Program Director: SuJean Choi, Ph.D.
Neuroscience Graduate Program website

DEGREE OFFERED

Doctor of Philosophy

Educational Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the neuroscience doctorate program, a student is able to:

  1. Demonstrate an in-depth mastery of advanced interdisciplinary concepts in the neurosciences.
  2. Demonstrate independent scientific reasoning.
  3. Design and execute original research in an area of neuroscience specialization.
  4. Demonstrate effective oral communication of interdisciplinary neuroscience concepts.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

Neuroscience is the study of the structure and function of the brain and nervous system and is currently one of the fastest growing areas in science education and research. The graduate program in neuroscience involves, at a minimum, faculty from the Departments of Biological Sciences; Biomedical Engineering; Biomedical Sciences; Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science; Philosophy; Physical Therapy-Exercise Science; and Psychology. It is designed to provide students with research training and didactic course work that includes a broad foundation of neuroscience that can then be complemented with specialized courses within subfields.

PREREQUISITES FOR ADMISSION

Applicants to the neuroscience program must hold a baccalaureate degree, or its academic equivalent, from a college or university of recognized standing. The undergraduate background must be appropriate to the chosen course of study. Applicants are expected to have completed a bachelor's degree, which includes course work in one or more of the following: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Applicants must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.000 (on a scale of 4.000) in their undergraduate course work. 

Application Deadline

Applications are due to the Graduate School by December 1 for the following fall term. 

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

Applicants must submit, directly to the Marquette University Graduate School:

  1. A completed application form and fee online.
  2. Copies of all college/university transcripts except Marquette.
  3. A statement of professional goals and aspirations.
  4. Three letters of recommendation that give evidence of the applicant’s scholarly promise.
  5. GRE scores (General Test is required, Subject Test is recommended).
  6. (For international applicants only) a TOEFL score or other acceptable proof of English proficiency.

The recruitment committee reviews applications and selects a sub-group for phone interviews. After phone interviews are complete, the applications are selected for on-campus interviews. All applicants are notified of the committee’s decision.  

Neuroscience Doctoral Requirements

Specializations: Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience; Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience; Computational, Neurorehabilitation and Neuroimaging Neuroscience

Neuroscience is the interdisciplinary study of the function of the nervous system, encompassing a broad spectrum of approaches from cellular and molecular function to anatomical circuitry to behavior, disorders and treatments. The neuroscience doctoral program is designed with interdisciplinary research training and curriculum, research writing and analysis skills toward preparing students for doctoral-level interdisciplinary career opportunities in the growing arena of neuroscience research and industry. The program involves faculty from the Departments of Biological Sciences; Biomedical Engineering; Biomedical Sciences; Physical Therapy-Exercise Science; Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science; Philosophy; and Psychology. The program is designed to provide students with research training and didactic course work that includes a broad foundation in neuroscience that can then be complemented with specialized courses within subfields. 

Required courses:
BISC 5140Functional Neuroanatomy3
NRSC/BISC 8001Neuroscience Foundations 14
NRSC/BISC 8002Neuroscience Foundations 24
NRSC/BISC 8003Individual Development Plan1
NRSC/BISC 8004Science Writing and Ethics 1 (or equivalent) 11
NRSC/BISC 8005Science Writing and Ethics 2 (or equivalent) 11
NRSC/BISC 8096First Year Lab Rotations (taken three times at 1 cr. each)3
Graduate statistics course from BIOL, BISC, MSCS, PSYC or another course as approved by the director of graduate studies.3-4
A minimum of 12 credit hours from within the declared specialization. 212
NRSC 8999 Doctoral Dissertation 12
Total Credit Hours44-45

Specializations

BEHAVIORAL AND COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE

Students in this specialization acquire a foundational background in behavioral and cognitive processes and their neuroanatomical and neurophysiological foundations. Areas of focus include: perception, attention, learning, memory, executive functioning, social and affective functioning, reward, stress, mental health and disorders, development, aging and dementia.

