Fundamentals of Neuroscience Part 2: Neurons and Networks

Discover what makes your brain tick in this second part of a four-part introductory series in Neuroscience.

About The Course

PLEASE NOTE: This course is not hosted on the edX platform, but can be found at or An edX certificate will be rewarded after successful completion of a final exam.  If you want a certificate for this course, you MUST register for the course through EdX, even though we keep all of our material open and accessible on or

In this second module (MCB80x.2) we will explore how neurons communicate with each other.  We will investigate the collective behavior of neurons in small circuits and ways in which signals between neurons are modulated.

Each lesson will be media and content rich and will challenge you to master material with interactive segments that depend on your feedback to move forward in the lesson. You will be able to use virtual labs simulating neurons and circuitry to test your understanding of the course material. Lessons will also be filled with beautiful animations, exploring the richness and complexity of the brain. Documentaries focusing on cutting-edge topics in neuroscience will take you inside labs, hospitals and research institutions around Harvard, MIT and Boston, and quiz banks will allow you to test your knowledge on your own time.

Our forums will provide you with a place to meet other students around the world.  You can learn from each other as well as discuss questions with members of our team during office hours, which will be held every Wednesday.

  • Lesson 1: The Synapse (released 9/03/14 2pm EST)
  • Lesson 2: Excitation & Inhibition (released 9/07/14 2pm EST)
  • Lesson 3: Small Circuits (released 10/01/14 2pm EST)
  • Lesson 4: Neuromodulation (released 10/15/14 2pm EST)
  • Lesson 5: Potentiation & Depression (released 10/29/14 2pm EST)

Final Exam: 12/01/2014 through 12/15/2014.

Office Hours: Wednesdays, exact time TBA

Recommended Background

There are no formal requirements for MCB80x, though prior background in biology, chemistry and/or physics is helpful. There is no required textbook to buy. We link to... see more...