Neuroscience Program

Courses and Syllabi

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Neuroscience  Courses

Undergraduate

300-Level Courses in NEUR

NEUR 327: Cellular, Neurophysiological, and Pharmacological Neuroscience (3 Credits)

Basic concepts of cellular and molecular level neuroscience, including neuronal functions, cellular anatomy and membrane functions, electrical properties of neurons, and cellular basis of plasticity. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: CHEM 211, PSYC 375 or permission of instructor.
Schedule Type: Lecture

NEUR 335: Molecular, Developmental, and Systems Neuroscience (3 Credits)

In-depth survey of genetic and embryological development of the brain and introduction to systems neuroscience, including sections on patterning gene expression, generation and migration of neurons, axonal and dendritic outgrowth, and basic neuroanatomy. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: PSYC 373 (may also be enrolled concurrently), PSYC 376.
Schedule Type: Laboratory, Lecture

400-Level Courses in NEUR

NEUR 405: RS: Laboratory Methods in Behavioral Neuroscience (3 Credits)

Introduction to experimental methods used in behavioral neuroscience research. Laboratory work includes surgical, histological and behavioral techniques. Proper use and handling of animals, ethical issues, evaluation of neuroscience literature, experimental design and data analysis are addressed. This requires working with laboratory rodents. Equivalent to NEUR 395.
Specialized Designation: Research/Scholarship Intensive
Recommended Prerequisite: PSYC 300, BIOL 312 or equivalent. PSYC 372 or PSYC 376 or permission of instructor.
Schedule Type: Laboratory

NEUR 410: Current Topics in Neuroscience (3 Credits)

Overview of current topics in neuroscience, focusing on research at Mason. May not be repeated for credit.
Specialized Designation: Writing Intensive in the Major
Recommended Prerequisite: PSYC 375, 376, ENGH 302. NSCI 327 recommended.
Schedule Type: Lecture

NEUR 411: Seminar in Neuroscience (3 Credits)

Advanced seminar on a selected topic in neuroscience. Includes in depth reading and discussion of current research in human and nonhuman animals, with an emphasis on critical evaluation. Notes: Course may be repeated if selected topic is different. May be repeated within the degree for a maximum 6 credits.
Specialized Designation: Writing Intensive in the Major
Recommended Prerequisite: PSYC 375, 376, ENGH 302. NEUR 327 and NEUR 335 recommended.
Schedule Type: Seminar

NEUR 440: Independent Study in Neuroscience (1-3 Credits)

Independent research based a laboratory or field investigation under the guidance of a faculty member, assisting with research on faculty projects, or reviewing the literature on a specific research topic. Notes: A maximum of 6 hours of independent study may be applied towards the major. May be repeated within the degree for a maximum 6 credits.
Recommended Prerequisite: NEUR 327, 30 hours of course work with a grade point average of 3.0, or permission of instructor.
Schedule Type: Independent Study

NEUR 450: Honors Thesis Proposal (2-3 Credits)

Work on proposal for thesis based a laboratory or field investigation under the guidance of a faculty member. Notes: A total of 6 hours must be taken in NEUR 450 and 451. A minimum of 2 hours and a maximum of 3 hours may be taken in NEUR 450. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: NEUR 327; 335; 410 or 411, may be taken as co-requisites. PSYC 300 or equivalent statistics course. Permission of NAC undergraduate committee and thesis director.
Schedule Type: Independent Study

NEUR 451: Honors Thesis (3-4 Credits)

Thesis based a laboratory or field investigation under the guidance of a faculty member. Notes: A total of 6 hours must be taken in NEUR 450 and 451. A minimum of 3 hours and a maximum of 4 hours may be taken in NEUR 451. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: NEUR 450.
Schedule Type: Independent Study

NEUR 461: Special Topics in Neuroscience (1-3 Credits)

Selected topics reflecting in specialized areas of neuroscience. Notes: May be repeated for credit when topic is different. May be repeated within the term for a maximum 12 credits.
Recommended Prerequisite: PSYC 372, 375, or equivalent or permission of instructor.
Schedule Type: Lecture

NEUR 480: Biological Bases of Alzheimer's Disease (3 Credits)

A survey of the causes, symptoms, drug treatments, risk factors and preventative measures associated with Alzheimer's disease. Equivalent to NEUR 380.
Recommended Prerequisite: PSYC 375; PSYC 376; PSYC 375 or equivalent or permission of instructor.
Schedule Type: Lecture

