University of Southern California

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Neuroscience

Hedco Neurosciences Building 120
(213) 740-6091
FAX: (213) 740-2534
Email: yuhungw@usc.edu
usc.edu/programs/neuroscience

Director: Pat Levitt, Ph.D.

Participating Faculty: See Biological Sciences, Computer Science, Biomedical Engineering, Philosophy, Psychology, Engineering, Gerontology, Medicine and Pharmacy in this catalogue.

Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience

Co-directors: Sarah Bottjer, Ph.D., and Irving Biederman, Ph.D.

Undergraduate Advisers: Eva Hinojoza, hinojoza@dornsife.usc.edu; Briana Weiland, bweiland@dornsife.usc.edu

Grade Requirements

A grade of C- or higher is required to count toward major requirements.

Core Requirements (32 units) Units
BISC 220L General Biology: Cell Biology and Physiology, or
BISC 221L Advanced General Biology: Cell Biology and Physiology 4
BISC 421 Neurobiology 4
CHEM 103Lx General Chemistry for the Environment and Life, or
CHEM 105aL General Chemistry 4
MATH 125 Calculus I 4
NEUR 408 Systems Neuroscience: From Synapses to Perception 4
PSYC 100 Introduction to Psychology 4
PSYC 274L* Statistics 4
PSYC 440 Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience 4
*An equivalent course may be substituted with permission.

8 core + 4 or 5 elective courses: 48 units

Four or five upper-division elective courses (minimum 16 units) from the following list are required. At least one course in the upper-division electives must carry a lab (“L”) designation or be NEUR 490x. No more than 4 units of NEUR 490x may be used to fulfill the upper-division elective requirement.

Electives (16 units) Units
BISC 307L General Physiology 4
BISC 313 Evolution and Population Genetics 4
BISC 320L Molecular Biology 4
BISC 325 Genetics 4
BISC 330L Biochemistry 4
BISC 403 Advanced Molecular Biology 4
BISC 406L Biotechnology 4
BISC 410 Applications of Molecular Biology to Medicine 4
BISC 411 Advanced Cell Biology 4
BISC 422L Neurobiology Laboratory 4
BISC 423 Epilepsy to Ecstasy: Biological Basis of Neurological Disorders 4
BISC 424 Brain Architecture 4
BISC 426 Principles of Neural Development 4
BISC 462 Seminar in Neurobiology 2, max 4
BISC 480 Developmental Biology 4
BME 402 Control and Communication in the Nervous System 3
CSCI 460 Introduction to Artificial Intelligence 3
GERO 414 Neurobiology of Aging 4
GERO 415 Neuroaffective Disorders of Aging 4
HBIO 306 Primate Social Behavior and Ecology 4
MATH 265 Mathematical and Computational Methods for Neuroscience 4
NEUR 490x Directed Research 2 or 4
PSYC 301L Cognitive Processes 4
PSYC 304L Sensation and Perception 4
PSYC 305 Learning and Memory 4
PSYC 320 Principles of Psychobiology 4
PSYC 326 Behavioral Neuroscience 4
PSYC 339L Origins of the Mind 4
PSYC 404L Psychophysiology of Emotion 4
PSYC 420 Animal Behavior 4
PSYC 424 Neuropsychology 4
PSYC 425 Functional Imaging of the Human Brain 4
PSYC 438 Behavioral Genetics 4
PSYC 450L Neural Network Models of Social and Cognitive Processes 4
A graduate class from the following list can be substituted for an upper-division elective with permission:
BME 575L* Computational Neuroengineering 3
CSCI 564* Brain Theory and Artificial Intelligence 3
NSCI 524* Advanced Overview of Neuroscience 4
NSCI 531* Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology 4
NSCI 532* Systems and Behavioral Neurobiology 3
PSYC 506* Learning and Cognition 4
PSYC 510* Visual Cognition 4
PSYC 540* Cognitive Neuroscience 4
PSYC 544* Psychophysiology 4
PSYC 545* Neuropsychology 4
PSYC 547* Functional Neuroanatomy 4
PSYC 551* Decision Neuroscience 4
*With minimum GPA of 3.3 and permission of co-directors and instructor

Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience

Co-directors: Sarah Bottjer, Ph.D., and Irving Biederman, Ph.D.

