PhD Programme Structure
The PhD programme lasts four years, including a first year of intensive instruction in techniques and research in theoretical neuroscience and machine learning.
In their first term, all students take the core courses in theoretical neuroscience and machine learning, after which they generally choose to concentrate on one of these fields. Each discipline runs a specialized course over the remainder of the first year, whilst the students start their research projects. In their second year, the students sit a written breadth exam in their chosen field, and write a shorter paper (equivalent to a short research proposal). The exam must be completed by the end of January of the second year, and the paper is due by August of the second year. Shortly afterwards, students are required to present and defend their thesis proposals in a talk given to the faculty. These must be held no later than June / July of the 2nd year. Having passed all the assessments, students then transfer from MPhil to PhD and are devoted to research for their remaining tenure. Failure to pass assessments by the deadlines outlined above will result in students having to meet with the entire faculty to explain their reasons for this. The faculty will consider whether the student should be suspended from the programme.
Throughout the training programme, students are immersed in a strong informal educational environment, comprising regular short talks, research reports, journal clubs and ad hoc reading groups; extensive seminar programs in the Unit itself and its neighbours (including ICN , FIL , Psychology at UCL and Birkbeck, Computational Statistics and Machine Learning and Statistical Science ); and attendance and participation in international conferences. Furthermore, the Unit endeavours to function as a single integrated research group, and so students have ready access to all members of the faculty, not just their immediate supervisors.
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