Course Meeting Times

Two sessions / week
3 hours / session

Course Overview

9.011 is an introductory course for first-year graduate students aimed at providing a synthetic overview of major principles and techniques associated with systems neuroscience. Lectures in the first part of the course explore the visual, auditory, and motor systems, emphasizing common themes while delineating specific information processing strategies. Principles derived while surveying these systems are applied to later lectures describing the most recent findings in learning, memory, sleep, and cognition.

Each module of the course involves a series of overview lectures by a leading researcher in the field, complemented by recitation opportunities on primary research papers for students. By offering a thorough introduction to the current status of the discipline while emphasizing critical thinking, 9.011 aims to prepare students for an exciting and rapid beginning to their contributions as neuroscientists.


Class runs for 3 hours. The first 2.5 hours will be lecture, while during the last 15-30 minutes a student will lead a discussion on a related research paper.

Every class all students will be responsible for a written summary of that day's research paper, and one student will be responsible for offering a presentation to lead a discussion on that paper. The main work for the course consists of coming to class having done the reading and prepared the summary. 


Zigmond, Michael, ed. Fundamental Neuroscience. 1st ed. Academic Press, 1999.

Each lecturer has also selected review readings and articles from the primary literature, which are available on reserve in MIT's Schering-Plough Library.


  • 40% - Midterm.
  • 40% - Final.
  • 20% - Participation (Including paper presentation and participation during others' presentations).


  • Duration for midterm exam will be three hours.
  • It will cover material from the Graybiel and Schiller lectures.