Please note: This is NOT the most current catalog.


Director, 2011-12: Shelly Dickinson (Psychology), behavioral neuroscience, addiction

Faculty, 2011-12: Jay Demas (Biology and Physics) visual neurophysiology, developmental neurobiology; Kevin Crisp (Biology), neuroethology, neurobiology (on leave 2011-12); Henry Kermott (Biology), zoology, animal behavior; Jeremy Loebach (Psychology) cognitive neuroscience, speech perception; Gary Muir (Psychology), neuroscience, spatial cognition; Bonnie Sherman (Psychology), perception, neuropsychology; Howard Thorsheim (Psychology), human cognition, psychophysiology (on leave fall semester); David Van Wylen (Biology), cardiac physiology, myocardial ischemia, neuroprotection; Anne Walter (Biology), biophysics, membranes, cell physiology

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: two core courses (Psychology 238 and Neuroscience 239, which can be taken in either order), one 200-level foundation elective, one 300-level advanced science elective and one interdisciplinary elective from neuroscience related offerings outside the natural sciences (see list below). The foundation elective and the advanced science elective must be from different departments. The final course for the concentration is a capstone seminar. Psychology 238: Biopsychology introduces students to the fundamental principles underlying the relationship between the brain and behavior, with an emphasis on the systems and cognitive levels. Neuroscience 239: Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience, focuses on the physiology and development of neurons and neural circuits across the animal kingdom.


      • Psychology 238
      • Neuroscience 239
      • 200-level foundation elective (see list)
      • 300-level advanced science elective (see list)
      • interdisciplinary elective (see list)
      • Capstone seminar
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.


239 Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Neuroscience is one of the fastest-growing fields in the sciences, with research interests ranging from molecular genetics to whole animal behavior. Topics include membrane biophysics, synaptic transmission and plasticity, intracellular signaling, sensory transduction, motor control systems, and development. Counts towards the biology and psychology majors. Prerequisite: Biology 125 or Integrated Chemistry/Biology 127. Offered annually, usually in the spring 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

200-Level Foundation Elective Courses (1 required)

Biology 233: Intermediate Genetics
Biology 243: Human Anatomy and Physiology
Biology 247: Animal Physiology
Biology 248: Invertebrate Biology
Psychology 225: Psychophysiology
Psychology 235: Sensation and Perception
Psychology 236: Conditioning and Learning
Psychology 237: Cognition, Learning, and Memory
Another appropriate biology or psychology course with permission of the program director

300-Level Advanced Science Elective Courses (1 required)

Biology 341: Advanced Cell Biology
Biology 372: Developmental Biology
Biology 386: Animal Behavior
Biology 387: Neuroethology
Chemistry 373: Experimental Biochemistry*
Chemistry 379: Biochemistry I*
*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
Psychology 395: Advanced Research Methods in Behavioral Neuroscience
Directed Undergraduate Research (Biology 396, Psychology 396 or Neuroscience 396) on a neuroscience topic with permission of the Program Director
Independent Research (Biology 398, Psychology 398 or Neuroscience 398) on a neuroscience topic with permission of the Program Director
Another appropriate advanced science course with permission of the program director

Interdisciplinary Elective Courses (1 required)

Note that a short, 1-2 page reflective piece relating this course to your neuroscience studies must be submitted to the Program Director in order to receive credit for this course toward your concentration.

Computer Science 231: Mathematical Foundations of Computing
Computer Science 253: Algorithms and Data Structures
Computer Science 315: Bioinformatics
Computer Science 333: Theory of Computation
Exercise Science 374: Biomechanics
Math 230: Differential Equations I
Math 236: Mathematics of Biology
Math 330: Differential Equations II
Philosophy 231: Philosophy of Mind
Philosophy 250: Biomedical Ethics
Statistics 272: Statistical Modeling
Statistics 276: Design of Experiments
Statistics 316: Advanced Statistical Modeling
Statistics 322: Statistical Theory
Another appropriate interdisciplinary course with permission of the program director

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