WPI’s MS in neuroscience advances understanding of the human brain—one of the most significant and urgent scientific challenges of our time. This complex biological system holds the key to who we are and how we perceive and interact with the world. A growing number of individuals are affected by neurological and psychiatric illnesses that are poorly understood. The field of neuroscience is at a point where deep learning, AI, neuroengineering, and related advances will stimulate major breakthroughs. 

The MS in neuroscience program provides students with a strong foundation in computational, molecular, psychological, quantitative, and interdisciplinary approaches to neuroscience. Students gain expertise in basic and translational neuroscience coupled with a strong computational base, links to industry partners, and supported study-abroad opportunities. In addition to a program partnership with WPI's Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME), our expertise in cutting-edge data science methods such as deep learning and AI will stimulate novel and productive purpose-driven research projects.

Our team of interdisciplinary faculty and students thrive from the synergy of our diverse approaches to understanding the brain and nervous system. The faculty involved in the program have a strong record of funding and provide an excellent research-oriented environment that provides collaboration and one-on-one mentorship.

Neuroscience MS

Curriculum

The four main participating departments—Computer Science, Biology & Biotechnology, Chemistry & Biochemistry, and Social Science & Policy Studies—define four broad areas of the program:

 

Computational Neuroscience: Training in the use of experimental and theoretical methods for the analysis of brain function 

 

Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience: Training in neurophysiological methods such as electrophysiology, optogenetics, molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry and biophysics, appropriate to topics in neurobiology

 

Systems Neuroscience: Training in structure-function relationship of neural networks, neural substrates of learning and memory, psychopharmacology of nervous system disorders including Alzheimer’s disease

 

Psychological Science: Training in how the brain and nervous system interact with development, mental health, cognition, and social processes to mediate behavior

The graduate program in neuroscience will train students in the complexity of the nervous system and position them to work on the many unanswered questions about the brain and how it functions. WPI’s core strengths in the areas of computational and data sciences, as well as in artificial intelligence and the life sciences areas, give students a comprehensive and cutting-edge approach to the field.

Requirements for the Neuroscience MS Degree

Students pursuing the MS degree in neuroscience must complete a minimum of 31 credits of relevant work at the graduate level. In consultation with their assigned neuroscience program academic advisor, students will prepare a plan of study outlining the selections that satisfy the degree requirements and that receive approval of the program’s review committee.

Core Neuroscience Coursework Requirements (minimum 19 credits)

Requirements Minimum Credits
  • At least three graduate neuroscience courses
9
  • At least one biology courses
3
  • At least one computer science course
3
  • One bioethics course
1
  • One scientific writing or experimental design course
3


Electives

Relevant Neuroscience courses
NEU 501 Neuroscience
NEU 502 Neural Plasticity
NEU 503 Computational Neuroscience
NEU 504 Advanced Psychophysiology
NEU 505 Brain-Computer Interaction

Relevant Bioinformatics and Computational Biology courses
BCB 501/BBT 581 Bioinformatics​
BCB 502/CS 582 Biovisualization​
BCB 503/CS 583 Biological and Biomedical Database Mining
BCB 504/MA 584 Statistical Methods in Genetics and Bioinformatics​
BCB 510 Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Seminar

Relevant Biology and Biotechnology courses
BBT 561 Model Systems: Experimental Approaches and Applications
BBT 581/BCB 501 Bioinformatics​
BB 570/CH 555 Cell Signaling

Relevant Biomedical Engineering courses
BME 550 Tissue Engineering
BME 555 BioMEMS and Tissue Micro engineering
BME 560 Physiology for Engineers
BME 583 Biomedical Microscopy and Quantitative Imaging

Relevant Chemistry and Biochemistry courses
CH 538 Medicinal Chemistry
CH 541 Membrane Biophysics
CH 555D Drug and Regulations
CH 555R Drug Safety and Regulatory Compliance
CH 555/PH597 Cell Mechanics
CH 555/BB570 Cell Signaling

Relevant Computer Science courses
CS 5007 Introduction to Applications of Computer Science with Data Structures and Algorithms
CS 5084 Introduction to Algorithms: Design and Analysis
CS 528 Mobile and Ubiquitous Computing
CS 534 Artificial Intelligence
CS 539 Machine Learning
CS 541/DS 541 Deep Learning
CS 542 Database Management Systems
CS 546 Human-Computer Interaction
CS 548 Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining
CS/RBE 549 Computer Vision
CS/SEME 565 User Modeling
CS/SEME 566 Graphical Models for Reasoning under Uncertainty
CS/SEME 567 Empirical Methods for Human-Centered Computing
CS 573 Data Visualization
CS 584 Algorithms: Design and Analysis
CS 585/DS 503 Big Data Management
CS 586/DS 504 Big data Analytics

Relevant Data Science courses:
DS 501 Introduction to Data Science
DS 502/MA 543 Statistical Methods for Data Science

Relevant Mathematical Sciences courses:
MA 508 Mathematical Modeling
MA 543/DS 502 Statistical Methods for Data Science
MA 510/CS 522 Numerical Methods
MA 511 Applied Statistics for Engineering and Scientists
MA 542 Regression Analysis
MA 546 Design and Analysis of Experiments
MA 550 Time Series Analysis
MA 556 Applied Bayesian Statistics

In addition to the 19 credits in the core neuroscience coursework requirement, MS students must complete either the thesis option or the non-thesis option described below. Students supported with a teaching assistantship, research assistantship or fellowship for more than one academic year are required to do the thesis option.

Neuroscience MS Thesis Option
Students in the neuroscience MS thesis option must complete a 9-credit thesis that is advised or co-advised by a faculty member affiliated with the neuroscience program. Students interested in research, and in particular those who are considering pursuing a PhD degree in neuroscience or a related area, are strongly encouraged to select the MS thesis option.

Neuroscience MS Non-Thesis Option
As part of the completion of the remaining credits, students in the neuroscience MS non-thesis option are strongly encouraged to pursue a 3-6 credit research or practice-oriented internship that is approved and overseen by a faculty member of the neuroscience program Internships are generally in an industry setting or a research lab and will require a written report.

Neuroscience Faculty

Faculty members from intersecting and complementary departments join forces to provide a comprehensive and cutting-edge neuroscience program. With expertise in everything from psychology to AI, neuroscience at WPI combines all our core strengths.
 

Neuroscience Core and Affiliated Faculty