Academic Program Advisor: A. Lawson psychundergrad.utsc@utoronto.ca
Co-op Program Coordinator: C. Dixon coopsuccess.utsc@utoronto.ca

The Specialist Program in Neuroscience is a research-intensive program designed to provide students with strong breadth in the major domains of neuroscience, as well as an opportunity to intensively focus on one of three streams.
This is a Work Integrated Learning (WIL) program that combines academic studies with paid work terms in the public, private, and/or non-profit sectors. The program provides students with the opportunity to develop the academic and professional skills required to pursue employment in these areas, or to continue on to graduate training in an academic field related to Neuroscience upon graduation.

In addition to their academic course requirements, students must successfully complete the additive Arts & Science Co-op Work Term Preparation courses and two 4-month Co-op work terms (or one 8-month work term).

Students will choose one of the following three streams:

A. Systems/Behavioural: this stream 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).

B. Cellular/Molecular: this stream 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).

C. Cognitive: this stream 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)).

In addition to their academic course requirements, students must successfully complete the additive Arts & Science Co-op Work Term Preparation courses and a minimum of two Co-op work terms.

Enrolment Requirements

Enrolment in the Program is limited, and takes place in two stages.

Stage 1:
Students may apply to Stage 1 after successfully completing a minimum of 4.0 credits, including the Scientific Foundations courses: BIOA01H3, BIOA02H3, CHMA10H3, CHMA11H3, [MATA29H3 or MATA30H3], PSYA01H3, and PSYA02H3. Students must have a CGPA of 2.75 or higher to be admitted to the program. Application for admission will be made to the Office of the Registrar through ACORN, in March/April and June/July. For more information on applying to limited enrolment programs, please visit the Office of the Registrar website.

Stage 2:
To complete the program, students must choose one of the three available streams. Students who have successfully met the enrolment requirements of their chosen stream will be admitted to the Specialist Neuroscience Stage 2 category. Applications for admission to a Stage 2 stream will be made to the Office of the Registrar through ACORN in March/April and June/July.

Before applying to their chosen stream, students must:

1. Complete a minimum of 10.0 credits including all Stage 1 Scientific Foundations course requirements, as well as the Neuroscience Foundations courses which include BIOB10H3, NROB60H3, NROB61H3, [PSYB07H3 or STAB22H3], PSYB55H3, PSYB70H3;

2. Complete 1.0 credit in Stream Foundations courses from the following list*:
BIOB11H3 Molecular Aspects of Cellular and Genetic Processes
CSCA20H3 Introduction to Programming
CHMB41H3 Organic Chemistry I
CHMB42H3 Organic Chemistry II
MATA23H3 Linear Algebra
[PHYA10H3 Physics I for the Physical Sciences or PHYA11H3 Physics I for the Life Sciences]
PSYB51H3 Introduction to Perception
PSYC08H3 Advanced Data Analysis in Psychology
PSYC09H3 Applied Multiple Regression in Psychology

(i) students are advised to exercise caution when selecting these courses since some can be applied to all three streams (BIOB11H3, CHMB41H3, PSYB51H3, PSYC08H3), but others can be applied to only one or two streams;
(ii) the Cognitive stream does not include a component called "Stream-specific electives"; students interested in this stream should select from the following: MATA23H3, BIOB11H3, CHMB41H3, PSYB51H3, [PSYC08H3 or PSYC09H3].

3. Have achieved a CGPA of 2.5 or higher.

Current Co-op Students:
Students admitted to a Co-op Degree POSt in their first year of study must request a Co-op Subject POSt on ACORN upon completion of 4.0 credits and must meet the minimum qualifications for entry as noted above.

Prospective Co-op Students:
Prospective Co-op students (i.e., those not yet admitted to a Co-op Degree POSt) must submit a program request on ACORN, and meet the minimum qualifications noted above. Deadlines follow the Limited Enrolment Program Application Deadlines set by the Office of the Registrar each year. Failure to submit the program request on ACORN will result in that student's application not being considered.

Completion Requirements
The program requires students to complete all of the course requirements of the Specialist Program in Neuroscience, including the requirements of one of the three streams. In addition:

  • Co-op students in the Systems/Behavioural and Cellular/Molecular streams must also complete BIOB12H3;
  • Co-op students in the Cellular/Molecular stream cannot use BIOB12H3 to satisfy the 0.5 credit in Laboratory Courses (see component 7 of the program requirements); instead, students must complete one of NROC60H3, NROC90H3, or NROC93H3.

Co-op Work Term Requirements
Students must satisfactorily complete a total of 8 months in Co-op work terms, which may occur as a single 8-month placement, or two 4-month placements.

To be eligible for their first work term, students must:
- Be enrolled in the Specialist Co-op Program in Neuroscience;
- Have successfully completed at least 10.0 credits, including the following: BIOB10H3, NROB60H3, NROB61H3, [PSYB07H3 or STAB22H3], PSYB55H3, PSYB70H3, and the following additional courses:

- Have achieved a CGPA of 2.5 or higher.

Students are cautioned that thoughtful course planning is a must to ensure they remain on track to go out on work-term in a timely fashion; students are strongly encouraged to use the course planning resources available through the Arts & Science Co-op Office.

In addition to their academic program requirements, Co-op students complete up to four Co-op specific courses. These courses are designed to prepare students for their job search and work term experience, and to maximize the benefits of their Co-op work terms. They cover a variety of topics intended to assist students in developing the skills and tools required to secure work terms that are appropriate to their program of study, and to perform professionally in the workplace. These courses must be completed in sequence, and are taken in addition to a full course load. They are recorded on transcripts as credit/no credit (CR/NCR) and are considered to be additive credit to the 20.0 required degree credits. No additional course fee is assessed as registration is included in the Co-op Program fee.

Co-op Preparation Course Requirements:

  • Co-op Preparation courses: COPB50H3 and COPB51H3 (completed in first year)
  • Work Term Search courses: COPB52H3 (semester prior to first work term), COPC98H3 (semester prior to second work term), and COPC99H3 (semester prior to third work term)
  • Co-op Work Term courses: COPC14H3 or COPC40H3 (each semester a student is on work term)

Students must be available for work terms in each of the Fall, Winter and Summer semesters and must complete at least one of their required work terms in either a Fall or Winter semester. This, in turn, requires that students take courses during at least one Summer semester.

For information on fees, status in Co-op programs, and certification of completion of Co-op programs, see the 6B.5 Co-operative Programs section or the Arts and Science Co-op section in the UTSC Calendar.