Academic program

Neuroscience examines the bidirectional interrelations between the nervous system and behavior and includes perspectives from biology, psychology, chemistry, and philosophy. Neuroscience majors become familiar with neurobiology, physiological psychology, and cognitive neuroscience through classroom and laboratory experiences that include a thesis. More information on the neuroscience program is available on the website (

Major Requirements. Neuroscience is a rigorous, time-intensive major with fifteen courses required, 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, which should be completed by the end of the junior year:
NS/PY 200. Introduction to Neuroscience.
BI/NS 308. Neurobiology.
NS/PY 330. Cognitive Neuroscience/Lab.
NS/PY 363. Physiological Psychology.

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 only BIO 476 or s44, PSYC 305 or s19, and PSYC 357 or s51B toward the major.

Students can count both PHIL 321F and 321G toward the major, but only if the third elective is drawn from List A and offered by a different department.

Only one Short Term course can count toward the major.

List A: Courses Related to Neuroscience:
BIO 319. Neurogenetics.
BIO 321. Cellular Biochemistry.
BIO 330. Advanced Genetics.
BIO 331. Molecular Biology.
BIO 337. Animal Physiology.
BIO 338. Drug Actions on the Nervous System.
BIO 351. Immunology.
BIO 476. Seminar and Research in Neurobiology.
BIO s44. Experimental Neuro/Physiology.
BI/NS s37. Genes and Behavior.
PSYC 305. Animal Learning.
PSYC 357. Computational Neuroscience.
PSYC 361. Topics in Affective Neuroscience.
PSYC 364. Biopsychology of Smell.
PSYC 399. Junior-Senior Seminar in Biological Psychology.
PHIL 321F. Embodied Cognition and the Philosophy of Artificial Life (may count in List A or B).
PHIL 321G. Philosophical Issues in Cognitive Science (may count in List A or B).
PSYC s51B. Computational Neuroscience.

List B: Background Courses.
BIO 328. Developmental 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 232. Philosophy of Psychology.
PHIL 235. Philosophy of Mind.
PHIL 236. Philosophy of Knowledge.
PHIL 321F. Embodied Cognition and the Philosophy of Artificial Life (may count in List A or B).
PHIL 321G. Philosophical Issues in Cognitive Science (may count in List A or B).
PHIL s21. Science of the Mind.
PSYC 261. Research Methodology.
PSYC 302. Sensation and Perception.
PSYC 303. Health Psychology.
PSYC 333. Advanced Topics in Abnormal Psychology.
PSYC s19. Animal Cognition: Exploring the Minds of Birds, Bees, Chimps, and Dolphins.

4) NRSC 457 or 458. Senior Thesis.

Senior Thesis. A thesis, typically supervised by the neuroscience faculty, is required of all neuroscience majors and may be a one- or two-semester lab-based empirical project or a one-semester, library-based theoretical review and integration of the literature (NRSC 457 and/or 458). Guidelines concerning the thesis process are available on the neuroscience website.

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.

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