Please note: This is NOT the most current catalog.


Director, 2009-10: Gary Muir (Psychology), neuroscience, spatial cognition

Faculty, 2009-10: Kevin Crisp (Biology), neuroethology, neurobiology; Shelly Dickinson (Psychology), behavioral neuroscience, addiction (on leave); Henry Kermott (Biology), zoology, animal behavior; Bonnie Sherman (Psychology), perception, neuropsychology (on leave Fall Semester); Howard Thorsheim (Psychology), human cognition, psychophysiology; David Van Wylen (Biology), cardiac physiology, myocardial ischemia, neuroprotection; Anne Walter (Biology), biophysics, membranes, cell physiology (on leave)

Neuroscience is the study of nervous stystems: organized collections of neurons, such as brains, that sense the environment, process and store information and generate physiological and behavioral responses in animals, including humans. An interdisciplinary field, neuroscience integrates diverse academic perspectives (such as biology, psychology, chemistry, computer science and philosophy) and employs numerous levels of inquiry (from the molecular to the cognitive). Modern neuroscience research ranges from basic science questions examining how nerve cells generate signals to clinical research exploring treatments for Alzheimer's Disease.

Overview of the Concentration

Neuroscience is a multidisciplinary program that provides students access to the field by linking curricula, faculty, and students in a contract concentration that requires foundations in at least two natural sciences and stretches to connect with courses in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. It provides students with a broad introductory exposure to the field of neuroscience by requiring students to integrate material from several disciplines to answer questions about the brain, behavior, and consciousness. Students must first consult with the director of the neuroscience concentration by the end of the sophomore year and develop a contract. The contract may be altered by mutual consent at any time.



The neuroscience concentration consists of six courses: an introductory neuroscience course (Neuroscience 234), four core elective courses, and a capstone seminar. Neuroscience 234, Introduction to Neuroscience, provides a foundation and overview of the important and extensive ways in which biological and psychological processes are involved in the regulation and maintenance of behavior. The four core elective courses are selected from appropriate offerings in psychology (one 200-level course with lab), biology (one 200-level course with lab), any of the departments in the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (one 300-level course with lab), and from neuroscience-related offerings from an area outside the natural sciences (one course). The final course for the concentration is a capstone seminar. The prerequisite for this class is the completion of the other requirements in the neuroscience concentration. Students are strongly encouraged to take Psychology 238, Biopsychology, as well.

recommendations for graduate study

Graduate programs in neuroscience vary widely in their admission requirements so students intending to attend graduate school in neuroscience are advised to determine the requirements of the specific programs they are considering. In general, however, a number of neuroscience graduate programs recommend chemistry through biochemistry, genetics, and statistics.


234 Introduction to Neuroscience

Neuroscience is one of the fastest growing fields, with activity ranging from the fundamentals of behavior to molecular aspects of neuronal function. This course provides a foundation and overview of the important and extensive ways in which biological and physiological processes are involved in the regulation and maintenance of behavior. Among the topics students explore are: fundamental electrophysiology, sensory and motor systems, integration, and learning and memory. Counts towards the Biology and Psychology majors. Prerequisites: Biology 125, or Chemistry 121 (or 125), or Chemistry/Biology 125, or Physics 130, or Psychology 125. Biology 125 is strongly recommended. Offered annually in the Fall Semester.

294 Internship

298 Independent Study

394 Internship

396 Directed Undergraduate Research: "Topic Description"

This course provides a comprehensive research opportunity, including an introduction to relevant background material, technical instruction, identification of a meaningful project, and data collection. The topic is determined by the faculty member in charge of the course and may relate to his/her research interests. Prerequisite: Determined by individual instructor. Offered based on department decision.

398 Independent Research

Biology Foundation Courses (1 required)

Biology 233, Intermediate Genetics
Biology 243, Human Anatomy and Physiology
Biology 247, Animal Physiology
Biology 248, Invertebrate Zoology
Another Appropriate Biology Course with Director’s Permission

Psychology Foundation Courses (1 required)

Psychology 235, Sensation and Perception
Psychology 236, Conditioning and Learning
Psychology 237, Cognition, Learning and Memory
Psychology 225, Psychophysiology
Another Appropriate Psychology Course with Director’s Permission

Advanced Science Elective (1 required)

Biology 341, Cell Physiology
Biology 372, Developmental Biology
Biology 386, Animal Behavior
Biology 387, Neuroethology
Chemistry 373*, Experimental Biochemistry
Chemistry 379*, Biochemistry
*Note: Both Chemistry 373 and 379 must be taken in order for 379 to count toward the concentration
Physics 390, Topics in Physics
Psychology 385, Human Neuropsychology
Another Appropriate Neuroscience Course with Director’s Permission
Psychology 395, Advanced Research Methods in Behavioral Neuroscience

Elective Outside Natural Science (1 required)

Examples include:
Dance 232, Movement Analysis
Philosophy 231, Philosophy of Mind
Philosophy 250, Biomedical Ethics
Exercise Science 374, Biomechanics
Consult Director for Other Options

Capstone Seminar (required)

Designated Seminar In Biology (e.g., Biology 385, Neuroscience Seminar)
Designated Seminar In Psychology (e.g., Psychology 336, Neuroscience of Addiction; Psychology 337, Neurobiology of Learning and Memory; Psychology 338, Neurobiology of Psychopathology)
Other Designated Seminars in Chemistry or Biology or Psychology