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Harvard Summer Program - Neurobiological Study and Research, Tokyo, Japan

Publish Date: Sep 25, 2015

Deadline: Jan 28, 2016

The RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Tokyo promotes ambitious, adventurous, and flexible research programs at the molecular, cellular, systems, and behavioral levels, integrating experimental and theoretical approaches. In this program, you may choose the lab in which you wish to conduct internship projects based on your academic interests.

In addition to participating in lab research, you enroll in an intensive neuroscience lecture course hosted by the institute and featuring a renowned international speaker series. You do a presentation and write two papers based on the lecture course and laboratory experience.

Seminars and scientific meetings are conducted in English, but once off campus you are fully immersed in typical daily Japanese life with easy access by subway to Tokyo’s city center. Popular Japanese cultural hotspots, shopping, and entertainment (Shinjuku, Ginza, Roppongi) can be reached within 20 to 40 minutes. Harvard students are offered organized cultural tours throughout the summer, including visits to Mt. Fuji, Kamakura, and Nikko.

Course of study

Prerequisites for both courses: The Harvard courses Neurobiology of Behavior (MCB S-80) or Animal Behavior (OEB S-57) required. Students with advanced coursework or research experience in molecular biology, psychology, philosophy, linguistics, computer science, physics, chemistry, biochemistry, or neurobiology would be appropriate candidates. Laboratory experience preferred.

BIOS S-98rt Study Abroad in Tokyo, Japan (RIKEN): Laboratory Research in Neurobiology (32537)

Takao K. Hensch
(4 credits: UN) Limited enrollment.

Students are placed in a laboratory for their independent research project based on their academic interests. See the RIKEN Brain Science Institute website for more information.

BIOS S-141d Study Abroad in Tokyo, Japan (RIKEN): Sculpting Neural Circuits and Behavior (33007)

Takao K. Hensch
(4 credits: UN) Limited enrollment.

How does the nervous system control our behavior? The aim of the lecture program is to gain deeper insights into the underlying circuits and synapses that drive the behavior in response to the outside world.

Course credit

See Study Abroad Credit Information.


Takao K. Hensch, PhD, Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University


Before applying, review the Admission and Policies and FAQs pages.

You must be at least 18 years old and have completed at least one year of college or be a first-year student in good academic standing to apply.

The application materials, outlined below, are due January 28, 2016:

  • A completed online application (available in early December) that includes:
    • A $50 nonrefundable application fee
    • A supplementary statement describing interest in the program, with specific reference to experience with neurobiology research and any particular areas of research interest
    • Transcripts (student record accepted for Harvard students)

Program directors may ask for interviews.

You will be notified of admission decisions by mid-February.


There is a nonrefundable $50 application fee. The cost of the program includes the following:

  • Tuition
  • Lodging and some meals
  • Excursions (including meals when appropriate)

In addition to the program fee, you are responsible for:

  • A health insurance fee (waived if you have US insurance that provides coverage outside the United States)
  • Transportation to and from Tokyo
  • The cost of passports and visas (if the latter is needed)
  • Any immunizations

How to pay and funding options

See Payment and Funding for payment deadlines, deposit amounts, and more information, including funding options for Harvard College students.

For information on Reischauer Institute funding opportunities, please visit Reischauer’s webpage on fellowships and grants.


You and the other students are housed on the RIKEN campus, in fully furnished studio apartments with high-speed Internet, satellite television, a kitchen, and a bathroom.

Additional information

Contact Takao Hensch, hensch@mcb.harvard.edu.

Students with disabilities

Contact the disability services coordinator as soon as possible. See Students with Disabilities for more information.


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