[Neuroscience] Re: How to train yourself in neuroscience

Doug Morse via neur-sci%40net.bio.net (by morse from ikrg.com)
Fri Aug 10 19:08:54 EST 2007

Hi Jesse,

Personally, when I chose to teach myself anywhere from a significant to
large part of another discipline, I find I do best by looking at the online
syllabi from quality colleges or universities.  There are so many different
kinds of college or university programs out there -- some more applied, some
more research oriented, some less challenging, some more challenging -- and
without too much effort I find it's easy to quickly generate a list of
high-quality readings for myself that target exactly what I'm wanting to
learn AND the readings are integrated together AND they have a logical
progression AND they clearly accrue to my desired end goals.  This, I find,
works much better than hunting through a bunch of Amazon.com Listmania!
lists -- which I find to be highly variable in their usefulness (i.e., some
rock, some stink, most are just fair).

So, if this approach resonates with you, then read on (below) for the
procedure I use.  Please note that there's a good chance you might find the
procedure I outline ridiculously obvious.  If so, please also note that I'm
just trying to be helpful and thorough without the benefit of knowing
anything about your background and experiences.


So, if I were you, I'd ask myself: Do I want to teach myself more with a
theory / research focus, more with an applied focus, or with some balancing
of the two?  Then figure out what level best fits what you already know in
the area (in this case, Neuroscience): Do I have enough background that I
could start at a graduate level, or would I be better off starting at the
undergradute level?

Once you've decide these two things, take a look at college and university
rankings (e.g., U.S. News & World Report) with these decision in mind (i.e.,
basic or applied or mixed, and undergrad or grad).  Pick a few schools who
rankings you like and seem to fit you, and then search their websites for
the three things:

First, look at the Neuroscience program requirements: What courses are
required and, importantly, how are the courses are sequenced?  Second, from
this list of courses, select a few that you think you'd enjoy learning about
first and that also seem to be reasonable starting points for you.  Then go
find the online syllabus for each course, noting especially the textbooks
used and what chapters are more or less emphasized.  Repeat these three
steps for 1 or 2 other colleges or universities (or more, if you like).

On Fri, 10 Aug 2007 19:47:47 -0000, Jesse Hogan <JesseHogan0 from gmail.com> wrote:
>  Hello,
>     I have decided to dedicate a significant portion of my time to
>  understanding neuroscience. I would like to attain a mastery of the
>  subject but I am having a hard time finding a good list of books I
>  should read on the subject.
>  (I found this but am not so sure:
>  http://www.amazon.com/gp/richpub/syltguides/fullview/3A5V2OSQMPJ76/ref=cm_syt_dtpa_f_3_rdssss0/103-2177749-1519009?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=sylt-center&pf_rd_r=0P3DS3K6GQ7CA7CKNYWB&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_p=253457301&pf_rd_i=0878936971)
>  Does anyone know of a list of books that will take me from "Whats a
>  synapsis?" to an understanding of neuroscience that is comparable to
>  an actual scientist's. Thanks.

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