Undergraduate Advisers: Eva Hinojoza, hinojoza@dornsife.usc.edu; Briana Weiland, bweiland@dornsife.usc.edu

Grade Requirements

A grade of C- or higher is required to count toward major requirements.

Core Requirements (56 units) Units
BISC 220L General Biology: Cell Biology and Physiology, or
BISC 221L Advanced General Biology: Cell Biology and Physiology 4
BISC 421 Neurobiology 4
CHEM 105aL General Chemistry, or
CHEM 115 aL Advanced General Chemistry 4
CHEM 105bL General Chemistry, or
CHEM 115bL Advanced General Chemistry 4
CHEM 322abL Organic Chemistry 4-4
MATH 125 Calculus I 4
MATH 265 Mathematical and Computational Methods for Neuroscience 4
NEUR 408 Systems Neuroscience: From Synapses to Perception 4
PHYS 135aL Physics for the Life Sciences, or
PHYS 151 Fundamentals of Physics I: Mechanics and Thermodynamics 4
PHYS 135bL Physics for the Life Sciences, or
PHYS 152 Fundamentals of Physics II: Electricity and Magnetism 4
PSYC 100 Introduction to Psychology 4
PSYC 274L* Statistics I 4
PSYC 440 Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience 4
*An equivalent course may be substituted with permission.

14 core + 5 or 6 elective courses: 76 units

Five or six upper-division elective courses (minimum 20 units) from the following list are required. At least one course in the upper-division electives must carry a lab (“L”) designation or be 490. No more than 4 units of NEUR 490x may be used to fulfill the upper-division elective requirement.

Electives (20 units) Units
BISC 307L General Physiology 4
BISC 313 Evolution and Population Genetics 4
BISC 320L Molecular Biology 4
BISC 325 Genetics 4
BISC 330L Biochemistry 4
BISC 403 Advanced Molecular Biology 4
BISC 406L Biotechnology 4
BISC 410 Applications of Molecular Biology to Medicine 4
BISC 411 Advanced Cell Biology 4
BISC 422L Neurobiology Laboratory 4
BISC 423 Epilepsy to Ecstasy: Biological Basis of Neurological Disorders 4
BISC 424 Brain Architecture 4
BISC 426 Principles of Neural Development 4
BISC 462 Seminar in Neurobiology 2, max 4
BISC 480 Developmental Biology 4
BME 402 Control and Communication in the Nervous System 3
CSCI 460 Introduction to Artificial Intelligence 3
GERO 414 Neurobiology of Aging 4
GERO 415 Neuroaffective Disorders of Aging 4
HBIO 306 Primate Social Behavior and Ecology 4
NEUR 490x Directed Research 2 or 4
PSYC 301L Cognitive Processes 4
PSYC 304L Sensation and Perception 4
PSYC 305 Learning and Memory 4
PSYC 320 Principles of Psychobiology 4
PSYC 326 Behavioral Neuroscience 4
PSYC 339L Origins of the Mind 4
PSYC 404L Psychophysiology of Emotion 4
PSYC 420 Animal Behavior 4
PSYC 424 Neuropsychology 4
PSYC 425 Functional Imaging of the Human Brain 4
PSYC 438 Behavioral Genetics 4
A graduate class from the following list can be substituted for an upper-division elective with permission:
BME 575L* Computational Neuroengineering 3
CSCI 564* Brain Theory and Artificial Intelligence 3
NSCI 524* Advanced Overview of Neuroscience 4
NSCI 531* Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology 4
NSCI 532* Systems and Behavioral Neurobiology 3
PSYC 506* Learning and Cognition 4
PSYC 510* Visual Cognition 4
PSYC 540* Cognitive Neuroscience 4
PSYC 544* Psychophysiology 4
PSYC 545* Neuropsychology 4
PSYC 547* Functional Neuroanatomy 4
PSYC 551* Decision Neuroscience 4
*With minimum GPA of 3.3 and permission of co-directors and instructor

