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Neuroscience Advising Tips

Neuroscience Advising Tips

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 Psych 100 (introduction to psychology).

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, bio-psychology, physiology, neurology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, philosophy, genetics, and computer science. Thus, research questions are considered from many different levels, and many different converging methodologies are used.

The neuroscience major consists of two tracks: the bioscience track, the cognitive track. A computational track is expected to be added in the 09-10 school year. 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.

Once approved by New York State, the computational track will focus 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.


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), Psychology and ONE from the following list: Psychology 221 (Psychology of Learning), Psychology 211 (Sensation and Perception) Philosophy 365 (Philosophy of Mind);

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 320 (Advanced Artificial intelligence); Computer Science 206 (Natural Language Processing); 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 Psychology); Philosophy 231 (Symbolic Logic); Philosophy 232 (Philosophy of Science) Philosophy 442 (Advanced Symbolic Logic); Philosophy 462 (Philosophy of Language); Philosophy 365 (Philosophy of Mind).

4. Senior writing requirement

(a) ONE of the following senior seminars: Psychology 410, 411 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-.

Advisory Committee: Burns, Anderson-Hanley, Chabris, Weisse and Romero (Psychology); Fleishman, Kirkton, Olberg, and Chu-LaGraff (Biology); Martin (Philosophy); Barr and Striegnitz (Computer Science), Cervone (Math)