Computational Neural-engineering Training Program (CNTP) Trainee Handbook
Georgia Tech & Emory University – Version 2024.02.26

The CNTP is an NIH funded educational and research training program in Computational neural-engineering across Emory University and Georgia Tech.  This is funded specifically through a T32 Training Grant from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), and the program officer Dr. Zeynep Erim.  Starting in the Fall of 2019, the program funds 4 new PhD students each year (combined, from BME students on the Emory side, and BME, ECE, BioE, Neuroscience or ML students on the GT side). The purpose of this handbook is to provide some basic information about the activities of the program (coursework, rotations, etc.) and how the program is mediated (stipends, training expenses).    

  1. Contact Info
  2. Program Description
  3. Program Committees
  4. Coursework
  5. Program Activities
  6. Reporting, Publications, etc.
  7. Example Training Plans
  8. Professional Development
  9. Finances
  10. Training Faculty
  11. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


  Program Role Contact Questions Regarding
Garrett Stanley PI garrett.stanley@bme.gatech.edu  Georgia Tech BME 
Lena Ting Co-PI


Emory BME
Chris Rozell Co-I crozell@gatech.edu


Michael Borich Co-I michael.borich@emory.edu Clinical Neuroscience
Fadrika Prather Admin Support fadrika.prather@bme.gatech.edu Phone: (404) 894-3613  Georgia Tech Admin
Sherry Sam Admin Support

sherry.sam@emory.edu         Phone: (404) 903-8467

Emory Admin



Trainee Categories
Two categories of trainees across Georgia Tech and Emory are invited to participate in the program.

CNTP Fellows are financially supported by the NIH training program for their tuition, stipend, and travel funds. CNTP Fellows are selected in their first year of the PhD, and matriculate into one of the following graduate programs: 1) Joint Georgia Tech and Emory Biomedical Engineering PhD program, 2) Georgia Tech Bioengineering PhD Graduate Program, 3) Georgia Tech Electrical and Computer Engineering PhD program, 4) Georgia Tech Machine Learning PhD Graduate Program. CNTP Fellows are required to participate in all of the 8 of the training program elements listed below. Starting in 2024, CNTP Fellows will accept applications from U.S. citizens or permanent residents and international candidates, eliminating the former requirement of U.S. citizenship. Important: Upon joining the program, all Fellows need to be entered into the NIH ERA Commons xTrain database – please see Fadrika Prather to ensure that you will receive funding.

CNTP Scholars are not financially supported by the program and are invited to participate in many of the unique training elements. CNTP Scholars are selected in their first year of graduate school, but do not have any citizenship or departmental requirement; they are expected to be graduate students in the labs of participating faculty. CNTP Scholars are expected to participate fully in training elements 3-8. In particular, CNTP Scholars are given access to the restricted Clinical Experience for Engineers course in the summer of their first year.

Laboratory research rotations in the first year: Fellows will have the unique opportunity to have research rotations in their first year. Fellows are required to complete 2 research rotations in the labs of Training Faculty in their first two semesters of graduate school.  For a full list of training faculty, please visit this link.  

Fellows should spend the first several weeks upon arrival interviewing with candidate faculty and laboratories. Fellows do not need to participate in their respective programs’ matching process but do need to inform their program’s coordinators that they are part of this training program. Fellows should enroll in research units with one of the CNTP leadership team (Stanley, Ting, Rozell, Borich) for the Fall and Spring semesters of the first year.

The rotations are 4 months long (Sept-Dec for Fall, Jan-Apr for Spring). The nature of the rotation should be agreed upon between the Fellow and rotation advisor, and a semester-end final presentation and report are strongly encouraged.  Fellows will also need to report on the rotation in their Semester Training Report (more info below).  The goal of the rotation is to get exposure to the research of the lab, get to know the PI, lab members, and identify potential thesis-work laboratories. Rotations that promote collaborations between labs are also encouraged.  Please let Fadrika Prather know the intended rotations once determined.

Selection of thesis-work laboratory. In the summer at the end of the first year, Fellows will select one Training Faculty member to serve as their thesis advisor. All trainees (Fellows and Scholars) are encouraged to designate a Clinical or Data Science Co-mentor, whose research expertise complements that of the thesis advisor and is beneficial to the trainee’s research project. Fellows will be expected to attend lab meetings of both labs for the summer and through their second year. In our prior experience, such an arrangement has led to innovative new collaborative projects that have subsequently been funded by both individual fellowships to the trainees, as well as new collaborative research grants to the PI’s, allowing for sustained research in these areas. In this sense, the trainees drive the new collaborative directions.

