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Course of Study

Admission Requirements

Most students accepted into the NEU MS program have BS or BA degree in a life science related field, although individuals with strong backgrounds in related disciplines (in particular physics, engineering, mathematics) may also be strong candidates. Research experience in the life sciences is not required but will be considered as a positive indicator that may mitigate a deficiency in the academic record.

Pre-requisites: Most successful candidates have completed college level courses in physics, mathematics, organic and inorganic chemistry and advanced biology. It is recommended that students will have undergraduate neuroscience coursework. However, students accepted into the program without a pre-requisite may be asked to take the appropriate course(s) prior to undertaking specific graduate level courses.

GRE: The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required for admission, although a strong performance on this exam can be a positive indicator.

Personal Statement: Describe your interest in neurobiology. In which area(s) would you like to focus for your thesis research? What do you propose to do with your advanced degree, professionally? Discuss briefly any research experience that you’ve had outside the classroom.

Letter of recommendation: Three letters of recommendation from people who can evaluate the applicant's potential for graduate work and independent research.

International Students: A proficiency in the English language is required. If your native or primary language is not English, you must take an English proficiency test. To be considered for admission, an applicant must present an acceptable score on the TOEFL or IELTS test. IELTS: Overall score of 6.5 with no subsection below 6. TOEFL: Paper-based test: 550; computer based test: 213; or Internet-based test: 90. Under special circumstances, lower scores may be considered.

Admissions Deadlines: Review of applications will begin on March 15th and classes begin in July.

 

Courses

Core Curriculum:

  • NEU 501: Introduction to Neuroscience Research (Summer II, 3 credits)
  • NEU 502: Reading, writing and speaking Neurobiology (Fall, 2 credits)
  • NEU 521: Introduction to cellular neuroscience  (Fall, 3 credits)
  • NEU 522: Introduction to molecular neuroscience (Fall, 3 credits)
  • NEU 531: Sensory and motor systems (Spring, 2 credit)
  • NEU 532: Neural Plasticity, Learning and Memory (Spring, 2 credit)
  • NEU 536: Introduction to Computational Neuroscience (Spring, 3 credits)
  • BNB 560 Introduction to Mammalian Neuroanatomy (Spring, 1 credit)
  • BNB 697: Neuroscience Seminar Series (Fall, Spring, 1 credit)
  • NEU 548: MS Research Practicum in Neuroscience 1-9 credits (Fall, Spring, Summer)
  • NEU 549: MS Thesis Research in Neuroscience 

Students must complete at least 8 credits from NEU521, NEU522. NEU531, NEU532, NEU536 and BNB560.

Electives:

  • NEU 517 Cellulare Signaling (Summer, 3 credits)
  • NEU 534 Principles of Neurobiology (Summer, 3 credits)
  • BNB 563 Advanced Topics in Neuroscience I, (Fall, 1-3 credits)
  • BNB 564 Advanced Topics in Neuroscience II, (Spring, 1-3 credits)
  • BNB 565 Developmental Neuroscience (Fall, 1 credit)
  • BNB 566 Neurobiology of Disease (Spring, 1 credit)
  • BNB 597 Seminar Themes (Fall 1 credit)
  • JNR 501 Communicating Science
  • GRD 500 Integrity in Science (Spring, 1 credit)
  • BGE 510 Graduate Genetics (Fall, 3 credits)
  • MCB 503 Molecular Genetics (Fall, 3 credits)
  • MCB 520 Graduate Biochemistry I (Fall, 3 credits)
  • MCB 656 Cell Biology (Spring, 4 credits)

Additional graduate level courses may be accepted as electives with permission from the Program Director.

Course Descriptions:

NEU 501: Introduction to Neuroscience Research
A series of talks, discussions, and practical exercises to address topics related to research in neurobiology including laboratory etiquette, the laboratory notebook, experimental design and basic experimental techniques used in neuroscience research including electrophysiology, behavioral testing, molecular and cellular techniques, imaging and computational approaches.

Prerequisites: Matriculation in MS program
Summer 3 credits, Letter graded (A, A-, B+, etc.)

NEU 502: Reading, writing and speaking Neurobiology
Seminar course for master’s students in Neuroscience that will provide the students with practical instruction in analyzing the literature, written and oral presentation skills.  Course exercises will focus on the student’s thesis research.

Prerequisite: Matriculation in MS program
Offered  Fall, 2  credits, Letter graded (A, A-, B+, etc.)

NEU 521: Introduction to cellular neuroscience
The course introduces students to basic principles of cellular neuroscience. Topics covered include the ionic basis of resting potentials and electrical excitability, the structure, function and molecular biology of voltage- and ligand-gated ion channels.

​Prerequisite: Matriculation in MS program
Offered Fall, 2  credits, Letter graded (A, A-, B+, etc.)

NEU 522: Introduction to molecular neuroscience
The course introduces students to basic principles of molecular neuroscience. Topics covered include the signal transduction, regulation of neural gene expression and human neural genetic diseases.

Prerequisite: Matriculation in MS program
Offered  Fall, 3  credits, Letter graded (A, A-, B+, etc.)

