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Courses

Curriculum and Program Requirements

For detailed information about Ph.D. degree requirement, electives, doctoral dissertation, waivers, travel funds and more, go to the Curriculum and Program Requirements section.

Fast Track Master's Program Information

The Fast Track Masters Program is available only to graduates of UMass Amherst who have worked as undergraduates in the lab of an NSB faculty member.  Learn more about eligibility, graduate school admission and course requirements.

First day of classes: Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Last day of classes: Wednesday, April 29, 2015

UMass Dean of Students Office Academic Honesty Policy.

Spring 2015

NEUROS&B 618 - Behavioral & Cognitive Neuroscience

Lecture: #14326 Tuesday & Thursday 1:00-2:15 PM - Room TBD
Lab: Thursdays 3:00 to 5:00 PM - Room TBD

4 credits • Coordinators: Dr. Kyle R. Cave & Dr. David Moorman

This is a core course required of all Neuroscience and Behavior Program Ph.D. and M.S. students. The purpose of the course is to provide students with an overview of neuroanatomy and systems neuroscience, with special emphasis on cognition, including perception, recognition, attention, memory, and motor control. Additional topics to be covered include sensory systems, circadian rhythms and sleep-wakefulness, reproductive and maternal behaviors, and long-term potentiation. Weekly lab sessions will focus on learning neuroanatomy by sheep brain dissection, neurohistology exercises involving examination of brain sections stained using different techniques, and methods in cognitive neuroscience, including EEG recording, brain imaging with functional MRI, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and eye tracking.

Required Textbook: Principles of Neural Science, 5th ed, Author: Kandel, Publisher: McGraw Hill, Edition: 5th, Year Published: 2012

Cognitive Psychology graduate students should register for Psych 618 (#14521)

Biology 791B Responsible Conduct of Research in the Life Sciences

Day/Time:  TBD
Location:  TBD
Instructor:  Dr. Christina Metevier
This seminar is designed to stimulate critical thinking about ethical research and to engage students in discussion regarding research ethics in the life sciences. Topics to be covered will include responsible conduct of research, workplace ethics,  mentoring, publication practices and authorship, collaborative research, and the use of animals and humans in research. Students will participate in discussion, review case  studies, and give an end of the semester presentation. The course is required of all first year Neuroscience and Behavior graduate students; however, it is open to all graduate students in the life sciences.  

NEUROS&B 696, Independent Study

class schedule # 14321

NEUROS&B 796, Independent Study

class schedule # 14323
By Arrangement with Faculty Sponsor

Independent student research in neuroscience and behavior. The work is supervised by a faculty sponsor who determines direction of the project, reports required, grade and credit awarded. The project may consist of laboratory research, library research, or some combination of the two. Credit is variable (1-6 credits) and independent study may be repeated each semester. May be taken for a letter grade or graded Satisfactory (SAT). A SAT is similar to the undergraduate Pass (P) and is defined as passing for graduate credit. The SAT can be used toward graduation but does not calculate into the GPA (grade point average). Students signing up for their first independent study should select NSB 696; for subsequent independent study credits, select NSB 796.

NEUROS&B 699, Master's Thesis

class schedule #14322 (for NSB fast track master students and terminal master's students only)

Independent research and writing of master's thesis. Research carried out and reported under supervision of students research advisor as partial fulfillment of requirements for a Master of Science degree in Neuroscience and Behavior. No more than 10 credits may be applied towards a M.S. degree in NSB. Minimum credit, 1; maximum, 10.

NEUROS&B 899, Ph.D. Dissertation

class schedule #14324
Variable Credits 1-9 credits

Contact the department to register.  NSB doctoral students may not register for NSB 899 until the doctoral comprehensive examination is passed. At this time the student should have chosen a dissertation topic and the Dissertation Committee should be formed by the student in consultation with his/her advisor. The committee must consist of at least four members of the graduate faculty, from at least two different departments, and including at least three NSB core faculty members. Committee members will be available for advising and consultation throughout the planning, execution, and writing of the dissertation.

