Neuroscience Program

Course Descriptions



NEUR 601 - Developmental Neuroscience

Credits: 2 (NR)

Introduction to neurobiology with overview of embryological development of the nervous system in evolutionary context. Regional and systems neuroanatomy introduced by study of the mammalian visual system with a comparative perspective.

Equivalent to PSYC 527

Prerequisite(s): PSYC 372, or BIOL 213 and 303, or the equivalent.


NEUR 602 - Cellular Neuroscience

Credits: 3 (NR)

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.

Prerequisite(s): Admission to the PhD program in Neuroscience or permission of instructor.


NEUR 603 - Mammalian Neurobiology

Credits: 3 (NR)

Functional anatomy of the brains of mammals, with emphasis on regional and systems neuroanatomy of humans. Anatomy is correlated with material from clinical neurology where possible. Laboratory component includes brain dissections and clinical correlations.

Equivalent to PSYC 531; BIOL 515

Prerequisite(s): NEUR 601


NEUR 702 - Research Methods

Credits: 3 (NR)

Trains students in research methodologies, techniques, and data analysis in neuroscience. The course is divided into three modules that introduce separate but equally significant components of any research project. The first module will focus on parameters required for outlining and synthesizing a problem. The second module will cover various techniques of measurement and analysis used by neuroscientists. The last module will cover various approaches used for data analysis and interpretations.

Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing.


NEUR 703 - Laboratory Rotation and Readings

Credits: 3

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.

Prerequisite(s): Admission to the PhD program in Neuroscience.


NEUR 709 - Neuroscience Seminars

Credits: 1 (NR)

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.

Prerequisite(s): Admission to neuroscience PhD program.



PSYC 611 - Advanced Statistics*

Credits: 4 (NR)

Test must be passed to take course. Open only to degree students. Integrates basic psychological statistics with overview of research methodology including experimental, quasi-experimental, field approaches, and measurement issues from advanced perspective. Lab work includes using computer packages for data handling and analyses.

Prerequisite(s): Screening test given on first evening of class

Notes: Students must enroll in 611 and 612 in sequential semesters.

* One of a group of courses which can satisfy the requirement


STAT 535 - Analysis of Experimental Data Using SPSS

Credits: 3 (NR)

Statistical methods for analysis of experimental data, including ANOVA and regression. Parametric and nonparametric inference methods appropriate for a variety of experimental designs are presented along with data analysis using SPSS. Intended primarily for researchers in the natural, social, and life sciences.

Prerequisite(s): STAT 250, STAT 344, or equivalent.

Notes: Can be used to satisfy requirements for certificate in federal statistics, but not MS in statistical science. Certificate program students granted credit for only one of STAT 535 or 554.


STAT 544 - Applied Probability

Credits: 3 (NR)

The axioms of probability, conditional probability, random variables and expectation, multivariate and conditional distributions, conditional expectation, order statistics, transformations, moment generating functions, special distributions, limit theorems.

Prerequisite(s): MATH 213 and STAT 346, or permission of instructor.


STAT 554 - Applied Statistics

Credits: 3 (NR)

Application of basic statistical techniques. Focus is on the problem (data analysis) rather than on the theory. Topics include one- and two-sample tests and confidence intervals for means and medians, descriptive statistics, goodness-of-fit tests, one- and two-way ANOVA, simultaneous inference, testing variances, regression analysis, and categorical data analysis. Normal theory is introduced first with discussion of what happens when assumptions break down. Alternative robust and nonparametric techniques are presented.

Prerequisite(s): STAT 346 or permission of instructor.

Notes: Certificate program students granted credit for only one of STAT 535 or 554.


ECE 528 - Introduction to Random Processes in Electrical and Computer Engineering

Credits: 3 (NR)

Probability and random processes are fundamental to communications, control, signal processing, and computer networks. Provides basic theory and important applications. Topics include probability concepts and axioms; stationarity and ergodicity; random variables and their functions; vectors; expectation and variance; conditional expectation; moment-generating and characteristic functions; random processes such as white noise and Gaussian; autocorrelation and power spectral density; linear filtering of random processes, and basic ideas of estimation and detection.

Prerequisite(s): ECE 220 and STAT 346, or permission of instructor.




Neuroscience (NEUR):

NEUR 600 - Chemistry and the Brain  3 Credits (NR)

NEUR 621 - Synaptic Plasticity  3 Credits

NEUR 611 - Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience  3 Credits

NEUR 734 - Computational Neurobiology  3 Credits (NR)

NEUR 735 - Computational Neuroscience Systems  3 Credits

NEUR 741 - Intro to Neuroimaging  3 Credits (NR)

NEUR 742 - Cognitive Neuroscience  3 Credits (NR)

NEUR 751 - Applied Dynamics in Neuroscience  3 Credits (NR)


Biology (BIOL):

BIOL 583 - General Biochemistry  4 Credits

BIOL 585 - Eukaryotic Cell Biology Laboratory  1-2 Credits (NR)

BIOL 568 - Advanced Topics in Molecular Genetics  3 Credits (RD) 

BIOL 682 - Advanced Eukaryotic Cell Biology  3 Credits (NR)


Psychology (PSYC):

PSYC 552 - Histology/Histochemistry of the Brain  5 Credits (NR)

PSYC 555 - Neuroimaging  3 Credits (NR)

PSYC 563 - Laboratory Methods in Behavioral Neuroscience  3 Credits (NR)