Upon selection of a thesis-work laboratory, the Fellow will need to sign up for their thesis advisor’s research hours.  First year BME Fellows will need to sign up for BMED 9000 hours (thesis hours, or research credits). This can be under Garrett Stanley or Lena Ting – please coordinate with whomever you select. First year ECE fellows will sign up for ECE 9000 hours under Chris Rozell.


All trainees are expected to participate in committees to help create a community driven experience. Four faculty-student committees will plan and execute the activities of the program in alignment with program training goals: Technical Training, Professional Development, Diversity & Outreach, and Community Impact. 

Each committee consists of 5-6 trainees (a mixture of 1st year and 2nd year fellows and scholars) including a trainee Chair and Co-Chair. Faculty advisors to each committee include one member of the Executive Team and one member of the Leadership Council, providing trainees with rich faculty interactions. The committees each have a budget and allow students to steer the activities based on their own interests; administrative support is also provided to assist with payments and logistics. Activities are sponsored by program funds committed by the GT Executive Vice President for Research (EVPR), Emory Laney Graduate School, and Emory School of Medicine. Committee responsibilities are as follows: 

Technical Training Committee (Stanley/Pandarinath): The purpose of the committee is to form a community of scholarships in technical and scientific areas. The committee organizes workshops that include tutorials on methods in data science and machine learning, paper discussions with authors, discussions with guest speakers, and trainee research presentations. Topics will also include neuroethics, data ethics, and neurotechnologies. Supporting our training in rigor and reproducibility, one goal of the committee is to develop technical tutorials using open-source software that can be made publicly available. 

Professional Development Committee (Borich/Haider): The purpose of the committee is to provide opportunities for professional and career development. Examples include conversations with guests about career paths in academia and industry and writing workshops. Topics will also include clinical translation and pathways to commercialization. This committee also works with trainees to have a professional presence on social media (LinkedIn, Twitter), showcases CNTP students, faculty, events, and maintains the CNTP website. 

Diversity and Outreach Committee (Rozell/Singer): The purpose of the committee is to provide opportunities and training in diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA). This committee coordinates the application review services offered to applicants, runs the CNTP booth at the Atlanta Science Fair, and organizes workshops around issues of DEI to help trainees formulate their personalized DEIA plan. Typically, a member of the committee serves on the recruitment committee to select new CNTP fellows.  

Community Impact Committee (Ting/Dyer). The purpose of the committee is to engage CNTP training faculty in CNTP and local training activities. The committee organizes the Annual Retreats and Town Hall meetings with content to encourage interaction between faculty and students and discussions on a broad range of training topics. The committee also works with local conferences in topical areas to coordinate CNTP participation in poster sessions and alike and helps with organization and publicity to the community. In the renewal, the committee will also administer annual student awards. 


Rather than specifying courses, we now specify topical areas that students must fulfill through coursework. This can flexibly accommodate students across majors.

5 courses total:

    • Neuroscience/Neural engineering (1-2 courses)
    • Computation (1-2 courses)
    • Clinical experience (1 course)
    • Scientific writing and communication (1 course)

A list of courses and the areas they fulfill are listed below. This is not a definitive list, but may be expanded through consultation with the executive committee.

Students are required to have at least two courses in either neuroscience or computation. Only one course will be counted toward clinical experience or scientific writing. If a course is counted for two areas, then another course must be added in either neuro or computation.

Taking courses on another campus requires ARCHE registration.

Be aware that you must be registered for at least 3 units at your home institution before being able to cross-register. This means you must register as early as possible (i.e. to take a fall course, register for classes in May at home institution to be able to cross register in July at the other institution)


Fall: July 15   Spring: November 15    Summer (if applicable): April 15


As part of the training program, trainees are required to take coursework across several areas-much of which is part of their homeschool program. Trainees will be required to take 5 courses in the area of computational neural engineering, most taught by our participating faculty. All of the Ph.D. programs are flexible enough for students to apply these courses to their degree programs without delaying their progress. Currently, four courses are offered that may count toward the Computational Neural Engineering Coursework, listed below.

