Self Paced

MCB80.1x: Fundamentals of Neuroscience, Part 1 (edX)

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Discover what makes your brain tick in this first module of a three-part introductory series in neuroscience.

PLEASE NOTE: A new exam period for this course will begin September 8, 2015. Exam period announcements will be made on This course and the exam are NOT hosted on the edX platform, but can be found at or An edX certificate will be awarded after successful completion of a final exam during an exam period. 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 for self-paced study on or

MCB80x: Fundamentals of Neuroscience is a four part course that explores the structure and function of the nervous system -- from the microscopic inner workings of a single nerve cell, to the staggering complexity of the brain, and beyond to the social interactions and societal dynamics that our brains make possible. This is the second iteration of Part 1 of this course. The material is currently open and accessible.

In this first module (MCB80.1x) we’ll look at how individual neurons use electricity to transmit information. We’ll invite you to build up a neuron, piece by piece, using interactive simulations, and we’ll take you on field trips in and around Harvard and Boston, bring you into the lab, and show you how to conduct DIY neuroscience experiments on your own.

Lessons will include video content, interactive content, forum spaces associated with the lessons, and in Lessons 3 and 4, labs and lab content. You can complete all lessons at your own pace, but to receive a certificate you must complete the exam during the 2 week period in August.

You can move around within the lessons at your own pace. The only 'graded' part of the course is your final exam. You don't have to get everything correct to 'complete' lessons, you just have to engage with the content!

Lesson 1: The Resting Potential

Lesson 2: Passive Membrane Properties

Lesson 3: Action Potentials

Lesson 4: Action Potential Propagation

DIY Labs