts research at an off-campus site, a NACS UMD faculty acts as academic advisor and the student's home department will be the adademic advisor's department. If the student is rotating during the first year or co-advised, the home department is decided by mutual agreement among the advisors, the student, and the departments involved.

On-going student Advisement and Evaluation

At each stage of graduate training and evaluation, a student will work closely with the advisor(s) and a committee. The composition of the student's committee remains mostly the same although the committee's function may change over time. Several benchmarks are evaluated as the student progresses through the program (e.g., first year research project, qualifying exam, dissertation proposal, dissertation defense).