Curriculum

There are three required core courses for all students in neuroscience PhD programs.
  • Cellular Neurobiology: This course is concerned with the structure and function of the nervous system at the cellular level. The cellular and subcellular components of neurons and their basic membrane and electrophysiological properties will be described. Cellular and molecular aspects of interactions between neurons will be studied. This will lead to functional analyses of the mechanisms involved in the generation and modulation of behavior in selected model systems.
  • Survey of Sytems Neuroscience: This lab-centered course teaches students the fundamental principles of vertebrate nervous system organization. Students learn the major structures and the basic circuitry of the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nervous system. Somatic, visual, auditory, vestibular and olfactory sensory systems are presented in particular depth. A highlight of this course is that students become practiced at recognizing the nuclear organization and cellular architecture of many regions of brain in rodents, cats and primates.
  • Behavioral Neuroscience: This course provides an introduction to neuroethology, examining brain activity relative to behaviors and organisms evaluated from an adaptive and evolutionary perspective. It starts with a brief introduction to classical ethology, and then develops a series of example animal model systems. Both invertebrate and vertebrate models are considered although there is a bias towards the latter. Many of these are "champion" species. There is a heavier demand for reading original data papers than typical in introductory graduate level courses. An integral part of the course is a series of assignments where you develop grant proposals describing novel science experiments in the animal models, thereby challenging your knowledge of the material and teaching aspects of scientific writing. In recent years there has been more computational material presented. The course is not available to undergraduates without prior approval of the instructor.

Four elective courses: Elective courses can be selected from any division at the University of Chicago – provided students are able to articulate how it aids their research. One of the elective courses MUST be related to quantitative analysis or computational neuroscience. See below for a list of sample elective courses.

  • NURB 34600 Neurobiology of Disease (Gomez, Zhuang): Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarter
  • NURB 32300 Molecular Principles of Nervous System Development (Kratsios, Grove): Spring Quarter
  • NURB 32400 Synaptic Physiology (McGehee): Winter Quarter
  • NURB 33400 Genetic Approaches in Neurobiology (Zhuang): Spring Quarter
  • NURB 32900 Perspectives in Drug Abuse (De Wit): Spring Quarter
  • CPNS 31000 Mathematics Methods for the Biological Sciences I (Kondrashov): Autumn Quarter
  • CPNS 31100 Mathematics Methods for the Biological Sciences II (Kondrashov): Winter Quarter
  • CPNS 34231 Methods in Computational Neuroscience (Bensmaia): Winter Quarter
  • CPNS 33200 Computational Approaches for Cognitive Neuroscience (Hatsopoulos): Winter Quarter
  • CPNS 32111 Signal Analysis and Modeling for Neuroscientists (Van Drongelen): Spring Quarter
  • CPNS 35600 Statistics and Information Theory (Palmer): Spring Quarter
Accordion: 
Course sequence

CON Curriculum