Computational Neuroscience (BMED 7610, Stanley/Pandarinath). This is an upper-level graduate course, attracting students from BME, ECE, Physiology, Psychology, and Neuroscience, and other units across GT and Emory University. This was a core course in the prior CNTP. The course is designed to provide a rigorous and in-depth survey of systems level neuroscience, framed through models that span from single neurons, to neurons synaptically connected in small networks, to information-based modeling approaches, to networks capturing aspects of plasticity and learning. The course utilizes MATLAB programming throughout as a tool to create simple models, run simulations, and analyze data.

Information Processing Models in Neural Systems (ECE 6790/BMED 6790, Rozell). This course examines “top down” modeling approaches, where an optimal computational principle used in engineering (e.g., information theory, Bayesian inference, resource allocation, control theory) can account for the observed information processing strategies in a neural system. The models are explored in levels of abstraction ranging from the anatomy of single neurons to human sensory perception and motor control.

Introduction to Computational Neuroscience (Emory Integrative Biological Systems 534, Berman). This course explores the dynamics of single neurons and biological neural networks with computer simulations. Each class consists of an introductory lecture followed by computer tutorials using the GENESIS software under UNIX. Specific topics include passive cable theory, compartmental modeling, voltage-gated and synaptic conductances, motor pattern generation, and cortical networks.

Machine Learning in Biosciences (BMED 6517, Dyer) This course introduces machine learning methods and their applications in biosciences. The course is targeted to graduate students in Biomedical Engineering, Bioinformatics, Quantitative Biosciences and related disciplines, and also qualified undergraduate students. Topics to be covered include supervised and unsupervised learning, dimensionality reduction and visualization. 

Coursework in Clinical, Scientific and Technological Integration:  All trainees will take two unique courses intended to introduce them to the broader context and application of computational neural engineering advances.

Special Topics: Clinical Experience for Engineers (BMED 8843, Ting). Trainees will participate in a unique immersive clinical course in the summer of their first year, limited to trainees and affiliated Scholars who complete all training components. Students spend about 40 hours observing clinical care and clinical research setting though self-scheduled opportunities. Clinical experiences may include observations during deep brain stimulation (DBS) programming sessions, epilepsy monitoring, neurorehabilitation, ALS and Parkinson’s disease comprehensive care units, post-surgery recovery, as well as clinical trials including neuromodulation or rehabilitation. Students will also attend grand rounds and patient support groups. Students will receive training in narrative reflection, and will produce short writing pieces to share their experiences and perspectives about neural technologies. They will also write a report and present an idea for the use the technology in clinical settings. We believe this early experience will be beneficial to the current and future research of trainees regardless of their research projects. 

Special Topics: Integrating Rehabilitation and Technology (BMED 8813/DPT988, Borich, Ting) A collaborative multi-institutional course that was taught remotely in 2023 by the lead team at University of Pittsburgh and included a team at Harvard in addition to the GT (Ting) and Emory (Borich) course offerings. The focus is on interdisciplinary collaboration, with about half of the students from engineering, and half from clinical programs (physical therapy, occupational therapy, medicine). In four modules spanning spinal cord injury, stroke, limb loss, and vestibular deficits, students work in teams to interview invited patients, present their cases, and devise technology solutions. Lectures on the basics of each disease as well as novel technology applications in each area are provided by experts. Additional training is provided in grant writing, industry translation, and intellectual property. Students learn both to present their ideas orally as well as in written format. The opportunity to talk to patients in a structures way and to substantively interact with students from different disciplines has been cited as a highlight.  

Special Topics: Systems Neuropathology and Translational Engineering (BMED 8813, Mitchell) This is a comprehensive dual-level (grad & undergrad) clinical course in systems neuropathology (disease and/or injury of the nervous system). The class covers foundational neurology, multi-scalar etiology, and clinical presentation with a large focus on engineering translatable diagnostic, prognostic, therapeutic, and rehabilitative technology for clinical management and patient care. Students will acquire fundamental knowledge on etiology and symptomology of all neuropathology, including brain & spinal cord injury, peripheral nerve injury, neurodegenerative disease, neuro-oncology, etc. Contrast clinical manifestations of neuropathology, including differential diagnostics, prognostic outcomes and appropriate clinical selection of therapeutic protocols. Students translate neuropathology and interventions into a “system” analyzable with engineering methods and develop skills to optimize/design new diagnostic, prognostic, therapeutic, and rehabilitative tools.  

