Paris: Neuroscience

Photo by Y. Hanna Huang, ’15
Final App Deadline: 
Friday, April 21, 2017
Language Requirement: 
None
Coordinator: 
Dana Currier
Quarter(s): 
Autumn

Students participating in the College-sponsored Autumn quarter program on Neuroscience will take two Neuroscience courses and one Psychology course taught by Chicago faculty at the University of Chicago’s Center in Paris. All three courses will count toward the Neuroscience major, and the Psychology course may be used in the Psychology major. Neuroscience majors are encouraged to apply, though the program is open to students of all majors. (Please see the Eligibility and Application section below for information on prerequisites.)

Classroom work will be complemented by local field trips to related sites, such as the Jardin des Plantes, the Musée Dupuytren, and the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle. In addition to the Neuroscience and Psychology courses, all participants will take a “practical” French language course running at a normal pace through the ten weeks.

AUTUMN 2017 FACULTY & COURSES

Steven Shevell (Psychology) – Sensation and Perception – PSYC 20700
What we see and hear depends on energy that enters the eyes and ears, but what we actually experience – perception – follows from human neural responses. This course focuses on visual and auditory phenomena, including basic percepts (for example, acuity, brightness, color, loudness, pitch) and also more complex percepts such as motion and object recognition. Biological underpinnings of perception are an integral part of the course.

Peggy Mason (Neuroscience) – Neuroanatomy
In this course, we will use an understanding of development in order to understand the neuroanatomy of the adult vertebrate nervous system. This understanding will be solidified by dissections of mammalian, fish and bird brains as well as a trip to see myriad brains at the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle. In the second half of the course, neuroanatomical adaptations specific to particular animals will be examined in the context of critical environmental and ecological factors. Examples include postural control in sloths, vision in marine animals and raptors, and the control of muscles of facial expression across mammalian species.

Clifton Ragsdale (Neuroscience) – Evolution and the Nervous System
Evolutionary neuroscience has traditionally focused on the neural bases of animal behavior (neuroethology) and employed the methods of comparative anatomy, cellular neurophysiology and behavioral neuropsychology. This course will approach neuroethology from a modern evolutionary perspective, one that integrates findings from genomics, molecular developmental biology and paleontology with insights from neuroethology. Our exploration will include the controversies over the evolutionary origin of neurons and centralized brains, the independent solutions across taxa to processing ecologically important sensory information, and recent insights into the evolution of the neocortex.

Watch a video featuring Prof. Ragsdale’s research: “The Ragsdale Lab - Octopus Intelligence & Genome Research at UChicago.”

Center in Paris

Headquarters for the College’s study abroad programs in Paris is the University of Chicago Center in Paris, the University’s research and teaching arm in Europe. Situated in the thirteenth arrondissement, the Center in Paris is part of an ambitious intellectual project along the river Seine, including the Bibliothèque Nationale and a new home for Université Denis Diderot (University of Paris VII). The Center in Paris features classrooms, offices for faculty and graduate students, computer facilities, a small library and an apartment for the faculty director. For participants in Chicago’s programs, the Center in Paris provides a focus for academic activities, a central meeting place and a continuing Chicago “presence” within one of the major capitals of Europe.

Housing

Students in the program are housed in a residence hall within the Cité Internationale Universitaire (Cité). The Cité, a park-like residential complex in the fourteenth arrondissement, is the international student campus in Paris, though French students also live there. Students reside in single rooms with a private bath and have access to Cité facilities, including a library, theater, laundry and athletic facilities. Students will have access to common kitchens in the residence halls and can purchase inexpensive meals at the Cité’s restaurant universitaire.

Credits and Registration

Participants in the Neuroscience program remain registered as full-time students in the College. They take and receive credit for four courses. Three courses may be used toward the Neuroscience major, and one can be used in the Psychology major. The two courses listed as Neuroscience courses will always be eligible for credit as major electives, but in some years one of the courses may alternatively be used as the third course required in the major fundamental sequence (the Systems Neuroscience course). Their use in any other program of study must be approved by the undergraduate program chair of the relevant department. The language course will normally count as an elective. Any of these courses, if not used within a major, may be used as general electives. Course titles, units of credit and grades are placed on the College transcript.

Finances

Study abroad students pay regular College tuition, a program fee and a non-refundable study abroad administrative fee. The tuition and program fee are paid in conformity with the home campus payment schedule, and the non-refundable study abroad administrative fee is submitted when accepting a place in a program. Precise figures for the 2017-18 year are listed below:

Autumn tuition: as set by the Bursar’s Office

Study abroad administrative fee: $650

Paris Neuroscience program fee: $4,700

 

Program fee includes: Out-of-pocket expenses include:
accommodation round-trip airfare to and from the program site
instruction transportation on site
student support meals
program excursions course materials
cell phone (device only) personal entertainment and travel
  communications (including cell phone usage)
emergency travel insurance (ISOS) health insurance and upfront payments for care
  other miscellaneous expenses

Previous program participants report spending in the range of $200 to $250 per week on meals and incidentals while on the program, though frugal students may spend less, and others could spend much more. Bear in mind that the cost of living in Paris is relatively high and that, while it is possible to live frugally, it is also possible to run short of money if you are unwary. It is therefore essential that you budget your funds prudently, apportioning your resources so that they last for the duration of the program. If you are planning to travel before or after the program or on weekends, you should budget accordingly.

Study abroad students retain their financial aid eligibility. For more information about financial aid resources, please see our Tuition, Fees, and Funding section.

Eligibility and Application

The Neuroscience program is open to University of Chicago undergraduate students only. Applications from outside the University are not accepted.

The program is designed for undergraduates in good standing who are beyond their first year in the College. It will be of particular interest to Neuroscience and Psychology majors, though students of all majors are welcome to apply. Students who complete this program will then be welcome to enroll in the winter and spring quarters of the Neuroscience major sequence on campus (Cellular Neurobiology and Systems Neuroscience). Students who are majoring in Neuroscience will be required to complete the autumn quarter course of this sequence (Fundamentals of Neuroscience), either before or after participating in the Paris program. While the program stipulates no minimum grade-point average, an applicant’s transcript should demonstrate that they are a serious student who will make the most of this opportunity. Because the sequence is taught in English, there is no language prerequisite, although students are encouraged to take French on campus before the program begins.

Each application is examined on the basis of the student’s scholastic record, personal statement and academic recommendation. If you are interested in applying for this program please fill out the online application.

Further Information

To discuss the Paris: Neuroscience program and the possibility of participating in it, please contact Dana Currier.

Learn more about the
Center in Paris.

What you’ll see: 

Neuroscience on the SeineNeuroscience on the SeineWinter 2015 group at VersaillesPhoto by Y. Hanna Huang, ’15