Alabama Campus Neuroscience Graduate Programs

Neuroscience Graduate Schools focus on the science and structure of nervous system functions. Students might learn modern methods to solve problems as they explore how the brain processes information.

Neuroscience Graduate Schools: Neuroscience Degrees

Two of the main programs that Neuroscience Graduate Schools may feature are the Masters in Neuroscience and PhD in Neuroscience. Students could also look for joint neuroscience degree programs such as a MD/PhD, or a non-degree award such as a Neuroscience certificate.

Schools that offer Neuroscience Graduate programs often have active faculty research projects underway. Many of these universities might have well-equipped laboratories and research equipment to support these endeavors. This is a potential asset to students who pursue their neuroscience degree on campus.

Also, some neuroscience graduate schools may offer programs in a specific type of neuroscience. For instance, behavioral neuroscience is a field of study in psychology that includes heavy doses of biology, genetics and other sciences in order to understand human behavior.

Neuroscience Coursework and Curriculums

Many neuroscience and neuropsychology schools offer programs that are interdisciplinary. Participants might therefore gain diverse points of view and techniques as they study the brain in-depth.

Curriculums could expose students to cellular, molecular, behavioral, developmental and systems neuroscience. There is usually a significant element of research in most programs. Key course topics could include studies in the following areas.

  • Neuroanatomy
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Physiology of the Central Nervous System
  • Biophysics
  • Pharmacology
  • In Vivo Brain Imaging
  • Computational Modeling

The interdisciplinary nature of a neuroscience program may provide a choice of courses and research areas. Therefore, it is not uncommon for a neuroscience grad school to work with students to tailor the degree plan to align with the individual needs of each person.

Aside from their selected and compulsory courses, students could take part in laboratory rotations and clinical rounds. Laboratory rotations are usually intended to help individuals to comprehend important concepts in lab bench research as well as identify a laboratory for future thesis or dissertation research.

This stated, graduate schools for neuroscience and neuropsychology differ in the courses they offer, so it is a good idea to thoroughly read through program details.

Masters in Neuroscience Schools

Schools that offer Masters in Neuroscience programs typically award a Master of Science (MS) degree. Some Masters programs may be designed to address the needs of both full-time and part-time non-traditional students since most courses and laboratories are offered in the evenings.

Application Information  

Masters in Neuroscience schools may vary in their admission requirements. While applicants need a Bachelors degree, each university may have a list of acceptable undergrad majors. For instance, this might mean you need a BA or BS in linguistics, physics, biology, medicine, mathematics, behavioral sciences, chemistry or another related discipline.

Aside from transcripts, students may need to furnish GRE, DAT or MCAT scores, a statement of intent, letters of recommendation, and copies of any licenses or certifications. Individual programs may have other requirements and preferred preparation, so ask each school directly for details.

MS in Neuroscience Programs

A MS in Neuroscience program course often spans subjects in biology, psychology and other natural sciences. For instance, students might take compulsory topics in neuropharmacology, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and neuro-ethics. Additionally, a neuroscience graduate school may offer students the choice of whether to pursue a thesis.

Thesis students might take courses in research methods and writing. Non-thesis students might study clinical neurology and how to integrate and apply research data into practice. Clinical neurology explores the principles of the neurological examination and the major categories of neurologic disease.

A MS thesis option might require a six-credit thesis. It is sometimes geared toward those students who want to pursue research-focused career paths or who plan to pursue doctoral studies in the future.

A non-thesis MS option might require a 3-credit research paper where a particular applied/clinical interest is integrated with coursework taken. This option is often intended as a more terminal degree for students who may seek to pursue or advance in a non-research career.

What is the difference between neuroscience and cognitive neuroscience?

Cognitive neuroscience is the scientific study of the various biological processes and aspects of cognition (perception, reasoning, and intellect). It includes neuroscience, which studies specifically the nervous system.

However, it also includes disciplines such as psychology, artificial intelligence, neuro-philosophy, linguistics and anthropology. For instance, students in cognitive neuroscience programs could study neuro-imaging and electro-physical methods.

MS in Cognitive Neuroscience

MS in Cognitive Neuroscience programs often meld laboratory and practical, hands-on experiences with a set of compulsory courses and electives. Students may also choose an area of emphasis in which to study more in-depth.