(Required for BME students) Integrative Core 2: Experimental Design & Measurements at Appropriate Spatial and Temporal Scales (BMED 7012, Haider). This course will develop critical thinking skills necessary for performing independent research that integrates across engineering and biology.  Students will learn to justify and critique scientific assertions across these domains through open-ended discussion and critical feedback sessions. This course specifically develops a foundation for experimental design that integrates technical considerations of spatial and temporal sampling with scientific justification and knowledge of limitations from current literature. Students will learn to present their work orally and develop a written proposal in preparation for the qualifying exam. 

(Required for BME students) Advanced Seminar in Neuropathology and Neuroengineering (BMED 7601, Haider). This is a required course for BME students in Neural Engineering that is open to graduate students beyond the first year. Students learn to read and contextualize current literature in neural engineering in terms of clinical, scientific, and technological challenges. Class is discussion-oriented and assignments are focused on oral presentation skills. This course provides essential training in meta-skills important for a career in scientific research, along with critical evaluation of contemporary advances in neural engineering. 

Table of some courses fulfilling CNTP requirements: 

Recommended courses 





APPH 6212 Systems Physiology II: Physiology of Neuromotor Disease 





ECE 6790/BMED 6790 Information Processing Models in Neural Systems (Rozell) 





IBS 506R Basic Mechanisms of Neurological Disease 





IBS 514 Cellular and Developmental Neuroscience 





IBS 522 Hypothesis, Design, & Scientific Writing 





IBS 526 Neuroanatomy and Systems Neuroscience (Fall at Emory) 






IBS 534 Introduction to Computational Neuroscience (Berman) 






BMED 6517 Machine Learning in Biosciences 





BMED 7610 Computational Neuroscience 





BMED 7012 Experimental Design-Measurements at the Right Spatial and Temporal Scales 





BMED 7601 Advanced Seminar in Neuroengineering and Neuropathology 





BMED 8843 Clinical Experience for Engineers 





BMED 8813 Interfacing Engineering Technology and Rehabilitation 





BMED 4813/8813 Systems Neuropathology and Translational Engineering 












From BME List (can be more):  

    • CS 7643 Deep learning
    • CS/ISYE 6740 Computational Data Analysis
    • ECE 6254 Stat ML
    • ECE 8823 Convex optimization
    • ECE 7750/8843 Math Methods of ML
    • ISYE 7406 Data Mining and Statistical Learning
    • ECE 8803 / ISYE 8803 / CS 8803 Probabilistic Graphical Models in Machine Learning
    • CS 534 (Emory) Machine Learning
    • CS 7641 Machine Learning
    • CS 7545 Machine Learning Theory
    • CSE 8803 Deep Learning for Text Data
    • BMED 6517 Machine Learning in Bioscience

Sample Courses:

  Neuro Comp Clinical Writing
BME IBS 526 Systems Neuro  BMED 7610  BMED 8843 Clinical Experience  BMED 7012 
BioE APPH 6212 

BMED 7610

ECE 6790

BMED 8813 Systems Neuropathology 


BMED 7012 

BMED 7610** 

BMED 7610

ECE 6790

ECE 6254

BMED 8843 Clinical Experience  BMED 8843 Clinical Experience**
ML BMED 7610** 

BMED 7610

CS 7641

CS 7643

BMED 8813 Rehab Tech 


BMED 8813 Rehab Tech**

IBS 526 Systems Neuro IBS 514

IBS 534 Into to Comp Neuro

DPT988 Rehab Tech

BMED 8843 Clinical Experience


IBS 522R 

**If double count, take another course in any area. 


CNTP Committee and Activities:  As part of professional development, each trainee serves on one of four committees during their first two years and  will meet in a group with various training faculty members to discuss papers, methods, and challenges in neural engineering. All committees will provide trainees within the program opportunities to practice inclusive leadership and collaboration, and learn how to communicate professionally with speakers, and organize events. Each committee is to participate in planning and execution of six events (or program activities) per academic year. Trainees are encouraged to shape each event to meet the needs of the group and be creative in the format. Each trainee is required to make at least one presentation in this forum during their tenure. 

