FAQs are updated regularly
Q: What is Neuromatch Academy?
A: Neuromatch Academy is a massive, interactive, online school experience spanning from hands-on modeling experience to meta-science interpretation skills across just about everything that could be reasonably included in the labels "computational neuroscience" and “deep learning”. We're a group of neuroscientists from around the globe who have run smaller, in-person summer schools in the past.
Q: What makes it unique?
A: We are aiming as much as possible to provide equal access to excellent computational neuroscience and deep learning training for all students regardless of geography, nationality, socioeconomic status, or other factors. Also, unlike most other online courses, we have TAs. Plus, there will be lots of scientific networking through matchmaking algorithms.
Q: Why should I sign up for Neuromatch Academy?
A: If you have ever wanted to learn about computational neuroscience or deep learning, this is your chance! We don't just teach you the skills; we will also teach you how to use those skills to answer scientific questions. And it will be a lot of fun!
Q: What topics will be covered in the Computational Neuroscience course?
A: The CN course provides an integrated, scientific inquiry-based curriculum with instruction in core topics of neural data science and computational neuroscience such as dimensionality reduction, neuron models, network dynamics, Bayesian modeling, and deep learning. We have a large focus on meta-modeling, too: how to choose the right model for your dataset and question, and what insights each approach can provide. See our syllabus for 2022, Computational Neuroscience course [Link].
Q: What topics will be covered in the Deep Learning course?
A: The DL course provides an integrated, scientific inquiry-based curriculum with instruction in core topics of deep learning and neural networks such as linear DL, optimization, regularization, recurrent neural networks, generative modes, unsupervised learning, and reinforcement learning. See our syllabus for 2022, Deep Learning course [Link].
Q: When will the program be available on the website?
A: Here are the links to the 2021 Syllabus of the Computational Neuroscience course [Link] and Deep Learning course [Link].
Q: How do students get grouped into teams or 'pods'?
A: We use an algorithm [1, 2, 3] to place people in complementary groups based on common interests, time availability, seniority, and in many cases shared language. This will allow students to meet online at a time and context that is most convenient for them.
Q: What are group projects?
A: There are small-group (3-5 students from your pod) projects for students. This is a fun way to apply hands-on skills to your own topic of interest! We will step-by-step mentor you in how to model and the projects will also be supervised by TAs.
Q: What time zone will it take place in? What if I am not in the timezone of the school? How will I access the lectures and my "pod"?
A: We will have TA-facilitated pods accessible in real-time from all timezones in the world. When you sign up and commit to attending the course you will be asked for your timezone so we can place you in a group that operates at your preferred timezone. Lectures and tutorials will be pre-recorded with multiple live Q&A sessions spanning multiple timezones to give you a chance to ask questions to the instructors in a live setting.
Q: Will the courses be in any languages other than English?
A: The main language of instruction will be English, and all materials will be in English. In addition, many of our students will be grouped into pods where the TA and students all share another language.
Q: How long can I access the lectures and materials after school?
A: Everything will be freely available after school on Github and YouTube. Please see the 2022 Material for the Computational Neuroscience course [Link] and Deep Learning course [Link].
Q: Can I have access to a list of all participants and TAs before or after the school, so I can set up my own networking opportunities after the school?
A: All participants will be able to opt into sharing their contact information.
Q: Do I need a letter of reference to apply?
Q: Can Iranian residents participate in NMA?
A: Yes. Shortly before the start of NMA 2020, we announced that, because the organizers of NMA include US Citizens, NMA could not provide our course as a service to people residing in Iran. This was a result of existing US sanctions against Iran. Upon learning of this restriction, we applied for a license to operate in Iran and were granted an emergency relief from the sanctions. This allowed us to invite back the students and TAs residing in Iran. This will apply also to the 2022 NMA computational neuroscience course.
Q: What does it cost to be a student?
