The Cognitive, Computational and Systems Neuroscience Pathway (CCSN) has existed in various forms for >15 years, and has a demonstrated history of remarkable success. At the same time, the scope of the pathway has evolved somewhat over time. Several components of the pathway were recently revamped or re-designed to be maximally responsive to the current needs of students.
The CCSN is a specialized curriculum available to students pursuing a PhD in Neuroscience, Psychological and Brain Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, or other brain-related discipline at Washington University (including students in the Medical Scientist Training Program). The CCSN Pathway is not a separate degree-granting program, and CCSN students must fulfill all of the degree requirements of their home programs.
The CCSN Pathway provides an integrated curriculum that is compatible with course-scheduling constraints in the home degree-granting programs. The curriculum is challenging and is designed to help students tackle problems using an interdisciplinary approach.
The CCSN Pathway develops in two phases. In Phase 1 (years 1-2), students take 5 common courses (at least one of which fulfills a requirement in the home PhD program). Through these courses, students extend their basic training beyond their original field, participate in inter-disciplinary discussions, and build a trans-disciplinary research project.
In Phase 2 (years 3-4), CCSN students conduct research in neuroscience and enhance their scientific skills through a series of career development activities, including leading class discussions, mentoring junior CCSN students, organizing and participating in immersive encounters with external speakers, presenting at a CCSN seminar series, and taking part in informal dinners with CCSN faculty. Through these activities, CCSN students acquire leadership skills, build relationships within the community, and network with experts in the field.
Throughout the Pathway, CCSN students participate to community outreach activities promoted by the St. Louis Neuroscience Outreach Program.