Director:  Annemarie Shibata
Department Office:  Biology Department, Hixson-Lied Science Building, Room 422

The Neuroscience Program, housed within the Biology department, is a multidisciplinary program designed to provide an integrated, comprehensive, and investigatory learning experience that imparts a broad and strong understanding of the fundamental concepts and research principles that form the neurosciences.

Neuroscience is the study of 1) how the nervous system controls and responds to bodily functions and directs behavior; 2) how nervous system structure and function are determined by genes and the environment; and 3) how the brain serves as the foundation of the mind, awareness and thought.  The Bachelor of Science with a major in Neuroscience is intended for students interested in pursuing careers in a variety of health professions and graduate programs, scientific research in academia and industry, or related life science careers.

Participating Departments and Faculty


Theodore E. Burk, Ph.D.
Soo Chin Cho, Ph.D.
Alistair Cullum, Ph.D.
Carol Fassbinder-Orth, Ph.D.
Mark Reedy, Ph.D.
Annemarie Shibata, Ph.D.


Faculty teaching Biochemistry and Organic Chemistry Lecture and Laboratory I


Amy Badura Brack, Ph.D.
Maya Michelle Khana, Ph.D.
Gary K. Leak, Ph.D.
James V.  Lupo, Ph.D.
Dustin Stairs, Ph.D.


Michael Nichols, Ph.D.
Janet E. Seger, Ph.D.
David L. Sidebottom, Ph.D.
Patricia Soto, Ph.D.


Shin-Chuan Cheng, Ph.D.
Rebecca Gasper, Ph.D.
Lance Nielsen, Ph.D.
Nathan Pennington, Ph.D.


Jerold J. Abrams, Ph.D.
Michael A. Brown, Ph.D.
Elizabeth F. Cooke, Ph.D.
Kevin M. Graham, Ph.D.

Computer Sciences

David W. Reed, Ph.D.
Mark J. Wierman, Ph.D.


Shashank Dravid, Ph.D.
Thomas Murray, Ph.D.
Kristina A. Simeone, Ph.D.
Timothy A. Simeone, Ph.D.

Specific Requirements for Admission to the Neuroscience Major

  • Admission to the B.S., Major in Neuroscience program requires sophomore standing, completion of General Biology lecture and laboratory series, General Chemistry lecture and laboratory series, and Introduction to Psychology courses, with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in those pre-requisites.

Course requirements (71 credits)

Pre-requisites and Support courses (31 credits)

Pre-requisite courses
3.0 GPA in all of the following courses to be admitted to the program
BIO 201General Biology: Organismal and Population3
BIO 202General Biology: Cellular and Molecular3
BIO 205General Biology: Organismal and Population Laboratory1
BIO 206General Biology: Cellular and Molecular Laboratory1
PSY 201Introductory Psychology3
CHM 203General Chemistry I3
CHM 204General Chemistry I Laboratory1
CHM 205General Chemistry II3
or CHM 285 Advanced General Chemistry II
CHM 206General Chemistry II Laboratory1
or CHM 286 Chemical and Statistical Analysis Laboratory
Support courses
Chemistry support
CHM 321Organic Chemistry I3
CHM 322Organic Chemistry I Laboratory1
Physics support
Choose 1 of the Physics course sequences below:
Option 1 (recommended for pre-medical, pre-health and pre-graduate program students)
PHY 201General Physics for the Life Sciences3
PHY 205General Physics Laboratory I1
PHY 202General Physics for the Life Sciences II3
PHY 206General Physics Laboratory II1
Option 2 (recommended for students interested in electives requiring calculus-based physics)
PHY 213General Physics for the Physical Sciences I3
PHY 205General Physics Laboratory I1
PHY 214General Physics for the Physical Sciences II3
PHY 206General Physics Laboratory II1
Option 3 (given approval from the Physics Department)
PHY 221Advanced General Physics I:Modeling the Physical World3
PHY 223Project Physics Laboratory I1
PHY 222Advanced General Physics II:Modeling the Physical World3
PHY 224Project Physics Laboratory II1

Neuroscience Core Requirements (28 credits)

All of the following:
PSY 437Physiological Psychology3
BIO 462Neurobiology3
BIO 463Neurobiology Laboratory1
PHR 350Introduction to Neuropharmacology3
PHL 424/HAP 457Philosophy of Mind3
or PHL 404 Bioethics and Society
NES 510Neurophysiology Lab2
NES 592Neuroscience Senior Seminar1
Select one of the following:
Animal Physiology
Human Physiology
Select one of the following:
Cell Structure and Function
Biochemistry of Metabolism
Select one of the following:
Applying Research Methods and Statistics in Psychology
Elementary Probability and Statistics
Probability and Statistics in the Health Sciences

