Guide to Graduate Education in Science, Engineering and Public Policy
Guide to Graduate Education in Science, Engineering and Public Policy
Dual Degree Program in Neuroscience and Public Policy
Dual Degree Program in Neuroscience and Public Policy
Neuroscience Training Program
La Follette School of Public Affairs
- Graduate Degrees Offered
- Admissions Requirements
- Degree Requirements
- Faculty Information
- Other Information
The University of Wisconsin-Madison is pleased to announce a new dual-degree program in Neuroscience and Public Policy. Established in 2005, the program is a joint initiative of the Neuroscience Training Program and the Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs. The program offers students the opportunity to earn a Ph.D. degree in neuroscience and a Master of Public Affairs degree, typically in five years.
In addition to mastering research skills, students will learn to work with policy makers in applying knowledge from research in neuroscience to the design of public policy in fields such as health, education, welfare, security and the environment. They will also learn to analyze neuroscience policy and to communicate research discoveries in neuroscience to the public.
The program consists of an integrated mix of coursework, laboratory rotations, seminars, and Ph.D. research. Students complete a core curriculum in molecular/cellular and systems neuroscience, policy analysis, and public management. Additional courses provide depth in science and technology policy and in selected areas of neuroscience. A central element of the program is the weekly Neuroscience and Public Policy Seminar, which challenges students to synthesize information across neuroscience and policy research. The Seminar also provides a cordial environment for social and intellectual interaction among the program’s faculty and students.
The overlap between neuroscience and public policy is broad, encompassing a wide range of important public policy issues in different areas of neuroscience. Potential focal areas for work under the joint degree might include:
- Policy for brain interventions, including new surgical and imaging techniques, pharmaceuticals for behavioral modification, genetic or stem cell therapies, neuro-mechanical interfaces, nano-biotechnologies
- Brain function and policy, including issues such as fetal status, brain death, mental capacity of adolescents and mental health patients to stand trial, drug and alcohol use and impairment of mental capacity for dangerous activities
- Neuroscience and human development: the science of early childhood development and its role in human, community, and economic development programs in local, national, and global contexts
- Neuroscience and education policy: the science of early childhood, adolescent, and adult neural development, educational planning, and curriculum development
- Neuroscience and human behavior: nature vs. nurture debates, social behavior, and social policy for violence, suicide, addiction, sexuality
- Neurotoxins policy: neurotoxin risk and environmental exposure, including special populations such as fetuses in the workplace; use of neurotoxins in warfare and police actions
- Research management for the neurosciences, including funding levels and priorities, management of research laboratories, facilities, and institutes, stewardship and leadership within the discipline, human resource management, PhD and postdoctoral training, training of doctors, nurses, and technicians
Joint Ph.D. Degree in Neuroscience and
Master of Public Affairs (Public Policy Analysis)
The minimum course prerequisites are mathematics through calculus, one semester of microeconomics, one semester of American government and a year each of chemistry, physics, and biology. Prior laboratory research experience, while not required, is strongly recommended. The following materials are required:
1. Electronic Application
Applications should be submitted electronically. On the electronic application, under intended major field of study, enter both Neuroscience PhD and Public Affairs MPA. Please consult the UW-Madison Graduate School web page for more information regarding electronic applications.
2. Reasons for Graduate Study
The Neuroscience and Public Policy program prepares students for a variety of careers at the interface of research and public policy. Neuroscience research is a central element of the program, and students should therefore prepare a thoughtful statement of their research goals and interests as well as their reasons for seeking graduate training in neuroscience. The matching of students with potential neuroscience advisors is an important consideration in admissions decisions. Students should also explain their interests in public policy training and reflect on the importance of public policy training for researchers. If you have not completed the couse prerequisistes, please be sure to include any plans to complete the courses prior to matriculation in your statement. This statement may be submitted with the electronic application.
3. Official Transcripts
One official copy of all undergraduate and any previous graduate transcripts should be included.
