Logo CIMeC  Logo Harvard Summer School

10th Edition

Summer Program in Mind/Brain Sciences

at University of Trento, Italy

June 1 – July 27, 2019





 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, Washington University in Saint Louis 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.

Directed by:

• Alfonso Caramazza, PhD, Daniel and Amy Starch Professor of Psychology, Harvard University and Center for Mind/Brain Sciences, University of Trento


• 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
• Jeffrey M. Zacks, PhD, Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences, Professor of Radiology, Associate Chair, Psychological & Brain Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis

Important dates:
  • March 18
    deadline for applications
  • April 30
    admissions selection

 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.

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 Bartolameo 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-105). 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, Mattarello (Trento), Italy.

MBB S-101: Windows into the Structure of the Mind and Brain, Alfonso Caramazza & John A. Assad
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 meant to provide the neuroscience and cognitive science foundation necessary to explore specific topics in the field.
Prerequisite: none

MBB S-105: The Cognitive Neuroscience of Film, Jeffrey M. Zacks
Movies occupy an outsized share of the human psychological and economic landscape. They are also terrifically rich, dynamic stimuli that exercise perception, comprehension, and memory systems. This means that movies have the potential to illuminate psychological mechanisms of understanding and memory. In this course, students explore psychological and neurophysiological mechanisms that underlie the experience of the movie viewer, and use film theory and practice to explore psychological hypotheses about how people make sense of the complex events that make up our lives.
Prerequisite: none (MBB S-101 highly recommended).


The School is intended for student enrolled, without exception, in a three-year degree (2nd or 3rd year “Triennale”) or Master (1st year “Specialistica/Magistrale”) 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 good enough to follow the program. Selected students will be invited for a Skype interview for this purpose.

The application window is from January 18 to March 18, 2019. 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 also requested to provide two letters of recommendation in English that have to be sent directly by each recommender to HarvardTrento@gmail.com.

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 hss@cimec.unitn.it

The complete documents have to be sent to: 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 HarvardTrento@gmail.com
• The application form and financial aid form must be sent to: HSS- CIMeC, via delle Regole 101, 38123 Trento Mattarello (TN) and must be received within the deadline
• Application deadline is March 18, 2019


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

How to reach Mattarello

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.

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 coach

By the Brennero motorway (exit at Trento Sud)

Moving around by bus

If you are in Trento, bus tickets 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 bus 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).


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