Neuroscience Graduate Group Program Faculty Bylaws


The Neuroscience Graduate Group shall be a member of Biomedical Graduate Studies program within the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of the University of Pennsylvania. Its purpose shall be to develop and maintain a high-caliber training program for qualified students leading to the Ph.D. degree in Neuroscience.

Article I. Of Members

Section 1. The Neuroscience Graduate Group shall consist of members and members emeriti. Members must be members of the Standing Faculty of the University of Pennsylvania. Under exceptional circumstances, members of the research faculty may be elected to the Graduate Group, but their participation is defined by University policy.

Section 2. Members shall be appointed for a three-year term. Membership shall be renewed at the end of each three-year term upon review by and approval of the Membership Committee. Review shall consist of evaluation of a summary of the member’s participation in Graduate Group activities, submitted in writing by the member and confirmed by Graduate Group staff. The criteria for continued membership applied by the Membership Committee shall be the extent to which each candidate is actively involved in Neuroscience Graduate Group activities. These activities are summarized in Appendix I and include teaching graduate courses in the Graduate Group curriculum, supervision of rotation students, and participation in standing and ad hoc committees of the Graduate Group. Serving as a Thesis Advisor is not considered service but rather the reward for service.

  • Faculty with insufficient participation shall be notified in writing during year three of their membership cycle.
  • If participation is not increased, the member will be placed on “student-ineligible” status at the end of the three-year term. Student-ineligible status means that the member may not host students for lab rotations or thesis work for the duration of this status.
  • Upon increasing participation, a member with student-ineligible status may petition the Membership Committee in writing for restoration of full membership status. If participation requirements are not met within one year, membership will be revoked.

  • The Membership Committee shall meet twice per year to consider these requests and other membership issues.

Section 3. Faculty candidates for new membership shall request a meeting with the Graduate Group Chair and submit a cover letter and curriculum vita. The Graduate Group Chair, Vice-Chair, or designee shall meet with the faculty candidate to discuss requirements for membership and participation required to maintain full membership. After this meeting, faculty candidates shall have all rights and privileges of Graduate Group membership. Faculty candidates shall become full members with voting rights upon approval by the Biomedical Graduate Studies program as described in their guidelines.

Section 4. A member shall become emeritus when his or her faculty appointment within his or her home department attains emeritus status, provided that a review of participation in Neuroscience Graduate Group activities by the Membership Committee is successful.

Article II. Of Officers

Section 1. There shall be a single officer of the Neuroscience Graduate Group, its Chair. The Chair may decide to institute an Executive Committee, consisting of a Vice Chair, Director of Student Recruiting and Admissions, Director of Curriculum, and Director of Student Advising and Academic Review, or other positions. These individuals shalll serve at the Chair’s discretion and assist in the development and execution of Graduate Group activities.

Section 2. The Chair shall serve for a period of three years. The Chair may serve successive terms if re-elected by the membership.

Section 3. The membership shall be petitioned for nominations for Chair during the third year of the current Chair’s term. The new Chair shall be selected by a simple majority of votes of the entire membership during the last Graduate Group meeting of the current Chair’s term. Absentee votes shall be obtained for faculty not in attendance at the meeting. The votes shall be collected and counted by the Chair of the Membership Committee and the new Chair announced as soon as possible after the meeting.

Section 4. The Chair's responsibilities include: supervision of the day-to-day and other operations of the Graduate Group; constituting Graduate Group standing committees and serving on those committees ex officio; providing opportunities for members to participate in Graduate Group activities; hiring and supervision of Graduate Group staff, in collaboration with the Biomedical Graduate Studies program; advising graduate students, serving as a liason among the student, advisor, Thesis Committee when needed, and assisting in ensuring that all students are funded for the duration of their thesis work; serving on the Biomedical Graduate Studies Advisory Committee; and other duties as necessary.

Section 5. The Vice Chair's responsibilities include: acting as Chair of the NGG Membership Committee; overseeing outreach and other graduate-led activities; and serving as acting Chair when necessary.

Section 6. The Director of Student Recruiting and Admission's primary responsibility is to serve as Chair of the Admissions Committee. In addition, this Director serves as ex officio on the MD/PhD Admissions Committee and works with the NGG Coordinator to organize the PhD recruiting program.