Annual Program Retreat: To promote program cohesion, personal connectivity, ethics training, and research presentations we hold an annual program retreat spanning a full Saturday including an evening party. The retreat takes place late September/early October just after the start of the fall semester and is open to trainees from the labs of our participating faculty working in computational neural engineering and related fields. The schedule at this retreat is balanced to allow time for both professional presentations and discussion, and for social time such as hiking, volleyball, etc. The retreat brings together, faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students in multiple training programs related to computational methods in neuroscience. Each 2nd year student gives a short presentation on their research project. Program Faculty are expected and the Leadership Committee Members obligated to attend. 

Seminars, Innovation Forums, and Workshops: Trainees will be expected to attend research seminars approximately weekly throughout their training through a number of avenues on the Georgia Tech and Emory campuses. For most of the external speakers that visit, student have an opportunity to discuss a paper in journal club prior to the talk, and to meet with speakers.

The GT Neuro Seminar Series (http://neuro.gatech.edu/gt-neuro-seminar-series) is a weekly in-person seminar established in 2016 and hosted by the GT Neural Engineering Center. It is also streamed on Zoom and archived online. Students are given the opportunity to meet with all speakers in a lunch/discussion after each seminar.

McCamish Parkinson’s Disease Innovation Program (https://parkinsons.gatech.edu/) is a community of scientists, engineers and technologists, clinicians, industry partners, community leaders, and patients and families, who collectively seek to understand, treat, and ultimately cure Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders. Trainees are expected to attend workshops offered throughout the program. 

There are many other optional seminar series across both campuses that our students may attend including: Frontiers in Neuroscience at Emory, Petit Institute Seminars in Bioengineering, Robotics Research at Georgia Tech, Brown Bag Seminars in Applied Physiology at Georgia Tech, Seminars in Cognitive and Visual Neurorehabilitation at the Atlanta VA, Seminars in Integrative Neuroscience, Udall Seminars in Parkinson’s Research, Translational Rehabilitation, and Biomedical Informatics.


Trainees are required to submit progress reports at the end of each semester. For Fellows, funding for the subsequent semester is contingent upon submission of the report, and for all trainees, continued membership is contingent upon receiving these reports.

Any publications, conference abstracts, conference proceedings, etc. should acknowledge the funding through this mechanism with a statement such as “[Your name] was supported by the Georgia Tech/Emory NIH/NIBIB Training Program in Computational Neural-engineering (T32EB025816)“.

Please note the following policies by the NIH on publications – this is whether your salary was supported directly by the T32 (Fellows), or whether you are a Fellow who has rolled off funding or a Scholar – the T32 supports your professional development:

    • Awardees are responsible for ensuring publications are deposited into the NIHMS upon acceptance for publication.
    • Authors can use the Applicability & Submission Method Wizard (http://publicaccess.nih.gov/determine-applicability.htm) to learn how to bring their publication into compliance and report it to NIH.
    • Investigators, authors and delegates can track public access compliance in My Bibliography (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/). Program Directors/Principal Investigators may wish to track publications they do not author in the collection Other Citations (see the My Bibliography FAQ for more instructions). Other Citations is especially helpful for managing institutional training grants and complex awards.
    • NIH recommends investigators or their delegates check the public access compliance of all the papers directly arising from their award at least once a quarter.

We also just generally want to know (and need to know) about your successes! Within and beyond the training program, we will have a mechanism for you to report progress in your degree programs (passing qualifying exam, proposing thesis, defending thesis, etc.), publications (conference abstracts, conference proceedings, journal articles, etc.), Fellowships and awards (e.g. NIH Pre-doctoral NRSA, NSF GRFP, etc.), and collaborations with other labs (especially within the CNTP, but also beyond). These successes, when we communicate them to the NIH, will help us receive more resources in order to help other students like yourselves. So, please help us!  In addition to the semester formal progress reports, please let Terry Kauffman know of any of these successes!


All Georgia Tech Ph.D. students submit a Program of Study form during the first semester in residence. The Program of Study lists the coursework that a student intends to take to fulfill the degree requirements. The Program of Study, which can be revised at any point, provides an efficient tool to plan and monitor student progress through the degree coursework requirements. All doctoral students at Georgia Tech must complete RCR training.  Courses that fulfill training program requirements are indicated by italics.

