Neuroscience

Professors Bavis (Biology) and Kahan (Psychology); Associate Professors Kleckner (Biology) and Koven (Psychology, chair); Assistant Professor Castro (Psychology)

Neuroscience is a rigorous, time-intensive major that examines the bidirectional interrelations between the nervous system and behavior and includes perspectives from biology, psychology, chemistry, philosophy, mathematics, computer science, and other disciplines. Neuroscience majors become familiar with neurobiology, physiological psychology, and cognitive neuroscience through classroom and laboratory experiences that include a senior capstone. More information on the neuroscience program is available on the website (bates.edu/neuroscience).

Students interested in declaring the major may take the introductory course in their first or second year. As performance on the examinations in the introductory course is predictive of future academic success in the major, students whose exam performance is below a B- who wish to pursue the major should consult with the program chair about their academic preparedness for subsequent neuroscience courses and may be cautioned against majoring in neuroscience. Given the emphasis on quantitative reasoning in neuroscience, prospective majors whose score on the college’s Quantitative Reasoning Assessment (QRA) entrance exam is at or below the fiftieth percentile are cautioned against majoring in neuroscience without further intensive preparation in mathematics. Students in this situation must consult with the program chair to identify a suitable plan to address their level of college mathematics preparedness.

Major Requirements. Students take fifteen courses, some of which have prerequisites:

1) Foundational science courses:

One of the following:
CHEM 107A. Atomic and Molecular Structure.
CH/ES 107B. Chemical Structure and Its Importance in the Environment.
FYS 398. The Chemistry of Color.

One of the following:
CHEM 108A. Chemical Reactivity.
CH/ES 108B. Chemical Reactivity in Environmental Systems.

All of the following:
BIO 190. Organismal Biology.
BIO 242. Cellular and Molecular Biology.
CHEM 217. Organic Chemistry I.
CHEM 218. Organic Chemistry II.

One of the following:
BIO 244. Biostatistics.
PSYC 218. Statistics.

2) Core neuroscience courses:
NS/PY 200. Introduction to Neuroscience.
BI/NS 308. Neurobiology/Lab.
NS/PY 330. Cognitive Neuroscience/Lab.
NS/PY 363. Physiological Psychology/Lab.

NS/PY 200 must be taken prior to junior year. At least two of the three 300-level courses must be taken prior to senior year.

3) Electives. Three upper-level courses from the two elective lists below, either all three from list A or two from list A and one from list B. Students are encouraged to take these courses from different faculty members. Students may count PSYC 357 or s51B toward the major but not both. When choosing the three electives, students are encouraged to take courses in at least two different deprartments. Only one Short Term course can count toward the major.

List A: Courses Related to Neuroscience:
BIO 321. Cellular Biochemistry.
BIO 328. Developmental Biology.
BIO 330. Advanced Genetics.
BIO 331. Molecular Biology.
BIO 337. Animal Physiology.
BIO 338. Drug Actions on the Nervous System.
BIO 350. Immunology.
BIO 351. Immunology/Lab.
BIO s44. Experimental Neuro/Physiology.
PSYC 305. Animal Learning.
PSYC 357. Computational Neuroscience.
PSYC 361. Topics in Affective Neuroscience.
PSYC 364. Biopsychology of Smell.
PHIL 321H. Computational Modeling: Autononmous Robots and Embodied Cognition (may count in List A or B)
PSYC s51B. Computational Neuroscience.

List B: Supplemental Courses.
BI/MA 255A. Mathematical Models in Biology.
BIO 355. Advanced Topics in Evolution.
CHEM 321. Biological Chemistry I.
ENGL 395I. Literary Imagination and Neuroscience.
MU/PY 395. Junior-Senior Seminar in Musicology: Music and the Mind.
PHIL 211. Philosophy of Science.
PHIL 213. Biomedical Ethics.
PHIL 235. Philosophy of Mind.
PHIL 236. Philosophy of Knowledge.
PHIL 237. Computational Modeling, Intelligence, and Intelligence Systems.
PHIL 321H. Computational Modeling: Autononmous Robots and Embodied Cognition (may count in List A or B)
PHIL 321J. Topics in Contemporary Philosophy of Mind and Language.
PHIL s21. Science of the Mind.
PHYS 301. Mathematical Methods of Physics.
PSYC 261. Research Methodology.
PSYC 302. Sensation and Perception.
PSYC 303. Health Psychology.
PSYC 333. Advanced Topics in Abnormal Psychology.

