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Neuroscience

Faculty List

  • M. Arruda-Carvalho, B.Sc. (Rio de Janeiro), M.Sc. (Rio de Janeiro), Ph.D. (Toronto), Assistant Professor
  • R. Boonstra, B.Sc. (Calgary), Ph.D. (British Columbia), Professor, Emeritus
  • I.R. Brown, B.Sc. (Carleton), Ph.D. (Texas), Professor
  • J.S. Cant, B.A., M.Sc., Ph.D. (Western), Associate Professor
  • S. Erb, B.Sc. (Wilfrid Laurier), M.A., Ph.D. (Concordia), Associate Professor
  • V. Goghari, B.A. (British Columbia), M.A., Ph.D. (Minnesota), Associate Professor
  • J.W. Gurd, B.A. (Mount Allison), Ph.D. (McGill), Professor Emeritus
  • D.W. Haley, B.A. (Annapolis), M.A. (San Francisco), Ph.D. (Albuquerque), Associate Professor
  • M. Inzlicht, B.A. (McGill), M.Sc., Ph.D. (Brown), Professor
  • R. Ito, B.A. (Oxford), Ph.D. (Cambridge), Associate Professor
  • J.C. LeBoutillier, B.Sc., M.A., Ph.D. (Toronto), Associate Professor, Teaching Stream
  • A.C.H. Lee, B.A. (Oxford), Ph.D. (Cambridge), Associate Professor
  • A.C. Mason, B.Sc. (Guelph), M.Sc., Ph.D. (Toronto), Professor
  • P. McGowan, B.Sc. (Concordia), M.A., Ph.D. (Duke), Associate Professor
  • J.E. Nash, B.Sc. (Aberdeen), M.Sc., Ph.D. (Manchester), Associate Professor
  • A. Nestor, B.A. (Bucharest), M.Sc. (New Bulgarian), Ph.D. (Brown), Associate Professor
  • M. Niemeier, M.A. (Hamburg), Ph.D. (Tubingen), Associate Professor
  • T.L. Petit, B.Sc., M.A. (Louisiana), Ph.D. (Florida), Professor Emeritus
  • S.G. Reid, B.Sc., Ph.D. (Ottawa), Associate Professor
  • A.C. Ruocco, B.Sc. (York), M.Sc., Ph.D., C. Psych (Drexel), Associate Professor
  • M. Souza, B.A., M.A. (UC Davis), Ph.D. (Berkeley), Associate Professor, Teaching Stream
  • T.R. Thiele, B.A. (Hamilton College, Clinton, NY), Ph.D. (Oregon), Assistant Professor
  • K.K. Zakzanis, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., C.Psych. (York), Professor

 

Chair: S. Erb
Associate Chair, Undergraduate and Program Supervisor: M. Fournier

Program Manager: H. Domloge
Undergraduate Advisor: A. Lawson Email: psychology-undergraduate@utsc.utoronto.ca
Co-op Contact: askcoop@utoronto.ca

Neuroscience is a highly interdisciplinary scientific field of study that offers insight into the structure and function of the brain and the nervous system. Our nervous system is responsible for an enormous range of tasks, from regulating essential body functions such as breathing and digestion to producing our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. Neuroscientists are interested in understanding the normal development and activity of the nervous system, as well as what happens under atypical circumstances such as neurological injury (e.g., stroke, brain injury), neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease), neuropsychiatric disorders (e.g., addiction, schizophrenia, depression) and neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g., autism). Applied neuroscience research has the potential to produce evidence-based strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of nervous system disorders.

Neuroscience education can be a powerful tool for many future endeavours. Given the interdisciplinary nature of neuroscience, students interested in pursuing research-focused graduate programs may have a variety of viable options (e.g., Ph.D. in Neuroscience, Psychology, or Biology). A neuroscience background is also valuable for a range of applied professional programs (e.g., Master’s Degree in Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Public Health), including medical school. Undergraduate education in neuroscience can also lead to a variety of direct-entry careers (e.g., research technician, data analyst, pharmaceutical sales).

Subdisciplines in neuroscience examine nervous system functioning at different levels of organization and analysis.
Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience explores the nervous system at its most fundamental level, investigating the influence of genes, signalling molecules, and cellular morphology on the development and maintenance of brain function, predominantly through the use of in vitro techniques (e.g., immunohistochemistry, patch clamp).
Systems and Behavioral Neuroscience examines the neural mechanisms underlying behaviour and how brain circuits work together to analyze external stimuli, internal biological states and past experiences in order to coordinate appropriate responses, predominantly through the use of in vivo approaches in behaving subjects (e.g., optogenetics, chemogenetics).
Cognitive Neuroscience focuses on understanding the neural basis of human cognition (e.g., language, memory, attention, decision-making) predominantly through the use of patient neuropsychology and neuroimaging techniques (e.g., magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), electroencephalography (EEG)). Taken together, these complementary approaches work to foster a comprehensive understanding of nervous system dynamics.

