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Can I get into computational neuroscience from EE?

  1. Sep 13, 2013 #1
    I am finishing my BS this semester in electrical engineering with an emphasis in signal processing and I want to eventually become a researcher in computational neuroscience. Is this transition viable?

    Since I ultimately want a Ph.D in neuroscience should I get my masters in neuroscience or can I get a masters in EE and switch afterwards?

    Is signal processing used in computational neuroscience? If so, what is it used for? I suppose it is because I've seen several books on signal processing for neuroscientists but I'm not exactly sure how they use it.

    Also, I am only interested in the science of brains, not engineering technology to interface with the brain.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 15, 2013 #2
    The short answers are:

    1. Yes, you can go into computational neuroscience from EE, and many people do.

    2. You could potentially go either route, but I would probably recommend a master's in comp. neuro. rather than straight neuroscience.

    3. You can think of the brain as a system that takes signals from the environment and processes them to generate perceptions and actions. You can use signal processing to model this process. Neuroscients also need signal processing to analyse noisy data from the nervous system.
  4. Sep 17, 2013 #3


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    Yes, many neural models can be conceived as an electrical circuit model with nonlinear elements and I come across papers here and there by EE departments when I do background literature.

    I've seen circuit construction too, where they constructed a circuit that reproduces the behavior of a Morris Lecar neuron.
  5. Sep 20, 2013 #4
    I am having a tough time finding comp-neuro graduate programs that do not require a lot of biology/chemistry.

    Can anyone recommend colleges for comp-neuro? Not JHU/Berkeley/Columbia type schools either, I'm looking for middle tier schools.
  6. Sep 23, 2013 #5
    I keep hearing the transition is possible and is done frequently but I can't find any programs. What gives?
  7. Sep 23, 2013 #6


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    Mostly only top tier schools can afford to invest in something like comp neuro. For middle tier, You may have to find the appropriate advisor or research group doing the research you want. It could end up being in an EE department with a focus in neuro. Theoretical neuroscience and mathematical neuroscience are other names for the field that may help you search. Look for papers published out of EE departments and consider those departments.
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