4) Senior Capstone.

Senior Capstone. The senior capstone may take one of three forms: an empirical thesis, a capstone seminar, or a community-engaged learning project. Guidelines concerning the thesis process are available on the neuroscience website.

NRSC 457-458. Capstone Thesis in Neuroscience.
NRSC 459. Community-Engaged Learning Capstone.
NRSC 460. Capstone Seminar on Cellular Neuroscience.
NS/PY 461. Capstone Seminar on Psychoendocrinology.

Double Majoring in Neuroscience and Biological Chemistry, Biology, Chemistry, or Psychology. Students may not double major in neuroscience and biological chemistry, biology, chemistry, or psychology.

Students planning to minor in chemistry may not use CHEM 321 toward both the chemistry minor and the neuroscience major.

Transfer of Courses. Neurscience majors may transfer up to two non-Bates credits toward the major (e.g., courses taken during summer or while abroad), provided that the credits are pre-approved by the program chair.

Pass/Fail Grading Option. Pass/fail grading may not be elected for courses applied toward the major.

Courses

NS/PY 200. Introduction to Neuroscience.

In this course, students learn how the structure and function of the central and peripheral nervous systems support mind and behavior. Topics introduced include neuroanatomy, developmental neurobiology, neurophysiology, neuropharmacology, and neuropsychiatry. The course is aimed at prospective majors and nonmajors who are interested in exploring a field in which biology and psychology merge, and to which many other disciplines (e.g., chemistry, philosophy, anthropology, linguistics, computer science) have contributed. Not open to students who have received credit for PSYC 215. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 50. (Biological.) Normally offered every year. J. Castro, N. Koven.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

BI/NS 308. Neurobiology/Lab.

An introduction to the molecular and cellular principles of neurobiology and the organization of neurons into networks. Also included are the topics of developmental and synaptic plasticity, and the role invertebrate systems have played in our understanding of these processes. Laboratories include electrical recordings from nerve cells, computer simulation and modeling, and the use of molecular techniques in neurobiology. Prerequisite(s): BIO 242. Enrollment limited to 12 per laboratory section. [S] [L] [Q] Normally offered every year. N. Kleckner.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

NS/PY 330. Cognitive Neuroscience/Lab.

This course explores how the neurological organization of the brain influences the way people think, feel, and act. Particular emphasis is given to the brain systems that support object recognition, spatial processing, attention, language, memory, executive functions, and emotion. Students also investigate clinical syndromes and unusual cognitive phenomena. A wide range of research techniques is introduced, including positron emission topography, functional magnetic resonance imaging, diffusion tensor imaging, neuropsychological assessment, event-related potentials, magnetoencephalography, and transcranial magnetic stimulation. Prerequisite(s): NS/PY 200 or 363 or PSYC 215, 222, or 230. Enrollment limited to 40. Enrollment limited to 20 per laboratory section. (Biological.) Normally offered every year. N. Koven.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

NRSC 360. Independent Study.

Students, in consultation with a faculty advisor, individually design and plan a course of study or research not offered in the curriculum. Course work includes a reflective component, evaluation, and completion of an agreed-upon product. Sponsorship by a faculty member in the program/department, a course prospectus, and permission of the chair are required. Students may register for no more than one independent study per semester. Normally offered every semester. Staff.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

NS/PY 363. Physiological Psychology/Lab.

The course is an introduction to the concepts and methods used in the study of physiological mechanisms underlying behavior. Topics include an introduction to neurophysiology and neuroanatomy; an examination of sensory and motor mechanisms; and the physiological bases of ingestion, sexual behavior, reinforcement, learning, memory, and abnormal behavior. Laboratory work includes examination of neuroanatomy, development of neurosurgical and histological skills, and behavioral testing of rodents. Prerequisite(s): NS/PY 200 or BI/NS 308. (Biological.) [L] Normally offered every year. J. Castro.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

NRSC 457. Capstone Thesis in Neuroscience.

