Neuroscience Studies Major

General Distribution Requirement

NEUR 180, NEUR 244, NEUR 246, NEUR 248, and NEUR 484 count toward the mathematics and natural science requirement. NEUR 313 counts toward the humanities requirement. NEUR 240 counts toward the social science distribution requirement.

General Education Requirements

Courses that meet the general education requirements in writing, quantitative thinking, internationalism and multiculturalism will be posted on the Registrar’s web page in advance of registration for each semester.

Additional information regarding the general distribution requirement and the general education requirements can be found in the graduation requirements section of this catalog.

Independent Study

The department offers independent study options in the form of tutorials, independent projects, internships, and preceptorships. For more information contact the department and review the Curriculum section of the catalog.

Neuroscience Studies Major

Major Requirements

The neuroscience studies major consists of three primary components: 1) completion of 5 foundation courses, 2) completion of a 7 course core curriculum required for all neuroscience studies majors, and 3) a 5 or 6 course emphasis (described below) in mathematics, computer science, philosophy, or psychology, or a disciplinary or interdisciplinary minor or major approved by the neuroscience studies faculty for inclusion in place of an emphasis in the neuroscience studies major depending on the interests and future goals of the student*. The core curriculum for neuroscience studies draws from introductory, intermediate and advanced courses in biology, mathematics, computer science, philosophy, and psychology, as well as prerequisite courses. The senior capstone experience in neuroscience studies is satisfied by successful completion of an approved research experience (e.g., NEUR 300) and the NEUR 488 - Senior Seminar (2 semesters) in neuroscience studies. The student, in consultation with his/her advisor, chooses courses in his/her emphasis from approved coursework in one of the participating departments, or, alternately, chooses courses for inclusion in a separate minor or major in consultation with both faculty in the department housing the minor or major, and a neuroscience studies faculty member. Individual minors or majors will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and must be approved for inclusion in the neuroscience studies major in order to satisfy the emphasis requirement. (Not all minors or majors will meet this requirement.)

* Students interested in a more in-depth study of neurobiology and neurochemistry or who plan to pursue a career as a biomedical scientist should also consider the major in biology with an emphasis in neurobiology. (See Biology Major section of this catalog.)

Specific Requirements for the Neuroscience Studies Major

Five foundation courses are required of all majors: BIOL 260 and BIOL 265; CHEM 112 or CHEM 115COMP 120, or COMP 123*; MATH 155.
* Students select the course that will serve as the appropriate prerequisite for the computer science course selected from the list in 3 below.

Seven Neuroscience Studies Core Courses:

  1. NEUR 180 - Brain, Mind, and Behavior (introductory course)
  2. BIOL 255 - Cell Biology and Genetics Laboratory Methods (completed in conjunction with either of the Biology foundation courses, BIOL 260 or BIOL 265)
  3. One of: COMP 365 - Computational Linear Algebra, NEUR 484 - Intro Artificial Intelligence 
  4. NEUR 313 - Philosophy of Mind 
  5. NEUR 248 - Behavioral Neuroscience 
  6. NEUR 300 - Directed Research*
    * The Directed Research experience should be defined in part by the discipline of emphasis for the neuroscience studies major and focus on a neuroscience-related topic. It should culminate in the creation of a research paper that is modeled after professional publications in the student's area of emphasis.
  7. Capstone Experience
    A capstone experience of either the neuroscience studies senior seminar or, with approval of the student's advisor and director of the neuroscience studies program, an advanced independent project.
    NEUR 488 - Senior Seminar (taken twice)

Required Emphasis in a Participating Department or Approved Minor or Major

Completion of an emphasis in one of the participating departments (mathematics, computer science, philosophy, or psychology) or a disciplinary or interdisciplinary minor or major approved by the neuroscience studies faculty for inclusion in place of an emphasis in the neuroscience studies major is required of all neuroscience studies majors to provide depth. Typical course sequences for emphases are listed below. Students should select and advisor from within their chosen emphasis, minor or major and work closely with the advisor and a Neuroscience Studies faculty member in selecting appropriate courses for inclusion in this component of the neuroscience studies major. Not all minors or majors will meet this requirement.

Computer Science Emphasis (5 courses)

COMP 124 - Object-Oriented Programming and Data Structures
COMP 221 - Algorithm Design and Analysis
One additional Computer Science course (COMP) numbered 200-499, selected in consultation with Computer Science faculty
Two additional Computer Science courses (COMP) numbered 300-499, selected in consultation with Computer Science faculty

Courses that might be particularly appropriate for the Neuroscience Studies major include:

COMP 302 - Introduction to Database Management Systems
COMP 320 - Computational Biology
COMP 380 - Bodies/Minds: AI Robotics
COMP 440 - Collective Intelligence
COMP 484 - Introduction to Artificial Intelligence 

Mathematics Emphasis (6 courses)

MATH 135 - Applied Multivariable Calculus I
MATH 312 - Differential Equations*

One of the following 2 courses:

MATH 236 - Linear Algebra
MATH 237 - Multivariable Calculus 

The following course:

COMP 123 - Core Concepts in Computer Science 

Two of the following 4 courses:

MATH 432 - Mathematical Modeling
MATH 437 - Continuous Applied Mathematics
MATH 469 - Discrete Applied Mathematics**
NEUR 484 - Intro Artificial Intelligence
* MATH 312 also requires MATH 237
** MATH 469 also requires MATH 236 and MATH 379 

Philosophy Emphasis (5 courses)

One of the following 2 courses:

PHIL 110 - Critical Thinking
PHIL 111 - Introduction to Symbolic Logic 

Plus both:

PHIL 121 - Ethics
PHIL 201 - Modern Philosophy 

Two of the following 5 courses:

PHIL 220 - Bioethics
PHIL 313 - Advanced Symbolic Logic
PHIL 310 - Philosophy of Science
PHIL 312 - Philosophy of Mathematics
PHIL 311 - Philosophy of Language 

Psychology Emphasis (5 courses)

NEUR 240 - Principles of Learning and Behavior 

Three of the following courses:

BIOL 356 - Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience 
NEUR 244 - Cognitive Neuroscience
NEUR 246 - Exploring Sensation/Perception
PSYC 242 - Cognitive Psychology
PSYC 252 - Distress, Dysfunction, and Disorder: Perspectives on the DSM 

One of the following 3 courses:

NEUR 385 - Mind Reading: Understanding Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging
PSYC 378 - Psychology of Language
PSYC 386 - Seminar in Neuropharmacology
PSYC 488 - Senior Seminar (Approved sections only. Not all offerings will meet this requirement.)

Due to the high degree of potential overlap between major plans in Psychology and Neuroscience Studies, students seeking to complete both majors must list, on each plan, at least four courses that do not appear on the other plan.