Aims and scope 

The Harvard Summer Program in Mind/Brain Sciences is an initiative of the Harvard Mind/Brain/Behavior (MBB) Interfaculty Initiative and the Harvard Summer School in collaboration with the University of Trento.

This eight-week program enrolls American and Italian students and provides a unique opportunity to study neuroscience at the Center of Mind/Brain Science (CIMeC), University of Trento.

Taught by faculty from Harvard, Harvard Medical School and University of Trento the courses include lectures and hands-on laboratory sessions (e.g., neuroimaging demonstrations and practical sessions in the CIMeC laboratories).

In addition to courses, Students have the opportunity to learn about cognitive science research by participating in experiments and by discovering several different methodologies for analyzing the mind, brain and behavior.

In addition to coursework and research, students take advantage of their surroundings with field trips and excursions throughout Italy.


  • John A. Assad, PhD, Professor of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School
  • Alfonso Caramazza, PhD, Daniel and Amy Starch Professor of Psychology, Harvard University and Visiting Research Professor, Center for Mind/Brain Sciences, University of Trento
  • Giorgio Coricelli, PhD, Associate Professor of Economics and Psychology, University of Southern California and Professor, Center for Mind/Brain Sciences, University of Trento

Directed by:

  • Alfonso Caramazza, PhD, Daniel and Amy Starch Professor of Psychology, Harvard University

“Interesting classes with fantastic professors in the mornings, delicious gelato in the evenings, and a different Italian city every weekend. What more can you ask for? The professors succeeded in sharing their passion and excitement for neuroscience and psychology. I can't praise the program enough for creating an environment conducive to both learning and community. I will cherish my Trento memories forever”.

“I found the classes very interesting. I would recommend this program to anyone else in a heartbeat”.

“I absolutely loved the courses. They were spectacular, and the professors were great.”

“I would apply without hesitation. It’s an amazing experience and you get to experience Italian culture in an intimate level you wouldn’t get from just staying in places where tourists go (though you get the chance to see those places too). Future students, take advantage of every free minute and experience as much of Italy as you possibly can, you won’t regret a minute you spent exploring Italy and its culture.”

“Just do it! You’ll spend enjoyable time, in amazing places, with great people and in an extraordinary college environment.”

“Apply! After talking to friends participating in other study abroad programs, I realized Trento was definitely one of the better and more organized programs.”

 Program Structure 

The program's multifaceted offerings are designed to give students a broad understanding of the mind and brain. Cognitive neuroscience is learnt through research by participating in experiments, as well as attending talks and presentations at the research center.

Depending on the demand, the program may also include a noncredit Italian language class. Students enroll in two four-week courses. Instruction is in English. Courses generally run Monday through Thursday with Fridays dedicated to program outings. During the program, students receive housing in San Barolameo dorms and a meal plan at the University of Trento’s cafeteria.

Program outings and trips are designed to immerse students in Italian culture and tradition: hikes in the Italian Alps, a weekend getaway on Lake Garda (Italy’s largest lake), day and overnight trips to nearby cities such as Verona, Torino, and Florence. On other weekends, students are free to organize additional trips to popular destinations in Italy (e.g. Milan, Rome, Tuscany, Cinque Terre).


During the Summer Program students obtain credits eligible to be recognized by the Faculty Council of their University: it is the student's duty to request that these credits be recognized at his/her own University. Students can choose to follow the whole program: an introductory course (MBB S-101), and an in-depth course of study which constitutes the second part of the program (MBB S-93). The option of attending half of the program by following one of the two courses is also available. All courses are in English and all classes are held at Center for Mind/Brain Sciences, Trento Mattarello, Italy.

MBB S-101: Windows into the Structure of the Mind and Brain, Alfonso Caramazza & John A. Assad

UN Limited enrollment.

The mind/brain can be studied at multiple levels of description and with various methodologies. The course reviews methods from psycholinguistics perception and language processing to neuroimaging, and from computational modeling to cellular and clinical neuroscience. Each method is illustrated through laboratory demonstrations. This course is mandatory for all program participants, and it is meant to provide the neuroscience and cognitive science foundation necessary to explore specific topics in the field.

Prerequisite: none

MBB S-93: Neuroeconomics, Giorgio Coricelli

UN Limited enrollment.