Joint Emory/Georgia Tech Biomedical Engineering PhD Program

Requirements (credit hours) Courses (credit hours)
Integrative Core Course (3) BMED 7012 (3): Spatial and Temporal Scales of the Nervous System
Engineering and Bioscience (18)

IBS 526 (7): Systems Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology

IBS 524 (3): Cellular Neuroscience

ECE 6550: Linear Systems and Controls

BMED 7610 (3): Quantitative Neuroscience

ECE 6790 (3): Information processing in neural systems

BIO 640 (3): Quantitative Neuroscience

Advanced Seminar (3) BMED 7601 (3): Advanced Seminar in Neuropathology and Neuroengineering
Minor (9) BMED 8823 (3): Clinical Experience for Engineers
Seminar Participation (4) Students may select from any campus seminars
Teaching Assistant Series (4) BMED 7001/7002 Teaching Training and Practicum
Values in Science (1) PSI 600, 4 Neuroethics seminars

BME Qualifying Exams occur in the fall of second year. Students work with the graduate committee in the Spring of the first year to select a qualifying exam committee of 3 faculty members, reflecting a balance of engineering and biology, and a member of the graduate committee. The faculty are anticipated to be candidates to serve on the PhD thesis committee. Students write a brief proposal during the first summer and have a 1.5-2 hour oral examination based on the proposal and their completed coursework.

GT Interdisciplinary Bioengineering PhD Program

Requirements (credit hours) Courses (credit hours)
Engineering Fundamentals (9)

ECE 4270: Fundamentals of Digital Signal Processing

ECE 6250: Advanced Digital Signal Processing

ECE 6254: Statistical Signal Processing

Engineering Math (3) MATH 6643: Numerical Linear Algebra
Biological Science (9)

IBS 526 (7): Systems Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology

BMED 7610 (3): Quantitative Neuroengineering

BIO 640 (3): Quantitative Neuroscience

Bioengineering Technical Electives (9)

BMED 8823 (3): Clinical Experience for Engineers

BMED 7601 (3): Advanced Seminar in Neuropathology and Neuroengineering

ECE 6790 (3): Information processing in neural systems

Seminar Participation (4) Students may select from any campus seminars
Teaching Assistant Series (4) BMED 7001/7002 Teaching Training and Practicum

BioE Qualifying Exams take place at the beginning of the Spring semester of their second year. This oral examination (1.5-2 hours), conducted by a committee of three BioE faculty members who do not serve as the student’s advisor, is structured to assess: (1) the student’s ability for independent thinking, decision making, and coherent communication; (2) knowledge and integration of engineering and biological concepts; and (3) the application of this knowledge to interdisciplinary bioengineering problems.

GT Electrical and Computer Engineering PhD program

Requirements (credit hours) Courses (credit hours)
Major area in ECE (9)

ECE 4270: Fundamentals of Digital Signal Processing

ECE 6250: Advanced Digital Signal Processing

ECE 6254: Statistical Signal Processing

Breadth area in ECE (9)

ECE 8803: Implantable Microelectric Devices

ECE 6790: Information Processing Models in Neural Systems

ECE 6200: Biomedical Applications of MEMS / ECE 6786: Medical Imaging Systems

Minor in an area outside ECE (9)

BMED 8823: Clinical Experience for Engineers

BMED 7601: Advanced Seminar in Neuropathology and Neuroengineering

BMED 7610: Quantitative Neuroscience

Electives (12)

IBS 534: Computational Neuroscience

CS 7641: Introduction to Machine Learning

PSYC 4803: Neuroethics

APPH 8803: Movement Disorders

Professional Communication (4) ECE 8802: Professional Communications Seminar

ECE Qualifying Exam: ECE students have 3 opportunities to take the (written) prelim exam in the first 4 semesters.

GT Interdisciplinary Machine Learning PhD Program

Requirements (credit hours) Courses (credit hours)
Core Curriculum (15)

CS/ECE 7740: Mathematical Foundations of Machine Learning

ECE 7251: Signal Detection and Estimation

ECE 6273: Methods of Pattern Recognition with Applications to Voice

CS/ECE 7741: Probabilistic Graphical Models and ML in High Dimensions

ECE 8823: Convex Optimization: Theory, Algorithms, and Applications

Area Electives (15)

BMED 6700: Biostatistics

CS 7280: Network Science

CS 7545: Machine Learning Theory

ECE 6790: Information Processing Models in Neural Systems

BMED 7610: Quantitative Neuroscience

Doctoral Minor (9)

BMED 8823: Clinical Experience for Engineers

BMED 7601: Advanced Seminar in Neuropathology and Neuroengineering

ECE 8803: Implantable Microelectric Devices

Qualifying Examination (3) 1 semester literature review

ML Qualifying Exam: ML students perform a literature review during the second semester of the second year, culminating with an oral examination.

