About the Major
Neuroscience is a discipline that probes one of the last biological frontiers in understanding ourselves. It asks fundamental questions about how the brain and nervous system work in the expression of behavior. As such, the field takes on a clear interdisciplinary character: All scientific levels of organization (behavioral, developmental, molecular, cellular, and systems) contribute to our understanding of the nervous system. Neuroscience has been a field of particularly active growth and progress for the past two decades, and it is certain to be an area where important and exciting developments will continue to occur. At Wesleyan, the neurosciences are represented by the teaching and research activities of faculty members in the departments of Biology, Psychology, and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. The NS&B curriculum is both comprehensive and provides diverse approaches to learning. Through lecture/seminars, lab-based methods courses, and hands-on research experience, students are afforded a rich educational experience. Unique among schools of comparative size, Wesleyan has small but active graduate programs leading to MA and PhD degrees. This attribute, together with the high success rate of faculty in obtaining research grant support, further enhances the education of undergraduates by providing additional mentoring, more research opportunities, and access to state-of-the-art laboratories. The mission of the NS&B Program is to provide the foundation for a variety of career options in science, medicine, and private industry. For more information, see www.wesleyan.edu/nsb/.
- NS&B149 Neuroethology: Sensory Basis of Animal Orientation and Navigation
One or more of the foundation courses in biology (BIOL181, 182) are prerequisites for the advanced NS&B courses offered by the Biology Department. Although not legislated as prerequisites, NS&B213 (Behavioral Neurobiology) and NS&B laboratory courses provide important conceptual and practical background for independent research in the junior and senior years. The ideal course sequence would include BIOL181 and 182 along with chemistry in the first year. In the sophomore year, one would take Behavioral Neurobiology (NS&B213). The other required courses and research tutorials would be spread out over the last two years. See Pathways through the major for further information.
To be admitted to the major during March of the sophomore year, a student must have completed, with grades of C- or better, at least two of the full-credit courses listed in Foundation and Core courses. At least one of these credits must be either NS&B213 or BIOL181.
- BIOL181 Principles of Biology I
- BIOL191 Principles of Biology I-Laboratory (0.5 credit)
- BIOL182 Principles of Biology II
- BIOL192Principles of Biology II-Laboratory (0.5 credit)
- CHEM141/142 Introductory Chemistry I/II or CHEM143/144 Principles of Chemistry I/II
- CHEM251/252 Principles of Organic Chemistry I/II
- PHYS111/112 Introductory Physics I/II or PHYS113/116 General Physics I/II
- NS&B213 Behavioral Neurobiology
Advanced courses. Five advanced courses from the following list are required for students; two must be cross-listed with biology (A); two cross-listed with psychology (B); and one, a research tutorial or methodological course (C).A. Cross-listed with biology
B. Cross-listed with psychology
- NS&B224 Hormones, Brain, and Behavior
- NS&B239 Functional Anatomy of the Human Brain
- NS&B245 Cellular Neurophysiology
- NS&B249 Neuroethology
- NS&B252 Cell Biology of the Neuron
- NS&B254 Comparative Animal Behavior
- NS&B299 Waves, Brains, and Music
- NS&B303 Recptors, Channels, and Pumps
- NS&B324/524 Neuropharmacology
- NS&B325 Stem Cells
- NS&B326 Drugs of Abuse from Neurobiology to Behaviour
- NS&B328 Chemical Senses
- NS&B345 Developmental Neurobiology
- NS&B351 Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
- NS&B353 Neurobiology of Neurological Disorders
- NS&B543/343 Muscle and Nerve Development
- NS&B360 Capstone Experience in Neuroscience and Behavior
C. Research methods and practica
- NS&B217 Neuroscience Perspectives in Psychopathologies
- NS&B220 Cognitive Psychology
- NS&B221 Human Memory
- NS&B222 Sensation and Perception
- NS&B228 Clinical Neuropsychology (previously 282)
- NS&B311 Behavioral and Neural Basis of Attention
- NS&B316Schizophrenia and Its Treatment: Neuroscientific, Historical, and Phenomenological Perspectives
- NS&B329 Neural Costs of War
- NS&B348 Origins of Knowledge
- BIOL320/520 Quantitative Methods for the Biological and Environmental Sciences
- NS&B243 Neurohistology
- NS&B247 Laboratory in Neurophysiology
- NS&B250 Laboratory in Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology
- NS&B280 Applied Data Analysis
- NS&B381 Seminar in Memory Theory and Research
- NS&B382 Advanced Research in Decision Making
- NS&B390 Experimental Investigations into Reading
- NS&B392 Behavioral Methods in Affective Neuroscience
- NS&B393 Advanced Research in Cognition and Neuropsychiatric Illness
- NS&B409/410 or 421/422 Research Tutorial for two semesters, both in the lab of the same faculty member
- PSYC200 Statistics: An Activity-Based Approach
Note: Methodological courses cannot be credited toward the requirements of categories A or B.
