The Masters Program in Neuroscience and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University was the first graduate program in the country to focus on the educational and clinical implications of recent advances in understanding brain-behavior relationships.
Our program is aimed at bridging the gap between research into the neural underpinnings of cognition and behavior, and the problems encountered in schools and other applied settings. We provide rigorous training and relevant experiences that allow students to further their knowledge and make links between neuroscience, cognition, education, and clinical practice. Program graduates follow diverse career paths: some continue as dually-prepared specialists in their respective areas of professional expertise, while others develop careers in research settings or industry; still others go on to medical or research doctoral programs for further study.
The core competencies addressed in the program are as follows:
Foundational knowledge of neuroscience at several different levels of analysis: cellular and molecular neuroscience, systems neuroscience, and cognitive / psychological neuroscience.
Training in the scientific method, and an understanding of the scientific foundations that underpin educational applications of neuroscience research. You will become familiar with the critical evaluation of the primary literature in neuroscience and will develop the skills to understand and critically evaluate experimental research.
Professional development, and what it means to be a responsible steward of science and a member of the field. You will receive instruction and training in the ways in which scientific research is disseminated in different arenas of engagement, from journal articles to conference presentations and outreach activities.
Applications of neuroscientific research in different professional domains. As multidisciplinary practitioners, our students come from a variety of different backgrounds and move into a wide range of fields. The program offers individualized approaches to tailor your training to your goals, through electives and breadth courses as well as through the Thesis experience.
Entry Terms: Spring/Summer/Fall
The program of study for the M.S. in Neuroscience and Education offers a systematic sequence of courses within the neurosciences.
The Foundations sequence and the Core Courses provide a thorough introduction to the neural bases of behavior and relating neuroscience to educational and clinical fields
Courses in research and methods orient students to scientific reasoning and practical skills needed in in behavioral and brain-based research
Advanced electives and breadth courses explore implications of brain-behavior research for educational and clinical practice
Supervised independent study / practicum experiences enable students to engage in ongoing research projects in neuroscience-related fields
Students finish their studies by developing an integrative project as a formal thesis
1. College Requirements:
32 graduate degree credits must be taken at Columbia University for the MS degree, a minimum of 20 of which must be taken at Teachers College;
At least 6 breadth credits must come from within Teachers College, but outside your home program;
Provided these requirements are met, other courses may be completed outside of Teachers College at other locations in the university such as Columbia Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS), Columbia Medical School (College of Physicians and Surgeons), etc. There are some restrictions:
Such courses must be registered through TC, but require permission of the instructor;
Columbia College undergraduate courses at the entry level (1000, 2000 level) cannot be used to fulfill graduate degree requirements. Advanced undergrad courses (3000 level) can be petitioned for program course credit with the Registrar, but approval is not automatic. Graduate courses (4000 and above) can count for credit in the program.
If you are considering enrolling in advanced graduate courses in neuroscience, biology, etc. outside of TC, please be sure that you have the sufficient prerequisites and background training to handle the content. Many of these courses are very rigorous, requiring a solid preparation in the area of study. If in doubt, be sure to consult with the instructor and with your academic advisor.
2. Program Requirements: The Program requires a minimum of 20 credits in Neurosciences, as detailed below.
REQUIRED CORE COURSES: Foundations of Neuroscience I: Anatomy and Physiology* (BBSN 4001); Foundations II: Systems Neuroscience* (BBSN 4002); Neuroscience Research Methods* (BBSN 4005); Neuroscience Applications to Education (BBSN 5007). [*indicates that a grade of B or higher is required in these courses to maintain good standing in the program.]
Foundations I and II are offered in the fall term only, meeting twice a week; Foundations I is offered for the first half of the semester while Foundations II is offered for the second half. Students with very strong preparation in neuroscience (e.g., neuroscience undergraduate majors) may test out of the Foundations courses (please contact the instructor); however it is expected that most students will take this sequence regardless of their training.
Neuroscience Research Methods is offered in the fall semester only and is typically online. Students may petition to pass out of this course if they already took a suitable similar course and achieved a grade of B or higher (please provide a syllabus and grade to the instructor for a decision).
Neuroscience Applications to Education is offered in both spring and fall semesters.
COGNITIVE AND PSYCHOLOGICAL NEUROSCIENCE CLUSTER. At least 3 credits (one course) must be taken from the following group of courses: Cognitive Neuroscience (BBSN 5003), Affective Neuroscience (BBSN 5080), Social Neuroscience (BBSN 5199), Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience (BBSN 5070), Evaluation of Neuropsychological Instruments for Research (BBSN 5005).
ELECTIVE COURSES. At least 6 credits of in-program elective courses are required. Our current elective offerings are listed below; these may change from time to time. Also note that any of the courses in the Cognitive/Psychological Cluster above could count as in-program electives, too.
BREADTH COURSES. At least 6 credits of breadth courses outside of BBSN. For students who do not have substantial background in psychology, statistics or data handling, we recommend that the breadth courses are taken in those areas. In practice almost any course outside of the BBSN listings can satisfy this requirement (including Biobehavioral Sciences courses with prefixes BBS, BBSQ (Communication Sciences & Disorders), or BBSR (Movement Science)). Some courses are limited to students in clinical course progressions and may not be open to all applicants.
THE THESIS. The Thesis is required for graduation. It constitutes a summative assessment, and should be an APA-formatted document in one of the following forms:
a comprehensive thematic literature review of a topic in neuroscience research; OR
an empirical paper detailing an original experimental study in which the student was directly involved; OR
a detailed proposal for a neuroscientific research study.
Detailed requirements for the thesis are provided in the separate document Guide to the Thesis (provided during program advisement), and in the Thesis and Professional Development course (BBSN 5500, 2 credits) which must be taken by every student in their last regular (fall or spring) semester before graduation.
EXCLUDED COURSES: Undergraduate courses generally cannot count toward the graduate degree (as noted above). Courses that do not fulfill the program aims of connecting neuroscience to a content area may not count toward the degree. Also, courses that offer non-traditional or alternative approaches to neuroscience may not be allowed to count toward your degree if they are not considered by program faculty to be scientifically rigorous. Students should consult with their advisor if in doubt.