Degree Plans


The requirements for the Ph.D. are:

  • A minimum residence at UCSB of six quarters;
  • Completion of the four course, Dynamical Neuroscience core curriculum (see below);
  • Completion of 16 units of graduate level elective courses (see below) in neuroscience and the student's area of specialization that follow an integrated course of study recommended by the dissertation chair and committee;
  • Enrollment in the Dynamical Neuroscience Graduate Seminar every quarter that the student is in residence at UCSB and presentation of one seminar per year;
  • Quarterly enrollment, with the number of units needed to maintain full-time status, in 596-level Directed Reading and Research before the student is advanced to candidacy and 599-level Dissertation Research and Preparation after the student is advanced to candidacy;
  • Satisfactory performance on written and oral qualifying exams covering a broad synthesis of neuroscience, including the student’s area of specialization;
  • Completion of a Ph.D. dissertation that demonstrates the candidate’s ability to contribute significantly and independently to the field of dynamical neuroscience and the student’s area of specialization;
  • Satisfactory performance on oral dissertation examination, which will be in the form of a required public defense.

Master of Arts:

While we do not provide admission to the M.A. or M.A./Ph.D. — admission is to the Ph.D. only — Master’s degrees may be awarded:

  1. in the case of students who leave the Ph.D. program for any reason, or
  2. for continuing students who have advanced to candidacy and request the M.A. degree.

Required and Recommended Courses

Required courses include the four courses in the core curriculum and the graduate seminar series in Dynamical Neuroscience. Recommended courses include the elective courses that are listed below or other graduate-level courses that are recommended by a student’s major advisor.

Core Courses (16 units):

The required Dynamical Neuroscience core series consists of four 200-level, 4-unit courses, one each in engineering and mathematics, and two in psychological and brain sciences, plus the 1- unit Dynamical Neuroscience graduate seminar. The core courses are:

  1. ECE 230A/ME 243A. Linear Systems I
  2. MATH 214A. Ordinary Differential Equations
  3. PSY 265. Computational Neuroscience
  4. PSY 269. Neuroanatomy or MCDB 251. Neurobiology I
  5. DYNS 592. Graduate Seminar Dynamical Neuroscience (1 unit per quarter)

Four Elective Courses (16 units):

Four additional courses will be required to be taken during years two and three of the program. These courses will be individually selected from the following list by the student under advice and consent by his/her mentor and approved by the steering committee.

  • CMPSC 225/ECE 205A – Information Theory
  • CMPSC 234 – Randomized Algorithms
  • CMPSC 265 – Advanced Topics in Machine Intelligence
  • CMPSC 281B/ECE 281B – Advanced Topics in Computer Vision
  • ECE 230B/ME 243B – Linear Systems II
  • ECE 235 – Stochastic Processes in Engineering
  • ECE 236 – Nonlinear Control Systems
  • MATH 214B – Chaotic Dynamics and Bifurcation Theory
  • ME 215A – Applied Dynamical Systems I
  • ME 215B – Applied Dynamical Systems II
  • PHYS 219 – Statistical Mechanics
  • PHYS 223C – Concepts and Phenomena of Condensed Matter Physics
  • PSTAT 207A-B-C – Statistical Theory
  • PSTAT 213A-B-C – Introduction to Probability Theory and Stochastic Processes
  • PSY 221E – Statistical Analysis of fMRI Data
  • PSY 228 – Perception
  • PSY 231 – Cognitive Neuroscience
  • PSY 232 – Neuroimaging

Students who enter the program with a Master's, or other, degrees for which they took graduate-level courses that are similar to those required for the Ph.D. in Dynamical Neuroscience may petition to receive subject credit for previously taken courses if the student received a grade of B or higher.

Research Requirements:

Dynamical Neuroscience students will be assigned to a faculty supervisor prior to matriculation, and they will conduct research under faculty supervision throughout the tenures of their graduate program.