Abbreviations: Executive Committee (EC), School of Medicine (SoM), Graduate Student(s) (GS)
1. Program overview
The School of Medicine of the University of Crete runs a Graduate Program in Neurosciences (GPN) in collaboration with neuroscientists from different Universities and Research Institutes in Greece and abroad.
GPN focuses on Cellular/Molecular/Developmental Systems, Cognitive, Translational and Clinical Neurosciences. Graduate Students (GS) are offered a strong training in Neuroscience and are prepared for careers in research and teaching. Its major goal is to offer excellent training in the theoretical and practical aspects of the Neurosciences to graduates of Institutes of Higher Education in Greece or abroad, from departments of Biology, Chemistry, Medicine, Pharmacy, Psychology, and Veterinary), as well as graduates from higher education technical schools with a degree related to Neuroscience.
1.1 General information
The new academic year starts in the fall semester every other year. The GPN leads to a Master’s Degree (MSc.) in Neuroscience after four semesters of studies.
In the first two semesters, the GS enroll in five mandatory courses and choose from a list of electives (see below - paragraph 2.2). In the third semester, the GS perform 2 three-month laboratory rotations, and the fourth semester is dedicated to the diploma thesis. Each course and rotation is assigned a number of European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) credits [1 ECTS credit = 25-30 hours of workload].
For the successful completion of their studies, the GS must accumulate at least 120 ECTS credits (30 ECTS per semester).The GPN is full-time and the attendance is mandatory.
The language of the GPN is Greek and/or English.
1.2 Scholarships - Financial Support
1.2.1 "Christina Spyraki" Scholarship
The GS of the GPN will be awarded a monthly payment of 600.00 € for one year, based on the following criteria:
A. 1st year scholarship
The GS who will have the highest grade point average in the first year of his/her graduate studies
B. 2nd year scholarship
The GS who:
- completed his/her studies in 2 years (until the 31st October, ratification by the General Assembly of the SoM)
- has acquired the highest final grade (Excellent) [see below, paragraph 5]
- will continue his/her graduate studies at the PhD level (should submit a letter of acceptance by a PhD program - in Greece or abroad - by the 31st of March of the year post completion of the GPN)
- cannot receive a stipend or scholarship from any other source
1.2.2 "Maria Manasaki" Scholarship
The scholarship is given by the Maria Manasaki Endowment, which was established on July 25th2000.
The scholarship is announced annually and is posted on the website of the University of Crete, the corresponding Departments and the Press. The final approval for the nomination of the scholar, who is proposed by the University of Crete, is carried out by the Decentralized Administration of Crete - Directorate of National Endowments.
The duration of the scholarship is one year and the amount is determined after the decision of the Grant Scholarship Committee, according to the scholarship limits for graduate studies in Greece as defined by the Ministry of Finance.
Who can apply?
The GS of the SoM and the School of Sciences and Technology of the University of Crete who have excelled in their studies and meet the following requirements:
• Have the Greek nationality
• Their age does not exceed their 36th year
• They hold a diploma with at least a ‘Very Good’ degree (see below, paragraph 5)
• They do not receive another scholarship for the same studies, from the same or another Endowment, Inheritance or Donation
• Photocopy of police ID
• Declaration of the N1599 / 1986 law
• Diploma copy
• Additional supporting documents specified by each Department
(Information can be obtained from the Secretariats of the School of Sciences and Engineering, the SoM and the Society for the Exploitation and Management of the Property of the University of Crete, Mrs. Eugenia Balafa, tel. 2810 393620).
GS can apply for an ERASMUS+ scholarship for a 6-month student exchange in order to perform their diploma thesis abroad in a European Institution (collaborator or not of the GPN). Erasmus+
2. Courses, Laboratory Rotations and Diploma Thesis
2.1 Core Courses
During the first semester, GS will enroll in four (4) core courses (25 ECTS credits):
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Systems Neuroscience
- Principles and Methods for the Study of the Nervous System
In the second semester one core course is offered in Neurochemistry / Neuropharmacology (6 ECTS credits).
The aim of these courses is to introduce the GS, coming from different backgrounds, to basic knowledge in different areas of neuroscience and the methodologies employed in the research in these areas.
2.2 Elective Courses
A large number of elective courses is offered in the second semester such as developmental neurobiology, drug development, imaging of CNS anatomy and biological processes, physiology of the HPA axis, psychopharmacology, regenerative pharmacology, neuropsychology, neurobiology and psychopharmacology of reward, addiction and depression, pathophysiology and molecular basis of neurological diseases, cellular mechanisms of memory and learning and computational modeling in neural circuits, in order for the GS to be exposed and acquire an in depth knowledge in different areas of Neuroscience.
2.3 Laboratory Rotations
Two three-month laboratory rotations will be performed in the third semester. The first laboratory rotation will be assigned by the GPN and the second laboratory rotation will be chosen by the GS. Laboratory rotations will be the first contact with research activities for many of the GS. The GS will be evaluated by the supervising faculty member.
To register for a rotation, the GS have to submit a Laboratory Rotation Form, stating the title of the project, the name of the supervisor and the laboratory in which the research will take place, as well as the start date of the rotation. This form must be signed by the supervisor of the lab rotation.
Upon completion of the rotation the GS must submit the Laboratory Rotation Evaluation Form signed by the supervisor. Lab Rotation Evaluation Form
2.4 Diploma Τhesis
The diploma thesis may be performed in the laboratory of one of the two rotations or any other laboratory directed by a collaborator of the GPN or any other laboratory abroad.
The GS chooses the supervisor and the laboratory where he/she will perform the diploma thesis.