8. Other optional professional development opportunities at Georgia Tech and Emory

Mentoring Experience: The opportunity to gain mentoring experience and to be advised in mentoring skills is also an important component of graduate education as such skills are essential to establish a successful research laboratory later on in their career. In the third and later years of their training our trainees will also be expected to mentor undergraduate research projects. Undergraduates at Georgia Tech work on both campuses and have opportunities to apply for funding through the President’s Undergraduate Research Award. Further, undergraduates on both campuses may participate in the Petit Scholars Program, which sets up a formal mentoring relationship and more structured quarterly reports, which enhances the mentor-mentee relationship.

Optional formal training in “Mentoring in Research” is available through a 6-8 session seminar series for graduate students and postdoctoral Fellows at Emory University. The seminar based on Dr. Jo Handelsman’s Entering Mentoring book, which is targeted at graduate students and postdocs who are often the frontline mentors for undergraduates. The objectives include developing skills in communication, working effectively with students with diverse learning styles, experiences, ethnicities, nationalities, and building mentoring communities who can share best practices on responding to mentoring challenges.

Presentations at Local and National Venues: Students in BME are required to present in BME student seminars and at a variety of poster sessions for recruiting and other events. An Atlanta-wide poster/preview session before the annual SfN meeting provides another important opportunity for all to present and obtain feedback. There are also many local opportunities for students to present their research in seminars across multiple departments.

All students in the CNTP are encouraged to present at National and International meetings and our prior trainees have succeeded in this goal. Conferences that are regularly attended by participating program faculty include the Computational Neuroscience (CNS), the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), Computational and Systems Neuroscience (CoSyNE), and IEEE EMBS meetings.

Outreach Opportunities:Based on the requests of our past trainees, we are incorporating opportunities for outreach activities in neuroscience. These opportunities will give our trainees a chance to practice communication about science with the general public, which is also important in grant applications and in talking about their own research. Two of our past trainees initiated outreach programs to a middle school in Atlanta whose students are predominantly URM. Many more outreach activities are available through the Bioengineering and Bioscience Unified Graduate Society (BBUGS), through Brain Awareness Week hosted by the Atlanta Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience, and the Atlanta Science Fair. Additionally, we will engage undergraduates at Morehouse College and Spelman College through events and through the short courses.

Other Opportunities for Professional Development: Georgia Tech and Emory offer a number of other programs that our students may opt to participate in throughout their PhD training.

Broadening Experiences for Scientific Training (BEST) program (http://best.emory.edu), a collaboration between Emory University and Georgia Tech. This program provides career-exploration resources and professional development activities to predoctoral and postdoctoral scientists and engineers targeting the biomedical workforce. Essential to this process is a change in the culture and conversations around PhD training in order to encourage and celebrate the variety of career outcomes and opportunities available to PhD graduates.

GT Graduate Leadership Program: All of our trainees will be eligible to apply to participate in this unique year-long program focused on facilitating dialog and learning about values-based leadership awareness and skills. This program, comprising a small group of graduate students (<20) and co-facilitated by the Director of the Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship and the Director of Learning Science, involves a series of roundtable activities and a two-day retreat designed to enhance understanding of leadership as well as personal and organizational values. The training is designed to enhance the leadership and organization skills of trainees.

GT BME’s Preparing Future Faculty is a joint initiative between BME and the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning (CETL).  The overarching goals of BME PFF are to provide doctoral biomedical engineering students and post-docs with opportunities to experience the various aspects of a career in academics, and to gain early exposure to some of the core competencies required.  Participants in this two-year program gain various tools and knowledge along the three pillars guiding this initiative: 1) teaching, 2) specialized skills in research communication, and 3) career development.   Both instructional and hands-on training in these areas allow participants to develop a highly focused academic tool kit they can take with them in their future careers.

9. Finances – Only Applies to Fellows

The training grant provides stipend support, tuition support, and support for training related expenses (including travel).

Fellows need to obtain an NIH eRA Commons login during the first year and be entered into the T32 trainee list in eRA Commons – please see Fadrika Prather for details.

