Introduction Neuroscience I: This course covers basic topics in modern neuroscience and provides a strong, interdisciplinary foundation.
The course is composed of two sections:
- Neurophysiology and Neuropharmacology
In Neuroanatomy, students attend lectures that provide an overview of material and work in teams in the laboratory to explore anatomical relationships. In Neurophysiology/Pharmacology, sessions are a mixture of didactic lectures, discussion and student review and presentation of primary literature related to topics covered.
Introduction to Neuroscience II: This team-taught course is composed of three sections: I) Development, II) Sensory Systems, and III) Motor Systems. The overall course format is focused on student discussion of material. Course assignments and examinations are designed to develop student skills in experimental design and interpretation, literature review and oral and written presentation of material.
Introduction to Neuroscience III: Topics covered in this section include core concepts of cognitive neuroscience and psychology (e.g., attention, learning and memory, language, perceptual encoding, executive function, specialization, segregation, and lateralization) and basic computational concepts and models (e.g., associative networks, feature maps, learning algorithms). As this is the third in the series, it is also used as an opportunity to develop professional skills. Students develop the lectures and lead the discussions in this course, with expert faculty facilitation, guidance, and feedback.
Quantitative Methods in Biomedical Sciences: This is the introductory quantitative data analysis course for the program. It was designed with two principles in mind. First, we recognized that if students were to be competent in selecting the proper methods for analyzing their data, and critically evaluating the selections of others, it was essential that they understand the concepts and mechanics underlying statistical analysis, and not just be trained in “point-and-click” software packages. Second, we recognized that modern datasets could no longer be analyzed by hand, and that virtually all modern analyses require automation. Competency is assessed with formal testing, evaluation of student-selected “analysis projects”, and evaluation of programming assignments. This course has grown to be the most popular statistical methods course in the entire graduate school with an annual enrollment of over 60 students as all PhD programs now appreciate the value of this type of training. It is also one of the highest-rated courses in student reviews. Graduates of this course go on to program and control the apparatuses and analytic frameworks in their respective laboratories.
Seminars in Neuroscience: This seminar series includes presentations by: (i) seminars of students defending thesis, (ii) neuroscience faculty and post-docs; and (iii) visiting neuroscientists. Attendance is required by all students in the Program. All departments participating in the Neuroscience Program sponsor seminars on diverse topics in Neuroscience.
Neuroscience Tutorial: This is a required course of all students in the program. The tutorial Series provides opportunities for students to present their research in a seminar format. Students receive one-on-one feedback on strengths, weaknesses, and strategies for improving seminar skills from the course director and written comments from attending students and faculty. In the first year, MS (and PhD) students prepare a research manuscript paper during the summer semester. The 10-page, double-spaced paper is meant to be an empirical report on research conducted during a rotation and should be in the J. Neuroscience format. It should include a brief review of the literature related to the research question. MS students present a 20-30 minute seminar in their last semester of the program. Students are encouraged to coordinate the tutorial presentation with final committee meeting to evaluate the thesis.
Foundations of Scientific Integrity and Professionalism: A short-course designed to offer foundational ethics and integrity training to incoming biomedical graduate students. Key concepts include introduction to key professional norms in science, including, but not limited to, responsible conduct of research, new professional expectations, as well as student life. An introduction to topics, that will be further explored using case-studies in other courses include: plagiarism, animal & human subject research, record keeping, data management, grant writing, the student and advisor relationship, laboratory dynamics, and managing conflicts of interest.
Scientific Integrity and Professionalism: A small-group, problem-based learning formatted course designed to teach discipline-specific and broad, professional norms and obligations for the ethical practice of science, primarily for first-year graduate students on the Bowman Gray campus. The course meetings are typically offered weekly at 2-hour discussion sections during the spring term of the first year.
Career Planning in the Biomedical Sciences: A weekly seminar course, primarily for first year graduate students on the Bowman Gray campus, in which invited alumni panelists share details on career options in the biomedical sciences, typically grouped by industry, highlighting a wide range of career paths. Recommended for MS students and can be taken in fall term during the first or second year.
Journal Clubs: All neuroscience students are required to register for a directed journal club each semester while in graduate school. The journal club readings enhance the student’s appreciation and understanding of a research field. The student-to-student and faculty-to-student interaction that journal clubs provide helps students develop critical reasoning skills and peer-review experience. Journal clubs inherently incorporate a means for providing students with experience in peer review skills.
Scientific Outreach: This course provides hands-on engagement with teaching and educational opportunities directed at the lay public or other, non-university groups. Planning outreach events and communicating scientific concepts to the lay public are essential skills for any scientist-in-training, especially those who may be involved in academic lecturing or public policy. The scope of such activities will derive from the scientific disciplines of the students involved, but will include activities involving the informal teaching of basic and translational science concepts in the biomedical sciences and other STEM-related disciplines. Examples of such engagement include K-12 school visits, involvement in public symposia related to science for lay audiences, or any similar activity performed under faculty guidance. Scientific Outreach is coordinated by our Brain Awareness Council [link to BAC webpage] with faculty oversight. MS students take one semester of Scientific Outreach in the second year.