Professor Koven (Neuroscience, chair); Associate Professor Kleckner (Biology); Assistant Professor Castro (Neuroscience)
Neuroscience is a rigorous, time-intensive major that examines the bidirectional interrelations between the nervous system and behavior and includes perspectives from biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, philosophy, psychology, 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 RequirementsStudents take fourteen courses, some of which have prerequisites:
1) Foundational science courses:
All of the following:
BIO 190. Organismal Biology.
BIO 242. Cellular and Molecular Biology.
CHEM 107A. Atomic and Molecular Structure.
CHEM 108A. Chemical Reactivity.
CHEM 217. Organic Chemistry I.
One of the following:
BIO 244. Biostatistics.
PSYC 218. Statistics.
2) Core neuroscience courses:
NS/PY 160. Introduction to Neuroscience.
BI/NS 308. Neurobiology/Lab.
NS/PY 330. Cognitive Neuroscience/Lab.
NS/PY 363. Physiological Psychology/Lab.
NS/PY 160 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 316. Molecular Aspects of Development.
BIO 321. Cellular Biochemistry.
BIO 328. Developmental Biology.
BIO 330. Advanced Genetics/Lab.
BIO 331. Molecular Biology/Lab.
BIO 337. Animal Physiology/Lab.
BIO 350. Immunology.
BIO 351. Immunology/Lab.
BIO 473. Seminar and Research in Cell Biology.
BIO s44. Experimental Neuro/Physiology/Lab.
NS/PY 319. Physiological Profiles of Mental Illness.
NS/PY 357. Computational Neuroscience.
NS/PY 361. Topics in Affective Neuroscience.
NS/PY364. Biopsychology of Smell.
PHIL 321H. Computational Modeling: Autononmous Robots and Embodied Cognition (may count in List A or B)
PSYC 305. Animal Learning.
List B: Supplemental Courses.
BI/MA 255A. Mathematical Models in Biology.
BIO 355. Advanced Topics in Evolution.
CHEM 218. Organic Chemistry II.
CHEM 321. Biological Chemistry I.
ENG 395I. Literary Imagination and Neuroscience.
MU/PY 253. Music and the Embodied 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 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: Self-Knowledge.
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.
4) Senior Capstone.
Senior CapstoneThe senior capstone may take one of three forms: an empirical thesis, a capstone seminar, or a community-engaged learning project. Guidelines concerning the capstone 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.
NRSC 462. Capstone Seminar on Computational Neuroscience.
Double Majoring in Neuroscience and Biological Chemistry, Biology, Chemistry, or PsychologyStudents 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 CoursesNeurscience 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 OptionPass/fail grading may not be elected for courses applied toward the major. Courses
NS/PH 117. Brain Imaging: How Imaging Reveals the Brain and How the Brain Creates Behavior.This introductory course surveys how breakthroughs in microscopy and imaging have enabled key discoveries about the brain. Students begin by investigating challenges the brain poses as an imaging sample, and discuss the origins of these challenges in fundamental physical principles. After studying the structure and function of the nervous system as well as the physiology of neurons, students investigate both classical and cutting-edge imaging techniques. These techniques are introduced in the context of specific neuroscience case studies relevant to human health and behavior. Familiarity with high-school-level algebra and trigonometry is expected. New course beginning Fall 2017. Enrollment limited to 49. [Q] [S] J. Castro, T. Gould.
NRSC 130. The Neuroscience of Morality.This past election brought discussions of morality to the forefront. Topics ranged from political morality and the liberal/conservative divide, to group morality and intergroup relations as well as the role of emotions versus conscious reasoning in moral judgment. Indeed, how do we decide whether a statement, conviction, or action is morally wrong? Are there different kinds of moral wrongness? What role does our neurobiology play in moral decision making? This course considers the neuroscientific origins of morality by exploring how judgments about fairness, harm, justice, honesty, and responsibility are impacted by our biological foundations. New course beginning Winter 2017. Enrollment limited to 30. One-time offering. [S] L. Ligouri.
NS/PY 160. 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. Not open to students who have received credit for NS/PY 200. Normally offered every year. J. Castro, N. Koven.
NRSC 208. Neuroscience, Ethics, and Society.As our ability to measure, predict, and manipulate brain function progresses, so too does our need to grapple with the societal consequences of neuroscientific discovery. This course invites critical examination of the ethics surrounding real-world neuroscience applications in private and public sectors. With topics that include psychopharmacology and cognitive liberty, neuroimaging for lie detection, weaponization of neurotechnology, and neuroprivacy in an era of data mining, students engage two overarching questions: How does the practice of neuroscience simultaneously mirror and mold social attitudes and policy-making agendas? What does it mean to be a responsible consumer and/or producer of neuroscientific knowledge? Prerequisite(s): NRSC 130, NS/PH 117, NS/PY 160, or PSYC 215 Enrollment limited to 30. Normally offered every other year. N. Koven, J. Castro.