4. Three Electronic Letters of Recommendation
Letters should be from persons familiar with an applicant's academic and research abilities. Instructions for letters of recommendation are on the UW-Madison Graduate School web page.
5. Official Graduate Record Examination Scores
GRE General Test is required. It is strongly recommended that a subject test also be taken because it is required for certain predoctoral fellowships (e.g., NSF). The examination should be taken prior to December so that scores will be available by December 15. In order to expedite the receipt of test scores directly by the Neuroscience Training Program, the Educational Testing Service has established specific transmittal codes. On the GRE registration form, use code number R1846 for "Institution" and 0213 for "Department Code".
6. Cover Letter or Resume
Send via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. Official TOEFL scores (applicants who have not completed 2 semesters of college instruction in English).
On the TOEFL registration form, use code number 1846 for "Institution" and 30 for "Department Code".
Ph.D. Degree in Neuroscience
Since its inception, the Neuroscience Training Program has made a special effort to avoid formulaic graduate training and instead respond to the needs of individual students. Indeed this is one of the Program's core values, and therefore the Program is very well suited to be flexible in accommodating the special challenges that dual-degree students must meet.
Required Courses (9 cr)
Neuroscience 610/611 (8 cr): A two-seminar sequence in neurobiology. These courses provide students with an introduction to the nervous system from cells and molecules to brain and behavior.
Neuroscience 700 (1 cr): One-credit course covering skills and knowledge necessary for succeeding in science.
Additional Courses (14-16 cr)
Students also take two mid-level electives, one in cellular, molecular, or developmental neurobiology, and one in systems or behavioral neurobiology. These should be selected in consultation with the student’s thesis advisor and committee.
Neuroscience 900 (1 cr): Seminar that covers "hot topics" in neuroscience. Topics are selected each year by Faculty and students.
- Students will select a thesis advisor and committee by the end of their first year.
- The Public Policy Internship (see below) will substitute for the neuroscience teaching requirement.
- Students must present at least three Sub-Group talks (talks may be delayed until after year 2).
- Students must complete three lab rotations, although the timing and duration may be adjusted to accommodate the requirements of the dual degree.
- Students must complete a PhD preliminary examination. Ideally, this will occur in the summer of the second year, although this may be delayed to the third year if necessary.
Master of Public Affairs (Public Policy Analysis)
The La Follette School Master of Public Affairs degree is explicitly designed as a flexible degree program enabling students to concentrate a substantial number of electives on courses throughout the university that are specifically relevant to their future career interests. It is thus also well suited for accommodating the special challenges that dual-degree students must meet.
The MPA degree program, usually completed in two years of study, is organized around a curriculum of 42 credits, of which 18 credits are core required courses and 24 credits are electives (16 credits from additional courses and 8 credits from neuroscience courses).
Required Courses (18 cr)
- The Policymaking Process 874 introduces the political processes that shape public policy in the United States. This course provides a basic framework for understanding the roles of policy analysts and public managers in democracies.
- Quantitative Tools for Public Policy Analysis 818 provides an introduction to statistical methods used in public policy.
- Microeconomic Policy Analysis 880 emphasizes the nature of decision-making by consumers, firms, and governments, and the effect of these decisions on the allocation of resources -- land, labor and capital.
- Introduction to Policy Analysis 873 provides an overview of the conceptual foundations of policy analysis and the craft skills useful in doing and presenting policy analysis. This course provides an introduction to the study of public policy and the professional practice of policy analysis.
- Introduction to Public Management 878 develops an understanding of leadership in the public sector and, in so doing, builds management skills. Students examine relationships among organizations, problems of accountability and control, human resource management, budgeting and finance, and policy implementation.
- Workshop in Program Evaluation and Public Policy Analysis 869, the capstone course, gives students practical experience working in teams and applying the conceptual and analytical tools acquired over three semesters of coursework to real-world issues faced by clients in the public, private, and non-governmental sectors.
