Curriculum

The neuroscience core curriculum provides a necessary breadth of knowledge across major areas of neuroscience and accommodates students with diverse academic backgrounds. In the first two years all students take Cellular Neuroscience, Systems Neuroscience (including Neuroanatomy), and a course in biostatistics.

 

Cellular Neuroscience and Laboratory in Neural Science I. Through lectures, student-run discussions of primary research, and hands-on laboratories, this course covers basic principles of cellular neuroscience, from fundamental membrane physiology to complex neuronal response properties. The course interweaves physiological, cellular, and molecular mechanisms to provide a thorough understanding of the material.

Neuroanatomy. This hands-on course covers the detailed anatomy of the human peripheral and central nervous systems within a functional context, including discussion of clinical cases that allow students to integrate and apply their knowledge.

Sensory and Motor Systems and Laboratory in Neural Science II. This course introduces neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, and behavioral and psychophysical functions of the nervous system. Lectures, discussion sections, and labs integrate cellular neurobiological properties with network and computational organization of the major sensory and motor systems of the brain to establish a comprehensive understanding of information processing and coding mechanisms.

 

In addition, students select an area of specialization based on their research interests. The two areas are: Molecular, Cellular, and Translational (MCT) or Systems, Cognition, and Computation (SCC). By choosing an area of specialization, students are able to delve deeply into the subfields of neuroscience they are most interested in. Additional advanced electives fill in areas or expand on topics directly relevant to the students' thesis work.

 

The following examples are typical programs for students choosing either the Molecular/Cellular/Translation (MCT) or Systems/Congnitive/Computational (SCC) specializations. To see descriptions of the classes, please consult the course catalogs here and here. Graded courses are in bold print.

 

MCT area of specialization:

SCC area of specialization:

Year 1

  • Foundations of Cell & Molecular Biology I
  • Cellular Neuroscience + Lab
  • Sensory and Motor Systems + Lab
  • Scientific Integrity & the Responsible Conduct of Research
  • 2-3 Laboratory Rotations 

Year 1

  • Behavioral & Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular Neuroscience + Lab
  • Sensory and Motor Systems + Lab
  • Mathematical Tools for Neuroscience
  • Scientific Integrity & the Responsible Conduct of Research
  • 2-3 Laboratory Rotations 

Year 2

  • Biostatistics (3 options)
  • Advanced Elective 1
  • Advanced Elective 2
  • Grant Writing for Scientists
  • Qualifying Exam
  • Thesis Research

Year 2

  • Advanced Elective 1
  • Advanced Elective 2
  • Grant Writing for Scientists
  • Qualifying Exam
  • Thesis Research

Year 3 and beyond

  • Advanced Elective 3
  • Thesis Research
  • Thesis Committee Meetings
  • Thesis Preparation and Defense

Year 3 and beyond

  • Advanced Elective 3
  • Thesis Research
  • Thesis Committee Meetings
  • Thesis Preparation and Defense