Section 7. The Director of Curriculum's responsibilities include: working with the Graduate Group Coordinator to ensure that course listings are up-to-date and available to students at the beginning of each semester; reviewing evaluations from all courses offered by the Neuroscience Graduate Group, including sharing those evaluations with the instructors and determining if and how course revisions should be undertaken; representing the Graduate Group on the Biomedical Graduate Studies Curriculum Committee; preparing a review of all Graduate Group courses and other aspects of the curriculum in advance of the Graduate Group review, conducted periodically by the Biomedical Graduate Studies program.

Section 8. The Director of Student Advising and Academic Review's responsibilities include: serving as Chair of the Academic Review Committee; regularly reviewing Candidacy Exam and Thesis Committee reports to identify student-related issues that require attention; and providing advice and guidance to NGG students, as needed.

Article III. Of Organization

Section 1. The standing committees of the Neuroscience Graduate Group shall be: Admissions, Academic Review, and Membership. The Chair and members of these committees shall be appointed by the Graduate Group Chair for a two-year term. The Chair and members may be invited to serve additional two-year terms at the Graduate Group Chair’s discretion.

Section 2. The Admissions Committee shall coordinate recruitment efforts, review all applications to the Neuroscience Graduate Group, select applicants for interviews and recruitment, and ultimately identify those individuals who shall be offered a position in the Graduate Group. The Admissions Committee meets regularly from November through March, and additionally as needed.

Section 3. The Academic Review Committee shall monitor the academic and research performance of all graduate students during years 1 and 2 in the Neuroscience Graduate Group. The committee shall meet with each student once per semester during this time, will review student performance, and advise students on coursework and laboratory rotations. The committee shall assist the Graduate Group Chair and committee Chair in addressing student issues that may arise through the time students successfully complete the candidacy examination. The committee shall also monitor the progress of all thesis-level students once per year, and ensure that the student’s thesis committee is addressing any student issues that may arise.

Section 4. The Membership Committee shall evaluate existing members for renewed membership and to consider petitions from those members on student ineligible status for full membership. The committee shall meet twice per year, or as appropriate, at the committee Chair’s discretion.

Section 5. The ad hoc committees of the Graduate Group shall be of two types: (1) Candidacy Examination Committees and Thesis Advisory Committees, with duties as described in the Neuroscience Graduate Group Handbook; and (2) Committees such as the Awards Committee, Lab Rotation Talks Committee, Curriculum Committee, and other committees constituted at the Graduate Group Chair’s discretion.

Article IV. Of Meetings

Section 1. The Graduate Group Chair shall convene at least two general meetings per year, one in each of the Fall and Spring semesters. Faculty shall be invited to add items to the agenda in advance of the meeting or may introduce items for discussion at the meeting itself.

Article V. Of the Program

Section 1. A description of Neuroscience Graduate Group requirements for student coursework, laboratory rotations, the Candidacy Examination, and other program requirements shall be found in the Handbook.

Section 2. Neuroscience Graduate Group faculty members are required to provide full support for a student conducting thesis level research in their laboratory, including but not limited to stipend, tuition, dissertation fees and health insurance as mandated by the Biomedical Graduate Studies program, as well as associated research costs.

Article VI. Ratifications and Amendments

Section 1. These by-laws became effective in November, 2010, upon approval by a majority of the Neuroscience Graduate Group membership.

Section 2. Amendments shall be valid on approval by a majority of the members attending future Graduate Group meetings.


I: NGG Faculty Activities for Membership Status

  • Leadership
    • Chair
    • Vice Chair
    • Director for Admissions
    • Director for Advising
    • Director for Curriculum
  • Curriculum
    • Course director
    • Course lecturer
    • First-year journal club mentor
    • Second-year journal club director
    • Workshop lecturer/participant
  • Admissions and recruitment (PhD, MD/PhD, VMD/PhD)
    • Recruitment activities
    • Admissions Committee Chair
    • Admissions Committee Member (regular, ad hoc)
    • Admissions interviewer
  • Committees (Chair/member)
    • Academic Review
    • Candidacy Exam
    • Thesis
    • Awards
    • Rotation talks
    • NGG Membership
    • MINS Seminar
    • Other ad hoc
  • Other
    • Rotation advisor
    • Training grant PI
    • Outreach


Revised 7.6.12