Graduate

500-Level Courses in NEUR

NEUR 592: Special Topics in Neuroscience (3 Credits)

Special topics in neuroscience reflecting specialized areas or new subfields that not covered in fixed-content neuroscience courses. Course may be repeated for credit as needed. May be repeated within the degree for a maximum 9 credits.
Recommended Prerequisite: NEUR 327, NEUR 335 or permission of instructor.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment limited to students with a class of Advanced to Candidacy, Graduate, Non Degree or Senior Plus.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate, Non-Degree or Undergraduate level students.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Lecture

600-Level Courses in NEUR

NEUR 600: Chemistry and the Brain (3 Credits)

Fundamentals of general chemistry, atoms, molecules, and reactions, with emphasis on water solutions. Organic compounds and functional groups, biosynthesis and properties, and examples from nervous system. Also includes biopolymers and their roles in cellular and neuronal organization, ionic channels, neurotransmitter receptors, and psychoactive substances. Equivalent to PSYC 556.
Recommended Prerequisite: Admission to neuroscience PhD program or permission of instructor.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment limited to students with a class of Advanced to Candidacy, Graduate, Non Degree or Senior Plus.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate, Non-Degree or Undergraduate level students.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Lecture

NEUR 601: Developmental Neuroscience (3 Credits)

Introduction to developmental neurobiology with overview of embryological development of the nervous system. Topics include neural induction, patterning/cell fate specification, and neural circuit assembly together with modern molecular methods for exploring neural development. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: Completion of 60 credits, including PSYC 372 or BIOL 213 or BIOL 303.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment limited to students with a class of Advanced to Candidacy, Graduate, Non Degree or Senior Plus.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate, Non-Degree or Undergraduate level students.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Lecture

NEUR 602: Cellular Neuroscience (3 Credits)

Detailed overview of the functioning and interactions of the cellular elements of the central nervous system. Topics include structure and function relationships, the chemical, physical, and electrical basis of neural signaling, local versus long-distance signaling, generation of action potentials, and essentials of synaptic communication. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: Admission to the PhD program in Neuroscience or permission of instructor.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment limited to students with a class of Advanced to Candidacy, Graduate, Non Degree or Senior Plus.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate, Non-Degree or Undergraduate level students.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Lecture

NEUR 603: Mammalian Neuroanatomy (3 Credits)

Focus on mammalian brain organization and function, emphasizing human neurobiology. Modern experimental and clinical tools explain: gross and microscopic brain organization; functional brain circuits for sensory and motor processing; higher brain organization and function; and development of selected brain areas. The knowledge gained is then used to explain the clinical symptoms occurring after specific brain insults. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: One course in neuroscience (or equivalent biology course), or permission of instructor.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment limited to students with a class of Advanced to Candidacy, Graduate, Non Degree or Senior Plus.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate, Non-Degree or Undergraduate level students.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Lecture

NEUR 604: Ethics in Scientific Research (1-3 Credits)

Reflects on purpose of scientific research and reviews foundational principles for evaluating ethical issues. Offers skills for survival in scientific research through training in moral reasoning and teaching of responsible conduct. Discusses ethical issues in research, and teaches how to apply critical thinking skills to design, execution, and analysis of experiments. Issues include using animals and humans in research, ethical standards in computer community, and research fraud. Currently accepted guidelines for behavior in data ownership, manuscript preparation, and conduct of persons in authority may be presented and discussed in terms of relevant ethical issues. May not be repeated for credit.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment limited to students with a class of Advanced to Candidacy, Graduate, Non Degree or Senior Plus.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate, Non-Degree, Undergraduate or Washington Consortium level students.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Lecture

NEUR 611: Philosophical Foundation of Neuroscience (3 Credits)

This course presents the joint histories of the nature of thought, the philosophy of science, the construct of self, and the nature of mind. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: Any course in neuroscience or permission of the instructor.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment limited to students with a class of Advanced to Candidacy, Graduate, Non Degree or Senior Plus.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate, Non-Degree or Undergraduate level students.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Lecture

NEUR 612: Neuroethics (3 Credits)