NEU 531: Sensory and motor systems
This course introduces students to current debates on sensory and motor systems. Topics and areas covered include: general principles of sensory and motor coding, sensory systems (somatosensation, audition, vision, taste and olfaction), voluntary control of movement, modulation of movement by cerebellum and basal ganglia.​

Prerequisite: Matriculation in MS program
Offered  Spring, 2  credits, Letter graded (A, A-, B+, etc.)

NEU 532: Neural Plasticity, Learning and Memory
This course introduces students to the link between plasticity, learning and memory. Topics covered include: synaptic plasticity, synaptic homeotasis, brain connectivity, neurogenesis, aversive and reward learning, addiction.

Prerequisite: Matriculation in MS program
Offered Spring, 2 credit, Letter graded (A, A-, B+, etc.)

NEU 536: Introduction to Computational Neuroscience
This course introduces the basics of mathematical modeling and computer simulations of neurobiological systems, spanning a range of topics from the biophysics of excitable membranes to models of learning and memory. 

Prerequisite: Matriculation in MS program
Offered Spring, 3 credits, Letter graded (A, A-, B+, etc.)

NEU 548: MS Research Practicum in Neuroscience
The student will be introduced to modern neuroscience research techniques through participation in ongoing research in the laboratory of a Program in Neuroscience Faculty member for one semester. Student must obtain permission to register from the sponsoring faculty member.

Prerequisite: Matriculation in MS program and permission of instructor
Fall, Spring, Summer 1-5 credits, S/U grading

NEU 549: MS Thesis Research in Neuroscience
Thesis research will be conducted in the laboratory of a Program in Neuroscience faculty member. The student will work with their research mentor to analyze their experimental results and construct their thesis. Student must identify and obtain permission to register from the sponsoring faculty member.

Prerequisite: completion of 24 graduate credits and permission of instructor
Fall, 3 credits, S/U grading

BNB 560 Introduction to Mammalian Neuroanatomy
This course consists of a visual presentations and supplemental lectures providing an overview of the structural organization of the nervous system. The human nervous system and its sensory, motor and cognitive components are emphasized. Opportunities for examination of whole brains and histological sections, and some hands-on experience with basic neuroanatomical techniques may also be available.

Prerequisite: Matriculation in MS program
Offered Winter session, 1 credit, Letter graded (A, A-, B+, etc.)

BNB 697, Neuroscience Seminar Series
Students attend weekly seminar presentations typically given by visiting speakers. Seminars include sub-series of three to four lectures that focus on a particular topic in contemporary neuroscience.

Prerequisite: Matriculation in MS program and permission of instructor
Offered Fall, Spring, 1 credit,  S, U graded.)

NEU 517: Principles of Cellular Signaling
The course introduces students to the basic principles of cellular signaling and maintenance of cellular and organismic homeostasis through intra and intercellular signaling mechanisms will be covered.

​Prerequisite: Matriculation in MS program or permission of instructor
Offered Summer, 3  credits, Letter graded (A, A-, B+, etc.)

NEU 534 Principles of Neurobiology
Neuroscience investigates how the brain functions. This course begins with a review of cellular and molecular mechanisms of brain function, considers brain systems for motor control and sensory processing, and then finishes with a description of the cellular and molecular underpinnings of higher brain functions such as learning, emotion, and cognition.

​Prerequisite: Matriculation in MS program or permission of instructor
Offered Summer, 3  credits, Letter graded (A, A-, B+, etc.)

Sample schedule I Credits
   
Summer year 1  
BNB 501: Introduction to Neuroscience Research 3
   
Fall year 1  
NEU 502: Reading, writing and speaking Neurobiology 2

NEU 521 Introduction to cellular neuroscience
OR

NEU 522 Introduction to molecular neuroscience

3
NEU 548: MS Research Practicum in Neuroscience 5

BNB 697 Neuroscience seminars

1
Elective 1
   

Spring Year 1

 

NEU 531 Sensory and motor systems

2

NEU 532 Neural Plasticity, Learning and Memory

2

NEU 533 Neural systems, emotion and cognition

1

BNB 560 Introduction to Mammalian Neural Anatomy.

1

NEU 548: MS Research Practicum in Neuroscience

4
BNB 697 Neuroscience seminars 1
Elective 2
   

Summer Year 2

 

NEU 549: MS Thesis Research in Neuroscience

3
   
   
Total (including electives) 30

 

Sample schedule II Credits
   

Summer year 1

 

NEU 501: Introduction to Neuroscience Research

3
   

Fall year 1

 

NEU 502: Reading, writing and speaking Neurobiology

2
NEU 522 Introduction to molecular neuroscience 3

NEU 548: MS Research Practicum in Neuroscience

4

BNB 697 Neuroscience seminars

1

Elective

1

 

 

Spring Year 1

 
NEU 531 Sensory and motor systems 2
NEU 532 Neural Plasticity, Learning and Memory 2

BNB 560 Introduction to Mammalian Neural Anatomy.

1

NEU 548: MS Research Practicum in Neuroscience

4
BNB 697 Neuroscience seminars 1
Elective 2
   

Summer Year 2

 
NEU 548: MS Research Practicum in 3
   

Fall year 2

 

NEU 549: MS Thesis Research in Neuroscience

3
Electives 3
Total (including electives) 30+