Additional Courses (16 Cr)
Students in the joint PhD/MPA program will also complete the following requirements:
- Science & Technology Policy Elective (3 cr): Students will select from a list of graduate-level courses in science and technology policy that provide students with conceptual frameworks and analytical tools for understanding the politics of science and technology, including: debates about the role of science and expertise in public policy, evolving rationales for public support of scientific and technological research, and political controversies about emerging technologies.
- Bioethics/Law and Science Elective (3 cr): Students will select from a list of graduate-level courses on bioethics and law, science, and technology taught in the Law School and the Department of Medical History and Bioethics.
- Quantitative Methods 819 (3 cr): Surveys methods of empirical analysis used to support policy analysis and public decision making, emphasizing applied multivariate regression analysis. This course is designed to equip students with fundamental skills for conducting quantitative analyses of public policy problems, and interpreting the published research of other analysts and scholars. (BMI 576 may be substituted.)
- Public Policy Internship (3 cr): Students will pursue a summer internship working in the public policy sector (e.g., a state or federal government agency, advocacy organization, science funding agency, patient organization, scientific professional organization, etc.)
- Neuroscience and Public Policy Seminar (1 cr each semester): Students will enroll in a Neuroscience and Public Policy Seminar, described below, which will be established specifically for the Neuroscience/Public Policy Dual-Degree Program, during each of their first four semesters. Students will continue to enroll in the seminar throughout their degree program, but only 4 credits will count towards MPA degree.
- Neuroscience and Public Policy Research Paper: Following the first four semesters, students will complete a research paper on a topic in neuroscience and public policy. Completion of this paper will fulfill half of the Preliminary Examination requirements for the Ph.D. degree in neuroscience. Students select a topic with the advice of their thesis committee, carry out an appropriate literature review, and defend the paper in an oral examination.
Neuroscience and Policy Seminar
The Neuroscience and Policy Seminar will serve as the focal point for connecting the students’ training in neuroscience and public affairs, and provide intellectual continuity between the two fields throughout the entire period of training. The Seminar will meet weekly each semester, in the format of a speaker followed by questions and discussion. The Seminar will primarily serve students in the Program, but will be open to other students at La Follette or in the Neuroscience Training Program. It will be coordinated by a faculty team including members from La Follette and the Neuroscience Training Program. Each semester, the Seminar will be organized around a central thematic issue, and weekly schedules will be developed by the students in the Seminar, to encourage them to learn to think systematically about the field of neuroscience policy. Sample Seminar and Research Paper topics could include any of the topics listed above under Focal Areas. At the end of their fourth semester in the Seminar, students will be required to submit a Neuroscience and Public Policy Research Paper, described above.
Social Perspectives on Science, Technology, and Medicine
- Medical History & Bioethics 728, Bioethics and Society
- Soc/STS 311, Biotechnology and Society
- Soc./Rur Soc 612, Agriculture, Technology, and Society
- STS 611,Gender, Science, and Technology
- Soc 637, Sociology of Science
- Soc/Rur Soc 610, Knowledge and Society
- Soc/Rur Soc 745, Sociological Perspectives on Science and Technology
- Sociology 773, Intermediate Sociological Theory
- Women Studies 530, Biology and Gender
- Women Studies 533, Special Topics in Women and Health
Historical Perspectives on Science, Technology, and Medicine
- STS/History of Science/Medical History/IES513/713. Environment and Health in Global Perspective
- History of Science 720, Proseminar: Historiography and Methods
- History of Science 903, Medieval, Renaissance, and 17th Century Science
- History of Science 905, Seminar: Modern Physical Science
- History of Science 907, Seminar: History of Technology
- History of Science 909, History of Biology and Medicine
- History of Science 911, Seminar: Eighteenth Century Science
- History of Science 913, Seminar: Social Aspects in the Development of Science
- History of Science 915, Seminar: Science in America
- History of Science 919, Graduate Studies in Medical History
Philosophical Perspectives on Science, Technology, and Medicine
- Philosophy 519, Philosophy of Mathematics
- Philosophy 520, Philosophy of Natural Science
- Philosophy 521, Philosophy of Social Science
- Philosophy 523, Philosophy of Biology
- Philosophy 524, Philosophy and Economics
- Philosophy 554, Philosophy of the Artificial Sciences
- Philosophy 556, Topics in Feminism and Philosophy
- Philosophy 558, Ethical Problems Raised by Biomedical Technology
- Philosophy 920, Seminar in Philosophy of Science
Public Policy Faculty
The Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs offers a nationally-ranked curriculum that provides students with the necessary skills and professional accreditation to pursue careers in policy analysis and public management. The program’s small size and flexible curriculum offer students close faculty-student interaction and the ability to tailor their coursework to their own specific career interests. Faculty participating in the dual-degree program are listed below.