The Specialist Program in Neuroscience is research-intensive and allows students to choose one of three streams to concentrate their studies: Cellular/Molecular, Systems/Behavioural, or Cognitive. The Specialist (Co-op) Program in Neuroscience also requires successful completion of eight months of work-term experience. Our Major program, which focuses on both Cellular/Molecular and Systems/Behavioural Neuroscience, requires less research-intensive coursework while focusing more on how to be a skilled consumer of neuroscience research, providing a valuable foundation for a variety of career paths.

A program in Neuroscience pairs well with many other courses and programs here at UTSC. A few of the most common double major pairings with Neuroscience include Psychology, Mental Health Studies, and Human Biology. While these are the most common pairings, there are many other options that are highly complementary to training in neuroscience (e.g., Computer Science, Population Health, and Molecular Biology, Immunology and Disease), and we encourage students to explore and identify the combinations that are most consistent with their interests.

Planning your program in Neuroscience
Creating an academic plan - a road map of the courses you wish to take on the timeline you wish to take them - is crucial for the efficient and successful completion of your program. We strongly encourage our students to either develop an academic plan independently and then to consult the Department of Psychology Advisors for feedback, or to work with the Advisors to develop an academic plan. These advisors can provide valuable guidance to help you structure your program to improve your competitiveness for further studies after your undergraduate degree. For more information, please see the Department of Psychology website.

First-year course selection
Students interested in pursuing a program in Neuroscience must take BIOA01H3, BIOA02H3, CHMA10H3, CHMA11H3, PSYA01H3, and PSYA02H3 (or their equivalents) to be considered for admission. Students interested in pursuing a Specialist must also take MATA29H3 or MATA30H3 to be considered for admission. 

Second-year course selection
Upon admission to any of the Neuroscience programs, students should prioritize taking BIOB10H3, NROB60H3, NROB61H3, PSYB55H3, PSYB07H3, and PSYB70H3. These courses collectively serve as prerequisites to a number of more advanced courses at the NRO C-level (e.g., NROC61H3). 
BIOB11H3 is a program requirement for students in the Major program, and the Systems/Behavioural and Cellular/Molecular streams of the Specialist program. Students in the Major or in pursuit of the Systems/Behavioural or Cellular/Molecular streams should plan to take BIOB11H3 in the second year. 
Students in the Specialist/Specialist (Co-op) programs have additional course requirements in the second year. It is essential that you carefully review these requirements and plan your course selection appropriately to ensure that you can declare your stream of choice (Specialist), or declare your stream of choice and be eligible for your first work term (Specialist Co-op) in a timely manner. 

Course equivalents at other campuses
Students are strongly encouraged to complete all Neuroscience program requirements at UTSC. In only a very few instances, courses from the other campuses may be used to satisfy program requirements. Please direct any questions about taking program requirements at the other UofT campuses to the Course Coordinator in the Department of Psychology prior to enrolment. 

Research Experience
The Department offers a wide array of opportunities for students to become actively involved in scholarly research, including some opportunities that also result in course credit (e.g., NROC90H3, NROC93H3, and NROD98Y3). Supervised study and thesis courses are highly competitive and are essential for students interested in pursuing research-focused graduate studies. Interested students should review the prerequisites for these courses and plan their course of study accordingly. Our Specialist programs prepare students particularly well for pursuing a thesis NROD98Y3, as the requirements of the program provide students with the necessary background to succeed in completing a thesis project. Interested Majors may also discuss the option of writing a thesis with the Department of Psychology Advisors, provided that they meet other prerequisites for that course. Students are encouraged to visit the Department of Psychology website and/or faculty member websites to search for opportunities. Students may also seek supervision off campus (e.g., at Baycrest, Sunnybrook, CAMH), after confirming the appropriateness of the proposed supervisor with a Psychology Advisor and after securing the agreement of a UTSC faculty member to serve as secondary supervisor.

Co-curricular and extra-curricular experiences
While your coursework is an integral piece of your education, it can and should be supplemented by relevant co-curricular and extra-curricular experiences, more information is available on the Career & Co-Curricular Learning Network website. There are valuable professional development resources in our departments and on our campus (e.g., Academic Advising and Career Centre), as well as opportunities to volunteer or work on- or off-campus to broaden your skillset (e.g., clinical work exposure, leadership skills). For more information on some of these opportunities, please see the Department of Psychology website.
 

Experiential Learning and Outreach
For a community-based experiential learning opportunity in your academic field of interest, consider the course CTLB03H3, which can be found in the Teaching and Learning section of the Calendar.