Neuroscience and Behavior

Renae Brodie, Chair (Fall 2017)

Katherine Binder, Chair (Spring 2018)

Dianne Baranowski, Academic Department Coordinator

105 Clapp Laboratory

Overview and Contact Information

The program in neuroscience and behavior is intended for students with strong, integrative interests in both biological sciences and psychology and in the biological bases of behavior.

See Also


This area of study is administered by the Neuroscience and Behavior Committee:

Katherine Binder, Professor of Psychology

Gary Gillis, Professor of Biological Sciences; Associate Dean of Faculty; Director of the Science Center

Sarah Bacon, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences

Renae Brodie, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, Teaching Fall Only

Mara Breen, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Education

Kenneth Colodner, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience and Behavior

Kathryn McMenimen, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Jared Schwartzer, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Education

Andre White, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences

Requirements for the Major

A minimum of 52 credits:

Required Core Curriculum
NEURO-100Introduction to Neuroscience and Behavior4
CHEM-101General Chemistry I4
or CHEM-160 Integrated Introduction to Biology and Chemistry
CHEM-201General Chemistry II4
CHEM-202Organic Chemistry I4
MATH-101Calculus I4
PSYCH-204Research Methods in Psychology4
BIOL-200Introductory Biology II: How Organisms Develop4
BIOL-230Cell and Molecular Biology4
A course in quantitative inference:4
Elementary Data Analysis and Experimental Design
or STAT-242 Intermediate Statistics
Two of the following laboratory-based courses at the 300 level:8
Vertebrate Anatomy
Behavioral Ecology
Comparative Biomechanics
Human Physiology
Mammalian Anatomy
Evolution and Human Sexual Behavior
Artificial Intelligence
Topics: 'Natural Language Processing'
Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
Independent Study (4 credits)
Laboratory in Perception and Cognition: 'Cognition and Literacy'
Laboratory in Behavioral Neuroscience
A third 300-level course from the preceding list, or from the following:4
Chemistry of Biomolecules
Biology of Neurological Diseases
Seminar in Perception and Cognition: 'Art, Music, and the Brain'
Seminar in Perception and Cognition: 'Language and Thought'
Seminar: Biological Bases of Behavior: 'Clinical Neuroscience'
Total Credits52

Additional Specifications

  • Students planning postgraduate study in a related discipline or in medicine are urged to participate in independent laboratory research within either or both departments.
  • Neuroscience and behavior is an interdisciplinary major. Students who pursue an interdisciplinary major automatically fulfill the College’s “outside the major” requirement.

Course Offerings

NEURO-100 Introduction to Neuroscience and Behavior

Fall and Spring. Credits: 4

This comprehensive survey course explores the brain and the biological basis of behavior. We will examine the anatomy of the nervous system and the unique properties of the cells that make up the brain. We will discuss the mechanisms by which individual brain cells communicate with each other, and how small networks of cells underlie more complex processes such as perception, learning, and behavior. In labs, students will perform experiments that expand upon and reinforce these ideas through hands-on exercises.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
K. Colodner
Restrictions: This course is limited to first-year students.
Coreq: NEURO-100L.

NEURO-295 Independent Study

Fall and Spring. Credits: 1 - 4

The department
Instructor permission required.

NEURO-309 Topics in Neuroscience and Behavior

NEURO-309SE Topics in Neuroscience and Behavior: 'The Philosophy and Science of Emotion'

Spring. Credits: 4

This course, rooted in an analytical philosophical approach, is an interdisciplinary investigation of emotions. The course goals are to understand emotions, how different academic disciplines approach the study of emotions, and how these perspectives can inform each other. Are emotions primarily bodily responses? Feelings? Thoughts? What role does culture play in shaping emotions? What functions do emotions serve? What can neuroscience tell us about emotions? We will read and critically analyze material from different disciplines including philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, anthropology and evolutionary theory.

Crosslisted as: PHIL-350SE
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
L. Sizer
Prereq: 8 credits in Philosophy or Neuroscience and Behavior, or 4 credits in each.
Notes: Assignments include in class presentations and several short and longer papers.

NEURO-324 Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Spring. Credits: 4

This course will explore cellular and molecular mechanisms of nervous system development and function through lectures, laboratory exercises, and the critical analysis of primary literature. Topics include synapse formation and synaptic transmission, neuronal-glial interactions, the molecular basis of behavior, and applied genetic engineering techniques.

Applies to requirement(s): Math Sciences
K. Colodner
Prereq: NEURO-100 and BIOL-230 (or BIOL-220).
Notes: This course meets the 300-level laboratory-based course requirement for the Neuroscience and Behavior major.

NEURO-330 Biology of Neurological Diseases

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Biology of Neurological Diseases will explore the molecular and cellular basis of neurological diseases. We will investigate the biological mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease. We will focus on animal models used to investigate pathogenic mechanisms and the biology underlying therapeutic strategies. This class will rely heavily on primary research articles and in-class discussions.

Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distribution Requirement
K. Colodner
Prereq: BIOL-210, BIOL-220 or BIOL-230, and PSYCH-250 or NEURO-100.

NEURO-395 Independent Study

Fall and Spring. Credits: 1 - 8

The department
Instructor permission required.