Behavioral and cognitive neuroscience students must complete a minimum of 12 credit hours from the following list:

Required course:
PSYC 8740Foundations and Processes of Human Cognition3
or PSYC 8780 Biological Bases of Behavior
Choose three of the following (may not repeat). At least two courses must be from the PHIL or PSYC courses below:9
Advanced Statistics and Design 2 (or other approved advanced/applied statistics course)
Foundations and Processes of Human Cognition
Biological Bases of Behavior
Philosophy of Science
Philosophy of Mind
Problems in Metaphysics
Seminar in Philosophy (when topic approved by director)
Alternative course/seminar with director approval.

Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Students in this specialization acquire a foundational background in core neuroscience concepts including a strong understanding of both neuronal and non-neuronal cells of the nervous system, electrical/chemical mechanisms of synaptic signaling, structure/function of the nervous system, and behavioral, physiological, and cognitive outputs of the healthy and dysfunctional nervous system. Areas of focus include: fundamental processes underlying drug and alcohol addiction, stress, depression, schizophrenia, learning and memory, obesity and eating disorders, neurodegeneration, circadian biology, ion channel function and spinal cord injury. 

Cellular and molecular neuroscience students must complete a minimum of 12 credit hours from the following list:

BIOL 8101Protein Structure and Function2
BIOL 8102Biochemistry and Function of Nucleic Acids2
BIOL 8202Principles of Eukaryotic Genetics2
BIOL 8302Protein Trafficking and Organelle Identity in Eukaryotic Cells2
BIOL 8601Stem Cell Biology2
BIOL 8603Cell and Molecular Biology of Early Development2
BIOL 8704Cellular Homeostasis2
BISC 6097Laboratory Research in Neuroscience (Laboratory Research in Neuroscience)1
BISC 8953Seminar in Neuroscience1
Alternative course/seminar with director approval.2-3

Computational, Neurorehabilitation and Neuroimaging Neuroscience

Students in this specialization acquire a foundational background in computational modeling, neurorehabilitation and/or neuroimaging. Computational modeling explores processes from single neurons to neuronal networks including neural interconnections, neural signal processing, and synaptic plasticity. Neurorehabilitation explores the mechanisms and clinical and laboratory methods for studying neural disorders and the treatment strategies to address them. Neuroimaging neuroscience explores imaging physics, mathematics, and methods toward problems in basic and applied neuroscience. Areas of focus include: statistical models for magnetic resonance imaging, computational models of gene regulatory networks, predictive models of neurophysiological processes and clinical outcomes, human visuomotor processing, functional neuroimaging, brain structural and functional connectivity, spinal cord imaging and human motor control, neural and neurodevelopmental disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, and rehabilitative strategies.

Computational, neurorehabilitation and neuroimaging neuroscience students must complete a minimum of 12 credit hours from within focus area 1, 2 or 3. See course lists for each focus, below:

Computational

Choose at least 12 credit hours for the Computational focus area:
Statistical Analysis/Data Science courses
MSCS 5760Time Series Analysis3
MSCS 5780Regression Analysis3
MSCS 6010Probability3
MSCS 6020Simulation3
MSCS 6230Multivariate Statistical Analysis3
MSCS 6240Design of Experiments and Data Analysis3
Computer Science courses
MSCS 5600Fundamentals of Artificial Intelligence3
MSCS 5610Data Mining3
MSCS 5800Principles of Database Systems3
MSCS 6050Elements of Software Development3
MSCS 6060Parallel and Distributed Systems3
Mathematical courses
MSCS 6030Applied Mathematical Analysis3
MSCS 6040Applied Linear Algebra3
MSCS 6110Applied Discrete Mathematics3
MSCS 6120Optimization3
MSCS 6130Dynamical Systems3
Alternative course/seminar with director approval.3

 Neurorehabilitation

Complete the following 12 credit hours for the Neurorehabilitation focus area:
CTRH 6001Applied and Rehabilitative Systems Physiology3
CTRH 6030Advanced Principles and Instrumentation in Biomechanics3
CTRH 6201Neurophysiological Principles in Disease and Rehabilitation3
Additional course/seminar with director approval.3

