University of Southern California

Keck School of Medicine

Department-Specific Programs

Institute for Neuroimaging and Informatics

2001 N. Soto Street
Suite 102
Los Angeles, CA 90032
(323) 44-BRAIN
FAX: (323) 442-0137

NIIN Core Faculty

Provost Professor, Director, INI: Arthur W. Toga, Ph.D.

Professor: Paul M. Thompson, Ph.D.

Associate Professors of Neurology: Hongwei Dong, Ph.D.; John Darrell Van Horn, Ph.D.

Assistant Professors of Neurology: Kristi Clark, Ph.D.; Neda Jahanshad, Ph.D.; Judy Pa, Ph.D.; Yonggang Shi, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Research: Naveen Ashish, Ph.D.

Assistant Professors of Research: Meredith Braskie, Ph.D.; Derrek Hibar, Ph.D.; Houri Hintiryan, Ph.D.; Xue Hua, Ph.D.; Andrei Irimia, Ph.D.; Junning Li, Ph.D.; Scott Neu, Ph.D.


The Master of Science (M.S.) in Neuroimaging and Informatics (NIIN) program provides students with an understanding of the scientific and clinical underpinnings of neuroimaging science and how to leverage that knowledge to make new and important discoveries in biomedicine. Students who successfully complete the program will be ideally positioned to apply to formalized medical training programs, join Ph.D. research training programs, obtain laboratory or administrative employment in the growing field of brain imaging neuroscience, or engage in public policy or regulatory administration of academic, clinical or business efforts in this expanding discipline.

The program comprises 10 courses (eight 3-unit and two 1-unit) to be taken in one academic year. Three didactic lecture courses address the technology of neuroimaging, a detailed examination of brain anatomy and function, and the variety of data-type dependent as well as integrative computational processing approaches. Two laboratory modules (1) provide guided, hands-on experience with neuroimaging data collection approaches for examining anatomy, connectivity, and functional activity; and (2) examine and develop optimized data processing strategies. Finally, studies are enriched by several distinct faculty-guided, discussion-based courses that allow detailed examination of specific aspects of neuroimaging of elemental neurological processes and carefully selected applications in neurological and psychiatric medicine. Graduation requires completion of 26 units.

Admissions Requirements

Applicants must supply a completed application for graduate studies including: transcripts from all institutions previously attended, standardized test scores, a personal statement describing scientific and career interests, and two letters of recommendation. Applications are generally anticipated for fall enrollment, but applications for spring enrollment will also be considered. Applicants to the program must apply to the USC Graduate School and must meet the minimum requirements for admission to the Graduate School. Students are required to have a 3.0 or better overall GPA (or equivalent) and have achieved graduation with a B.S. or B.A. degree (or equivalent) before matriculation. Students are expected to have taken the general portion of the GRE exam before application and to have met or exceeded university score requirements. Applicants not meeting Graduate School requirements for regular standing may, with the approval of the Graduate School, be conditionally admitted. International students from non-English speaking home countries are expected to demonstrate English language proficiency or take remedial English language courses, according to Graduate School policy. Specific prerequisites for this program include completed course work with a B or better grade (or equivalent) in neuroscience, computer science, mathematics, biology or a related field.


The program recommends that students meet with the program director each semester prior to registration.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

A graduate GPA of at least 3.0 is required at all times. Any student whose graduate GPA falls below 3.0 will be given written notification that they have been placed on academic probation. Students who do not raise their GPA to 3.0 after two semesters on academic probation will be academically disqualified.

Degree Requirements

Graduation requires completion of 26 units, according to the required course schedule outlined below. None of the NIIN courses may be waived or substituted for other courses in the USC Catalogue. This program is intended to be completed within one academic year, and, while optional, does not include a requirement for independent laboratory research or a thesis. Students may request approval to undertake laboratory research and continuing course work during a second year research option; students must already be matriculated into the program before making this request, and not all students will be granted this opportunity (selection will be based on academic performance and student research interests, and on availability of laboratory space). None of these courses may be substituted or waived.

NIIN 500 Neuroimaging and Systems Neuroscience 3
NIIN 510 Fundamentals of Human Neuroimaging 3
NIIN 520 Experimental Design for Neuroimaging 3
NIIN 530 Neuroimaging Data Acquisition 3
NIIN 540 Neuroimaging Data Processing Methods 3
NIIN 550 Computational Modeling in Neuroimaging 3
NIIN 560 Microscopy Techniques and Neuroinformatics in Animal Models 3
NIIN 570 Neuroimaging Genetics and Phenomics 3
Fall or Spring
NIIN 597 Current Topics in Neuroinformatics 1
NIIN 598 INI External Speaker Seminar Series 1