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Planning Ahead

Students planning to major in Neuroscience should speak with a faculty member in Biology or Psychology early in their undergraduate career. Faculty will help lay out a four-year plan that includes required courses, elective courses that support the specific neuroscience area of interest, opportunities for off-campus study and possible internships. Early consultation is important to sequencing of several courses so study remains an option off-campus. In general, students should take CHEM 111 in their first semester, CHEM 221 and BIOL 112 in their second semester, and BIOL 341 in the fall of their Sophomore year. Students should take BIOL 242 in their Sophomore or Junior year. Students should begin taking courses in psychology by the end of their Sophomore year. A summer research experience is highly recommended and faculty will work with students to identify appropriate opportunities.

Original Research Project

After thorough grounding in the fundamentals of Biology and Psychology followed by exploration of special topics in advanced courses, the Capstone Experience for the Neuroscience major is the completion of an original research topic that integrates Psychology and Biology. For example, student projects have investigated the relation between infant attachment style, response to a novel situation, and stress measured by salivary cortisol. Another student examined drug-induced changes in aggressive display in male Siamese fighting fish. A third project measured small facial muscle movements in response to happy or angry faces and the subsequent identification of facial expressions of emotion in briefly presented images.

General Education Requirements

Many of the required courses for the Neuroscience major fulfill the Quantitative Reasoning component of the Analytical Reasoning Requirement of the General Education Requirements.

The Major

Students generally complete 44 (12 courses plus a 1-credit seminar) for the Neuroscience major.

Students interested in post-graduate study, including medical school, should review entrance requirements of the programs in which they are interested, since many programs require physics, calculus and additional chemistry courses. Students interested in taking Biochemistry are reminded that the prerequisites for this course are CHEM 111, 221, 321 and 331. Students who are interested in taking Animal Behavior should take Ecological Biology (BIOL 111) and Biological Diversity (BIOL 226) in their first two years. Students interested in Ornithology, Biology of Insects and/or Vertebrate Zoology are reminded that Ecological Biology (BIOL 111) is a prerequisite.

With approval from Neuroscience faculty, specialty courses that are offered on an occasional basis may substitute for one or more of the elective courses.

  • Majors are required to complete the following courses:
    • BIOL 112 Cells, Genes and Inheritance
    • BIOL 242 Topics in Neuroscience
    • BIOL 341 Cell Physiology
    • BIOL 345 Anatomy and Physiology of the Nervous System
    • CHEM 111 Principles of Chemistry
    • CHEM 221 Organic Chemistry I
    • PSYC 245 Research Methods and Statistics
    • PSYC 250 Brain and Behavior
    • PSYC 353 Behavioral Neuroscience
    • PSYC 486 Research Project
  • At least one of the following:
    • PSYC 351 Research in Stress and Health
    • PSYC 355 Research in Cognition
    • PSYC 357 Sensation and Perception
    • PSYC 363 Developmental Psychopathology
    • PSYC 366 Cradle and Grave
    • PSYC 376 Health Psychology
    • PSYC 378 Pyschoactive Drugs and Behavior
  • At least two of the following courses, totaling at least seven credits:
    • BIOL 111 Ecological Biology
    • BIOL 226 Biological Diversity
    • BIOL 343 Immunology
    • BIOL 347 Anatomy and Physiology of Cardiovascular, Respiratory, Renal and Digestive Systems
    • BIOL 348 Ornithology
    • BIOL 357 Animal Behavior
    • BIOL 362 Biology of Insects
    • BIOL 451 Evolutionary Biology
    • BIOL 461 Microbiology
    • BIOL 464 Advanced Cell Physiology
    • BIOL 465 Advanced Cell Physiology Lab
    • BIOL 466 Molecular Genetics
    • BIOL 467 Neuropharmacology¬†
    • CHEM 351 Biochemistry
  • These courses are also recommended depending on student interest, but not required:
    • MATH 120 or 300 Statistics
    • MATH 180 and 280 Calculus A and B
    • PHYS 120 or 125 Physics I
    • PHYS 230 or 235 Physics II
    • CS 112 or CS 128 Computer Modeling/Programming
    • CS 290 Computational Science