Majors and Courses


The major in Neuroscience is an INTERDISCIPLINARY PROGRAM of 16 courses (maximum) designed to provide students with an appreciation of diverse approaches to understanding the function of nervous systems, as well as the ability to conduct investigations within a particular subfield of interest.  See this link for more detailed information about the neuroscience major. Students majoring in Neuroscience complete:

  • A common core program,
  • A sequence of four electives determined in consultation with an adviser in Neuroscience, and
  • A one- or two-semester thesis on a topic related to the four course sequence.

The major provides good preparation for graduate work in biology, neuroscience, and a variety of other programs including medical school or other graduate health professions programs.  Admission to particular advanced degree programs may require additional course work.

  1. Common Neuroscience Core (10 courses)
    1. First Tier
      • Introductory Biology (two semesters: Biology 43L-44L KS or equivalent or AISS 1a,b and 2a,b).
      • Basic Principles of Chemistry (two semesters: Chemistry 14L-15L KS or equivalent or AISS 1a,b and 2a,b).
      • Foundations of Neuroscience (Neuro 95 JT or approved substitute).
      • Neuroscience 2: Systems: Biology 149 KS.
      • Neuroscience 1: Cell, Molecular: Biology 161L KS.
    2. Second Tier—Choose 3 courses from the following:
      • General Physics: two semesters of Physics 30L-31L KS or 33L-34L KS or equivalent or AISS 1a,b and 2a,b).
      • Mathematics:  Math 31 (Calculus II), statistics (Biology 175 KS or Psychology 91 PZ, 103 SC or 109 CM), or approved equivalent course.
      • Computer science: Biology 133L, Physics 100, or approved equivalent course.
      • Research Methods: Psychology 92 PZ, 104/104L SC, 110 CM, 111L CM or approved equivalent course.
  1. Neuroscience Sequence (4 courses)
    1. A coherent grouping of four elective courses to be determined in consultation with an adviser in Neuroscience and approved by the Coordinator of the Intercollegiate Neuroscience Program.  Areas in which a student may elect to specialize include, but are not limited to,
      • Behavioral Neuroscience,
      • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience,
      • Cognitive Neuroscience,
      • Computational Neuroscience,
      • Motor Control, or
      • Philosophy of Neuroscience. 
      • Developmental Neuroscience
  1.     Senior Thesis
    1. A one- or two-semester Senior Thesis (Bio 191 or Bio 188L and 190L or Bio 189L and 190L) on a topic related to the student’s selected Neuroscience Sequence.
    2. Keck Science Common Learning Outcomes

      Students completing a major in the Keck Science Department should demonstrate the ability to:

      1. Use foundational principles to analyze problems in nature.
      2. Develop hypotheses and test them using quantitative techniques.
      3. Articulate applications of science in the modern world.
      4. Effectively communicate scientific concepts both verbally and in writing.

      Student Learning Outcomes
      The Neuroscience major of the Keck Science Department aims to provide students with skills and knowledge to prepare them to effectively engage and evaluate issues and innovations in neuroscience. In particular, the program prepares students for graduate programs in Neuroscience and contributes towards the preparation for professional programs such biotechnology and medicine.

      A Neuroscience Major should be able to:

    3. Understand the structure and function of the nervous system at various levels of organization.
    4. Understand a number of research techniques in neuroscience and gain training in evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of various methods.
    5. Design experiments, analyze data and think critically.
    6. Critically evaluate published scientific literature.