 Neuroimaging and Neuroengineering

Choose at least 12 credit hours for the Neuroimaging and Neuroengineering focus area:
Neural Systems courses
BIEN 5600Neural Engineering3
BIEN 6600Neuromotor Control3
Signal Processing courses
BIEN 6200Biomedical Signal Processing3
BIEN 6210Advanced Biomedical Signal Processing3
BIEN 6220Multidimensional Biomedical Time Series Analysis3
Modeling courses
BIEN 5230Intelligent Biosystems3
BIEN 5710Analysis of Physiological Models3
Imaging courses
BIEN 5500Medical Imaging Physics3
BIEN 5510Image Processing for the Biomedical Sciences3
BIEN 6500Mathematics of Medical Imaging3
Alternative course/seminar with director approval.3

Courses

NRSC 8001. Neuroscience Foundations 1. 4 cr. hrs.

Comprehensive survey of nervous system function at the cellular level including biochemical synthesis and degradation, receptors and intracellular signaling pathways. Same as BISC 8001; credit is not awarded for both. Prereq: Cons. of instr.

NRSC 8002. Neuroscience Foundations 2. 4 cr. hrs.

Comprehensive survey of nervous system function at the systems and behavioral level and includes motor, sensory and regulatory systems, imaging, cognitive and computational modeling. Same as BISC 8002; credit is not awarded for both. Prereq: Cons. of instr.

NRSC 8003. Individual Development Plan. 1 cr. hr.

Guidance of students toward identifying their current interests to facilitate future career paths as well as develop a graduate career plan based on necessary skills and expertise. Same as BISC 8003; credit is not awarded for both. Prereq: Cons. of instr.

NRSC 8004. Science Writing and Ethics 1. 1 cr. hr.

An introduction of scientific writing skills necessary for a successful career in science. Same as BISC 8004; credit is not awarded for both. Prereq: BISC 8003 or NRSC 8003.

NRSC 8005. Science Writing and Ethics 2. 1 cr. hr.

Advanced writing skills necessary for grant writing. Same as BISC 8005; credit is not awarded for both. Prereq: BISC 8004 or NRSC 8004.

NRSC 8096. First Year Lab Rotations. 1 cr. hr.

Introductory lab rotations for first year graduate students based on mutual preferences of the student and faculty member. May include lab group meetings, literature search, bench work, presentation of findings and/or research plans to lab members. Same as BISC 8096; credit is not awarded for both. Prereq: Cons. of instr.

NRSC 8931. Topics in Neuroscience. 1-3 cr. hrs.

Subject matter varies as determined by needs of neuroscience graduate students. May be repeated, as subject matter changes. Same as BISC 8931; credit is not awarded for both. Prereq: Cons. of instr.

NRSC 8999. Doctoral Dissertation. 1-12 cr. hrs.

S/U grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of dept. ch.

NRSC 9970. Graduate Standing Continuation: Less than Half-Time. 0 cr. hrs.

Fee. SNC/UNC grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of prog. dir.

NRSC 9974. Graduate Fellowship: Full-Time. 0 cr. hrs.

Fee. SNC/UNC grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of program dir.

NRSC 9975. Graduate Assistant Teaching: Full-Time. 0 cr. hrs.

Fee. SNC/UNC grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of program dir.

NRSC 9976. Graduate Assistant Research: Full-Time. 0 cr. hrs.

Fee. SNC/UNC grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of program dir.

NRSC 9987. Doctoral Comprehensive Examination Preparation: Less than Half-Time. 0 cr. hrs.

Fee. SNC/UNC grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of program dir.

NRSC 9988. Doctoral Comprehensive Examination Preparation: Half-Time. 0 cr. hrs.

Fee. SNC/UNC grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of program dir.

NRSC 9989. Doctoral Comprehensive Examination Preparation: Full-Time. 0 cr. hrs.

Fee. SNC/UNC grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of program dir.

NRSC 9998. Doctoral Dissertation Continuation: Half-Time. 0 cr. hrs.

Fee. SNC/UNC grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of program dir.

NRSC 9999. Doctoral Dissertation Continuation: Full-Time. 0 cr. hrs.

Fee. SNC/UNC grade assessment. Prereq: Cons. of program dir.