Montana State University

Department of Cell Biology
& Neuroscience

Montana State University
P.O. Box 173148
Bozeman, MT 59717-3148

Tel: (406) 994-5120
Fax: (406) 994-7077
E-mail: cellbio.msu@gmail.com
Location: 510 Leon Johnson Hall

Department Chair

Frances Lefcort, Ph.D.

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CBN Graduate Program Requirements

Graduate Degrees Offered

M.S. (plan-A and plan-B) in Neuroscience or Biological Sciences 
Ph.D. in Neuroscience or Biological Sciences

The department offers graduate study and research leading to both the Master of Science (M.S.) degree and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in either Neuroscience or Biological Sciences. Prospective students wishing to apply directly to the department should secure a faculty mentor prior to beginning the application process. All other applicants may apply through the Molecular BIOSciences Program.

Admission

Ph.D. and M.S. Degree Programs
A Bachelor's degree in an area of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Applied Math or Psychology is recommended. Students with Bachelor’s degrees outside these areas are also encouraged to apply; such students will generally be required to complete appropriate courses while enrolled at MSU to make up subject matter deficiencies prior to full acceptance into the Ph.D. and Masters programs. Factors that the department uses in its admissions process include GRE scores, TOEFL scores (for non-native English speakers), reference letters, GPA and previous coursework and research experience.

The department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience also participates in the Molecular BIOSciences Program at MSU (http://mbprogram.montana.edu/index.asp). This is an interdisciplinary graduate training program that includes faculty from a wide range of departments specializing in aspects of biology on the MSU campus.

Program Requirements

M.S. Degree
Students may pursue the Master's degree under either Plan A or Plan B. Plan A requires the completion of 20 credits of acceptable coursework and 10 credits of thesis. Under Plan B, a 4 credit project and 26 credits of acceptable coursework must be completed. Master's candidates must take an oral comprehensive exam near the completion of their graduate program. Required curriculum will be tailored to the needs and interests of each student in consultation with their graduate advisor and advisory committee.

Ph.D. Degree
A Ph.D. student must complete a minimum of 35 dissertation credits and a minimum of either 25 credits of coursework beyond the Bachelor's degree or 10 credits of coursework beyond the Master's degree. Accepted students will be assigned an advisory committee upon entering the program to assist them in tailoring a curriculum that best fits their educational needs, research interests, and career plans.

Research Experience
Plan A (thesis option) Master's degree students gain research experience through their thesis and are expected to submit the results of their thesis work to at least one journal or conference. Plan B (project option) Master's degree students gain some research experience in the context of their project. Ph.D. students will gain research experience through their doctoral work, journal or conference submissions, and attending conferences

Research Facilities
Graduate research will be performed primarily in the laboratory of the student’s thesis advisor. Additional facilities will be available from the department and in laboratories collaborating with the student’s advisor. Cell Biology and Neuroscience is dually housed in the 5th floor of Leon Johnson Hall and in the basement of Lewis Hall.

Financial Assistance
A number of research and teaching assistantships are available for qualified graduate students. These appointments are normally for half-time assignments (20 hours per week) during the academic year. Some appointments may also be available during the summer. Assistantships will only be offered to formally admitted graduate students. Fellowships are available through MBS program.

Faculty

Department Head
Frances Lefcort, Ph.D.

Graduate Coordinator
Charles Gray, Ph.D.

Professors

  • Cassie Cusick; anatomy and physiology
  • Charles Gray; neurophysiology of visual perception and cognition
  • Thomas Hughes; biophysics
  • Frances Lefcort; molecular and cellular neural development
  • John Miller; neurophysiology

Associate Professors

  • Roger Bradley; developmental neuroscience
  • Steve Eiger; physiology

Assistant Professors

  • Susy Kohout; voltage dependent signaling
  • Christa Merzdorf; developmental neurobiology
  • Steve Stowers; genetic analysis of neural circuits