Requirements: Neuroscience

Natural Sciences Division

Neuroscience studies the basic functions of the brain and nervous system as well as 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 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).

The Kenyon College faculty voted to change from Kenyon units to semester hours. This change will go into effect for all students who start at the College in the fall of 2024. Both systems will be used throughout the course catalog with the Kenyon units being listed first.


First-year and New Students

Students who are considering a concentration or a major in neuroscience should inquire about the program with any affiliated faculty members and consult with the department chair.

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, it reviews 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.

Curriculum for the Major

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).

Requirements for the Major

Required Core Courses depends on required laboratory and chemistry course

Neuroscience Required Courses (four courses)

  • NEUR 212: Neuroscience
  • NEUR 250: Research Design & Analysis in Neuroscience
  • NEUR 305: Behavioral Neuroscience
    or NEUR 307: Sensory Processes
  • NEUR 471: Topics in Neuroscience

Required Laboratories (Neuroscience/Biology/Psychology)

One of the following laboratory courses:

  • BIOL 359D: Experimental Neurobiology
  • NEUR 350D: Experiential Molecular Biology
  • 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 410: Research Methods in Human Neuroscience
    or two semesters of NEUR 385: Research in Neuroscience

Biology Required Courses (four courses)

  • BIOL 109Y: Introduction to Experimental Biology
  • BIOL 110Y: Introduction to Experimental Biology
  • BIOL 115: Energy in Living Systems
  • BIOL 116: Information in Living Systems

Chemistry Required Courses (one or two courses)

  • CHEM 122: Chemical Principles
  • CHEM 121: Introductory Chemistry
    and CHEM 124: Introductory Chemistry II

Electives (four courses)

Two of the four elective courses must come from the neuroscience electives list. The other two can be additional courses from the list. 

Neuroscience Electives

  • NEUR 265: Behavioral Neuroscience of Adolescence
  • NEUR 275D: Animal Cognition
  • NEUR 295: Neuropsychology: Brain Disorders
  • NEUR 302: Neuroethology and Comparative Psychology
  • NEUR 305: Behavioral Neuroscience (if not taken as core course)
  • NEUR 307: Sensory Processes (if not taken as core course)
  • NEUR 347: Psychopharmacology
  • NEUR 351: Molecular Neuroscience
  • NEUR 363: Hormones and Behavior
  • NEUR 395D: Neurophilosophy of Consciousness
  • BIOL 358D: Neurobiology

Biology Electives

  • BIOL 243: Animal Physiology
  • BIOL 255: Genetic Analysis
  • BIOL 261: Animal Behavior
  • BIOL 263: Molecular Biology
  • BIOL 266: Cell Biology
  • BIOL 321: Evolutionary Developmental Biology

Chemistry Electives

  • CHEM 256: Biochemistry

Psychology Electives

  • PSYC 201: Cognitive Psychology
  • PSYC 206: Psychology of Language
  • PSYC 210: Social Mind, Social Brain
  • PSYC 310: Cognitive Neuroscience

Philosophy Electives

  • PHIL 245: Philosophy of Natural Science
  • PHIL 260: Philosophy of Mind and Brain
  • PHIL 262: Philosophy of Perception

Requirements for the Concentration

Neuroscience Required Courses (three courses)

  • NEUR 212: Introduction to Neuroscience
  • NEUR 305: Behavioral Neuroscience or NEUR 307: Sensory Processes
  • NEUR 250: Research Design & Analysis in Neuroscience

Basic Science Required Courses (three courses)

  • BIOL 115: Energy in Living Systems
  • BIOL 116: Information in Living Systems 

And one of the following chemistry courses:

  • CHEM 109: Neurochemistry 
  • CHEM 121: Introductory Chemistry 
  • CHEM 122: Chemical Principles 


Two additional advanced courses from the elective list above for the major.

Senior Capstone

The Senior Capstone consists of an original research proposal, written in a format of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program grant. The capstone is completed in the fall of the student's senior year and is evaluated by two members of the neuroscience department faculty.


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 candidate is conducted by the thesis advisor, two additional members of the neuroscience department and an outside examiner.

NEUR Courses and Diversification Requirements

Any two neuroscience courses may be paired to satisfy the natural science diversification requirement.