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Neuroscience & Behavior

415 Milbank Hall
Department Administrator: Danielle Feinberg

Program Director: Peter Balsam (Samuel R. Milbank Professor, Psychology)
Professors: John Glendinning (Chair, Biological Sciences), Paul Hertz (Acting Provost and Dean of Faculty), Larry B. Heuer (Ann Whitney Olin Professor, Psychology), Robert E. Remez (Psychology), Rae Silver (Helene L. and Mark N. Kaplan Professor, Psychology)
Assistant Professors: Elizabeth Bauer (Biology), Joshua New (Psychology), Russell Romeo (Psychology Department Representative)
Lecturer: Kara Pham (Psychology)
Adjunct Associate Professor: E’mett McCaskill (Psychology)

Program Committee: Peter Balsam (Psychology), John Glendinning (Biology), Paul Hertz (Biology), Rae Silver (Psychology), Russell Romeo (Psychology), Elizabeth Bauer (Biology)


The Neuroscience and Behavior major provides a strong background in the neural underpinnings of behavior and cognition. It is intended for students who plan to pursue a research career in neuroscience or a related discipline. Students electing this major are exposed to basic courses in biology, psychology and statistics, and to advanced courses in neuroscience and behavior. Majors must choose one of two areas of concentration. The behavior concentration places greater emphasis on behavioral and systems neuroscience, while the cellular concentration places greater emphasis on cellular and molecular neuroscience.

All majors engage in two semesters of independent research during the senior year while taking the Senior Research Seminar. In the junior year, majors must begin developing a plan for the senior research project. There is a meeting for junior majors during the spring semester to begin this process.

Student Learning Goals

  • Students graduating with a major in Neuroscience and Behavior should be able to attain the following outcomes:
  • Acquire a strong intellectual foundation in neuroscience.
  • Develop competence in the interpretation and evaluation of neuroscience research.
  • Understand the role of experimentation in neuroscience.
  • Learn basic methods of experimental design and hypothesis testing.
  • Acquire effective oral presentation skills.
  • Demonstrate a capability to write a scientific paper.
  • Understand statistical approaches to the analysis of data.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon successfully completing the major, students should have the ability to

  •  Discuss neuroscience phenomena from many different levels of organization (e.g., explain how the destruction of myelin in people with multiple sclerosis leads to cognitive and motor deficits);
  •  Describe the basic features of nervous system development, organization, signaling, integration, and higher-level processing;
  •  Explain the neural basis of sensory-motor integration, learning and the generation of complex behaviors;
  • Conceive of, implement, and present an original research project;
  • Generate a testable hypothesis and develop a controlled experimental design;
  • Perform modern scientific measurement techniques;
  • Write an original research paper.

To elect the major in Neuroscience and Behavior, a student must have completed these courses by the end of the sophomore year with an average grade of B- or better in the four Biology courses, an average grade of B- or better in the three Chemistry courses, and a grade of B- or better in the Psychology course:

BIOL BC 1500 & BC 1501 Introduction to Organismal & Evolutionary with laboratory
BIOL BC 1502 & BC 1503 Introduction to Cell & Molecular Biology with laboratory
CHEM BC 1601 General Chemistry, lecture with laboratory
CHEM BC 3328 Organic Chemistry I, lecture
CHEM BC 3230 Organic Chemistry I, laboratory
PSYC BC 1001 Introduction to Psychology
As an alternative to the Neuroscience and Behavior major, students may pursue an interdisciplinary program by majoring in either Biology or Psychology and taking a minor in the other discipline.

There are no minors in Neuroscience and Behavior.