Graduate Degree

Neuroscience - Master of Science

Neuroscience - Master of Science
Plan Code:
Program Level:
Award Type:
Master of Science
College of Natural Science
Neuroscience Program

Excerpt from the official Academic Programs Catalog:

Listed below are the approved requirements for the program from the official Academic Programs Catalog.
Students must consult their advisors to learn which specific requirements apply to their degree programs.

College of Natural Science

Interdepartmental Degree Programs

Graduate Study
Neuroscience - Master of Science

Several colleges and departments within Michigan State University cooperate in offering the interdepartmental Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degree program with a major in neuroscience, which is administered by the College of Natural Science.  Students may elect to complete the requirements for a second major, in addition to the requirements for the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degree in neuroscience.

Students who are enrolled in the master’s or doctoral degree program with a major in Neuroscience may also elect an Interdepartmental Specialization in Cognitive Science. For additional information, refer to the statement on Interdepartmental Graduate Specializations in Cognitive Science in the College of Social Science section of this catalog. For additional information, contact the College of Natural Science.

The major objective of the M.S. program is to provide sufficient theoretical and practical training in neuroscience to allow students to obtain professional level positions in academic, industrial, or governmental institutions.


Admission to graduate study in neuroscience is primarily to the doctoral program. Students are generally accepted for graduate study in neuroscience only if judged by a program committee to be qualified to complete the doctoral degree. However, under certain circumstances, the program may consider applications for admission to the Master of Science in Neuroscience from students who wish to earn a master’s degree in preparation for the doctoral degree. For consultation, contact the program director.

To be considered for admission to the Master of Science degree in Neuroscience an applicant should:

  1. have taken a broad spectrum of basic science courses.
  2. have a grade-point average of at least 3.0 in science and mathematics courses.

To be eligible for regular admission to the Master of Science degree in Neuroscience, an applicant must:

  1. have completed an undergraduate degree in a biological or physical science or a related discipline.
  2. have earned an overall grade-point average of 3.0.

Laboratory research experience is recommended, but not required. Applicants with deficiencies in academic preparation may be admitted provisionally, with the requirement that they complete collateral science courses during the first year of study; these collateral courses will not count toward the degree.

Admission decisions are made by the Neuroscience Program Graduate Affairs Committee.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and the College of Natural Science, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Requirements for the Master of Science Degree in Neuroscience

The program is available under either Plan A (with thesis) or Plan B (without thesis). A total of 30 credits is required for the degree under either Plan A or Plan B. The student’s program of study must be approved by the student’s guidance committee. The student must meet the requirements specified below:

Requirements for Plan A and Plan B
1. Complete all of the following courses (17 credits):
NEU 801 Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Neuroscience I 3
NEU 802 Systems and Behavioral Neuroscience I 3
NEU 803 Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Neuroscience II 3
NEU 805 Systems and Behavioral Neuroscience II 3
NEU 807 Strategies in Neuroscience Research 2
NEU 815 Quantitative Skills in Neuroscience Research 3
2. The following course (3 credits):
PHM 830 Experimental Design and Data Analysis 3
3. Complete a minimum of 6 credits in Neuroscience 800 or 899. Plan A students must complete 4 credits of Neuroscience 899.
4. Complete an additional 4 credits of elective courses related to the student’s research and approved by the student’s guidance committee. 
5. Complete a one semester laboratory rotation with each of two neuroscience faculty in the first year of study. Students will select the two laboratories in which they will rotate at the beginning of fall Semester based on discussions and mutual agreement with neuroscience faculty members.
6. All students must complete Responsible Conduct of Research Training. All students are required to complete the laboratory safety and animal use training tutorials and put together an Individual Development Plan based on their career goals.

Additional Requirements for Plan A

Successful completion and defense of a thesis based on original research on an important problem in neuroscience in a seminar-based public forum.

Additional Requirements for Plan B

Successful completion and presentation of a research-based paper.