Electives: 4 courses

A minimum of 4 additional courses (12 hours) from any of the following groups: 12
Cellular and Organismal Neuroscience
Pharmacology of Drugs and Abuse
Introduction to Clinical Neuroscience
Animal Behavior
Animal Behavior Laboratory
Developmental Biology
Current Topics in Neuroscience
Behavioral Neuroscience
Abnormal Psychology
Cognitive Psychology
Learning: Basic Processes
Sensation and Perception
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Physical Neuroscience
Modern Physics
Modern Physics Laboratory
Electronics Laboratory
Physical Optics
Optics Laboratory
Physics in Medicine
Introduction to Biological Physics
Radiation Biophysics
Physics of Medical Imaging I
Computational Neuroscience
Bioinformatics: Genomics Approach
Advanced Linear Algebra
Advanced Differential Equations
Mathematics in Medicine and Life Sciences II
Data Structures
Algorithm Design and Analysis
Introduction To Artificial Intelligence
Special Topics
Philosophical Neuroscience
Philosophy Of The Human Sciences
Philosophy Of The Natural Sciences

Research - Introduction to Research Design and Methods (Instructor Consent)

NES 297 Directed Research

Honors Requirement (Optional - Instructor Consent)

An equivalent of two semesters worth of honors level research is required (NES 397, NES 497).  Research of 0 credits may be taken if the student has reached 18hrs of course credit. The honors designation will be met by submission of a written abstract for evaluation and presentation (oral and/or written) of the research project at Senior Seminar plus a local, regional, and/or national meeting.   Honors status may be associated with membership in the national Neuroscience Honor Society, Nu Rho Psi.

NES 397 Directed Independent Research (Extramural)       0 to 3 credits
NES 497 Directed Independent Research (Intramural)        0 to 3 credits


NES 297. Directed Research. 0-3 credits.

An introduction to laboratory methods intended to prepare students for independent research. this course is only an addition to and not a substitution for any portion of the major requirement. This course may not be repeated; research students should enroll in NES 397 or 497 in subsequent semesters. No more than 12 semester hours of credit may be accrued in any combination of NES 297, 397, 493, 495, and 497. P: Instructor's Consent.

NES 397. Directed Independent Research (Extramural). 0-3 credits.

NES 466. Pharmacology of Drugs and Abuse. 3 credits.

The course will introduce the psychopharmacology of drug abuse and addiction, and has a strong neurosc¡ence orientation. An introduct¡on to pharmacologic thought and basic principles will be provided. The acute and long-term effects of selected drugs of abuse on behavior, mood, cognition and neuronal function will be discussed. Studies with humans will be integrated with basic preclinical studies on the neurobiological basis of drug act¡on and drug abuse. There will be detailedcoverage of synaptic transmission and the distribution, regulation and integration of brain neurotransmitter systems. The focus is on addictive drugs, including: opiates (heroin, morphine, opium), sedat¡ve - hypnotics (alcohol, barbituatese), anxiolytics (benzodiazepines), psychomotor stimulants (amphetamine, cocaine, nicotine), marijuana, hallucinogens (LSD, mescaline), hallucinogenic-stimulants (MDA, MDMA), and dissociative anesthetics (PCP). P: BIO 201, CHM 203, PSY 201, PSY 437.

NES 497. Directed Independent Research (Intramural). 0-3 credits.

A program of independent study emphasizing laboratory or field research, intended for students working with mentors within the Biology department housing the Neuroscience Program. The mentor acts as the instructor of record. No more than 12 semester hours of credit may be accrued in any combination of NES 297, 397, 495, and 497. P: Instructor's consent.

NES 500. Introduction to Clinical Neuroscience. 3 credits.

This course provides an introduction to the various diseases and injuries that affect the human nervous system, an introduction to the professions that work with neurologically impaired individuals and recent research into the treatment of these disorders. The topics covered will include the underlying pathology and mechanisms, the signs, symptoms and deficits, patient management, and the prognosis of selected diagnoses including (but not limited to) spinal cord injury, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, bipolar disorder. Included will be a survey of the training and role of the various healthcare professions that address neurological impairments. Relevant research concerning the pathophysiology of nervous system disorders and the repair and regeneration of nervous system tissue will be introduced.

NES 510. Neurophysiology Lab. 2 credits.

This laboratory course is focused on delivering extensive instruction and exploration of neurophysiology and neural basis of behavior with emphasis on the mastering of techniques used within the field of neuroscience to evaluate electrical activity and intracellular communication within the nervous system. The course is designed to build upon and allow for mastering of neurophysiology concepts and techniques learned in BIO 463, Neurobiology Laboratory. This team-taught course draws upon diverse expertise of instructors to deliver a comprehensive course using both invertebrate and vertebrate models for the study of neurophysiology. Students will use neuronal systems network modeling during hands-on laboratory activities and will be expected to apply the scientific method during the implementation and critical analysis of experiments involving model systems. Students will meet the designated writing component of the Magis Core curriculum by writing an independent grant proposal directed at testing a novel hypothesis in the field of neurophysiology. The grant proposal will serve as a mechanism to improve students' wr¡tten communication, critical thinking and problem solving skills. P: BIO 462, BIO 463, Contemporary Composition.

NES 592. Neuroscience Senior Seminar. 1 credit.

This course covers in-depth reading and discussions on current neuroscience research topics. Students will learn to critically review current scientific papers. Students will be expected to select, read, present and lead discussions of scientific articles covering prevailing theories, concepts, ideas, and experimental techniques in neuroscience. This course will meet the Magis Core Designation for Oral Communication by recording and evaluatjng student presentations for accuracy of content, mastery of scientific discipline, effective oral delivery, and engagement of the audience. P: Oral Communication course; BIO 201/205; BIO 202/206; BIO 462; Senior Standing.