The best scientists are often those that don’t limit their interests to a very narrow field of research but those that seek out multiple areas and approaches to inform their own scientific inquiry. The graduate education and training in the Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP) at the University of Virginia is designed to offer a uniquely interdisciplinary and collaborative graduate school experience, in the context of a premier public institution. In fact, 83% of the > 70 NGP faculty mentors have collaborations with other University of Virginia faculty in fields that are outside of their own (National Research Council report, 2010). The Neuroscience Graduate Program at the University of Virginia trains tomorrow’s neuroscientists through well-funded individual research laboratories, supported by numerous institutional state-of-the-art core research facilities. Our graduate students carry out cutting-edge, original research and graduate to be leaders in academia, government, industry, and science education.
One of the strengths of the Neuroscience Graduate Program is training experimentalists in basic science and translational research, always with an eye on disease relevance; as such, we stress didactic learning for the first year and experiential laboratory-based learning in the second and beyond. This focus on laboratory learning allows our students to begin actively seeking a dissertation project at the end of the first year of coursework.