GRADSCH 999, Continuous Enrollment

Graduate students not enrolled for any course credits but who are candidates for a degree, must pay a program fee each semester (excluding summer terms) for continuous registration until the degree for which the student has been accepted has been formally awarded. Deadline for enrollment under this option is the end of the add/drop period - February 2. Use SPIRE registration #17767 and the Bursar's Office will bill for the $275.00 Program Fee. This Bursar's bill will be due around mid-October. Any student who does not pay this fee by the deadline date and later seeks readmission or applies for graduation, shall pay the accumulated program fees plus a readmission fee of $125.00.

BIOLOGY 891A, Graduate Program Seminar

schedule #13554
Wednesdays 4:00-5:15 PM, section 3

Attendance at the Spring 2015 Neuroscience & Behavior Program Colloquia. Researchers from other institutions present their work to faculty, postdoctoral students, graduate students, and undergraduate students. In this context graduate students learn about the latest developments in a range of fields and receive valuable exposure to different lecturing styles. Students registering for this 1 credit (pass/fail) are encouraged to read in advance the scientific reprint pertaining to the lecture.

Independent research and writing of master's thesis. Research carried out and reported under supervision of students research advisor as partial fulfillment of requirements for a Master of Science degree in Neuroscience and Behavior. No more than 10 credits may be applied towards a M.S. degree in NSB. Minimum credit, 1; maximum, 10

QUANTITATIVE COURSES

PSYCH 641, Statistical Inference in Psychology II

Lecture Section A: Monday-Wednesday-Friday 1:25-2:15 PM, schedule #14458
Discussion 1: Fridays 2:30-3:30 PM, schedule #14460
Lab A: Thursdays 4:00-5:00 PM, lab schedule #14459

Instructor: Andrew Cohen

Textbook: Research design & statistical analysis, Author: Myers, Well, Lorch, Publisher: Routledge, Edition: 3, Year Published: 2010

Lecture Section B: Mondays 1:25-2:15 PM, schedule #17865
Discussion B: Mondays 2:30-3:30 PM, schedule #17866
Lab B: Thursdays 4:00-5:00 PM, schedule #17867

Instructor: David Arnold

The goal of this course is to provide students with an understanding of the basic statistical concepts underlying data analysis and with a working knowledge of how to display data and conduct and interpret appropriate analyses. The Psych 640/641 deals with the description of data, probability, basic inferential concepts, and thorough coverage of analysis of variance, as well as the use of contrasts to test specific hypotheses, and bivariate correlation and regression.

Continuation of Psych 640. Introduction to analysis of variance and correlational techniques, related to the general
problem of inference in the social sciences. Psych 641 is most appropriate for students who took 640 during the fall semester.

STATISTC 501, Methods of Applied Statistics

schedule #14679
3 credits
Tuesday & Thursday 11:30-12:45 PM

Department of Mathematics and Statistics Webpage

Instructor: Michael Lavine

Prerequisites: Knowledge of high school algebra, junior standing or higher

Textbook: Statistical Modeling: A Fresh Approach, Author: Daneil T. Kaplan, Publisher: Project Mosaic, Edition: 2nd, Year Published: 2011

Description: MINITAB oriented statistical methods. Exploratory data analysis - population frequency distribution, empirical distribution, dot plots, stem and leaf plots, histogram quantities, interquartile range, box plots, sample mean, sample variance; Bivariate Data - side by side box plots, bivariate data, scatter plots, correlation coefficient, fitting a line to a bivariate data set (least squares method); Probability theory - sample space, events and their probabilities, random sampling, random variables and their distributions, expected value and variance of a random variable (discrete or continuous), the normal distribution; Sampling distribution - simple random sample, central limit theorem, sampling distribution of mean and proportion; Estimation and hypothesis testing for means and proportions - point estimation, interval estimation, testing hypotheses; Analysis of categorical data - multinomial experiments, chi-square goodness - of fit test, contingency tables; Analysis of variance - testing the equality of two or more ppopulation means; Linear and multiple regression - method of least squares, interpreting of computer output; Nonparametric Tests if time permits. Students are required to bring their laptop computers to classes for on site practice.