The GS must submit an application for the diploma thesis where the following are stated: the title of the thesis, a short description of the research project, the starting date of the project and the name of the proposed supervisor.
The EC of the GPN examines the GS's application, appoints the supervisor and designates the three-member examination committee for the approval of the diploma thesis.
2.4.1. Evaluation of the Diploma Thesis
The evaluation process of the diploma thesis involves the presentation of the research carried out during its elaboration. The presentation of the diploma thesis by the GS, takes place in front of the three-member examination committee. Each member has received the thesis two weeks before the date of the presentation.
The presentation is open to all members of the GPN, as well as to all faculty/researchers of the SoM or the collaborating Institutions in Heraklion and Rethymnon who are interested in the research subject. The date, time and place of the presentation is announced.
With the end of the presentation and after a questions/answer discussion with the audience, the members of the examination committee grade the GS on the basis of the presentation, the original findings of the study and his/her ability to answer the questions which were asked. His/her writing capacity is also evaluated evaluation form. The diploma thesis is posted on the GPN website.
2.4.3 Instructions for Writing the Diploma Thesis
3. Program Activities
GS will attend many seminar series organized by the GPN or other departments of the University of Crete and the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (IMBB).
Research Seminars will be offered weekly/biweekly by all members of the GPN (Heraklion, Rethymnon, and visiting collaborators from other Institutions outside Crete) who accept GS for the laboratory rotations and the diploma thesis. The aim of this seminar series is to inform the GS of the research performed in the laboratories of the faculty/researchers of the GPN.
The GS will also have the opportunity to attend many seminars by visiting professors or researchers from other departments of the University of Crete and the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (IMBB) that are not affiliated to the Program.
GS will participate in the organization of a “retreat” that will take place before the start of the diploma thesis. Τhe meeting place will be decided by the GS and members of the EC. The goal of the retreat is to bring GS and faculty together in order to exchange ideas about the GPN and to give GS the opportunity to present the research (poster or oral presentation) they performed during their rotations or the project of their diploma thesis.
3.3 Attendance to Neuroscience Meetings
GS will be informed of the Meetings of the Hellenic Society of Neuroscience and the Federation of European Societies (FENS).
4. Rules for the Evaluation of Courses and Laboratory Rotations
GS are evaluated on the basis of written exams and/or oral presentations. Grades for laboratory rotations take into account GS attendance, theoretical background and laboratory technical skills.
In case of failure in any of the courses taken, the GS may be examined, following his/her application, by a three-member committee of the SoM faculty that has the same or similar area of expertise with the course to be examined and is appointed by the General Assembly of the SoM. The professor responsible for the course cannot participate in this committee.
For the laboratory rotation, the supervisor submits both a grade and a written evaluation of the GS's performance at the end of the rotation. Lab Rotation Evaluation Form
5. Grades and Αcademic Obligations of the Graduate Students
5.1.1. Grading of courses/laboratory rotations/presentations and grading scale
The GS is graded from 0 to 10 with a passing grade of 5.0.
The successful completion of a course is achieved when the grade is greater or equal to 5.00.
5.1.2. Calculation of the Final Grade
The final grade is calculated taking into account the average of course and graduate thesis grades, according to the weight coefficient (ECTS) for each course (weighted grade point average)
5.1.3 Grading system
Excellent: 8.50 to 10
Very Good: 6.50 to 8.49
Good: 5 to 6.49
Fail: 0 to 4.99
5.2 Academic Obligations of the Graduate Students
Attendance is mandatory up to 90%.
5.3 Degree Requirements
The GS has fulfilled the academic requirements and is awarded the degree of Master’s of Science when he/she has:
-successfully fulfilled all requirements (courses/laboratory rotation/diploma thesis)
-accumulated a minimum of 120 ECTS credits
-completed the four semesters of studies of the GPN
-a final grade point average above 7.0
At the end of every semester the EC evaluates and discusses the progress of each GS.
6. Academic Standards
The minimum duration of studies for the GS to be eligible for graduation and to be awarded the title of MSc. is four academic semesters.
In case of a delay in their studies, GS may request an additional yearly extension. This has to be granted by a decision taken by the General Assembly of the SoM on the recommendation of the GPN's EC.
The EC may suggest the suspension of a GS when his/her performance or his/her attendance is below an accepted level, in accordance with the Article 5 of GPN’s Regulations, and the decision taken by the general assembly of the SοM.
All GS are expected to abide by the highest ethical and moral standards in scientific research. Research misconduct is a very serious matter that could end up ruining the student's graduate studies and more generally the career of every professional participating in research and academia. Particular attention is paid to educating students on following the rules of proper presentation of the results of research projects, and prevention of the serious offenses of plagiarism, data fabrication and falsification, and data theft. If such an offense is detected, the EC of the GPN will investigate the case thoroughly and will take administrative action according the rules and procedures defined by the SoM. If research misconduct is confirmed, then the EC will forward the case to the Ethics Committee and the general assembly of the SoM requesting further action, which could include termination of the student from the GPN.
During the two-year Program, GS are required to participate and contribute to basic or clinical research projects. The responsibility for development and maintenance of the research protocols that are utilized for the training of the GS falls with the senior investigators in charge of the specific laboratories or clinical research programs. All research protocols are expected to have ongoing approvals by appropriate regulatory authorities and research ethics committees (e.g. animal rights committee, institutional review board, etc).
7.1 Ethics in Animal Use
Seminars in bioethics and animal use in research will be given by invited speakers or PhD students and scientists who have taken the FELASA course.
7.2 Academic integrity
Seminars in Research Ethics and ethics in scientific writing will be offered by invited speakers and the faculty of the GPN.