Heinrich, Carolyn - Associate Professor of Public Affairs; Associate Director of Research and Training, Institute for Research on Poverty
Herd, Pamela - Assistant Professor of Public Affairs and Sociology
Holden, Karen - Associate Director of the La Follette School of Public Affairs; Professor of Consumer Science and Public Affairs; Faculty Affiliate, Institute for Research on Poverty, Center for the Demography and Health of Aging, Institute on Aging
Weimer, David - Professor of Political Science and Public Affairs
Wolfe, Barbara - Director of the La Follette School of Public Affairs; Professor of Economics, Population Health Sciences, and Public Affairs; Faculty Affiliate, Institute for Research on Poverty
Cancian, Maria - Professor of Social Work and Public Affairs; Director, Institute for Research on Poverty; Faculty Affiliate, Center for Demography and Ecology
Chinn, Menzie - Professor of Economics and Public Affairs
Dresang, Dennis - Professor of Political Science and Public Affairs; Director, Center on State, Local, and Tribal Governance
Engel, Charles - Professor of Economics, Finance, and Public Affairs
Manion, Melanie - Professor of Political Science and Public Affairs
Moynihan, Donald - Assistant Professor of Public Affairs
Reschovsky, Andrew - Professor of Applied Economics and Public Affairs
Wallace, Geoffrey - Assistant Professor of Economics and Public Affairs
Witte, John - Professor of Political Science and Public Affairs
Zeitlin, Jonathan - Professor of Sociology, Public Affairs, and History; Co-Director, European Union Center; Faculty Associate, Center on Wisconsin Strategy; Director, Center for World Affairs and the Global Economy (WAGE)
Adibhatla, Rao M. - Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery; Pro-Inflammatory Factors and Phospholipid Metabolism in Stroke
Bakshi, Vaishali - Assistant Professor of Psychiatry; Neural Substrates of Psychiatric Disorders
Baldo, Brian - Assistant Professor of Psychiatry; Neural Substrates of Motivation and Reward
Banks, Matthew - Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology; GABAA Receptors and the Dynamics of Cortical Inhibitory Circuits
Basso, Michele A. - Assistant Professor of Physiology; Visual Target Selection for Eye Movements
Behan, Mary - Professor of Comparative Biosciences; Effects of Aging and Sex Hormones on the Neural Control of Breathing
Benca, Ruth - Professor of Psychaitry; Acute Effects of Light on Sleep and Temperature in Rats
Berridge, Craig - Professor of Psychology; Neurobiology of Stress and Arousal
Boekhoff-Falk, Grace - Associate Professor of Anatomy; Cell Biology and Genetics of Limb and Nervous System Development
Cai, Dongshen - Assistant Professor of Physiology; Stress and Inflammation in Metabolic Homeostasis and Dysfunction
Chapman, Edwin - Professor of Physiology; Molecular Mechanisms of Ca2+-triggered Exocytosis
Cirelli, Chiara - Assistant Professor of Psychiatry; Function of Sleep Using Molecular and Genetic Approaches
Czajkowski, Cynthia - Professor of Physiology; Acting Chair of Neuroscience Training Program; The Structure and Function of the GABAA Receptor
Dent, Erik W. - Assistant Professor of Anatomy; Interaction of Actin and Microtubule Cytoskeletons During Development
Duncan, Ian D. - Professor of Medical Sciences; CNS Myelination and Glial Cell Transplantation