Core courses could feature distinct theories, models and methods of analysis used in cognitive neuroscience. Program concentrations might explore the following options.

  • Language and Communication: Classes look at how language is acquired, understood and produced. Coursework could include topics such as word recognition, neurobiology, and linguistics
  • Perception, Action, and Control: Courses of study include which neuro-cognitive processes play a role in automatic actions and perception-caused motor tasks. Coursework could explore motor control, attention, and social recognition
  • Plasticity and Memory: Curriculum explores the development and decay of the healthy and maladaptive brain with a view to understand neuro-plastic changes in the brain. Coursework focuses on neuro-genetics, neuro-developmental disorders, molecular and cellular neurobiology
  • Brain Networks and Neural Communication: Programs cover advanced mathematical tools. Coursework includes topics such as machine learning, brain-computer interface, computational neuroscience and data analysis

PhD in Neuroscience Schools

Students interested in a terminal research degree could look at options for schools that offer PhD in Neuroscience programs or at graduate schools for Neuropsychology PhD programs.

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is sometimes offered in tandem with a Medical Doctor (MD) degree.

Application Information

Graduate schools for Neuroscience PhD programs typically require applicants to have a Bachelors degree, but it can often be one of many diverse college majors such as biology, physical sciences, or experimental psychology. Aside from transcripts, students may also need to furnish GRE scores, a resume, a personal statement and letters of recomendation. 

PhD in Neuroscience Programs 

As with the Master's degree, Neuroscience PhD programs are multi-disciplinary programs. They are often divided into advanced courses in neuroscience and laboratory dissertation research.

A PhD in Neuroscience could take students about four to five years to complete—although this could depend on whether one enters holding a Bachelors or Masters degree.

Typically, first year students complete laboratory rotations and may take a broad array of courses. Lab rotations often help students choose a mentor in whose lab they wish to continue to research.

  • Neurobiology of Disease
  • Developmental Neurobiology
  • Medical Neuroscience
  • Ethics
  • Electrophysiology
  • Cell Biology
  • Pharmacology

Other more advanced courses are often taken in the second year. After the successful completion of the qualifying exam, the student could advance to candidacy for the PhD degree.

Some neuroscience graduate schools may offer opportunities for students to obtain some teaching experience in neuroscience courses; otherwise a student advances their research and finally, presents and defends their dissertation in front of a committee.

There are any number of dynamic research areas that a university faculty oversee; post-traumatic stress disorder, epilepsy, spinal cord injury are some examples. Therefore, some graduate schools for neuroscience list faculty bios with each person’s niche area and interests. This way, a prospective student could get excited about a project and may start thinking about what he or she could learn or contribute while at that university.

DID YOU KNOW?
Students in dual-degree programs learn both the clinical skills needed to be a physician and the research skills needed to be a scientist.i

PhD in Computational Neuroscience

A PhD in Computational Neuroscience could enable participants to research brain function and translate their knowledge into technological applications. Universities with Computational Neuroscience PhD programs may provide students with the opportunity to meld hands-on experimental research with complex computational analysis.

Meanwhile, curriculums could cover a wide array of statistical methods used to study the nervous system and to develop neuroscience-related technologies like robotics. Topics of study might include the following types of courses.

  • Neural Network Modeling
  • Neural Dynamics
  • Sensory, Motor, and Cognitive Modeling
  • Sensory Prosthesis
  • Brain-machine Interfaces
  • Neuro-informatics
  • Neuromorphic Engineering

Why Earn a Neuroscience Degree on Campus?

Students who attend Neuroscience grad schools could take part in a student seminar series or attend university-sponsored lectures, retreats, and workshops that could foster community and deeper learning. These opportunities might help students refine their oral presentation skills, or learn to critically evaluate literature in their field of interest.

Find Schools for Neuroscience

Find and review Neuroscience Graduate Schools by location—a preferred city, state or country. Refine by program type such as Masters in Neuroscience or PhD in Neuroscience to find sponsored schools that you could easily apply to. Just use the on-page form to get started.


[i] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/medical-scientists.htm#tab-4

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