Undergraduate

Application deadline Oct 17

The undergraduate Program in Neural Computation and Engineering has been designed to bring together students majoring both in biological and mathematical sciences. The program will help students to acquire or deepen the knowledge and skills required to integrate mathematical approaches into a study of the nervous system, and to develop biologically motivated and grounded models of brain function. This two-year program offers:

  • Access to some of the otherwise restricted courses of the NBIO major (without the requirement to complete that major)
  • A special, more computationally-oriented laboratory experience in neurobiology
  • Mentorship from a cross-departmental faculty committee that will assist in course selection and identification of research opportunities
  • Interaction with a graduate student mentor
  • A stipend for research
  • Funds for travel
  • Opportunities to present research at campus-wide and national meetings

Entry into the program is competitive; up to 12 students will be selected each year.

Interested students are strongly recommended to enroll in NBIO 490, Seminar in Computational Neuroscience, in the fall. This course provides an exciting and accessible overview of computational neuroscience research on campus. We also strongly recommend a background in mathematics that goes beyond calculus, preferably including background in linear algebra and differential equations. Examples include a course of the equivalent of AMATH301 or AMATH422.

Program requirements

Trainees will be expected to complete:

(1) EIther (1*) two quarters of NBIO301 and 302 OR (2*) Introduction to Neuroscience BIOL130. If not in the NBIO major but completing the NBIO301/2 sequence, laboratory participation is required for NBIO 301 only and will be undertaken in a separate section with distinct data analysis.

(2) AMATH 342: Neuronal coding and computation. 2 hrs/ week companion course to NBIO 301, covering mathematical approaches to neuronal excitability, networks and concepts of neural coding. Alternating seminar/workshop in programming for neuroscience.

(3) NEURO 545, Quantitative Methods in Neuroscience.

(4) At least one quarter of Journal Club in Computational Neuroscience.

(5) At least three quarters of mentored research in a laboratory of participating faculty.

(6) Presentation of research at the yearly Computational Neuroscience Connection.

Schedule Course title Credits
Jun. Aut NBIO 490:  Seminar Course in Computational Neuroscience 1
Jun. Win AMATH 342 Neuronal coding and computation

NBIO 301 Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology (*1)

3

4/5

Jun. Spr BIOL130 Introduction to Neuroscience (*2) 4/5
Sen. Aut NBIO 302 Introduction to Systems and Behavioral Neurobiology (*1) 4/5
Sen. Win NEURO/PBIO 545: Quantitative Methods in Neuroscience 3
Jun/Sen NBIO 450* Current Research Literature in Comp. Neuroscience

OR

Theoretical Neuroscience Journal Club

2-6

Students should take additional mathematical/computational or neuroscience courses as needed; they will decide upon additional curriculum choices with the help of a mentoring committee.

Application procedures

The application (download here) requires a current transcript, a personal statement describing your goals and why you are interested in the program (600 words or less) and a letter of support from a faculty member.

Applications may be reviewed throughout the Summer into Autumn Quarter up until the deadline, which is usually the 2nd Friday in October. Contact the program office for details. Highly qualified students may be admitted soon after submitting their applications. We will wait to evaluate the majority of applications until the application deadline has passed.

The admissions committee reviews all applicants based on the following criteria: a strong preparation in either mathematical sciences or biology as indicated by grades in all courses required for admission; indication of ability in the less well-covered discipline; overall GPA; personal statement reflecting interest in and commitment to the study of computational neuroscience. Minority students are encouraged to apply. Application forms are available in the Biology Department office in 318 Hitchcock Hall or on this website (link above). Students who require an early decision (e.g. for financial aid or visa requirements) should consult program staff.