Joint Graduate Degree Information

Understanding how the brain works and how it gives rise to mental function is one of the most exciting challenges in science. This effort is inherently interdisciplinary, drawing upon developments in cellular and molecular biology, genetic engineering, and psychology, and leveraging methods from chemistry, engineering, mathematics, and physics to better measure and understand neural function.

To help prepare the next generation of neuroscientists for these challenges, Princeton offers an interdisciplinary program leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in molecular biology and neuroscience, chemistry and neuroscience, engineering and neuroscience, applied and computational mathematics and neuroscience, philosophy and neuroscience, physics and neuroscience, or psychology and neuroscience. Joint degrees with other relevant departments are also possible. The program encourages the serious study of molecular, cellular, developmental and systems neuroscience as it interfaces with cognitive and behavioral research.

Current examples at Princeton include: molecular, genetic and pharmacologic analysis of learning and memory; the role of neural stem cells in the adult brain; viral infections of the nervous system; optical and electrical recordings of neuronal function; brain imaging studies of cognitive functions such as attention and memory in humans; and mathematical and computational analysis of neural network function. A more extensive listing of research opportunities in neuroscience is available online.

Admission

Candidates should apply to one of the cooperating home departments, which include chemistry, ecology and evolutionary biology, molecular biology, philosophy, physics, psychology; departments in the School of Engineering; and the Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics. The candidate should fulfill the admission requirements of the chosen department.

Plan of Study

Upon entering the program, students select an advisor who is normally a member of the student’s home department and also an affiliate of the Princeton Neuroscience Institute. Students must satisfy the normal pre-general examination requirements and pass the general examination of their respective home departments. In addition to meeting their home department’s Ph.D. requirements, students in the Joint Graduate Degree Program in Neuroscience must meet all of the following requirements: at least one member of the student’s thesis committee must be a core faculty member of the Princeton Neuroscience Institute; the student’s Ph.D. thesis research should have a significant neuroscience component; and the student must take one of the following four courses: NEU 501a, NEU 501b, NEU 502a, or NEU 502b. Additionally, all students in the joint program are expected to participate in the neuroscience seminar (NEU 511), which meets several times per semester.
 
Interested students should register as members of the Joint Graduate Degree Program in Neuroscience after their general exam. This is done by obtaining approval from (a) their advisor; (b) the director of graduate studies (DGS) of their home department; (c) the DGS of the Princeton Neuroscience Institute; and then sending these approvals to the Student Services Manager for the Princeton Neuroscience Institute.

Financial Assistance

Fellowship awards and assistantship appointments are made by the University after recommendation by the cooperating departments and with the concurrence of the committee.
Chemistry
  • 514 Molecular and Biomolecular Imaging
Computer Science
  • 551 Introduction to Genomics and Computation Molecular Biology
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • 502 Fundamental Concepts in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior 1
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
  • 511/512 Experimental Methods I and II
  • 541/APC541 - Applied Dynamical Systems
  • 546 Optimal Control and Estimation
Molecular Biology
  • 504 Cellular Biochemistry
  • 506 Molecular Biology of Eukaryotes
  • 507 Developmental Biology
  • 508 Advanced Topics in Neurobiology
  • 510 Introduction to Biological Dynamics
  • 514 EEB Biolological Dynamics
  • 515 Methods and Logic in Quantitative Biology
  • 537 Computational Neuroscience
  • 549 Laboratory in Neuroscience
Physics
  • 557 Electronic Methods in Experimental Physics
  • 561/562 Biophysics
Psychology
  • 500, 501,502 Proseminar in Basic Problems in Psychology (Cognitive, Social and Neuroscience)
  • 503 Quantitative Analysis in Psychological Research
  • 516 Neural Basis of Goal-Directed Behavior
Applied and Computational Mathematics
  • 350 Methods in Partial Differential Equations
Chemical Engineering
  • 448 Introduction to Nonlinear Dynamics
Computer Science
  • 402 Artificial Intelligence
  • 487 Theory of Computation
  • 494 Special Topics in Artificial Intelligence
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • 311 Animal Behavior
  • 314 Comparative Physiology
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Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
  • 345 Robotics and Intelligent Systems
Mathematics
  • 201 Multivariable Calculus
  • 202 Linear Algebra with Applications
  • 203 Advanced Multivariable Calculus
  • 204 Advanced Linear Algebra with Applications
  • 305 Mathematical Programming
Molecular Biology
  • 342 Genetics
  • 345 Biochemistry
  • 348 Cell and Developmental Biology
  • 408 Cellular and Systems Neuroscience
  • 431 Advanced Topics in Developmental Genetics and Neurobiology
  • 437 Computational Neuroscience
Operations Research and Financial Engineering
  • 201 Computer Methods for Problem Solving
  • 245 Fundamentals of Engineering Statistics
  • 307 Optimization
  • 309 Probability and Stochastic Systems
  • 411 Operations and Information Engineering
Philosophy
  • 315 Philosophy of Mind
  • 322 Philosophy of the Cognitive Sciences
Psychology
  • 306 Memory and Cognition
  • 330 Introduction to Connectionist Models: Bridging Between Brain and Mind
  • 407 Developmental Neuroscience
  • 437 Computational Neuroscience