Honors Program in Neuroscience

An honors program is available to outstanding students who are pursuing a B.A. or B.S. degree in Neuroscience. This program offers students exceptional opportunities to participate in undergraduate research, culminating in the experience of writing an honors thesis summarizing their completed research. Honors students must register for 4 units of Directed Research (NEUR 490x). Honors students are also required to take two semesters of the Honors Seminar (BISC 493x as one of their upper-division electives, 1 unit/semester), in which small groups of students discuss recent findings in neuroscience literature and their own research. After completing the honors seminar, honors students also take one semester of Honors Thesis (BISC 494x, 2 units), in which students write their senior thesis. Students earning honors in neuroscience must have a minimum overall GPA of 3.5 at graduation. This program leads to the designation on the transcript of Bachelor of Arts/Science in Neuroscience with Honors.

Bachelor of Science in Computational Neuroscience

Co-coordinators: Sarah Bottjer, Ph.D., and Irving Biederman, Ph.D.

Undergraduate Advisers: Eva Hinojoza, hinojoza@dornsife.usc.edu; Briana Weiland, bweiland@dornsife.usc.edu

The computational neuroscience major is designed for those students with an interest in applying mathematical and computational methodologies towards understanding the structure and functioning of the nervous system. The major will provide progressive training in interdisciplinary and inter-faculty aspects of neuroscience, and serve as a foundation for students interested in pursuing post-graduate education in graduate or professional schools or career opportunities in technically advanced occupations. Research is integral to this major and students are encouraged to engage in research with neuroscience faculty as early as possible in their undergraduate years.

Grade Requirements

A grade of C- or higher is required to count toward major requirements.

Core Requirements (48 units) Units
BISC 220L General Biology: Cell Biology and Physiology, or
BISC 221L Advanced General Biology: Cell Biology and Physiology 4
BISC 421 Neurobiology 4
CHEM 103Lx General Chemistry for the Environment and Life, or
CHEM 105aL General Chemistry 4
MATH 125 Calculus I 4
MATH 126 Calculus II 4
MATH 265 Mathematical and Computational Methods for Neuroscience 4
NEUR 408 Systems Neuroscience: From Synapses to Perception 4
PHYS 135aL Physics for the Life Sciences, or
PHYS 151L Fundamentals of Physics I: Mechanics and Thermodynamics 4
PHYS 135bL Physics for the Life Sciences, or
PHYS 152L Fundamentals of Physics II: Electricity and Magnetism 4
PSYC 100 Introduction to Psychology 4
PSYC 274 Statistics I 4
PSYC 440 Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience 4
Biological Area
electives units
Choose 4 units of the BISC or NEUR courses listed below:
BISC 424 Brain Architecture 4
BISC 461 Seminar in Molecular and Computational Biology 2, max 4
BISC 462 Seminar in Neurobiology 2, max 4
BISC 481 Structural Bioinformatics: From Atoms to Cells 4
NEUR 490x Directed Research 1-8, max 12
Computational Area

Students are to take one language, one application and one advanced course, for a total of three courses. The language and application courses are listed as tracks according to the language of the courses. It is not obligatory that the language and application courses be from the same track, but the student should be aware that a different language will likely be assumed if the language and application courses are from different tracks. Only one language course and one application course will be counted toward the major.