ELECTIVES & JOURNAL CLUBS

BIOLOGY 523, Histology

Lecture schedule #13540
3 credits, MWF 12:20-1:10 PM
Lab 1 - Tuesdays 1:00-4:05 PM, schedule #13541
or Lab 2 - Wednesdays 1:25-4:25 PM, schedule #13542

Dr. Elizabeth Connor
Office: 353 Morrill Science Center 4 South Wing

Course Website Histology is a study of cell structure and how it relates to the cell and organ function. The fine structor of cells, tissues, and organs is explored at the microscopic level and related to the physiology of the organ system. Tissues (nervous, muscle, connective, and epithelial) are explored in detail and their specializations are discussed in selected organ systems (circulatory, digestive, urinary, endocrine, and other glands, and lymphatic). Lab includes light microscopic identification of cells, tissues, and organs; related electron micrographs, introduction to microtechnique, demonstrations in the Electron Microscopy and Image Analysis facility. Group projects involving sectioning, staining, and immunohistochemistry. Students develop competency with light microscopy and are well prepared for coursework in graduate and medical school. Course assessment is based on exams, quizzes, and lab practicals, attendance and projects.

Textbook: Histology: A Text and Atlas: With Correlated Cell, Author: Ross and Pawlina, Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Edition: 6th, Year Published: 2010

BIOLOGY 550, Animal Behavior

Lecture schedule #13498
Tuesday & Thursday 11:30-12:45 PM
Lab 1: Tuesdays 1:00-4:05 PM, schedule #13559
or Lab 2: Wednesdays 1:25-4:25 PM, schedule #13560

Instructor: Dr. Melinda Novak

Our first goal in this course will be to examine the mechanisms that underlie the expression of behavior. For example, how do predators locate prey, how do animals avoid becoming prey, and how do animals navigate through their worlds? To help answer these questions we will apply neurobiological, hormonal, genetic, and developmental perspectives. Our next goal in the course will be to examine the evolutionary bases of behavior, asking for example why animals move, forage, hide, communicate, and socialize as they do. To address these questions we make use of optimality theory and other behavioral ecological perspectives. Other topics in the course will include sexual selection, human behavior, and the role of behavior in establishing biodiversity. When taken with Biology 494LI, this course satisfies the Integrative Experience requirement for BA-Biol and BS-Biol students.  Prerequisite: an introductory biology or psychology course.
 

BIOLOGY 580, Developmental Biology

Lecture schedule #17838 - 3 credits
Tuesday & Thursday 2:30-3:45 PM

Instructor: Dr. Madelaine Bartlett

Analysis of organismal development, with special attention to cell-cell interactions, cells fate determination, gene regulation, signal transduction, pattern formation and terminal differentiation.  The emphasis will be on molecular approaches to these problems.   Prerequisite: Biology 285 or equivalent.
 

BIOLOGY 892G - Fish & Worm Journal Club

Schedule #13571
1 credit
Location and schedule TBA

Instructor:  Dr. Rolf Karlstrom

CHEM 756, Organic Synthesis

Lecture schedule #13700
3 credits, MWF 11:15-12:05 PM
Discussion - Tuesdays 6:00-9:00 PM, schedule #13722

Instructor: Dr. James Chambers

Important synthetic reactions, with emphasis on problems which may arise during organic synthesis. Develops students' ability to propose own syntheses of complex molecules. Prerequisite: CHEM 551 or consent of instructor.

