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Student Life

Boot Camp

When students arrive in August they participate in Neuroscience Boot Camp along with the Neuroscience students. The goals of Boot Camp are to introduce new students to basic ideas and techniques in neuroscience, to acquaint them with a number of faculty members and senior graduate students (who serve as Teaching Assistants), and for the entering students to bond. Boot Camp is an intense pre-graduate laboratory course that is patterned after summer courses at the Marine Biological Laboratory and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory with a series of intensive lab exercises. Topics covered include single-cell electrophysiology, computational modeling, molecular techniques, slice electrophysiology, both fly and rodent behavior and electrophysiology and imaging. In addition, faculty members highlight the major research interests being pursued in their laboratories and entering students give informal talks about the research they have done before entering the graduate program.

Seminar Series

The Division of Biological Sciences and The Salk Institute for Biological Studies provide frequent lectures, as do many other departments and institutions in and around UCSD. In addition, there are several weekly seminars available to students.

  • Neurosciences Seminar Series: features visiting researchers speaking on a wide variety of research topics [schedule]
  • INC Seminar Series: sponsored by the Institute for Neural Computation, focusing on a more computational theme [schedule]
  • Sloan-Swartz Chalk Talk Series: sponsored by the Sloan-Swartz center for Theoretical Neurobiology at the Salk Institute



Students gain practical experience in presenting research in a variety of venues. As two of many examples, graduate students with thesis advisors in Neurobiology gather for monthly dinners where graduate students and post-docs present their research in a casual, comfortable setting. Research rounds is a weekly seminar course for first and second year students in which students beyond their second year present their current research.

Special Events

Every months we have an informal guest lecturer and discussion, followed by lunch, that is exclusively for Computational Neuroscience students. For 2015, guests include Leonard Maler, Richard Normann, Surya Ganguli and Eve Marder, as well as local investigators. In addition, the Neurosciences graduate program sponsors a number of special social events, which includes a weekend retreat and a lobsterfest.