Matlab

Language: EE 150L (or AME 150L) Engineering Computational Methods (3)

Application: BME 210 Biomedical Computer Simulation Methods (3)

C++

Language: CSCI 101L Fundamentals of Computer Programming (3)

Logic Theory/C++/Java

Language: EE 101 Introduction to Digital Logic (3)

Application: CSCI 455x Introduction to Programming System Design (4)

Take one advanced course from the following:

BME 402 Control and Communication in the Nervous System 3
CSCI 300 Introduction to Intelligent Agents Using Science Fiction 3
CSCI 445 Introduction to Robotics 3
CSCI 460 Introduction to Artificial Intelligence 3
CSCI 464 Foundations of Exotic Computation 3
A graduate-level advanced course from those listed below may be substituted for the undergraduate advanced course with permission:
BME 502 Advanced Studies of the Nervous System 4
BME 575L Computational Neuroengineering 3
BME 670 Early Visual Processing 4
BME 671 Late Visual Processing 4
CSCI 561 Foundations of Artificial Intelligence 3
CSCI 564 Brain Theory and Artificial Intelligence 3
CSCI 574 Computer Vision 3
CSCI 662 Advanced Natural Language Processing 3
Psychology Area
Choose one course listed below:
PSYC 301L Cognitive Processes 4
PSYC 304L Sensation and Perception 4
PSYC 326 Behavioral Neuroscience 4
PSYC 424 Neuropsychology 4
PSYC 425 Functional Imaging of the Human Brain 4
PSYC 450L Neural Network Models of Social and Cognitive Processes 4
Math Electives
Choose one additional course from the courses listed below or from those listed above not already counting for the major:
MATH 225 Linear Algebra and Linear Differential Equations 4
MATH 245 Mathematics of Physics and Engineering I 4
12 core (48 units) + 6 electives (21–22 units); 69–70 units

Minor in Neuroscience

Co-coordinators: Sarah Bottjer, Ph.D., and Irving Biederman, Ph.D.

Undergraduate Advisers: Eva Hinojoza, hinojoza@dornsife.usc.edu; Briana Weiland, bweiland@dornsife.usc.edu

Grade Requirements

A grade of C- or higher is required to count toward minor requirements.

Core Requirements (20 units) Units
PSYC 274L* Statistics I 4
BISC 421** Neurobiology 4
NEUR 408** Systems Neuroscience: From Synapses to Perception 4
PSYC 440*** Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience 4
Electives A 300- or 400-level course from the elective list for majors 4
*An equivalent course may be substituted with permission

**Prerequisite: BISC 220 or BISC 221

***Prerequisite: PSYC 100

Recommended but not required: CHEM 103Lx (or CHEM 105La) plus MATH 125

Students who have not already taken the prerequisites (BISC 220/BISC 221 and PSYC 100) will need to take a total of 28 units to satisfy the requirements of a minor in neuroscience. Thus, the range of units will vary from 20 to 28 depending on a student’s background.

Master of Science in Neuroscience

Coordinator: Pat Levitt, Ph.D.

The M.S. degree program in Neuroscience is a terminal degree for students admitted into the Neuroscience Ph.D. program who cannot complete the Ph.D. program for personal or medical reasons. Enrollment of graduate students as master’s degree candidates is not encouraged and is reserved for special circumstances that must be approved by the Executive Committee of the Neuroscience Graduate Program. The master’s curriculum includes all course work required of Ph.D. students for a minimum of 24 units and successful completion of both the written and oral portions of the qualifying examination. Students may opt for a thesis or non-thesis master’s degree. The thesis master’s degree requires presentation of a written thesis based on original research to a Neuroscience thesis committee and submission of the thesis to the Graduate School for publication. The non-thesis master’s degree requires a formal research paper that is approved by three members of the Neuroscience Graduate Program faculty. The qualifying examination will serve as the comprehensive master’s examination for non-thesis master’s degrees. Students must also satisfy residency and other requirements of the Graduate School.

Doctor of Philosophy in Neuroscience

Coordinator: Pat Levitt, Ph.D.

Application deadline: December 15

Breadth of interests and training are major features of the graduate program in neuroscience. Wide and varied skills in many research areas characterize the faculty of the program. Close contact between faculty and students is considered of major importance in this highly interdisciplinary field.