A: We set our tuition fees lower than standard academic summer schools, which can cost in the thousands. Fees for NMA are 890 USD as a base fee, but are scaled with your location since different countries have different cost of living standards. A fee waiver can also be available for those who cannot have their fee covered by either their institution, company, or lab and cannot pay on their own. Thus, if you have been accepted into the Academy you are guaranteed to be able to participate regardless of your funding status! As a reminder, tuition fees from students are a major way we support our TAs, too, so if your company, supervisor, or university can reimburse you, please help us support your TA by paying the personalized recommended fee in your NMA portal account.
Q: Will I be able to get a fee waiver if I am selected for the course?
A: Yes! If you are admitted to the course, you will then be asked to either pay a fee that is adjusted for your cost of living or you have the option of waiving the payment. We will ask you to explain the reason for the waiver, but we will not deny your request. We do ask people who can pay to please pay though. We use practically all of the money to fund your teaching assistants as the other staff of NMA are volunteers.
Q: Can I directly pay by invoice via university?
Due to the complexity of processing payment and overseas transfers, technical details of linking wire transfer payments to your account, and delays in university payment processing, we cannot accommodate requests to pay by direct invoice to your university. Please pay your fee by credit card in your student portal. You will receive a receipt. You can ask your supervisor, university, or company to reimburse you according to your local policies.
Q: What if I drop out of the academy?
Dropping out of the academy makes it harder for your pod to work well because there will only be a small number of people at the start of the academy. You will also not receive your certificate of completion and may not be selected to participate in future Neuromatch programs. Of course we understand that unforeseen circumstances can arise and will accommodate those as needed, but please do plan to stay through to the end.
Q: What if I can't attend the whole school?
A: The course content of the Academy is rigorous and cumulative which makes it difficult to keep up if you miss days. Therefore we expect students to be present for the whole 3 weeks of the program.
In case of an emergency, students should let their TA know as soon as possible. In such cases 1-2 days absence may be permitted. Low attendance may lead to no certificate being issued after the school concludes. Please see FAQ section "Certificates" for more information
Q: What if I know at the time of application that I have conflicting work, study, or conference commitments?
A: Students or TAs who know in advance that they will need to miss parts of the Academy should refrain from applying for the 2024 school.
Q: What if I can't attend every Wednesday (or any day) for three hours. Will this be a problem?
A: Yes, you need to be in attendance every day.
Q: I can no longer attend NMA. Can I have a refund for my fees paid?
A: Decisions about refunds are made on a case-by-case basis and can't be guaranteed. NMA hires and commits to paying TAs based on the number of students signed up for each course and is therefore not able to grant refunds to any students. If you have an emergency situation that you feel grants you exemption from this policy, please email email@example.com with the subject "Special refund request and your name" and we will take your request to the Financial Managers of NMA. Decisions about refunds are made on a case-by-case basis and can't be guaranteed past the deadline above.
Application Portal Questions
Q: I have logged in but cannot see the applications, what's wrong?
A: You have to complete your profile in the upper right before you begin. There is also an email verification that you need to complete before your account is active
Q: I am having trouble using the Google Login button
A: Some browsers report difficulty using this. Try using a private browser tab if you run into this.
Q: I am having trouble creating an application from a mobile browser
A: We have not been able to test our application on mobile browsers. Please try to use a computer with a normal display instead.
Q: I need to change my time slot or location. Can I do this?
A: Your time slot preference and location information can be updated until the application is closed as we take this into consideration for matching students and TAs.
Q: Will extra info be given to unsuccessful candidates about what is missing from their application?
A: Unfortunately we will not be able to give personalized feedback to applicants.
Q. How do I check if my application was submitted successfully?
A: Log in to your NMA portal account to check the status of your application. On the homepage, you’ll be able to see the following details: course name, application date, role (student or TA), and status. If you have successfully applied to a course, the status will be shown as “Applied”. See the example. If you wish to withdraw from the course, click on “Withdraw” for the corresponding course.
Neuromatch Academy Student Applications
Q: Who should be a student?
A: Anyone who is interested in following a career in neuroscience either in academia or in industry. Students should have some background already in coding (but we will provide learning resources).
Q: Do I have to have a Google Scholar account to apply? (I don't have any publications yet)
A: You don't have to have a Google Scholar account, but if you do, sharing it will be helpful for us to evaluate Neuromatch Academy’s long-term impact and raise funding for future years. Note that you don't need to have any publications to apply to Neuromatch Academy or to create a Google Scholar profile.
