Director: Associate Professor S. Romero (Psychology); Professor R. Olberg (Biological Sciences)
Advisory Committee: Professors L. Fleishman (Biological Sciences), V. Barr (Computer
Science), R. Martin (Philosophy), D. Burns, C. Weisse (Psychology); Associate Professors D. Cervone
(Mathematics), Q. Chu-LaGraff (Biological Sciences); Assistant Professors K. Striegnitz (Computer
Science), C. Anderson-Hanley, C. Chabris (Psychology), S. Kirkton (Biological Sciences)
The major in neuroscience is designed for students with interests that intersect the fields of
biology and psychology. Neuroscience focuses on the relationships among brain function, cognitive
processing, and behavior. Researchers in this field come from widely disparate backgrounds, including
cognitive psychology, clinical neuropsychology, neuroimaging, neurobiology, neuroethology, biopsychology,
physiology, neurology, and computer science. Thus, research questions are considered
from many different levels, and many different converging methodologies are used.
The neuroscience major consists of three tracks: the bioscience track, the cognitive track, and
the computational track. The bioscience track focuses on the biological basis of neural development,
function, and plasticity. Students will develop an understanding of the nervous system and its role in
cognition, perception, and action at the molecular, cellular, and systems level.
The cognitive track provides students with an understanding of how neural networks and brain
mechanisms give rise to specific mental processes and behavior. Students begin with the processes
that have been traditionally studied in the area of cognitive psychology, but can tailor the program to
include processing that is traditionally studied in developmental or clinical psychology as well.
The computational track focuses on issues related to developing computational models of
neuronal and mental processes. Students will develop an understanding of artificial intelligence that
uses biologically plausible methods.
It is recommended that students in this major start with Biology 101 and 102 then Psychology
210 as these courses are prerequisites for neuroscience students to take the neuroscience related
courses in the Psychology Department without taking Psy 100 (introduction to psychology).
Requirements for Neuroscience: The neuroscience major consists of four parts: (1) A core of
required courses; (2) required courses in one of three tracks, bioscience, cognitive, or computational;
(3) general electives; and (4) a senior writing requirement. Unless listed below, course descriptions are
listed under their home departments.
1. Required courses for all neuroscience majors:
Biology 101 and 102 (Introductory Biology); Biology 225 (Molecular Biology of the Cell); Either
Biology 362 (Introduction to Neurobiology) or Biology 363 (Introduction to Cellular Neurosciences);
Psychology 200 (Statistical Methods in Psychology); Psychology 210 (Introduction to Cognitive
Neuroscience) Psychology 220 (Psychology of Memory and Thinking); Philosophy 231 (Symbolic
Logic); Computer Science 106 (Can Computers Think?)
Students must also take the following cognate courses: Math 110, Chemistry 101 and 102 (or
Chemistry 110). Math 112 and one term of physics are also recommended.
2a. Bioscience track:
Any TWO from the following list: Biology 325 (Animal Behavior); Biology 330 (Comparative
Animal Physiology); Biology 332 (Biology Vertebrate Anatomy); Biology 365 (Neural Circuits
and Behavior); Biology 370 (Endocrinology); Biology 384 (Molecular Genetics); Psychology 211
(Sensation and Perception)
2b. Cognitive track:
Psychology 300 (Research Methods in Psychology), and ONE from the following list:
Psychology 211 (Sensation and Perception), Psychology 221 (Psychology of Learning), Philosophy
365 (Philosophy of Mind);
2c. Computational track:
Any TWO from the following list: Computer Science 206 (Natural Language Processing);
Computer Science 320 (Artificial intelligence); Philosophy 231 (Symbolic Logic); Philosophy 365
(Philosophy of Mind); Philosophy 462 (Philosophy of Language).
3. Elective. TWO additional courses from the following list:
Biology 325 (Animal Behavior); Biology 330 (Comparative Animal Physiology); Biology
354 (Developmental Biology); Biology 362 (Neurobiology); Biology 363 (Introduction to Cellular
Neuroscience); Biology 365 (Neural Circuits and Behavior); Biology 370 (Endocrinology); Biology
384 (Molecular Genetics); Chemistry 231 (Organic Chemistry); Computer Science 103 (Intro to
Computational Science); Computer Science 206 (Natural Language Processing); Computer Science
283 (Intro to Bioinformatics); Computer Science 320 (Artificial intelligence); Philosophy 231
(Symbolic Logic); Philosophy 232 (Philosophy of Science); Philosophy 365 (Philosophy of Mind).
Philosophy 462 (Philosophy of Language); Psychology 211 (Sensation and Perception); Psychology
215 (Introduction to Health Psychology); Psychology 221 (Psychology of Learning); Psychology 225
(Psychology of Language); Psychology 240 (Developmental Psychology); Psychology 250 (Abnormal
4. Senior writing requirement
(a) ONE of the following senior seminars: Psychology 410, Biology 487, 488, or 489, or
(b) A two- or three-term senior thesis or senior research project. Students should register for
senior thesis or research in the department that corresponds to their neuroscience track. For the
Bioscience track: BIO 497, 498, 499. For the Cognitive track: PSY 498 and 499 or PSY 487, 488, and
489. Option (b) is strongly recommended.
Requirements for the Minor: Six courses listed in sections 1, 2a, or 2b above with at least one
course from 2a and one course from 2b. The minor must also include at least 2 courses whose primary
designation is in Biology and 2 courses whose primary designation is in Psychology. For Biology and
Psychology Majors, only 2 courses counted for the major may also count toward the minor.
Requirements for Honors: In addition to fulfilling college-wide honors requirements, to earn
honors in neuroscience, a student must earn a minimum grade point average of 3.3 in the major
(including thesis grades, but not including the cognate courses, or more than one term of independent
study), a minimum of three grades of A or A- in courses in the major exclusive of the thesis, and
satisfactory completion of a senior thesis with a minimum grade of A-.