Epstein, Miles - Professor of Anatomy; Regulation of Neuronal Differentiation and Neurotransmitter Phenotype
Gammie, Stephen - Assistant Professor of Zoology; Neural Basis of Maternal Behaviors
Gomez, Timothy - Assistant Professor of Anatomy; Regulation of Axon Guidance by Second Messengers
Halloran, Mary - Assistant Professor of Zoology; Mechanisms of Axon Guidance in Zebrafish
Johnson, Stephen - Assistant Professor of Comparative Biosciences; Respiratory Rhythm Generation and Plasticity
Johnson, Sterling - Assistant Professor of Psychology;
Jones, Matthew - Assistant Professor of Physiology; Mechanisms of Inhibitory Synaptic Transmission
Kalil, Katherine - Professor of Anatomy; Growth and Guidance of Axons in the Mammalian Central Nervous System
Kalil, Ronald - Professor of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences; Neural Stem Cells, Adult Neurogenesis and the Injured Brain
Lipton, Peter - Professor of Physiology; Neurochemistry of Synaptic Transmission in Brain Slices
Marler, Catherine - Professor of Psychology; Influence of Social Environment during Development on Neuroendocrinology and Behavior
Meyerand, M. Elizabeth - Associate Professor of Medical Physics; Imaging Brain Function and Structure Using MRI
Miletic, Vjeko - Professor of Comparative Biosciences; Spinal Plasticity in the Development of Chronic Pain
Mitchell, Gordon - Professor of Comparative Biosciences; Plasticity in Respiratory Motor Control
Populin, Luis - Assistant Professor of Anatomy; Sensorimotor Integration
Postle, Bradley - Assistant Professor of Psychology; Cognitive and Neural Bases of Working Memory and Nondeclarative Memory
Rutecki, Paul A. - Professor of Neurology; Synaptic Physiology of Epileptiform Activity
Sun, Dandan - Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery and Physiology; Molecular Mechanisms of Ischemic Cell Death in the CNS
Terasawa, Ei - Professor of Pediatrics; Oscillatory Behaviors of Neuroendocrine Neurons in the Hypothalamus
Turkstra, Lyn S. - Associate Professor of Communicative Disorders; Effects of Cognitive Impairment on Communication Ability
Uhlrich, Daniel - Associate Professor of Anatomy; Neural Modulation of Visual Signals in the Thalamus; Photosensitive Epilepsy
Van Kan, Peter - Associate Professor of Kinesiology; Neural Control of Limb Movement
Vemuganti, Raghu - Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery; Molecular Mechanisms of Inflammation, Neuronal Death, and Neurogenesis After Stroke
Yin, Jerry - Professor of Genetics; Molecular Genetics of Learning and Memory Formation
Yin, Tom - Professor of Physiology; Mammalian Sensorimotor Neurophysiology
Zhang, Su Chun - Assisant Professor of Anatomy; Embryonic Stem Cells and Neural Differentiation
Ziskand-Conhaim, Lea - Professor of Physiology; Cellular and synaptic mechanisms underlying locomotor-like rhythms in the mammalian spinal cord
Norman Fost - Professor of Pediatrics and Medical History & Bioethics
Linda F. Hogle - Associate Professor of Medical History & Bioethics
Robert Streiffer - Associate Professor of Philosophy and Medical History & Bioethics
Founded in 1848 as a land-grant institution, the University of Wisconsin-Madison is consistently ranked among the top three research universities in the country. Specific strengths include the life sciences, science and technology policy, law, and ethics.
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