Open to seniors majors with departmental permission. A neuroscience thesis involves independent laboratory research on a topic broadly related to neuroscience. This may take the form of one- or two-semester projects conducted under the supervision of a Bates faculty member, or participation in a summer neuroscience-related research internship off-campus that culminates in data analysis and writing during the fall semester. With the latter option, students take responsibility for finding and securing a summer research position in neuroscience that involves some form of data collection, and students must also secure permission from the summer research mentor to bring data back to Bates for analysis and write-up. Students register for NRSC 457 in the fall semester and/or for NRSC 458 in the winter semester. Majors writing an honors thesis register for both NRSC 457 and 458. Instructor permission is required. [W3] Normally offered every year. Staff.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

NRSC 458. Capstone Thesis in Neuroscience.

Open to seniors majors with departmental permission. A neuroscience thesis involves independent laboratory research on a topic broadly related to neuroscience. This may take the form of one- or two-semester projects conducted under the supervision of a Bates faculty member, or participation in a summer neuroscience-related research internship off-campus that culminates in data analysis and writing during the fall semester. With the latter option, students take responsibiligy for finding and securing a summer research position in neuroscience that involves some form of data collection, and students must also secure permissin from the summer research mentor to bring data back to Bates for analysis and write-up. Students register for NRSC 457 in the fall semester and/or for NRSC 458 in the winter semester. Majors writing an honors thesis register for both NRSC 457 and 458. Instructor permission is required. [W3] Normally offered every year. Staff.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)

NRSC 459. Community-Engaged Learning Capstone.

Open to senior majors with permission of the program faculty, this capstone project involves creative collaboration with a campus or community partner to produce a body of neuroscience-related work that benefits that partner. Students complete fifty to sixty hours of work in a campus/community placement and engage in structured writing exercises specific to the placement. Students may wish to consult with the Harward Center for Community Partnerships as they develop their ideas; the idea is subject to approval by the neuroscience faculty committee. Instructor permission is required. [W3] Normally offered every semester. J. Castro, N. Kleckner, N. Koven.

NRSC 460. Capstone Seminar on Cellular Neuroscience.

Open to seniors with departmental permission. Cellular neuroscience encompasses many subfields that include an analysis of the interaction of different molecules in determining neuron and glial cell behavior. The focus of this course is on the molecules necessary for development, regeneration, and excitability of individual neurons, utilizing model organisms such as zebrafish and pond snails. Students engage in research-related activities and attend seminars by experts in the fields of cellular neuroscience. Students work individually or in groups to design novel hypotheses based on a close reading of the literature and write research proposals that explain how to test those hypotheses. Prerequisite(s): BIO 242 and one of the following: BI/NS 308, BIO 328 or 337, or NS/PY 363. Not open to students who have received credit for BIO 460. Enrollment limited to 12. Instructor permission is required. [W3] Normally offered every year. N. Kleckner.

NS/PY 461. Capstone Seminar on Psychoendocrinology.

This seminar focuses on the topic of social cognition as it applies to peptide levels in order to investigate the neurochemistry of emotional intelligence, theory of mind, and self-perception as well as probe their intermediate cognitive/affective mechanisms. Students work in groups to test novel hypotheses using human subjects and, through the research process, learn methods of experimental neuropsychological assessment and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Open to seniors with department or program permission. Prerequisite(s): BIO 244 or PSYC 218 and NS/PY 330. Enrollment limited to 12. Instructor permission is required. [W3] N. Koven.
Concentrations

This course is referenced by the following General Education Concentrations

Short Term Courses

NRSC s50. Independent Study.

Students, in consultation with a faculty advisor, individually design and plan a course of study or research not offered in the curriculum. Course work includes a reflective component, evaluation, and completion of an agreed-upon product. Sponsorship by a faculty member in the program/department, a course prospectus, and permission of the chair is required. Students may register for no more than one independent study during a Short Term. Open to first-year students. Normally offered every year. Staff.
Interdisciplinary Programs

This course counts toward the following Interdisciplinary Program(s)