PSYC 558 - Neuronal Bases of Learning and Memory  3 Credits (NR)

PSYC 555 - Neuroimaging  3 Credits (NR)

PSYC 559 - Behavioral Chemistry  3 Credits (NR)

PSYC 652 - Quantitative Methods II: Analysis of Variance  3 Credits (NR)

PSYC 754 - Quantitative Methods III: Psychological Applications of Regression Techniques  3 Credits (NR)

PSYC 756 - Quantitative Methods IV: Multivariate Techniques in Psychology  3 Credits (NR)

PSYC 612 - Advanced Statistics  4 Credits (NR)

PSYC 685 - Cognitive Neuroscience  3 Credits (NR)

PSYC 701 - Cognitive Bases of Behavior  3 Credits (NR)

PSYC 702 - Biological Bases of Human Behavior  3 Credits (NR)

PSYC 768 - Advanced Topics in Cognitive Science  3 Credits (RT)


Bioinformatics (BINF):

BINF 630 - Bioinformatics Methods  3 Credits (NR) 

BINF 634 - Bioinformatics Programming  3 Credits (NR)

BINF 734 - Advanced Bioinformatics Programming  3 Credits

BINF 751 - Biochemical and Cellular Systems Modeling  3 Credits (NR)

BINF 820 - Advanced Topics in Molecular Cell Biology  3 Credits (NR)


Biosciences (BIOS):

BIOS 741 - Genomics  3 Credits (NR)

BIOS 742 - Biotechnology  3 Credits (NR) 

BIOS 743 - Genomics, Proteomics, and Bioinformatics  3 Credits (NR)

BIOS 744 - Molecular Genetics  3 Credits (NR) 


Chemistry (CHEM): 

CHEM 563 - General Biochemistry I  4 Credits (NR)

CHEM 564 - General Biochemistry II  3 Credits (NR)

CHEM 660 - Protein Biochemistry  3 Credits

CHEM 614 - Physical Organic Chemistry  3 Credits (NR)

CHEM 633 - Chemical Thermodynamics and Kinetics  3 Credits (NR)

CHEM 665 - Protein-Protein Interactions: Methods and Applications  3 Credits (NR)

CHEM 833 - Physical Chemistry and Biochemistry  3 Credits (NR)


Mathematics (MATH):

MATH 677 - Ordinary Differential Equations  3 Credits (NR) 

MATH 685 - Numerical Methods  3 Credits (NR)

MATH 686 - Numerical Solutions of Differential Equations  3 Credits (NR)

MATH 673 - Dynamical Systems  3 Credits

MATH 689 - Topics in Applied and Computational Mathematics  3 Credits (RT)


Computational Sciences and Informatics CSI/CS/INFS:

CSI 701 - Foundations of Computational Science  3 Credits (NR)

CSI 786 - Molecular Dynamics Modeling  3 Credits (NR)

CSI 702 - High-Performance Computing  3 Credits (NR)

CSI 710 - Scientific Databases  3 Credits (NR)

CS 682 - Computer Vision  3 Credits (NR)

CS 774 - Computational Vision  3 Credits

CS 686 - Image Processing and Applications  3 Credits (NR)

CS 580 - Introduction to Artificial Intelligence  3 Credits

CS 687 - Advanced Artificial Intelligence  3 Credits (NR)

INFS 614 - Database Management  3 Credits (NR)


Bio-Engineering (BENG):

BENG 538 - Medical Imaging  3 Credits (NR)

BENG 525 - Neural Engineering  3 Credits (NR)

BENG 636 - Advanced Biomedical Signal Processing  3 Credits (NR)

BENG 699 - Advanced Topics in Bioengineering  3 Credits (NR)




BIOL 693 - Directed Studies in Biology

Credits: 1-8 (RD)

Study of topic not otherwise available in graduate program. May involve any combination of reading assignments, tutorials, lectures, papers, presentations, or laboratory or field study, determined in consultation with instructor.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor, chair, and graduate committee.


BIOL 793 - Research in Biology

Credits: 1-3 (RD)

Library, laboratory, or field investigation under supervisor’s guidance.

Prerequisite(s): 8 graduate credits in BIOL, and permission of instructor and chair.

Notes: May be repeated for total 3 credits.




NEUR 998 - Dissertation Proposal

Credits: 1-12

Covers development of a research proposal under guidance of dissertation director and doctoral committee. Proposal forms the basis for the doctoral dissertation.

Prerequisites: Permission of advisor.

Notes: Course may be repeated as needed; however, 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.


NEUR 999 - Doctoral Dissertation

Credits: 1-12 (RD)

Doctoral research performed under the direction of the dissertation director.

Prerequisite(s): Admission to candidacy in neuroscience doctoral program. 

Notes: May be repeated as needed; however, no more than a total of 24 credits in NEUR 998 and 999 may be applied toward satisfying doctoral degree requirements.


BIOL 798 - Master’s Research Project

Credits: 1-3 (RD)

Experimental or theoretical research project chosen and completed under guidance of graduate faculty member. Comprehensive report acceptable to student’s advisory committee is required.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.

Notes: Students who take BIOL 793 may not receive more than 6 credits total for both BIOL 793 and 798.


BIOL 799 - Thesis

Credits: 1-6 (RD)

Thesis research under direction of supervisor.

Prerequisite(s): 8 graduate hours in BIOL and permission of instructor.

Notes: Students who take BIOL 793 may not receive more than 6 credits total for both BIOL 793 and 799.