There are four aspects of modern neuroscience that our Program seeks to address:
First, it is becoming increasingly clear that important breakthroughs in the field require ideas, approaches and techniques originating from many disciplines. The GPN curriculum provides both (i) a broad cross-disciplinary core education including molecular, cellular and systems, cognitive and behavioral, computational and clinical; and (ii) the flexibility to take neuroscience related coursework in any of the departments and programs of the University to build depth of specialization along different perspectives in a particular area of neuroscience.
Second, a critical aspect of GPN is the formation of a unified group of graduate students from across BU, including Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, and our Medical School. For the first year of training in GPN, these students take the “core” courses together, have the opportunity to be involved in common projects, and will participate as a community in all Boston University neuroscience activities.
Third, critical to the interdisciplinary focus of the training, is the participation of traditional science departments, which provide a large number of the elective courses and specialized training opportunities to complement the GPN curriculum.
Fourth, a strong emphasis is placed on building relationships among students and faculty across multiple disciplines to complement the traditional mentorship by the thesis advisor and to provide entry into the neuroscience research/student community of multiple BU schools with alternative scientific perspectives.
The Diverse Student Body
Because students who enter GPN come from diverse backgrounds including psychology, engineering, biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics, upon their mutual acceptance into the program they are given the opportunity to fill any gaps in their training that might interfere with their ability to do their best in the upcoming “core” curriculum of their first and second years. This could mean enrolling in a particular summer course(s), taking a summer hands-on laboratory methods section (Tools of the Trade) that is organized by GPN faculty to introduce basic techniques in molecular or behavioral research; or even, structured readings/discussions over the summer with a faculty member that are designed to stimulate a deeper understanding of a core discipline such as biology, biochemistry, or mathematics that might not have been fully emphasized in undergraduate coursework.