Training is given in several areas of specialization: behavioral and systems neuroscience, cellular and molecular neurobiology, cognitive neuroscience, computational neuroscience, neuroengineering and neuroscience of aging and development.

Applicants should normally have defined an interest in one or two specializations. A final choice of the specialization will be made during the first year.

Admission Requirements

A baccalaureate degree in a field relevant to the student’s graduate goals is required.

Appropriate fields would include neuroscience, biology, chemistry, computer science, linguistics, psychology and many areas of engineering. Undergraduate study should provide evidence of proficiency in mathematics, including statistics. Students planning to enter the specialization in computational and mathematical neuroscience should have taken course work in calculus and, where possible, linear algebra and computer programming. Applicants who are accepted with minor deficiencies are expected to correct these during the first year.

Applications require forms from both the university and the program. These may be obtained from: Coordinator, Graduate Program in Neuroscience, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-2520.

Degree Requirements

These degrees are awarded under the jurisdiction of the Graduate School. Refer to the Requirements for Graduation section and the Graduate School section of this catalogue for general regulations. All courses applied toward the degrees must be courses accepted by the Graduate School.

Advisory Committee

The student will be advised during the first year by the Graduate Affairs Committee. As soon as the student has selected a specialization, an Advisory Committee of appropriate faculty will be appointed. This committee will be chaired by the thesis adviser, when chosen. The purpose of the Advisory Committee is to help the student in the selection of courses and research; to monitor the student’s progress; to insure preparation for the qualifying examination; and to administer that examination.

Course Requirements

A minimum of 60 units is required, consisting of formal courses, seminars and research credits. At least 24 of the 60 units are to be formal graduate course work (lecture or seminar courses). During the first year the student is expected to complete the core courses in neuroscience (NSCI 524), one key course, NSCI 538 Neuroscience Ethics and Professionalization, and two semesters of NSCI 539. Other courses in the area of specialization may also be taken in the first year and will be taken in subsequent years.

Core Course: NSCI 524 Advanced Overview of Neuroscience (4 units), will be taken by all students in the fall of their first year to provide an integrated multilevel view of neuroscience. To take the core course, students should have mastered the material currently taught in BISC 421. (Students will be expected to review a detailed syllabus and reading list for BISC 421 to identify their level of knowledge prior to their arrival at USC and will receive advice at Orientation on whether to take BISC 421 or read recommended material to remedy their deficiencies.)

Key Courses: All students will be required to complement their thesis-directed studies with a “breadth with depth” requirement by taking three key courses, one each from three of the four tracks listed below. Each key course will be for 3 or 4 units. (At least one of these courses will serve to advance thesis-related study as well.)

Cellular, Molecular and Developmental Neuroscience Track units
NSCI 531 Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology 4
BISC 426 Principles of Neural Development 4
Cognitive Neuroscience Track units
PSYC 540 Cognitive Neuroscience 4
Computational Neuroscience and Neuroengineering Track units
BME 575L Computational Neuroengineering 3
NEUR 535 Brain Theory and Artificial Intelligence 3
Systems and Behavioral Neuroscience Track units
NSCI 532 Systems and Behavioral Neurobiology 3

All students are required to take NSCI 538 Neuroscience Ethics and Professionalization (1 unit).

It is required that all neuroscience Ph.D. students demonstrate competence in statistics in fulfillment of their Ph.D. requirements.

Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination concentrates on the student’s ability to demonstrate a grasp of the major area of interest chosen and its relation to other areas of training offered in the program. The examination is partly written and partly oral and is designed to test the student’s ability to meet the demands of the profession.

Dissertation

An acceptable dissertation based on completion of an original investigation is required. The candidate must defend an approved draft of the dissertation in an oral examination.

Courses of Instruction

Neuroscience (NEUR)

The terms indicated are expected but are not guaranteed. For the courses offered during any given term, consult the Schedule of Classes.

NEUR 390 Special Problems (1–4) Supervised, individual studies. No more than one registration permitted. Enrollment by petition only.

