Core Courses

NS200: Introduction to Neuroscience. Essential Concepts & Methods
Description: This course will include lectures on basic methods used for neuroscience research, laboratories that demonstrate these methods and conferences that discuss their applicability and caveats. The course is designed to prepare our entering students for laboratory rotations and the core course. The material presented should also help them understand seminars and journal clubs.
Offered: Every fall
Course Director: Vikaas Sohal

NS201A: Basic Concepts in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
Description: An interdisciplinary introduction to fundamental aspects of nervous system function. The course emphasizes the ionic and molecular basis of excitability, synaptic transmission, and signal transduction.
Offered: Every Fall
Course Directors: Kevin Bender and Massimo Scanziani
Note: Non-NS students must get permission from the Neuroscience program to take the course. Contact Lucita Nacionales.

NS201B: Basic Concepts for Cellular and Developmental Neuroscience
 Introduction to fundamental aspects of nervous system development, including patterning, neuronal specification and function, glial cells of the nervous system, and application-based molecular/cellular neuroscience methods.
Offered: Every Winter
Course co-director: Jonah Chan
Note: Non-NS students must get permission from the Neuroscience program to take the course. Contact Lucita Nacionales.

NS201C: Introduction to Systems and Behavioral Neuroscience
Description: An introduction to the neural pathways and processing that contribute to perception and behavior. Topics include sensory systems, motor function, cortical processing, motivated behavior and reinforcement learning, animal behavior, and human behavior in health and disease. Lectures provide fundamental information derived from classical studies, as well current work detailing understanding and implementation of experimental designs. Finally, students will learn to interpret and critique data in the context of problem sets and discussion of papers.
Offered: Every Spring
Course Director: Devanand Manoli

Advanced Courses

NS219: Scientific Writing
Description: Students will learn the basic of scientific writing. The course consists of lectures in conjunction with individual mentoring in NSF grant proposals
Offered: Every Fall
Note: This course is open for 2nd-year Neuroscience students only. Non-NS students must get permission from the Neuroscience program to take the course. Contact Lucita Nacionales.
Course Director: Vikaas Sohal

NS219: Experimental Design
Description: The goal of this course is to cover basic aspects of experimental design in Neuroscience, including stating a hypothesis clearly, identifying groups and outcome measures, planning controls, reducing the contribution of experimental biases, performing power calculations to estimate sample size, and choosing statistical tests. Our hope is that this course will help prepare students for planning their own studies, evaluating the literature, and writing grant proposals. Important principles in experimental design will be illustrated through examples from cellular/molecular, systems, and cognitive Neuroscience, as well as examples from Neuroscience disciplines that employ large datasets and/or employ hypothesis-free methodologies.

The format of the course meetings will be approximately 50% didactic presentation and 50% discussion group. A short assignment, such as reading a journal article and/or bringing in an example from the student’s own research experience, will be required for most sessions. Sessions 4-8 will devote considerable time to reviewing experimental designs from the students’ individual laboratory work, and trying to optimize the design, planning, execution, and analysis of the data. A "final project" will be a short write-up of the design of one of the student's own planned studies, including addressing the above factors in experimental design. 
Offered: Every Fall
Course Director: Alexandra Nelson
Course co-director: Vijay Namboodiri

NS221: Current Topics in Neuroscience
Description: Students will read and discuss papers related to the current week’s formal Neuroscience Seminar series, attend the seminar, and meet with the speaker.
Offered: Every Year (Year-long course: fall, winter, and spring)
Note: This course is for 3rd-year Neuroscience students only. Non-NS students must get permission from the Neuroscience program to take the course. Contact Lucita Nacionales.
Course Director: Zachary Knight

NS248: Analysis of Neural and Behavioral Data
Description: Lectures, critical discussions, and problem-solving using Matlab. Topics will include probability, descriptive statistics, binomial and poisson processes, analysis of spike trains, and analysis of dynamic neural and behavioral data. Previous Matlab experience strongly suggested.
Offered: Every two years (next offered in winter 2025)
Course Director: Loren Frank


NS219: Topics in Basic or Translational Neuroscience (Mini Courses)
Info for each course will be listed once available.
Offered: Every Year (Fall, winter, and spring)

Grad 214: Responsible Conduct of Research and Rigor & Reproducibility
Description: Link
Coordinator: D'Anne Duncan
Offered to first year students only

Approved Alternate Courses

Advanced courses offered by other graduate programs at UCSF may count toward the 4 total advanced courses students complete. Students who wish to take a course outside of the Neuroscience program should email the program’s Curriculum Committee chair and the program administrator for approval. Below is a short list of previously approved alternate advanced courses.

  • Genetics 200A
  • Biochem 200A: Macromolecules
  • Biochem 201: Bioregulation
  • Cell Biology 245: Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Chem 243: Chemical Biology
  • Micro 204: Molecular & Cellular Immunology
  • BMS 225A: Investigating Human Biology and Disease, Part I
  • BMS 225B: Investigating Human Biology and Disease, Part II
  • BMS 255: Basic Genetics & Genomics

Additional Courses

Approval required from the Curriculum Committee for these courses to fulfill an advanced course requirement.

UCSF Courses
PIBS and non-PIBS courses are offered through the graduate school. Neuroscience students may register for these courses.

UC Courses: Intercampus Exchange
The University of California Intercampus Exchange program allows graduate students to take courses on another campus of the University while remaining registered on the home campus.

San Francisco Consortium 
UCSF students may take advantage of a cross-registration system among four member colleges and universities that make up the San Francisco Consortium: the University of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, UC San Francisco, and Hastings College of the Law.

Stanford Exchange
A regularly enrolled, full time, matriculated student of a member institution may register for courses offered by Stanford University. No cost to the student or institutions is involved.