First day of classes:
Pitt: August 27, 2021
CMU: August 30, 2021

Core courses:

Advanced Cellular Neuroscience
Cellular & Molecular Neurobiology
Cognitive Neuroscience
Computational Models of Neural Systems
Quantitative Cellular Neuroscience

Note: students in the CNBC graduate training program automatically have instructor permission to attend any of these core courses, but cross-registration procedures may apply.

Students are expected to complete all of the core courses by the end of their third year. Students are encouraged to take advantage of elective courses when they are offered.

Cognitive Neuroscience

CMU Psychology & Pitt Neuroscience
85-765/NROSCI 2005 Cognitive Neuroscience: 12 units

  • Instructor: Carl Olson
  • Location: TBA
  • Days/Times: T/R 10:10-11:30am

This course will cover fundamental findings and approaches in cognitive neuroscience, with the goal of providing an overview of the field at an advanced level. Topics will include high-level vision, spatial cognition, working memory, long-term memory, learning, language, executive control, and emotion. Each topic will be approached from a variety of methodological directions, i.e. computational modeling, cognitive assessment in brain-damaged humans, non-invasive brain monitoring in humans and single-neuron recording in animals. Lecture format will be used for most sessions, with a few sessions devoted to discussion.

Special permission is required: Graduate Students, instructors permission from Carl Olson at and once you have instructor’s permission, please see Erin Donahoe, in BH 342E or to register you.

Computational Neuroscience

CMU Computer Science
15-883 Computational Models of Neural Systems : 12 units

  • Instructor: David Touretzky
  • Location: GHC 4211
  • Days/Times: M/W 4:40-6:00PM

This course is an in-depth study of information processing in real neural systems from a computer science perspective. We will examine several brain areas, such as the hippocampus and cerebellum, where processing is sufficiently well understood that it can be discussed in terms of specific representations and algorithms. We will focus primarily on computer models of these systems, after establishing the necessary anatomical, physiological, and psychophysical context. There will be some neuroscience tutorial lectures for those with no prior background in this area.

CMU Biological Sciences
03-762 Advanced Cellular Neuroscience: 12 Units

  • Instructor: Aryn Gittis
  • Days/Times: T/R 8:35AM – 9:55AM (HH B131), Section A: R 3:05PM – 4:25PM (GHC 5222)

This course is an introductory graduate course in cellular neuroscience. As such it will assume little or no background but will rapidly progress to discussions of papers from the primarily literature. The structure of the course will be about half lectures and half discussions of new and classic papers from the primary literature. These discussions will be substantially led by students in the course. Topics covered will include ion channels and excitability, synaptic transmission and plasticity, molecular understanding of brain disease and cell biology of neurons. Assessment will be based on class participation, including performance on in-class presentations and a writing assignment.

Pitt Bioengineering
BIOENG 2585 Quantitative Cellular Neuroscience: CR HRS: 3.0

  • Instructor: Bistra Iordanova
  • Location: G26 Benedum Hall
  • Days/Times: T/R 9:00AM-10:15AM

This course is designed to be a comprehensive introduction to cellular neuroscience for engineers. Modern cellular neuroscience is an interdisciplinary field that seeks to understand the function of single cells and populations in the context of the thinking brain. This course provides a survey of cellular brain science ranging from molecules to simple neural circuits. In addition to principles and theory this class will also cover basic quantitative concepts and provide opportunity to analyze real-life data from molecular and cellular neural engineering. In the context of each cellular brain function we will also address cellular dysfunction with translational engineering applications to neurological brain disease. Required software is MATLAB. Enrolled students should have a working knowledge of matrix algebra and programing in MATLAB environment.

Pitt Neuroscience
NROSCI/MSNBIO 2100 Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology 1: CR HRS: 5.0
NROSCI/MSNBIO 2101 Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology 2: CR HRS: 3.0

  • Instructor: Laura Lillien
  • Location: TBA
  • Days/Time: M/T/R 9:00AM – 10:50AM, F 8:30-11:00am
  • Note: CNBC students must take both 2100 and 2101; the two parts are taught sequentially.

2100- This course is the first component of the introductory graduate sequence designed to provide an overview of cellular and molecular aspects of neuroscience. This course covers protein chemistry, regulation of gene expression, nerve cell biology, signal transduction, development, and neurogenesis in a lecture format.

2101- This course is the second component of the introductory graduate sequence designed to provide an overview of cellular and molecular aspects of neuroscience. This course covers the electrical properties of neurons, signal propagation in nerve cells, and synaptic transmission.

Prerequisites: A background in basic biology and permission of the instructor are required.

Note for CMU students: Section 2 ofthe PCHE Cross Registration Request Form provides a space for students to enroll in a primary choice (course), and a secondary choice in case the primary is not available. Please register for the NROSCI sections as your primary chioce and the MSNBIO sections as your secondary choice, so that when NROSCI fills up, the Registrar’s Office will automatically put you in the MSNBIO section without having to complete any additional paperwork.

Note for non-Neuroscience students:The 2100/2101 sequence assumes a substantial background in biology. Students who lack this background and cannot devote adequate time to background reading might prefer to take Advanced Cellular Neuroscience instead.