NEUR 408 Systems Neuroscience: From Synapses to Perception (4, Sp) (Enroll in BISC 408)

NEUR 426 Principles of Neural Development (4, Sp) (Enroll in BISC 426)

NEUR 440 Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience (4) (Enroll in PSYC 440)

NEUR 490x Directed Research (1–8, max 12, FaSpSm) Individual research and readings. Not available for graduate credit.

NEUR 493x Neuroscience Honors Seminar (1, max 4, FaSp) Students attend lectures of distinguished neuroscientists visiting USC and give short, chalk-talk presentations summarizing the lecture. The presentations are critiqued by the students. Not available for graduate credit. Prerequisite: BISC 220L or BISC 221L; recommended preparation: BISC 421.

NEUR 494x Honors Thesis (2, FaSp) Not available for graduate credit. Programmatic approval.

NEUR 533 Cognitive Neuroscience (4, Sp) (Enroll in PSYC 540)

NEUR 534L Computational Neuroengineering (3) (Enroll in BME 575L)

NEUR 535 Brain Theory and Artificial Intelligence (3) (Enroll in CSCI 564)

NEUR 542 Hearing and Communication Neuroscience (4, Sp) (Enroll in BISC 521)

NEUR 599 Special Topics (2–4, max 8) Special topics providing background for instruction and research in neuroscience through lectures, discussions, assigned readings, and student presentations.

Neuroscience (Graduate) (NSCI)

The terms indicated are expected but are not guaranteed. For the courses offered during any given term, consult the Schedule of Classes.

NSCI 524 Advanced Overview of Neurosciences (4, Fa) Study of the nervous system at multiple levels through the analysis of four themes: motor control; emotion, motivation, and decision-making; memory and learning; and vision. Prerequisite: BISC 421. Open only to master and doctoral students.(Duplicates credit in former NEUR 524.)

NSCI 525 Advanced Overview of Neurosciences II (4, Sp) Sensory and motor systems, cognitive neuroscience, behavioral systems, computational neuroscience. Prerequisite: BISC 421. Open only to master and doctoral students. (Duplicates credit in former NEUR 525.)

NSCI 531 Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology (4, FaSpSm) Introduces fundamental principles of advanced molecular and cellular neurobiology including proteins and nucleic acids, cell biology of neurons and glia, synaptic transmission and neuronal signaling. Open only to master and doctoral students. (Duplicates credit in former NEUR 531.)

NSCI 532 Systems and Behavioral Neurobiology (3, Fa) Systems and behavioral neurobiology: hierarchical mechanisms controlling behavior, experimental techniques; perceptual (visual, auditory, somatosensory) systems; sensorimotor systems; motivated behavior; learning, memory and adaptation. Open only to master and doctoral students.

NSCI 538 Neuroscience Ethics and Professionalization (1, FaSpSm) Exposes students to ethical issues in scientific research, especially for neuroscience; scientific integrity and professional roles for the academician and neuroscientist. Open only to master and doctoral students. (Duplicates credit in former NEUR 538.)

NSCI 539 Seminar in Neurobiology (1, FaSp) Seminar in Neurobiology. Open only to master and doctoral students. (Duplicates credit in former NEUR 539.)

NSCI 541 Neurobiology of Disease (3, Sp) Introduction to the fundamental aspects of common diseases affecting the brain including clinical features, animal models, genetics, neuropathology, synaptic function, and therapeutic targets. Prerequisite: NSCI 524. (Duplicates credit in former NEUR 541.)

NSCI 790 Research (1–6, max 21, FaSpSm) Research leading to the doctorate. Maximum units which may be applied to the degree to be determined by the department. Graded CR/NC. Open only to neuroscience graduate students and neuroscience majors. (Duplicates credit in former NEUR 790.)

NSCI 794abcdz Doctoral Dissertation (2-2-2-2-0) Credit on acceptance of dissertation. Graded IP/CR/NC. Open only to neuroscience graduate students and neuroscience majors. (Duplicates credit in former NEUR 794abcdz.)