Q: What level of Python experience do I need?
A: Students should be comfortable writing simple Python programs at the minimum when the course begins. If you have never seen an "if" statement before, this probably isn't for you, but you don't need to be a super expert either. If you have expertise in a comparable language (e.g. R, MATLAB, or C), you should commit to taking an introductory course or tutorial in Python prior to the start of the course to learn the Python syntax. We have a list of prerequisites with materials to help you catch up here.
Q: What if I'm not a great coder? Can I still join?
A: You do need to have good programming skills to be able to participate, as described above. However, we will have two levels of goals for every tutorial: one for beginner/intermediate students and one for intermediate/advanced students. This way everybody has reasonable targets to fit their ability levels.
Q: If I decline my placement in 2023 can you defer my application to 2024?
A: No, this is not possible, you will need to reapply for 2024.
TA Applications, Selection, and Responsibilities
Q: Who should be a TA? What do TAs do?
A: TAs will work closely with a given pod for three weeks to help students solve problems and guide group projects. TAs should have substantial expertise in Python and experience with some aspects of neural data analysis or deep learning.
Q: I'd like to apply to be a TA but have no neuroscience experience, but I'm experienced in Python. Can I still apply?
A: The computational neuroscience course requires TAs to have some experience with neuroscience, since a central theme of the course is learning how to appropriately apply models to neuroscience.
The Deep Learning Course does not require TAs to have experience with neuroscience. If you have questions about your ability to meet the requirements, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: How will my TA payment be taxed?
You will be paid as an independent contractor from within the United States and this may have tax implications depending on where you live and other factors. You will ultimately be responsible for understanding the tax implications for your own unique situation, but we have created this survey to help you understand. This is only a demonstration form so please do not submit a response to it. If accepted as a TA, you would fill out a similar form and upload the recommended documents to give us your financial, work visa, and other relevant details: Financial Demo Form.
We recommend you speak with a tax accountant, CPA, or office at your home university or company to get personalized details. You should ask this office about the requirements for being paid as an independent contractor from a United States based company.
Q: Can I be a TA in week 1 and then a student in weeks 2 and 3? Can I be a TA and a student?
A: TAs must follow the same group of students through all three weeks. Thus the simple answer is no, you can't be a TA for just a week or two. However, we expect to need several backup TAs, so if you cannot commit to all three weeks please indicate this in your application and we may ask you to be a backup TA!
Q: I'd like to be a TA but it looks to be merit based. Should I also apply as a student?
A: Yes, please do apply both as a TA and a student!
Q: How much do TAs get paid?
A: We have set the payment for TAs at $1650 USD for the 2023 year. We have a process that will help you determine what tax forms you will need to satisfy governmental regulations for some countries although ultimately you will be responsible for determining whether your other form(s) of employment is compatible with being paid by NMA. We will have the money for you if you are able to legally accept it!
Q: Who should be a Mentor? What do Mentors do?
A: Mentors can be either academic faculty or industry professionals who are interested in networking with students, answering questions related to their line of work, and, in some cases, providing support on project development
Certificates of completion and course credit
Q: Will students receive a certificate of completion?
A: Yes, all students who complete the full course will receive a certificate of completion for both the tutorials and projects portion of the course that is available in the Documents section of their portal account after the course is complete. Students are allowed 2 absences and can still qualify for the certificate of completion. During the course, there will be an opportunity for a student who misses more than 2 days to complete an Attendance Waiver and a certificate of completion will be awarded at the discretion of a reviewer.
Q: Will you provide any grades so I can get university credit for participating?
A: We do not plan to give any standardized grades, but you will receive a certificate of completion if you finish the course according to the evaluation of your TA. This certificate of completion does not automatically guarantee any sort of university credit (because we are not an officially accredited school), but you might be able to talk to your administration about that option. Every school has different policies, so you'll need to take your certificate of completion and the curriculum information to your specific institution or school to see if this is an option for you; Unfortunately, we can't help facilitate this process given the number of students and universities attended.