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. Normally offered every year. [L] [Q] [S] N. Kleckner.
NS/PY 319. Physiological Profiles of Mental Illness.This course examines the physiology associated with a range of mental illnesses. Biological methods (e.g., neuroscience, autonomic psychophysiology) are used to explore the physiological underpinnings of mood, anxiety, psychotic, personality, and other psychological disorders. Clinical implications are discussed including evaluating the utility of incorporating physiological measurement into diagnosis and treatment of psychopathology. Prerequisite(s): NS/PY 160 or 200 or PSYC 215 or 235. Not open to students who have received credit for PSYC 319. Enrollment limited to 20. Normally offered every year. K. White.
CH/NS 320. Mechanisms of Memory.This course engages students in ideas from the fields of neuroscience, chemistry, biology, and psychology to understand on a chemical level how memory is stored and recalled in the human brain. Using seminal experiments as a foundation, students differentiate between “learning” and “memory” and connect model systems from the molecule all the way to behavior. Multimodal assignments explore the broad scope of experimental design and the cutting-edge subtleties of what it means to store and access information in the brain. Prerequisite(s): BIO 242 and CHEM 217. New course begining Fall 2017. Normally offered every other year. [S] A. Kennedy.
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 160 or 200 or 363 or PSYC 215, 222, or 230. Enrollment limited to 40. Enrollment limited to 20 per laboratory section. Normally offered every year. N. Koven.
NS/PY 357. Computational Neuroscience.In this course, students apply techniques from engineering and computer science to address fundamental questions of brain function. Examining real data sets, students explore how the brain encodes and represents information on cellular scales, and also how computational approaches can be brought to bear on traditional neuroscience disciplines being revolutionized by data-driven paradigms. Specific topics include spike statistics, reverse correlation and linear models of encoding, dimensionality reduction, cell assembly analysis, and computational genomics. All assignments, and most class work emphasizes computer programming in Matlab (though no background is assumed or expected). Prerequisite(s): NS/PY 160 or 200 and PSYC 218 or any 200-level mathematics course. Enrollment limited to 15. Normally offered every year. M. Greene.
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.
NS/PY 361. Topics in Affective Neuroscience.A seminar that examines advances in the interdisciplinary field of affective neuroscience. Topics may include methodology, cognitive components of emotion, emotion in personality and temperament, neuroscience of positive and negative affect, moral emotions, unconscious emotions, evolutionary perspectives of affect, emotion dysregulation and psychopathology, neuroethics and neurolaw, and neuroscience of fervor. Prerequisite(s): NS/PY 160 or 200 or PSYC 215. Not open to first-year students or sophomores. Not open to students who have received credit for PSYC 361. Enrollment limited to 15. N. Koven.
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 160 or 200 or BI/NS 308. Normally offered every year. [L] J. Castro.
NS/PY 364. Psychobiology of Smell.Smells are the most enigmatic percepts, incomparably vivid and immediate, yet seemingly impossible to describe or quantify. This course begins with a brief philosophical and historical inquiry into the nature of smell, and then critically examines the recent scientific literature in olfactory neuroscience. Topics include the molecular biology of odor detection, neural coding and representation of odors, the role of odors in social and sexual behavior, and the relationships between odor, memory, emotion, and language. Prerequisite(s): NS/PY 160 or 200 or PSYC 215. Not open to students who have received credit for PSYC 364. Enrollment limited to 15. Normally offered every year. J. Castro.
NRSC 457. Capstone Thesis in Neuroscience.Open to seniors majors with permission of the program faculty. 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.
NRSC 458. Capstone Thesis in Neuroscience.Open to seniors majors with permission of the program faculty. 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.
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. 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 of the program faculty. 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.Open to seniors with permission of the neuroscience or psychology faculty. 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. Prerequisite(s): BIO 244 or PSYC 218 and NS/PY 330. Enrollment limited to 12. Instructor permission is required. [W3] N. Koven.
NRSC 462. Capstone Seminar on Computational Neuroscience.Open to seniors with permission of the program faculty. Computational neuroscience applies quantitative techniques and formalisms to investigate neural data and to model neural phenomena. This seminar focuses on the computational analysis of high-dimensional data sets charting gene expression throughout the brain, with the goal of understanding the functional and hierarchical organization of brain systems. Students first learn essential computer programming and analysis techniques, and then work in teams to propose and investigate a topic of their choosing. Specific topics include the high-throughput analysis of brain tissue using in situ hybridization, image processing, clustering, and dimensionality reduction. The course also includes professional development and discussions with practitioners. Enrollment limited to 12. Instructor permission is required. [W3] J. Castro.
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.