Neuroscience Graduate Program - Course Work


Coursework and Courses

In the first year of study, all entering students enroll in a set of courses designed to provide fundamental knowledge in neuroscience. These courses include:

NEUR2030           Advanced Molecular & Cellular Neurobiology I
This course focuses on molecular and cellular approaches used to study the CNS at the level of single molecules, individual cells and single synapses by concentrating on fundamental mechanisms of CNS information transfer, integration, and storage. Topics include biophysics of single channels, neural transmission and synaptic function.

NEUR2040           Advanced Molecular & Cellular Neurobiology II
This course continues the investigation of molecular and cellular approaches used to study the CNS from the level of individual genes to the control of behavior. Topics include patterning of the nervous system, generation of neuronal diversity, axonal guidance, synapse formation, the control of behavior by specific neural circuits and neurodegenerative diseases.

NEUR2050           Advanced Systems Neuroscience
This course focuses on systems approaches to study nervous system function. Lectures and discussions emphasizes neurophysiology, neuroimaging and lesion analysis in mammals, including humans. Computational approaches will become integrated into the material. Topics include the basic sensory, regulatory, and motor systems.

NEUR2060          Advanced Cognitive Neuroscience
This course focuses on cognitive approaches to study nervous system function. Lectures and discussions emphasize neurophysiology, neuroimaging and lesion analysis in mammals, including humans. Computational approaches will become integrated into the material. Topics include the major cognitive systems, including perception, decisions, learning and memory, emotion and reward, language, and higher cortical function.

BIOL3652            Integrated Medical Sciences II - Brain Sciences
This course focuses on the anatomy of the central nervous system. Lectures survey the circuitry of the major neural systems for sensation, movement, cognition, and emotion. Laboratory exercises include brain dissections, microscopy of neural tissue, and discussion of clinical cases.

All 1st year students take an intensive laboratory course to gain practical experience in cellular and molecular neuroscience techniques. This 10 day course is held in January at the Marine Biological Laboratories in Woods Hole, MA.

In the second year, all students must enroll in a graduate level statistics course or demonstrate core competence in statistics. The following courses are recommended to satisfy this requirement:

CLPS2906 - Experimental Design
The course is designed for students at the intermediate level or above and will cover t-tests, power analysis, correlation, simple and multiple linear regression, logistic regression, analysis of variance, non-parametric tests, randomization and bootstrapping.

PHP2510 - Principles of Biostatistics and Data Analysis
Intensive first course in biostatistical methodology, focusing on problems arising in public health, life sciences, and biomedical disciplines. Summarizing and representing data; basic probability; fundamentals of inference; hypothesis testing; likelihood methods. Inference for means and proportions; linear regression and analysis of variance; basics of experimental design; nonparametrics; logistic regression.

APMA2610 - Recent Applications of Probability and Statistics
This topics course covers modern applications of probability and statistics in the computational, cognitive, engineering, and neural sciences. Topics include: Markov chains and their applications to MCMC computing and hidden Markov models; Dependency graphs and Bayesian networks; parameter estimation and the EM algorithm; Nonparametric statistics ("learning theory"), including consistency, bias/variance tradeoff, and regularization; Gibbs distributions, maximum entropy, and their connections to large deviations. Each topic will be introduced with several lectures on the mathematical underpinnings, and concluded with a computer project, carried out by each student individually, demonstrating the mathematics and utility of the approach.

Second year students and beyond may also select from a large number of courses and seminars offered by the major departments in the program including Neuroscience, Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences, Applied Mathematics, Engineering, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry, and Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology and Biotechnology. These courses are chosen to enhance students’ laboratory research experience.

Brown University Graduate School requires students to complete 24 course credits before graduation. Typically these credits are earned within the first three years of study. To satisfy any course requirement, students must earn a grade of B or higher. Students receiving grades of C or No-Credit (C and NC) must meet with their First Year Advisory or Thesis Committee to discuss remedial action.