Graduate Certificate in Social, Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience (SCAN)

Courses and Curriculum

Courses & Curriculum

Apply neuroscience to your field of interest

Penn’s Graduate Certificate in Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (SCAN) is a four-course program that can be completed in one to two years. The required courses provide a strong grasp of neuroscience for non-neuroscientists, emphasizing those aspects of the field that are most relevant to understanding human behavior. The curriculum is composed of two foundational requirements and two electives.

Students meet individually with the program directors in September of their first year to discuss their goals and possible elective courses. To fulfill the requirements of the SCAN certificate, students are expected to earn a B or higher in every course.

Required courses

The Foundations course (PSYC 547) is designed to give you a basic textbook understanding of social, cognitive and affective neuroscience. The Contemporary Research Issues (PSYC 747) course extends that knowledge to a familiarity with primary research literature, enabling students to read primary sources critically. The two required courses are carefully synchronized so that students taking them in the same semester will not encounter topics in 747 until they have been covered in 547.

Offered every fall; to be taken in the fall of the first year.

This course is designed to introduce students to the interdisciplinary field of social, cognitive and affective neuroscience. We begin with the basics of neurons, synapses and neurotransmission and the functional anatomy of the human brain. We then move on to neuroscience methods including cellular recordings, EEG/ERP, lesion methods, structural and functional neuroimaging and brain stimulation. The remainder of the course covers the neural systems involved in emotion, social cognition, executive function, learning and memory, perception and development. We focus on how our understanding of these systems has emerged from the use of the methods studied earlier. Classes combine lecture and discussion, as well as regular tests. Homework includes written assignments reinforcing the reading and lecture content.

Offered every fall; often taken in parallel with the Foundations course but can also be taken afterward.

In this seminar, students engage with primary research literature and deepen their understanding of a variety of topics in social, cognitive and affective neuroscience. We begin with the basics of research design and data interpretation, including recent controversies concerning replicability in the neural and behavioral sciences. Classes combine lecture and discussion, along with collaborative reading and analysis of articles published in the last two to three years, many of which apply neuroscience to problems in students’ home fields. In addition to weekly reading and discussion, students take one brief quiz, present one article to the class and write a referee’s report on another article of their choosing.

 

Elective courses

The remaining two courses are intended to strengthen your mastery of specific areas of neuroscience and its relation to your fields of interest. Electives are organized into three categories, shown below. For these electives, students may take two Advanced Neuroscience courses or one course from any of these three categories: Advanced Neuroscience, Neuroscience & Society, Bridging. Approved electives for the upcoming semester can also be viewed below.

 

ADVANCED NEUROSCIENCE COURSES

  • Brain-Computer Interfaces, Brian Litt (BE 521)
  • Network Neuroscience, Danielle Bassett (BE 566)
  • Human Brain Imaging, Andrew Newberg (BIBB 421)
  • Neuro Basis of Autism, John Herrington (BIBB 430)
  • Neuroscience of Addiction (Chocolate, Wine, Coffee & Tobacco), Mariella De Biasi (BIBB 440)
  • Neurogenerative Disease, Nedra Lexow (BIBB 475-601)
  • Clinical Psychopharmacology, Nedra Lexow (BIBB 482-900)
  • Theoretical Neuroscience, Vijay Balasubramanian (BIBB 585/ PSYC 539)
  • Violence: A Clinical Neuroscience Approach, Adrian Raine (CRIM 671)
  • Neuroeconomics, Joseph Kable (PSYC 473-401)
  • Seminar in Cognitive Neuroscience: Consciousness, Russell Epstein (PSYC 449-302)
  • Seminar in Cognitive Neuroscience: Social Neuroscience, Adrianna Jenkins (PSYC 449-303)
  • Seminar in Neuroscience: Neurological Insights into Cognition and Behavior, Jay Gottfried (PSYC 447)
  • Seminar in Cognitive Neuroscience: Neuroscience for Policymakers, Hilary Gerstein (PSYC 449-301)
  • Seminar: Being Human: The Biology of Human Behavior, Cognition, and Culture, Michael Platt (PSYC 474-301)

NEUROSCIENCE & SOCIETY COURSES

  • Neuroscience, Ethics and Law, Martha Farah (PSYC 557-301)
  • Seminar in Cognitive Neuroscience: Neuroscience for Policymakers, Hilary Gerstein (PSYC 449-301)
  • Consumer Neuroscience, Wes Hutchinson (MKTG 850) 
  • Intro to Brain Science for Business (MKTG 737) *MKTG 850 and MKTG 737 must be taken together for one credit*

BRIDGING COURSES

  • Neuroscience, Ethics and Law, Martha Farah (PSYC 557-301)
  • Special Topics: Visual Marketing, Elizabeth Johnson & Barbara Kahn (MKTG 854)
  • Consumer Neuroscience, Wes Hutchinson (MKTG 850) 
  • Intro to Brain Science for Business (MKTG 737) *MKTG 850 and MKTG 737 must be taken together for one credit*
Specific courses offered vary from year to year. Bolded courses offered Spring 2019. Examples include:

  • Brain-Computer Interfaces, Brian Litt (BE 521)
  • Network Neuroscience, Danielle Bassett (BE 566)
  • Human Brain Imaging, Andrew Newberg (BIBB 421)
  • Neuro Basis of Autism, John Herrington (BIBB 430)
  • Neuroscience of Addiction (Chocolate, Wine, Coffee & Tobacco), Mariella De Biasi (BIBB 440)
  • Neurogenerative Disease, Nedra Lexow (BIBB 475-601)
  • Clinical Psychopharmacology, Nedra Lexow (BIBB 482-900)
  • Theoretical Neuroscience, Vijay Balasubramanian (BIBB 585/ PSYC 539)
  • Violence: A Clinical Neuroscience Approach, Adrian Raine (CRIM 671)
  • Neuroeconomics, Joseph Kable (PSYC 473-401)
  • Seminar in Cognitive Neuroscience: Consciousness, Russell Epstein (PSYC 449-302)
  • Seminar in Cognitive Neuroscience: Social Neuroscience, Adrianna Jenkins (PSYC 449-303)
  • Seminar in Neuroscience: Neurological Insights into Cognition and Behavior, Jay Gottfried (PSYC 447)
  • Seminar in Cognitive Neuroscience: Neuroscience for Policymakers, Hilary Gerstein (PSYC 449-301)
  • Seminar: Being Human: The Biology of Human Behavior, Cognition, and Culture, Michael Platt (PSYC 474-301)
  • Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, Hilary Gerstein (BIBB 442-401)
  • Bio Basis of Psychiatric Disorders, Nedra Lexow (BIBB 480-301)
  • The Social Neuroscience of Communication, Emily Falk (COMM 880)
  • Proseminar in Cognitive Neuroscience: Language (PSYC 600-303)
  • Clinical Research in Neuroscience (BIBB 409-301)
  • NeuroEndocrinology Seminar, Loretta Flanagan-Cato (BIBB 460/ PSYC 439)
  • Neural Systems of Behavior (BIBB 479/ PSC 479)
  • Neuroscience, Brain Development & Learning, Hilary Gerstein (EDUC 545-911)
  • Consumer Neuroscience (MKTG 850)
  • Seminar in Cognitive Neuroscience: Human Motivation and Behavior (PSYC 449)
  • Neuroscience, Ethics and Law, Martha Farah (PSYC 557-301)
  • Proseminar in Cognitive Neuroscience: Perception, Russell Epstein (PSYC 600-301)
Specific courses offered vary from year to year. Bolded courses offered Spring 2019. Examples include:

  • Neuroscience, Ethics and Law, Martha Farah (PSYC 557-301)
  • Seminar in Cognitive Neuroscience: Neuroscience for Policymakers, Hilary Gerstein (PSYC 449-301)
  • Consumer Neuroscience, Wes Hutchinson (MKTG 850) 
  • Intro to Brain Science for Business (MKTG 737) *MKTG 850 and MKTG 737 must be taken together for one credit*
  • The Social Neuroscience of Communication, Emily Falk (COMM 880-301)
  • Bioethics and Technology: Neuroethics, Jonathan Moreno (BIO 555-900)
  • Neuroethics, Jonathan Moreno (BIOE 555-001)
  • Neuroscience, Brain Development & Learning, Hilary Gerstein (EDUC 545-911)
  • Law and Neuroscience, Stephen Morse and Amy Wax (LAW 981-001)
  • Seminar in Developmental Psych: Educational Neuroscience, Elizabeth Brannon (PSYC 480-301)
  • Neuroethics, Martha Farah (PSYC 705-401)
  • Brain Development & Society – Martha Farah (PSYC 744)
  • Cognitive Aging, Jason Karlawish (PUBH 589)
This category includes courses in the student’s home field or a closely related field that includes substantial neuroscience material. The availability of bridging courses varies by program and by year, and course eligibility depends on the syllabus used in a given year. Courses are approved on a case-by-case basis by the Advisory Board after reviewing the course syllabus. Bolded courses offered Spring 2019. Examples include:

  • Neuroscience, Ethics and Law, Martha Farah (PSYC 557-301)
  • Special Topics: Visual Marketing, Elizabeth Johnson & Barbara Kahn (MKTG 854)
  • Consumer Neuroscience, Wes Hutchinson (MKTG 850) 
  • Intro to Brain Science for Business (MKTG 737) *MKTG 850 and MKTG 737 must be taken together for one credit*
  • Mental Health Law, Stephen Morse (LAW 705)
  • Freedom, Responsibility and Neuroscience, Stephen Morse (LAW 925)
  • Philosophy of Psychology: Philosophy and Theories of Perception, Gary Hatfield (PHIL 526)

 

Other program requirements and opportunities

Students meet individually with the program directors in September of their first year to discuss their goals and possible elective courses. To fulfill the requirements of the SCAN certificate, students are expected to earn a B or higher in every course. In addition to the four courses, it is a requirement to attend the annual half-day retreat while enrolled in the program.

The SCAN program makes study space available near the required course classrooms, with textbooks on reserve. Students may propose local neuroscientists as SCAN-sponsored lunch guests for informal conversation in this same area.

Prerequisites

There are no course prerequisites required to apply to the SCAN program. However, some of the elective courses that can be taken to fulfill the SCAN course sequence do have prerequisites. Please check the Penn course register for more information. Some requirements are waived for SCAN students via a permit issued by the Department of Psychology. All permits for SCAN students are submitted at the end of the application period. At that time, you receive notification that you can register for the course.

Please e-mail us if you have any questions about prerequisites and course registration.

SCAN faculty

The Graduate Certificate in Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience certificate was developed by the faculty of Penn’s Center for Neuroscience & Society and is offered by the School of Arts & Sciences.

Program Director
Martha J. Farah, PhD (Psychology, Director, Center for Neuroscience & Society)

Associate Director
Hilary Gerstein, PhD (Psychology, Associate Director of Education, Center for Neuroscience & Society)

Advisory Board
Geoffrey K. Aguirre, MD, PhD (Neurology, Associate Director, Center for Neuroscience & Society)
Russell A. Epstein, PhD (Psychology)
Joe Kable, PhD (Psychology)
Stephen J. Morse, JD, PhD (Law, Associate Director, Center for Neuroscience & Society)