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Course Description

In this course you'll get an evidenced-based look at the parts of the brain responsible for addiction, the changes in the brain that occur during addiction, the risk factors for addiction, and an overview of how different drugs effect the brain. We'll also explore the neurobiology and evidence for behavioral addictions such as food addiction and gambling addiction, and take a look at how addiction can be treated. This course is intended for high school science instructors as part of the Teaching the Great Diseases program. Pre-requisites: This course integrates several concepts explored in earlier courses. it can be taken on its own, but we recommend students have working knowledge of these concepts:

  • Basic structure of the brain (covered in "Introduction to the nervous system")
  • Neuron structure and function (covered in "Cells of the nervous system")
  • Neural signaling, especially synaptic transmission (covered in "Using neural signaling to understand pain")
  • Neural circuits (covered in "The neurobiology of sleep")
  • How rodents are used as models in neuroscience research (covered in "How do we study the brain?").


This is an online course that will not meet on campus. Most course activities and interactions will occur asynchronously and online through Tufts Canvas, the university's learning management system. You can take this course from anywhere, as long as you have a reliable internet connection (broadband highly recommended).

Online courses are held to the same academic standards as campus-based courses and students can expect high levels of interaction with faculty and classmates. Online courses at Tufts are not self-paced, however they offer much more flexibility for students. Typically, course content is organized in a weekly structure, so students will be expected to login and participate regularly. However students can generally set their own schedule within each week as long as assignments and activities are completed on time.

Affiliated With:

  • School of Medicine - Public Health & Professional Degrees