Neuroscience Major

General Distribution Requirement

Many required courses in the Neuroscience major meet various general distribution requirements. Please refer to the department in which they are offered for specific information.

General Education Requirements

Courses that meet the general education requirements in writing, quantitative thinking, internationalism and U.S. identities and differences 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 independent projects and internships. For more information contact the department and review the Curriculum section of the catalog.

Neuroscience Major

Major Requirements

The neuroscience major consists of 15 courses, including the completion of a capstone experience. The distribution of courses presented for the major should conform to the following pattern:

Early Required Courses (7 courses)

These courses (1) introduce the study of neuroscience; (2) provide a foundation in the sciences that are needed for studying the brain; and (3) present the mathematical tools needed for work in neuroscience. Many of these courses are prerequisites for later courses and therefore should be completed as early as possible, ideally before the end of the sophomore year.

CHEM 111 - General Chemistry I: Structure and Equilibrium 
CHEM 112 - General Chemistry II: Energetics and Reactivity 
(CHEM 115 - Accelerated General Chemistry can substitute for CHEM 111 and CHEM 112)
BIOL 255 - Cell Biology and Genetics Laboratory Methods; 2 credits (taken concurrently with either BIOL 260 or BIOL 265)
BIOL 260 - Genetics
BIOL 265 - Cell Biology
MATH 155 - Introduction to Statistical Modeling
PSYC 100 - Introduction to Psychology or PSYC 180 - Brain, Mind, and Behavior 

Intermediate Required Courses (2 courses)

These courses provide coverage of the biological basis of behavior from cellular-molecular and systems-level perspectives. It is recommended that students take these courses as soon as they have the necessary prerequisites, ideally before the end of the junior year.

BIOL 356 - Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience 
PSYC 248 - Behavioral Neuroscience 

Intermediate Elective Courses (2 courses; must take 1 Biology and 1 Psychology)

These courses provide opportunities to explore different approaches to the study of neuroscience.

BIOL 360 - Neuroanatomy 
BIOL 367 - Human Physiology
PSYC 240 - Principles of Learning and Behavior
PSYC 244 - Cognitive Neuroscience
PSYC 246 - Exploring Sensation and Perception 

Advanced Elective Courses (2 courses; must take 1 Biology and 1 Psychology)

These courses provide in-depth coverage of neuroscience topics at an advanced level. Courses marked with an asterisk (*) fulfill the multi-draft paper requirement for the capstone. Courses marked with a hash mark (#) may fulfill the multi-draft paper requirement for the capstone if the paper is on a neuroscience topic and approved by the Program Director. Upper-level topics courses in neuroscience may also count as advanced electives with approval of the steering committee.

BIOL 357 - Immunology #
BIOL 369 - Developmental Biology #
BIOL 473 - Research in Immunology
BIOL 486 - Seminar in Neuropharmacology *
BIOL 487 - Seminar in Immunology 
PSYC 382 - Hormones and Behavior *
PSYC 385 - Mind Reading: Understanding Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging *
PSYC 390 - Pain and Suffering *

Explorations Course (1 course)

This course provides an opportunity for students to explore the way neuroscience influences and is influenced by other fields. Other suitable courses approved by the neuroscience steering committee may also be used to fulfill this requirement.

BIOL 270 - Biodiversity and Evolution 
BIOL 365 - Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
COMP 484 - Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
ECON 490 - Behavioral and Experimental Economics
PHIL 213 - Philosophy of Mind
PSYC 242 - Cognitive Psychology
PSYC 252 - Distress, Dysfunction, and Disorder: Perspectives on the DSM
PSYC 378 - Psychology of Language 

Capstone Experience

The capstone experience for the neuroscience major consists of 3 components: (1) completion of the capstone course during the fall or spring of senior year; (2) participation in a research or internship experience after the sophomore year and before or concurrently with completion of the capstone course; and (3) completion of a multi-draft paper in an advanced course taken after the sophomore year. Details about these components are provided below.

(1) Capstone course

Taken during the senior year, this 2-credit course provides a forum for students to reflect on their neuroscience experience, prepare for post-graduation opportunities, and create the poster that each will present at the Neuroscience Poster Session held every spring. Students' posters will have a central focus on neuroscience and be based on the research/internship experience, the multi-draft paper, or related coursework to be approved by the capstone course instructor. This work will ideally be completed before the capstone course is taken.

(2) Research or internship experience

Students will gain familiarity with the process of research and/or the application of neuroscience to specific problems through participation in a research or internship experience. This requirement may be fulfilled in a variety of ways (which may or may not be credit bearing), including an off-campus internship, on- or off-campus research/independent project, summer or study-away research, or by taking a research-intensive course (e.g., Research in Molecular Biology [BIOL 472], Research in Immunology [BIOL 473], Research in Biochemistry [BIOL 474]). While students are encouraged to have these experiences as early as possible, only research or internships conducted after the sophomore year will be counted towards the requirement. Students will consult with a neuroscience faculty member to determine an appropriate experience based on their plans and goals.

(3) Multi-draft paper

Students will write a multi-draft paper during an advanced course or independent project taken after the sophomore year. Courses that fulfill this requirement are denoted with asterisks under 'Advanced Elective Courses' above and will be listed as such on the Registrar's web page.