Neuroethics explores the implications of developments in basic and clinical neuroscience on social and ethical issues. This course will survey emerging questions raised by recent neuroscientific discoveries on genetic and environmental factors that influence human behavior, decision-making, personality traits, and mental states. Grades will be based on article presentation, class participation, and final written report. May not be repeated for credit.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment limited to students with a class of Advanced to Candidacy, Graduate, Non Degree or Senior Plus.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate, Non-Degree or Undergraduate level students.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Lecture

NEUR 621: Synaptic Plasticity (3 Credits)

Course on activity-dependent modification of functional connectivity in the central nervous system as it relates to development, cognition, and disease. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: NEUR 602.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment limited to students with a class of Advanced to Candidacy, Graduate, Non Degree or Senior Plus.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate, Non-Degree or Undergraduate level students.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Lecture

NEUR 634: Neural Modeling (3 Credits)

Introduces the objectives, philosophy, and methodology of neuronal modeling. Instructs students in the use of some of the more popular neural modeling software packages. Students learn the syntax of several software packages, how to create neurons from subcellular components, and how to create networks by connecting neuron models. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: NEUR 602 or permission of instructor.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment limited to students with a class of Advanced to Candidacy, Graduate, Non Degree or Senior Plus.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate, Non-Degree or Undergraduate level students.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Lecture

NEUR 651: Molecular Neuropharmacology (3 Credits)

Presents key concepts in cellular and molecular neuropharmacology Provides an in-depth survey of receptor driven cell function, which includes recent topics in cell structure, membrane function, electrical properties of neurons and intracellular signaling. Enables an introduction to research tools and rends in study of neuronal systems via a reading and an analysis of the primary literature. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: NEUR 602 or permission of instructor.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment limited to students with a class of Advanced to Candidacy, Graduate, Non Degree or Senior Plus.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate, Non-Degree or Undergraduate level students.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Lecture

NEUR 689: Topics in Neuroscience (3 Credits)

Selected topics in neuroscience reflecting specialized areas or new subfields not covered in fixed-content neuroscience courses. May be repeated within the term for a maximum 12 credits.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment limited to students with a class of Advanced to Candidacy, Graduate, Non Degree or Senior Plus.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate, Non-Degree or Undergraduate level students.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Lecture

700-Level Courses in NEUR

NEUR 701: Neurophysiology Laboratory (3 Credits)

Hands-on training in current techniques of modern neurophysiology. Acquaints students with the theoretical basis of each technique and trains the student in the laboratory skills necessary to perform each technique. Includes intracellular and extracellular recording techniques. Notes: Meets once weekly for six hours. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: NEUR 602 and admission to neuroscience PhD program or permission of instructor.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to Graduate or Non-Degree level students.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Laboratory

NEUR 702: Research Methods (3 Credits)

Trains students in research methodologies for life sciences. Covers the four aspects of biological research projects: experimental design, data collection, data analysis and research ethics. May not be repeated for credit.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to Graduate or Non-Degree level students.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Lecture

NEUR 703: Laboratory Rotation and Readings (3 Credits)

Intensive introduction to a research laboratory in neuroscience. The student will read background material pertinent to the problem under study, learn and practice research methods of the laboratory, and formulate a short final project, which may be a proposal or an actual project, demonstrating some mastery of the techniques and approaches employed. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: Admission to the PhD program in Neuroscience.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to Graduate or Non-Degree level students.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Independent Study

NEUR 709: Neuroscience Seminars (1 credit. Credits)

Special seminar series for first year neuroscience PhD students. Detailed overview of neuroscience research at Mason. Each week, a different neuroscience laboratory and principal investigator lectures to students. The lecture includes the neuroscience basics necessary to appreciate the laboratory research theme and mission, and a more practical description of the active research program, possibly including a visit to the laboratory. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: Admission to the Neuroscience PhD program.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to Graduate or Non-Degree level students.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Lecture

NEUR 710: Special Topics in Neuroscience (1 credit. Credits)

Examines topics in neurosciences, including neurogenetics, neural imaging, and the competing computational and biological approaches to understanding the mind. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: Admission to the Neuroscience PhD program.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to Graduate or Non-Degree level students.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Lecture

NEUR 734: Computational Neurobiology (3 Credits)

Intense review of neurobiology for graduate students interested in studying how nerve cells integrate and transmit signals, and how behavior emerges from integrated actions of populations or circuits of nerve cells. Covers electrical and biochemical properties of single neurons, and electrical and chemical communication between neurons. Emphasizes mathematical descriptions and computational techniques to study and understand neurons and networks of neurons. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: NEUR 602 and MATH 214, or permission of instructor.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to Graduate or Non-Degree level students.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Lecture