KIN 697W, Current Issues in Neurorehabilitation

Lecture schedule #19511
3 credits, Fridays 9:05-12:00 PM

Instructor: Dr. Julia Choi

Collaborative neuroscience projects - the BRAIN initiative, Human Brain Project - have recently attracted large amounts of funding and media attention globally.  The long-term goal of these highly ambitious projects is to gain a better understanding of the neural mechanisms by which we feel, act, learn and remember.  The new knowledge will be critical for understanding normal brain processes, and has important implications for the rehabilitation of sensorimotor and cognitive deficits after neurological damage. However, media attention has sometimes outstripped the limits of what current science can really tell us. In this course, we will discuss current and controversial issues regarding several scientific approaches and clinical applications.
 

KIN 897R, Special Topics: Nonlinear Dynamics - Current Perspectives

Lecture schedule #19391
3 credits, Wednesdays 2:30-3:45 PM

Instructor: Dr. Richard Van Emmerik

This course focuses on concepts and current developments in nonlinear dynamics and complex systems approaches in biology. The aim is to further understanding of the significance of these nonlinear concepts and analysis tools for movement coordination and perception. Topics to be discussed will be basic concepts of nonlinear dynamics, analysis tools related to assessing movement coordination, and linear and nonlinear tools for time series analysis.
 

NEUROS&B 891BN, Landmark Papers in Behavioral Neuroscience

Lecture schedule #18419
3 credits, Tuesdays 4:00-6:30 PM

Instructor: Dr. Jeffrey Blaustein

This course will introduce graduate students to landmark papers in Behavioral Neuroscience.  Each week, a student will discuss a landmark journal article in the field.  They will put the paper in historical perspective by answering the following questions:  What led to the publication?  Was it accepted by the field, or was it rejected, because it contradicted dogma?  Did it result in a paradigm shift?  What came next?  How did it change the development of the discipline?  Although there will be no final exam, there will be a term paper.
 

NEUROS&B 897A - Cognitive Science of Sleep Journal Club

Schedule #19426
1 credit
Location and schedule TBA

Instructor:  Dr. Rebecca Spencer

PSYCH 591CP, Critical Periods of Developmental Plasticity

Lecture schedule #19118
3 credits, Tuesday & Thursday 11:30-12:45 PM

Instructor: Dr. Joseph Bergan

The capacity for plasticity in the brain is particularly remarkable early in life. During this developmental period, the surrounding environment profoundly shapes brain function. How does this happen and what are the factors that restrict plasticity later in life? This course will integrate molecular/cellular biology with systems neuroscience to explore canonical critical periods and their influence on brain development. Ultimately, we will use the scientific knowledge of critical periods in the brain to motivate discussions on broader social issues.
 

PSYCH 891NE, Special Topics: Comparative Behavioral Neuroendocrinology

Lecture schedule #17956
1 credit, Monday & Wednesday 2:30-3:45 PM

Instructor: Dr. Luke Remage-Healey

The focus of this course will be on recent advances in "Comparative Behavioral Neuroendocrinology." We will use primary peer-reviewed literature to explore the wide variety of neural circuits and hormonal modulation of those circuits that have evolved in the vertebrate lineage, including teleosts, amphibians, birds, and mammals. Along the way, students will increase familiarity with the contemporary methods in this field and sharpen critical thinking skills.
 

PSYCH 891TD, Translational Developmental Neuroscience

Lecture schedule #19121
3 credits, Tuesday & Thursday 2:30-3:45 PM

Instructor: Dr. Jennifer McDermott

Translational Developmental Neuroscience is a rapidly growing field that aims to diminish the burden of mental illness by making connections from "bench to bedside" by examining early developmental periods that set the stage for patterns of behavior later in life. This course will explore multi-disciplinary and multi-modal approaches to broad reaching mental health concerns. Salient work across a range of developmental periods and across species will be incorporated. The primary material will be peer-reviewed journal articles that focus on a sub-set of mental health topics including, but not limited to, stress, anxiety, and ADHD.