Course of Study

Program Overview


Course of Study

Financial Support

Application Process




The CSN program draws those students from the departments of Biology and Psychology who wish to concentrate in cognitive and/or systems neuroscience. Trainees follow a course of study that prepares them to design, conduct, and analyze the results of experiments at the leading edge of their field. One of the program's highlights is the so-called cross-rotation, in which students focusing in either systems or cognitive neuroscience do a hands-on, three month research project in the complementary discipline. This activity promotes both breadth and interdisciplinary thinking. Another highlight is the writing, defense, and submission of a grant proposal for a prestigious National Research Service Award (NRSA) from the National Institutes of Health. This feature addresses the growing importance of grantsmanship in the life of tomorrow's researchers by teaching the theory and practice of this essential skill.


*CSN Core Course

Advanced Cellular Neuroscience - Introduction to the basic properties of neurons as cells, membrane biophysics, the Hodgkin-Huxley model, ion channels and neurotransmitter receptors, and synaptic transmission.

Advanced Systems Neuroscience - Comparative and developmental neuroanatomy, motor and sensory systems, neuronal basis of preception and behavior.

Advanced Cognitive Neuroscience - Behavioral neuroscience in animal models, human neuroanatomy, perception, attention, and learning and memory. Higher order cognitive functions are discussed relative to their systems-level counterparts.


BI610 Advanced Biological Statistics


BI420/520 Cellular Basis of Learning and Memory
The history and current state of knowledge about the cellular and molecular mechanisms of learning and memory common to simple and complex animals.

BI424/524 Advanced Molecular Genetics
Structure and function of chromosomes with emphasis on unsolved genetic problems such as genomic imprinting, position effects, and gene silencing.

PSY433/533 Learning & Memory
Processes underlying learning and memory, including evolution. Topics range from simple forms of behavior change to the acquisition, retention, forgetting, and retrieval of symbolic information.

PSY435/535 Cognition
Issues of memory; coding for storage, control processes for storage; attention and cognitive control; analysis of more complex cognitive tasks; approaches to problem solving.

PSY438/538 Perception
Topics covered are color, size, shape, depth, distance, and movement. Examines the relationships between stimuli and perception, stimuli and the neural response, and the neural response and perception.

PSY445/545 Brain Mechanisms of Behavior
What are the neural mechanisms underlying behavior? How do neural circuits operate to achieve sensory processing, sensorimotor integration, motor control, and behavioral choice? How do neuroscientists investigate these questions? How can basic principles learned from particular species be applied to brain mechanisms in humans?

PSY450/550 Hormones & Behavior
Relationships among the brain, endocrine systems, and behavior. Developmental effects of hormones on the brain, puberty, sexuality, aggression, stress.

BI451/551 Invertabrate Zoology
Representative invertebrate groups with emphasis on marine forms; morphology, systematics, life history, and ecology.

BI466/566 Developmental Neurobiology
Mechanisms underlying development of the nervous system. The genesis of nerve cells; differentiation of neurons; synaptogenesis and neuronal specificity; plasticity, regeneration, and degeneration of nervous tissue.

PSY475/575 Cognitive Development
Intellectual development in children from infancy to adolescence with a focus on early childhood. Topics covered include perception, attention, memory, reasoning, conceptual structure, social cognition.

BI485/585 Techniques in Computational Neuroscience
Introduction to numerical techniques for modeling the nervous system from single neurons to neural networks.

*Colloquial Activities

Journal clubs
Lab meetings
Bi-monthly research-in-progress meetings
Departmental seminars
Society for Neuroscience Meeting wrap-up social
CSN Spring Symposium
Institute of Neuroscience retreats

* Grant Proposal

Students write a federal grant proposal based on the preliminary findings of their thesis research. The proposal takes the form of an individual NRSA application. Proposals may be submitted to NIH after review by the student's thesis commitee. Forms and information.


Last updated 9/19/2014