NEUR 735: Computational Neuroscience Systems (3 Credits)

Intensive introduction to systems neuroscience from quantitative perspective. Covers computational techniques used to study function of networks of neurons. Uses spike train statistics, neural encoding, and information theory to investigate behaviors that emerge from integrated actions of networks of neurons. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: NEUR 734 or permission of instructor.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to Graduate or Non-Degree level students.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Lecture

NEUR 741: Introduction to Neuroimaging (3 Credits)

Introduction to physics and techniques of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and their applications to clinical and basic neuroscience. Students learn about the protocols used in the acquisition of images in both structural and functional contexts, and experimental paradigms applied to the exploration of cognition, learning, and development. Students gain experience with creating an experimental design for a study and understanding practical logistics involved in imaging, such as MRI safety and subject screening. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: NEUR 602 or 603, or permission of instructor.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to Graduate or Non-Degree level students.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Lecture

NEUR 742: Cognitive Neuroscience (3 Credits)

Introduces cognitive neuroscience topics, including aspects of cognitive science covering an array of perceptual, sensory, cognitive, and affective processes. Incorporates studies of brain lesions, brain imaging, and animal and computational models. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: NEUR 602 or NEUR 603 or permission of instructor.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to Graduate or Non-Degree level students.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Lecture

NEUR 751: Applied Dynamics in Neuroscience (3 Credits)

Covers recent developments in the application of applied dynamics to neuroscience. Emphasizes dynamical system approach to the understanding of neural processes. Topics include neural synchrony and control; formation of waves; oscillations; patterns within neural ensembles; network topology and dynamics of neurons; and decoding and encoding of neural signals. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: CSI 734, PSYC 531, or permission of instructor.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to Graduate or Non-Degree level students.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Lecture

NEUR 752: Modern Instrumentation in Neuroscience (3 Credits)

Builds on knowledge of how and what things are measured and controlled in modern bioinstrumentation. Topics include fundamental instrumentation; principles of sensing; basic electronics; computer interfaces and data acquisition; signals in biological systems; biopotential and ionic concentration measurements; and optical techniques. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: NEUR 602 or 734, or permission of instructor.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to Graduate or Non-Degree level students.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Lecture

800-Level Courses in NEUR

NEUR 851: Advanced Computation and Brain Dynamics (3 Credits)

In-depth study of open issues and the state-of-the-art in advanced brain dynamics. Using mathematical and physical models, the course covers the neurodynamical aspects of neural nets, receptive fields, ion-channels, intercortical interactions, phase-locking, synchronicity, and the possible nontrivial role of quantum effects. May not be repeated for credit.
Recommended Prerequisite: CSI 734, PSYC 531.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students.

Schedule Type: Lecture

900-Level Courses in NEUR

NEUR 996: Doctoral Reading and Research (3,6 Credits)

Reading and research on specific topic in neuroscience under direction of faculty member. May be repeated within the degree for a maximum 12 credits.
Recommended Prerequisite: Admission into the NEUR doctoral program and permission of instructor.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students.

Schedule Type: Independent Study

NEUR 998: Dissertation Proposal (1-6 Credits)

Covers development of a research proposal under guidance of dissertation director and doctoral committee. Proposal forms the basis for the doctoral dissertation. Notes: No more than a total of 24 credits in NEUR 998 and 999 may be applied toward satisfying doctoral degree requirements. Out of the 24, no more than 12 credits of NEUR 998 may be applied. May be repeated within the degree.
Recommended Prerequisite: Admission to the Neuroscience Ph.D. program.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students.

Schedule Type: Dissertation

NEUR 999: Doctoral Dissertation (1-12 Credits)

Doctoral research performed under the direction of the dissertation director. Notes: No more than a total of 24 credits in NEUR 998 and 999 may be applied toward satisfying doctoral degree requirements. Students must email mhayes5@gmu.edu for permission and CRN to register. May be repeated within the degree.
Recommended Prerequisite: Advancement to candidacy in the Neuroscience Ph.D. program. Students must email mhayes5@gmu.edu for permission and CRN to register.
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment limited to students with a class of Advanced to Candidacy.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate level students.

Schedule Type: Dissertation