Courses of relevance outside the program.Though not requirements of the major, students should be aware that a number of courses in computer science, statistics, organic chemistry, and molecular biology, as well as courses in non-neuroscience areas of biology and psychology, complement theNS&B major and should be considered, in consultation with your advisor, when planning your program of study. A relatively new course, designed for sophomores, may be of special interest, BIOL131 Service-Learning Clinical Experience at CT Valley Hospital, as well as the more advanced course, BIOL223 Integration of Clinical Experience and Life Science Learning.Substituting outside courses for credit to the major
- Foundation courses:A student who has taken foundation courses outside of Wesleyan may be able to apply them to the major. As a general rule, courses acceptable to the Biology, Chemistry, and Physics departments for University credit are acceptable to the NS&B program for substitution for foundation courses.
- Advanced courses:Advanced courses, inside or outside of the University, might be acceptable as substitutes for the advanced courses of the NS&B major. In general, only one such course can be substituted, and approval must be obtained in advance from the program director.
Undergraduate research.NS&B majors are encouraged to become involved in the research of the faculty. Research tutorials and senior thesis tutorials are taken with mode of grading and amount of credit to be arranged with the research supervisor. Research tutorials are numbered 401/402 (Individual Tutorial), 411/412 (Group Tutorial), and 409/410 (Senior Thesis Tutorial), 421/422 (Undergraduate Research). These courses can fulfill the Category C requirement or can receive graduation credit. See the pamphlet Research in the Neuroscience Behavior Program available in room 257 Hall-Atwater for descriptions of the ongoing research programs in the laboratories of the NS&B faculty, or visit our Website.
To be considered for honors, a student must be an NS&B major and have a B average (grade average 85) in the courses credited to the major. The student must submit a laboratory research thesis that was supervised by a member of the NS&B faculty and be recommended for honors by the NS&B faculty.
AP credit may be used to place out of any of the Foundation courses, subject to the guidelines of the department hosting these courses.
George H. Acheson and Grass Foundation Prize in Neuroscience
Established in 1992 by a gift from the Grass Foundation, this prize is awarded to an outstanding undergraduate in the Neuroscience and Behavior Program who demonstrates excellence in the program and who also shows promise for future contributions in the field of neuroscience.
Teaching apprenticeships. Students may be appointed teaching apprentices with the approval of the participating faculty member and the Office of Academic Affairs. The apprenticeship position involves assisting a faculty member in the teaching of a course. Concurrently, the apprentice enrolls in an apprenticeship tutorial (NS&B491/492) that is usually a one-credit course and operates in either the graded or credit/no credit mode.
Petitioning for exemptions. A student may request a variance from the requirements of the major or for honors by submitting a written petition to the chair of the program. The petition should indicate why the requirement cannot be met and the educational justification for the alternative. The petition will be considered by the NS&B faculty, and the student will receive a statement of the decision by letter.
Seminars. The program periodically invites neuroscientists from outside Wesleyan to come here and describe their research. These seminars frequently complement course material and give students the opportunity to interact with noted researchers. The talks are usually scheduled for noon on Thursdays. Students are encouraged to attend.