Neuroscience

Neuroscience is the interdisciplinary study of how the nervous system functions to control more basic processes, such as mechanisms controlling homeostasis, to more complex features such as movement, perception, behavior, emotion, desires and memory.  The foundational components of the major are provided through a series of courses in the disciplines of biology and psychology that center on neuronal function and its role in biology and behavior. Students then gain a deeper understanding of neuroscience through completion of additional coursework taken from biological and cognitive and behavioral neuroscience concentrations.

The major is intended to provide students with the knowledge and skills to successfully matriculate onto the next chapter of their lives, whether it is graduate school, a career in medicine or other allied health field, or another career avenue that requires strong quantitative and assessment skills. Depending on a student’s goals and interests, they may be advised to take additional preparatory coursework in chemistry, physics, mathematics (calculus and/or statistics), or computer science. Thus, it is essential that students consult an advisor when planning their curricular pathway. Students are also encouraged to seek undergraduate research opportunities and internship experiences to strengthen their career preparation.

Required for the Major:

The neuroscience major requires completion of the following core course requirements: BIO 151 and 152 (Principles of Biology); BIO 255 (Human Physiology); BIO 254 (Experimental Neuroscience); BIO 362 (Neuroscience); PSYC 130 (General Psychology); PSYC 249 (Brain and Behavior); one course in statistics (BIO 256 or PSYC 350); NEUR 485 (Neuroscience Seminar).

In addition, students must complete a total of 16 hours of supporting coursework, with at least 4 hours from each of the following categories:

Category 1

BIO 248 (Genetics)

BIO 363 (Molecular Biology)*

BIO 364 (Cell Biology)

BIO 367 (Endocrinology)

CHEM 301 (Biochemistry)*

CS 150 (Introduction to Computer Science)         

Category 2

PHIL 330 (Philosophy of Mind)*

PSYC 244 (Animal Cognition)

PSYC 352 (Cognitive Processes)*

PSYC 354 (Learning and Behavior)*

PSYC 465 (Abnormal Psychology)

Please note that the * designates courses that have additional pre-requisite requirements that may or may not be met by the core courses, so students should plan their schedules accordingly. For students majoring in both neuroscience and psychology, only three psychology courses (or two psychology courses and PSYC/NEUR 249) may be used to satisfy the requirements for both majors. For students majoring in both neuroscience and biology, only three biology courses may be used to satisfy the requirements for both majors.

The writing requirement for neuroscience will be fulfilled by BIO 363, BIO 364, BIO 367, PSYC 352, or PSYC 354. The speaking requirement is fulfilled through BIO 362.

Required for the Minor:

No minor is offered for neuroscience. Additionally, students majoring in neuroscience may not earn a minor in either biology or psychology.

Neuroscience Courses

NEUR 249 Brain and Behavior

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior, Natural World—Nonlab
  • Prerequisites: PSYC 130

This course will explore the biological basis of behavior through the fields of behavioral and cognitive neuroscience. The focus is on how the brain regulates human behavior, with emphasis on particular psychological topics such as developmental processes, perceptual processes, learning and memory, motivation and emotion, thinking, and disorders; as well as biological topics such as neural communication, neuroanatomy, and neurophysiology. Recent research is discussed in terms of its applications to understanding human behavior and brain disorders. (Same as PSYC 249)

NEUR 254 Experimental Neuroscience

  • 4 hours
  • Prerequisites: BIO 151 and BIO 152

This course will use a variety of experimental techniques and model systems commonly used in neuroscience research to explore concepts fundamental to the development and systems organization of the human nervous system. Students will be exposed to immunohistochemistry, structural analysis, behavioral assays, neuroanatomy, and electrophysiology. Concepts such as experimental design, data analysis, and research ethics will also be discussed. (Same as BIO 254).

NEUR 362 Neuroscience

  • 4 hours
  • Prerequisites: BIO 151, 152 and 255

The course explores the means by which neurons function and how they form circuitry related to sensory input, motor control and higher cognitive functions. A second component of the course is devoted to the role of primary literature within the field of neuroscience, including how hypotheses are formulated, tested and the results conveyed to the scientific community. A non-lab course. (Same as BIO 362)

NEUR 485 Neuroscience Seminar

  • 2 hours
  • Prerequisites: BIO 254, NEUR 254, PSYC 249, NEUR 249, BIO 362 or NEUR 362 and junior/senior standing

This seminar for students completing the neuroscience major will use primarily literature to explore topics spanning the breadth of neuroscience. Graded credit/no credit.

NEUR 490 Senior Project

  • 1 hour