Academic program

Neuroscience is an interdisciplinary field that examines the interrelations between the nervous system and environment and includes perspectives from the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Majors build a strong foundation in the sciences to explore core domains of neurobiology, physiological psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and computational neuroscience through classroom and laboratory experiences. Students then extend and apply their knowledge with neuroscience-related electives and course work that critically examines the theories and practices of neuroscience from ethical, sociocultural, and other humanistic perspectives. Students interested in declaring the major may take the introductory course in their first or second year. Progress through the major includes a senior capstone experience. More information on the neuroscience program is available on the website (

Major Requirements

There are fourteen courses required for the major, with courses distributed across Groups A, B, C, D, and E. NS/PY 160 must be taken prior to junior year; Group B should be completed prior to senior year.

Group A. Foundation Courses.

Introductory biology: one of the following:
BIO 190. Organismal Biology/Lab (offered through 2018-2019).
BIO 195. Lab-Based Biological Inquiry (several courses offered beginning 2019-2020).

Cellular biology: one of the following:
BIO 202. Cellular Basis of Life.
BIO 242. Cellular and Molecular Biology/Lab.

All of the following:
CHEM 107A. Atomic and Molecular Structure/Lab.
CHEM 108A. Chemical Reactivity/Lab.
CHEM 217. Organic Chemistry I/Lab.
NS/PY 160. Introduction to Neuroscience.

Statistics: one of the following:
BIO 244. Biostatistics.
NRSC 205. Statistical Methods.
PSYC 218. Statistics.

Group B. Upper-level Core Courses. Two of the following:
BI/NS 308. Neurobiology/Lab.
NS/PY 330. Cognitive Neuroscience/Lab or NS/PY 331. Cognitive Neuroscience.
NS/PY 357. Computational Neuroscience/Lab.
NS/PY 363. Physiological Psychology/Lab or NS/PY 366. Physiological Psychology.

Group C. Neuroscience Electives. Three of the following courses:
BI/NS 305. Gene Editing in Biology and Neuroscience.
BIO 337. Animal Physiology/Lab.
BIO s47. Experimental Cell Biology/Lab.
FYS 497. Community Science of Brain Injury in Sports.
FYS 512. The Molecular Brain.
NS/PH 117. Brain Imaging: How Imaging Reveals the Brain and How the Brain Creates Behavior.
NRSC 209. Neural Codes: The Language of Thought.
NS/PY 250. Biopsychology of Motivation and Emotion.
NS/PY 319. Physiological Profiles of Mental Illness.
CH/NS 320. Mechanisms of Memory.
NS/PY 361. Topics in Affective Neuroscience.
NS/PY 362. Psychopharmacology.
NS/PY 364. Psychobiology of Smell.
NS/PY 382. Cultural Neuroscience.
NS/PY 399. Junior-Senior Seminar in Biological Psychology.
PSYC 302. Sensation and Perception.
PYSC 305. Animal Learning.

Students cannot count more than one 100-level and one Short Term course in Group C. Students may apply additional courses from Group B to Group C if they wish.

Group D. Neuroscience in Humanistic Context. One of the following:
FYS 455. Neuroscience Fiction.
FYS 478. The Story of the Brain: Ideas and Controversies about Brain Function from Antiquity to the Digital Age.
FYS 484. Making Sense: The Social Significance of Sensory Perception.
FYS 503. Making Moral Minds: Nature, Nurture, and the Sources of Morality.
CHEM 111: Science and Human Welfare: A Historical Perspective.
ENG 263. Literature, Medicine, Empathy.
ENG 395V. Literature, Medicine, and the Problem of Empathy.
INDS 267. Blood, Genes, and American Culture.
MU/PY 253. Music and the Embodied Mind.
NRSC 130. Neuroscience of Morality.
NRSC 208. Neuroscience, Ethics, and Society.
NRSC s20. Neuroscience, Ethics, and Society.
NS/PY 304. Embodied Cognition, Technoculture, and the Future of Identity.
PHIL 210. Philosophy of Cognitive Science.
PHIL 211. Philosophy of Science.
PHIL 233. Making Moral Minds: Nature, Nurture, and the Sources of Morality.
PHIL 235. Philosophy of Mind.
PHIL 321K. Philosophy of Animal Minds.

Group E. Senior Capstone. One of the following in senior year:
NRSC 457-458. Capstone Thesis in Neuroscience.
NRSC 459. Community-Engaged Learning Capstone.
NRSC 462. Capstone Seminar on Computational Neuroscience.
NS/PY 463. Capstone Seminar on Human Cognitive Neuroscience.
NS/PY 464. Capstone Seminar on Systems Neuroscience.

Double Majoring in Neuroscience and Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, or Psychology

Students may not double major in neuroscience and biochemistry, biology, chemistry, or psychology.

Transfer of Courses

A maximum of two non-Bates courses can be counted toward the major, pending approval from the program chair.

Pass/Fail Grading Option

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