Economists have produced remarkable theories describing how people make decisions, but, until recently, their approach treated the human brain as a "black box." The introduction of neuroscience tools (brain imaging, neuropsychological studies, single-cell recording) and the discovery of evidence about the importance of emotional and social states in economic decision
making are revealing new perspectives in the field of behavioral economics. This new discipline combines economics, psychology, and neuroscience in order to study decision making in individual and social contexts. Students learn about economic decision-making principles (e.g., choice under risk and uncertainty, intertemporal choices, bargaining, cooperation, and competition); lectures and laboratory sessions cover contemporary theories of behavioral economics as well as the application of methods from neuroscience (e.g., single-cell recording, fMRI, TMS) to the study of decision making.

Prerequisite: none.


The School is intended for student enrolled, without exception in a three-year degree (2nd or 3rd year “Triennale”) or Master (1st year “Specialistica”) of an Italian University. Enrollment is possible for the complete program (2 courses) or half the program (1 course).

Courses are in English a proper understanding of the language is important; ideally a certification is useful to understand if the English level is enough to follow the program. Selected students will be invited for a Skype interview for this purpose.

The application window will be from January 23 to March 28, 2018. Admissions decisions will be announced by April 30. The maximum number of Italian participants is 5 and all applicants will be informed by e-mail about the results.

Students interested in participating at the Summer School are encouraged to fill out the application form and are asked to submit a Personal statement describing their interests in the area, their relevant coursework, their affiliation/interest in mind/brain sciences and to produce the transcript of grades. . Students are requested to provide two letters of recommendation in English that have to be sent directly by each recommender to

The complete cost depends on the selected program (complete or half) and includes course material, accommodation, meals, extra-curricular activities.

Financial aid is available, according to the ISEE indicator. The completed application form is available in the download box and must be submitted with the application. For further information on costs and scholarships available write to

The completed documents have to be sent to the address: HSS- CIMeC, via delle Regole 101, 38123 Trento Mattarello (TN) and must be received within the deadline.

Key information

  • Applicants must be enrolled, without exception, in a three-year degree (2nd or 3rd year) or Master (1st year), Italian University.
  • Enrollment is possible for the complete program (2 courses) or half program (1 course).
  • Students with disabilities should contact the organizational office as soon as possible.
  • Financial aid is available.
  • Two Letters of recommendation must be written in English and sent separately, directly by recommenders to
  • The application form and financial aid form must be sent to the address: HSS- CIMeC, via delle Regole 101, 38123 Trento Mattarello (TN) and must be received within the deadline
  • Application deadline is March 28, 2018


Harvard Summer School
CIMeC, University of Trento
via delle Regole, 101, Trento Mattarello (TN) 38123


The venue of School is CIMeC, via delle Regole 101, Mattarello (TN).

How to reach Mattarello

By coach

  • By main road n.12 and from the Val D'Assa main road n.349;
  • By the county road, n.45;
  • By the Brennero motorway (exit at Trento Sud)

By train

Visit Trenitalia website to see up-to-date schedules for the location you are arriving from as well as to purchase your ticket online. Your arrival station is Trento, from which you then take a bus or a taxi to Mattarello. See “Moving around by bus” instructions.

By plane

Trento is about 110 km from Verona airport (Valerio Catullo), 228 Km from Venice airport (Marco Polo), 233 Km from Milano- Linate airports and 68 Km from Bolzano’s new airport.

Moving around by bus

If you are in Trento, the bus ticket can be purchased at a stand inside the train station. You get the ticket stamped directly on the bus by the "convalida" machine. The 301 bus (Timetables) comes by every 15-20 minutes and the ride should take no more than 20 minutes. The closest bus stop to CIMeC is "Mattarello - Regole”. You might want to ask the bus driver to tell you which stop it is when you arrive. In case there is a language barrier, you should know that it is the stop right after the first round-about you get to in Mattarello. Once off the bus, walk back towards Trento for about 50 meters and take a right onto Via della Rozola (across the street from the store "La Cicogna"). It will be about a 10 minute walk uphill to CIMeC.


From Trento train station, the cost of a ride to Mattarello will be around € 13. Tel. is 0461 235383.

How to reach San Bartolameo

San Bartolameo Dorms, via Malpensada, 90-140 - Trento can be easily reached from the city centre:

By buses A (circular bus line starting and ending in Piazza Dante), 3, 8 and 13: the bus stop is called "Verona Questura”.

By train, with a regular bus ticket (stop at the S. Bartolameo train station on the Trento - Venice route).

By bicycle (there is a bicycle path that leads to the south of the city from the train station).

By car: from the Trento South direction, in the Madonna Bianca area, follow via Menguzzato and viale Verona until reaching the fork in the road, on the right, with via Malpensada (in front of the Shopping centre and the Medical centre).