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Indiana University Bloomington

Molecular and Systems Neuroscience

The goal of the Molecular and Systems Neuroscience (MSN) area is to superbly prepare graduate students for the wide range of approaches and perspectives found in modern neuroscience. Most students completing the MSN curriculum will finish with a double major, receiving PhD's in both Psychological and Brain Sciences and Neuroscience. We aim for our graduates to be competent and confident in both molecular and systems neuroscience. This is because we feel that many of the most exciting advances in neuroscience will come at the intersection of these approaches. On the practical side, this training also prepares our graduates for careers in academics, industry, government, as well as less traditional paths (e.g., publishing, patent law, etc). Importantly, we also feel that studying neuroscience in a psychology department allows the graduate student to develop a well-grounded understanding of neuroscience mechanisms and concepts as broadly applied to human psychology.

The Program

Molecular and Systems Neuroscience offers its students a rigorous and balanced introduction to contemporary molecular, cellular, and systems-level neuroscience. The first year's curriculum includes an introduction to graduate neuroscience, statistics, and laboratory research. During the second year the student will choose their advanced neuroscience electives, become deeply involved in their PhD thesis research, and prepare for their qualifying exam. Aside from required classes and milestones, the curriculum and progress to the doctorate are highly individualized to meet the student's needs and interests and will be crafted in consultation with the student's advisor and advisory committee.

First Year

  • Introduction to Neuroscience
  • First Year Research Seminar
  • Advanced Statistics
  • Research

Second Year

  • Neuroscience Electives (1 from Molecular/Cellular, 1 from Systems Neuroscience)
  • Research
  • Neuroscience Seminar Series

Third Year and Beyond

  • Research
  • Additional Electives
  • Teaching experience

Dissertation Research

The choice of a research lab is the single most important decision a graduate student will make. While some students will come to Indiana University having already identified their PhD thesis lab, others will be unsure of which lab is best for them. To assist this latter group of students, first year Molecular and Systems Neuroscience graduate students will have the option to do three, five-week rotations in different labs during their first semester. After this experience they will choose one of these labs as the lab for their dissertation research.

Financial Support

Financial support for the Molecular and Systems Neuroscience (MSN) program is generous. All incoming MSN graduate students are provided with scholarships for tuition and fees, as well as a 12-month stipend. This support can come from fellowships, teaching assistantships, research assistantships, or training grants. All students are guaranteed full support for five years as long as they are in good academic standing.

AREA SPOKESPERSON: Heather Bradshaw

PARTICIPATING FACULTY: Ken Mackie, Joshua Brown, Tom Busey, James Craig, Jonathon Crystal, Joseph Farley, Preston Garraghty, William Hetrick, Andrea Hohmann, Tom James, Cary Lai, Anne Prieto, Aina Puce, Brian O'Donnell, George Rebec, Hui-Chen Lu (starting 1/1/2015), and Olaf Sporns