The Neuroscience program at Memorial University offers graduate students the opportunity to pursue Master of Science (MSc) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees. Entering students obtain training in neuroscience through biomedical laboratory research, course work, seminar series and the visiting speakers program.
The Neuroscience Group includes faculty from the Division of Biomedical Sciences within the Faculty of Medicine and affiliated faculty from the Department of Psychology in the Faculty of Science. Neuroscience research facilities are housed within the Health Sciences Centre, which also contains the General Hospital, the Janeway Children's Hospital, School of Pharmacy and Faculty of Nursing, provides an excellent environment for interdisciplinary collaborations.

Many members of the Neuroscience program are members of the Newfoundland chapter of the Society for Neuroscience and participate annually in Brain Awareness Week.


Applications are considered throughout the year. Applicants must hold a Bachelor degree with a superior academic record and must be accepted by a faculty supervisor within the Faculty of Medicine in order to enter the program. An application may be submitted to the program before identifying a supervisor. However, candidates are encouraged to contact potential supervisors from the participating faculty list below before applying to the program. 

Once a supervisor is identified, a supervisory committee is formed, a project proposal is submitted and the application is forwarded to graduate studies for approval.

M.Sc. in Medicine (Neuroscience)

A minimum of two graduate courses is required; normally Systems Neuroscience (MED 6196) and one other graduate level course selected to fit the student's research interests. Courses are generally organized in lecture and/or seminar fashion with some courses having significant laboratory components. See course descriptions below for details. Some students may be required to take additional courses based on their thesis topic. International students may be required to complete a course in English as a Second Language. The Masters program is thesis based and generally takes approximately 2 years to complete. 

Ph.D. (Neuroscience)

Normally, to be considered for admission for the Ph.D. program, the minimum requirements will be a Master’s degree from a university of recognized standing, in an appropriate area of study (Regulation University calendar). However, if a student shows aptitude for research and excellent progress in the M.Sc. program then he/she may apply to transfer into a Ph.D. program. The transfer follows the general regulations of the School of Graduate Studies (section the student must be registered for a minimum of 12 months in the M.Sc. program and the transfer should take place no later than the 5th semester of the program. Following an approved transfer the Ph.D. is retroactive to the admission date of the program of study. Graduate students in the Faculty of Medicine wishing to transfer to the Ph.D. program should discuss this with both the supervisor and program coordinator and must have the approval of the supervisory committee. Recommendation for transfer is based on a satisfactory written report and oral presentation to the supervisory committee. In addition, students in the Neuroscience program must give an annual research to the neuroscience group based on their thesis research topic.
Normally, students in the Ph.D. program are required to complete two graduate level courses. Some students may be required to take additional courses based on their thesis topic. International students may be required to complete a course in English as a Second Language. Course selection is made on the recommendation and advice of the supervisory committee.
Ph.D. students are required to take the comprehensive examination (written and oral) before the end of the 7th semester following general regulation of the University Calendar.  The specific areas to be examined are decided upon by the examination committee in consultation with the student's supervisor.
Ph.D. students are expected to take an active role in formulating a research project. The Ph.D. program is thesis-based and generally takes 4-6 years to complete.

Graduate Student Neuroscience Courses

Medicine 6196 -- Systems Neuroscience (pdf)
Medicine 6197 -- Cell and Molecular Neuroscience (pdf) 

Seminar Series

Program Seminars and Journal Club -- The Neuroscience Group conducts a weekly seminar series during the fall and winter semesters of the academic year. These seminars serve primarily as a forum for graduate students and faculty to present new research findings and ideas. It is expected that graduate students beyond their first year in the program will give one research seminar each year thereafter.


Opportunities for various external and internal awards are available.
Inquiries concerning the Neuroscience Program can be directed to:

Dr. Matthew Parsons, Neuroscience Program Coordinator
Barbara Hynes, Academic Program Assistant, BioMedical Sciences Graduate Programs

Participating Faculty: 

Blundell, J., PhD (Memorial) Mechanisms underlying fear memory ; regulation of eating and body weight.
Chen, X., PhD (Cambridge):  Regulation of dopamine neurons.
Harley, C., PhD (Oregon): 1)Encoding of information by the hippocampus; 2)mechanisms of synaptic plasticity.
Hirasawa, M., PhD, DVM (Tokyo): Neurobiology of obesity, sleep homeostasis.
Moore, C.,PhD (Dalhousie): Neuroimmunology, inflammation, multiple sclerosis, and glial cell differentiation.
Parsons, M., PhD (Memorial): Synaptic neurotransmission and neurodegenerative disease.
Ploughman, M., PhD (Memorial) Neuroplasticity, repair and recovery in people with stroke and multiple sclerosis.
Stachniak, T. PhD (McGill): Synaptic physiology and pharmacology; G-protein-coupled receptors; psychiatric disorders.
Vanderluit, J. PhD (Univ. British Columbia): Neural stem cell biology, neurogenesis, neural regeneration, stroke.
Weber, J., PhD (Virginia): Mechanisms of toxicity and protection in neurons.
Yuan, Q., PhD (Memorial University): Neuronal mechanisms underlying associative memory.