Modern Neuroscience

The study of the nervous system is a relatively new endeavor. While some of the basic concepts that guide neuroscientific research were developed by Cajal and other anatomists in the late 19th Century, it would not be until the second half of the 20th Century, due in part to the development of a slew of different methodologies, that neuroscience would become a vibrant field of study.  

It is not uncommon these days to find references in the newspapers to exciting new results regarding the location of brain activity during human emotion, cognition, perception or motor control. This fact indicates that humans find it fascinating to learn the nuts and bolts of how we act the way we do. But it also seems to suggest that we already know almost everything there is to know about these matters. This could not be further from the truth.

In many ways, Neuroscience is just beginning to unravel the mysteries of the brain, and we mean unravel in a literal sense: there are about 100 billion neurons in a human brain and as many “support” cells, neatly organized into networks and nuclei in a volume no larger than 1400 cubic centimeters. Each one of these cells communicates with about 1,000 of its neighbors and it is such crosstalk that brings about neural function. How do neurons communicate? What do they say to one another? What “language” do they speak? And, how does their collected behavior bring about our ability to move, perceive, feel and think? These are some of the questions that neuroscientists are beginning to ask in a myriad ways: from teasing apart the biochemical pathways that are responsible for memory formation to the description and computational  simulation of the large-scale networks that control language and grasping.

What makes Neuroscience such an exciting field of study is precisely the number of unanswered questions and the many levels at which the questions can be pursued. A person majoring in Neuroscience will generally decide to pursue additional training in research or applied domains, or both.

Click here for a complete copy of the Neuroscience Handbook for Fall 2009 - Spring 2010.

The Major:

The Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience is a multi-disciplinary program designed to provide an understanding of the nature and functioning of the nervous system from the molecular to the behavioral level. Courses are taught by faculty from the Biology, Chemistry  and Psychology departments, offering a broad spectrum of topics and approaches to the study of neural systems structure and function.

Requirements for the Degree :

The requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Science with a major in Neuroscience are as follows:

I.    The common curriculum

II.   Specific degree requirements for the neuroscience major (46-50 semester hour

A. Core curriculum in neuroscience (11-14 hours):       

NEUR 2310  Introduction to Neuroscience
NEUR 2110  Introductory Laboratory in Neuroscience
NEUR 3447  Neurobiology and lab
NEUR 4000   Neuroscience Seminar ( 4 semesters)
NEUR 4390  Independent Research in Neuroscience

B. Supporting courses in biology (9 hours):

BIOL 1311  Integrative Biology I
BIOL 1111  Introductory Biology Laboratory
BIOL 1312  Integrative Biology II
BIOL 1212  Methods for Biological Problem Solving

C. Supporting courses in chemistry (8 hours):

CHEM 1318  Chemistry in the Modern World
CHEM 1118  Introduction to Analytical Methods
CHEM 2319  Organic Chemistry
CHEM 2119  Laboratory Methods in Organic Chemistry

D. Supporting Statistics/Modeling courses

      PSYC 2401  Statistics and Methods I
      PSYC 2402  Statistics and Methods II

E. Three elective courses from the following set, at least one in each discipline (10-11 hours):

BIOL 3432  Vertebrate Physiology
BIOL 3440  Animal Behavior
BIOL 3443  Developmental Biology
BIOL 3446  Advanced Cell Biology
BIOL –91   Selected Topics (3 hours, advisory approval required)
PSYC 2330  Fundamentals of Cognition
PSYC 3311  Sensation and Perception
PSYC 3331  Memory and Cognition
PSYC 3333  Simulation of Neural and Cognitive Processes
PSYC 3360  Special Topics in Psychology (advisory approval required)

III.  Electives sufficient to total 124 semester hours (inclusive of common curriculum).


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