Neuroscience studies brain-behavior relationships in order to understand the roles they play in regulating both animal and human behavior. A thorough knowledge of the functions of the nervous system is essential to understanding the vicissitudes of psychological experience, general behavior and clinical disorders. Therefore, the study of the nervous system and the brain—anatomically, physiologically and biophysically, at both the microscopic and macroscopic levels — is central to the Neuroscience Program.
In recent years, neuroscience has become the most rapidly developing interdisciplinary area in the sciences. This field integrates the knowledge, research methods and modern laboratory technology of biology, chemistry, psychology and other scientific fields toward the common goal of understanding animal and human behavior. For this reason, the program's curriculum and list of faculty reflect a diversity of subdisciplines within a variety of departments. A primary objective of this program is to prepare students for entrance into graduate training or research occupations in neuroscience, neurochemistry, neurobiology, anatomy, physiology, physiological psychology, clinical psychology, behavioral science and the health sciences (medicine and allied fields).
Students who are considering a concentration or a major in neuroscience should inquire about the program from any of the affiliated faculty members and also should consult with the program's director.
NEUR 212 is the entryway into the neuroscience curriculum. It begins by emphasizing that neuroscience is truly an interdisciplinary field. After covering brain evolution and the genetic basis of behavior, there is a review of the organization of the nervous system and the processes responsible for neural conduction and synaptic transmission. This knowledge is then applied to a comprehensive examination of the neurochemical, sensory, motor, developmental, motivational, cognitive and emotional processes and structures that influence both normal and abnormal behavior.
The neuroscience major is intended primarily for students who are planning to attend graduate school in the many specialized fields of neuroscience, such as medical neuroscience, developmental neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience or behavioral neuroscience. It also is an excellent major for students who are seriously interested in pursuing research careers or becoming clinical practitioners concerned with the biochemical or the biopsychological aspects of the nervous system or behavior (e.g., psychopharmacology, psychiatry, clinical neuropsychology).
With the 2013-14 academic year, the following requirements for the neuroscience major and concentration apply to the class of 2017 and those following. Students in the classes of 2014, 2015 and 2016 may choose these new requirements or the old requirements to fulfill their requirements for the major or the minor.
1. Neuroscience Required Courses (1 unit)
NEUR 112/212 Neuroscience
NEUR 471 Topics in Neuroscience
2. Neuroscience/Psychology Required Courses (1 unit)
NEUR 305 Behavioral Neuroscience or NEUR 307 Sensory Processes
And one of the following laboratory courses:
NEUR 401 Research Methods in Electrophysiology and Biopotentials
NEUR 405 Research Methods in Behavioral Neuroscience
NEUR 406 Research Methods in Sensory Processes
PSYC 402 Research Methods in Cognition
PSYC 403 Research Methods in Learning and Motivation
PSYC 410 Research Methods in Human Neuroscience
or 2 semesters (.5 unit) of NEUR 385 Research in Neuroscience.
3. Biology Required Courses (2.25 units)
BIOL 109 Introduction to Experimental Biology (Lab)
BIOL 110 Introduction to Experimental Biology (Lab)
BIOL 115 Energy in Living Systems (or Biology AP score of 5)
BIOL 116 Information in Living Systems
BIOL 358 Neurobiology
BIOL 359 Experimental Neurobiology (Lab)
4. Chemistry Required Courses (.5-1 unit)
CHEM 121 and 124 Introductory Chemistry I and II or CHEM 122 Chemical Principles
2.25 units beyond the required core curriculum and selected from the elective list below. Overall the electives must span at least three departments, with at least 1 unit being from a single department and a minimum of .5 unit from the other two departments (this will aid both your breadth and depth of understanding).
BIOL 243 Comparative Animal Physiology
BIOL 261 Animal Behavior
BIOL 263 Molecular Biology & Genomics
BIOL 266 Cell Biology
BIOL 321 Developmental Biology
CHEM 231, 232 Organic Chemistry
CHEM 233, 234 Organic Chemistry Laboratory
CHEM 256 Biochemistry
CHEM 335 Chemical Kinetics and Thermodynamics
CHEM 341 Instrumental Analysis
CHEM 370 Computational Chemistry
CHEM 371 Biochemistry Laboratory
CHEM 401 Chemistry and Biochemistry Seminar (Permission of NEUR Chair required)
NEUR 291 Animal Cognition
NEUR 302 Neuroethology and Comparative Psychology
NEUR 304 Human Neuropsychology
NEUR 305 Behavioral Neuroscience (if not taken as core course)
NEUR 307 Sensory Processes (if not taken as core course)
NEUR 347 Psychopharmacology
NEUR 491 Philosophical Neuroscience
PSYC 301 Cognitive Psychology
PSYC 303 Learning and Motivation
PSYC 306 Psychology of Language
PSYC 310 Cognitive Neuroscience
ANTH 111 Intro to Biological Anthropology
ANTH 321 Evolution and Human Evolution
ANTH 323 Bioarcheology of Sub-Saharan Africa
ANTH 421 Neanderthals
MATH 106 Elements of Statistics
MATH 108 Models of Life
PHIL 245 Philosophy of Natural Science
PHIL 260 Philosophy of Mind
PHIL 262 Philosophy of Perception
PHYS 210 Biological Physics
SCMP 118 Intro to Programming
NEUR 112/212 Introduction to Neuroscience
NEUR 471 Topics in Neuroscience
NEUR 305 Physiological Psychology or
NEUR 307 Sensation and Perception
BIOL 115 Energy in Living Systems
BIOL 116 Information in Living Systerms
NEUR/CHEM 109 Neurochemistry or
CHEM 121 Introductory Chemistry or
CHEM 122 Chemical Principles and Labs
The Senior Exercise consists of an original research proposal, written in a format appropriate for a scientific grant. The exercise is completed in the fall of the student's senior year. This Senior Exercise is evaluated by two faculty members: the Senior Exercise advisor and another member of the Neuroscience Program.
In preparation for the Senior Exercise, students can gain research experience by participating in independent research (NEUR 385) under the supervision of a faculty advisor. Although independent research is not required for the major, conducting research is a valuable educational experience, particularly for students planning to pursue graduate or medical training.
Seniors participating in the Honors Program (NEUR 497Y-498Y) must complete an honors project and pass an oral exam. Assessment of the honors candidates is conducted by two members of the advisor's department, one member of the Neuroscience Program from another department, and an outside examiner brought in by the advisor's department.
The following courses may be paired to satisfy the natural sciences requirement:
Please note: Beginning 2013-14, BIOL 103 and BIOL 105 can no longer be paired with NEUR 105 to satisfy the natural sciences requirement.