Tuition & Stipend. We will work with your home school to ensure that the funding is lined up, and that this should just be taken care of. If there are any problems, please contact Prof. Stanley if you are supported on the GT side, and Prof. Ting if you are supported on the Emory side. Note that the stipend level matches the current stipend level set by BME. 

Upon ending the CNTP/T32 financial support period, Fellows will need to coordinate the transition of funding from the CNTP to their advisor’s finances or to another Fellowship. Please see Fadrika Prather for information regarding this transition.

Each Fellow is provided with funds for training related travel and other training related expenses. If you are supported on the GT side, please work with Fadrika Prather (fadrika.prather@bme.gatech.edu) to access these funds, and if you are supported on the Emory side, please work with Sherry Sam (sherry.sam@emory.edu) to access these funds. It is important to confirm that the expenses are allowable, and that you are following the right procedure to make spending the funds or being reimbursed from the funds as smooth as possible. It is also important to spend any funding by the end of June.

Travel Expenses. Each Fellow is provided with $1,000/year for travel expenses. These funds are to be used for domestic or international travel to scientific conferences, workshops, summer courses, etc.  Please consult with Fadrika Prather (on the GT side) or Sherry Sam (on the Emory side) for assistance with processing your travel.

Traveler’s Responsibilities:
Fellow expenses are supported by GA Tech and Emory.  Some expenses can be prepaid, but most expenses must be paid out-of-pocket by the traveler and then submit for reimbursement. Because GA Tech and Emory have different reimbursement policies, it is important that you consult with Fadrika Prather or Sherry Sam BEFORE traveling.

Training Related Expenses. Each Fellow is provided with $4,550/year for other training expenses. This can be used to supplement travel (see above), or for other things like a laptop computer, software, textbooks, etc. that are needed for your training. The Fellow may use their professional development funds to pay for the health insurance offered at the institution they are paid by (Emory or GT).

Semester Training Report.  All trainees are required to complete an on-line, web-based Semester Training Reports which will be sent to you.  Your timely and accurate completion of the report will help us improve the program and seek continued funding. All trainees will be contacted at the end of each semester and are expected to fill out the report in a timely manner. The reporting will continue throughout each trainee’s PhD.


The CNTP has a vibrant community of Training Faculty who are committed to the training and development of the students in our program. For a full list of training faculty, please visit this link.  

Training faculty will be eligible to have CNTP Fellows rotate through their laboratories and potentially join their laboratory permanently, provided that the faculty member is eligible to accept PhD students from the relevant program.   Training faculty are expected to engage in the activities sponsored by the CNTP.  Prolonged lack of engagement can result in removal from the training faculty.  New training faculty can be added – contact Garrett Stanley or Lena Ting to make a recommendation.


Questions Specific to the GT-side Fellows

As a Fellow in the program, is insurance required?  Do I fall under the mandatory group for student health insurance?

Insurance is required and Fellows fall under the mandatory group.  Insurance is paid by your allowance from the Fellowship.  For more information:  https://health.gatech.edu/finance/insurance

Under my student invoice statement, I am currently still seeing tuition being charged.  Is this normal or do I need to complete some additional paperwork for the Fellowship’s waiver to show up there?

Contact your home school academic advisor

For the monthly stipend, where would I go to set up a direct deposit?


Are W-2 or 1099 Forms sent for the T-32 Fellowship?  

You will receive a 1098-T form from the Bursar – https://policies.gatech.edu/business-finance/tax-implications-student-receiving-scholarships-fellowships-or-traineeships

How do Fellows get funded?  

Payment will come from GT Financial Aid/Bursar’s office

What dates do we receive stipends?


Where do I find disbursement information?


For questions regarding payments, the best point of contact is bursar.ask@gatech.edu – include ID in the email for quicker response

Who should I contact about finances if my home school is:

ECE – Sri Melkote – siri.melkote@ece.gatech.edu

BME – Tracie Dinkins – tracie.dinkins@bme.gatech.edu

How much money will I receive?

$36,000/year (as of 2023 Academic Year)

What is the amount for travel?  

$1,000 (as of 2023 Academic Year)

What is the amount for training related expenses? 

$4,550 (as of 2023 Academic Year)

Do we get to keep the equipment purchased once we graduate?  i.e. computer. – We are able to let you purchase a computer and use it during your time at GT, but it must be returned to the BME IT when you complete your degree.