Neuroscience, scientific study of the nervous system, is an exciting and growing field involving researchers from the physical, chemical, biological, computational, anthropological and social sciences. Some of the most interesting and fruitful research areas of the future are likely to require scientists with an understanding of, and expertise in, a variety of disciplines. Recognizing this, Penn State's Neuroscience graduate program specifically encourages students to:
- Take multidisciplinary approaches to tackling research problems
- Gain a good basic understanding of certain core fields, through coursework and colloquia; exactly which courses are required depends on the campus you are based at (more about the degree requirements and curriculum)
Program faculty come from several colleges and departments on two Penn State campuses. Their collective research interests are extremely varied, and include:
- Molecular neurobiology and developmental neuroscience: investigating how and why the nervous system develops and functions as it does, at genetic, molecular and cellular levels
- Cognitive neuroscience and behavioral neurobiology: exploring how the nervous system processes information, controls autonomic functions, regulates states of consciousness, or determines behavior
- Neuroendocrinology and neurotoxicology: how hormones and other chemicals affect nerve cells and their interactions
- Neural engineering: using computer engineering, robotics and other technical disciplines to investigate how the nervous system works, and how it can be manipulated
- Systems neuroscience: how neural circuits function, coordinate and are controlled
- Clinical neuroscience: seeking means of diagnosing, treating and preventing diseases and dysfunctions of the brain and nerves, such as malignant brain tumors, congenital and acquired brain diseases and neurodegenerative diseases.
Research programs are well-supported by grants from private and public funds, particularly from the National Institutes of Health. Students are usually admitted with the intent of obtaining a PhD degree in Neuroscience but the MS degree may be sought as part of the doctoral program. All students admitteed to the program receive financial aid (stipends and paid tuition costs), allowing full time for graduate studies. More information about admission requirements.