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Neuroscience Oversight Committee: Jeffrey S. Taube (Chair), D. J. Bucci, L. P. Henderson.


Neuroscience is a broad interdisciplinary field requiring a rigorous preparation in basic science. Students in this discipline are expected to understand basic principles of neuroscience, cell biology and statistics. They are also expected to gain competency in calculus, chemistry, physics or computer science. These prerequisites are fundamental to understanding contemporary experimental methods in neuroscience.

Required courses are intended to provide a strong background in the measurement of behavior and in molecular, cellular and systems neuroscience. Then, students are expected to choose a set of electives that will lead them towards a seminar or research project with a specific emphasis in neuroscience. Many of the elective courses are offered through the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, but courses can be taken through other departments depending upon the area of specialization. For example electives in Computer Science and Mathematics could be selected that emphasize computational methods. Alternatively, a student might choose electives emphasizing cell or molecular biology, leading towards a seminar or research project in cellular neurobiology. The list of electives is adaptive. Students develop an elective list with an advisor that is subject to approval by the Neuroscience Oversight Committee.

A central mission of the new major is to encourage students to work closely with sponsoring faculty to learn experimental methods in neuroscience. As their culminating experience, students can either elect to take an appropriate senior level seminar or engage in research in neuroscience under the direction of a faculty advisor. Faculty in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences provide a core resource for research opportunities for students, however neuroscience research opportunities for undergraduate majors also involve faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences in other departments, the School of Medicine, and the Thayer Engineering School, subject to approval by the Neuroscience Oversight Committee.

Potential majors are encouraged to begin planning their course of study by the end of their first year. Neuroscience majors and potential majors should begin by contacting the PBS department office in 103 Moore Hall. A department staff member will assign neuroscience majors to one of the three Neuroscience advisors (Professors Taube, Bucci, or Henderson).


Prerequisites - 6 courses

Psychology 6 (Introduction to Neuroscience) or Biology 34 (Introduction to Neurobiology)

Psychology 10 (Experimental Design, Methodology and Data Analysis Procedures) or Biology 29 (Biostatistics)

Four of the following:

Mathematics 3, 4 (Introduction to Calculus, Calculus with Applications)

Chemistry 5, 6 (General Chemistry)

Physics 3, 4 (General Physics I, II)

Computer Science 5, 15 (Introduction to Computer Science)

Engineering Sciences 20 (Introduction to Scientific Computing)

Required - 8 courses (9 if taking the Biology 12, 13 sequence)

Psychology 21 (Perception) or Psychology 28 (Cognition)

Psychology 26 (Physiological Psychology)

Psychology 65 (Physiology of Behavior)

Psychology 46 (Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience) or the series Biology 12 (Cell Structure and Function) and Biology 13 (Gene Expression and Inheritance).

Four electives approved by the Neuroscience Oversight Committee. Two of these must be at the 50’s level or higher. Students may use the electives to emphasize different areas of interest within neuroscience, such as physiology, computational, cognitive, cell or molecular neuroscience. The following are among the courses that could be used for developing the major.

Biology 37 (Endocrinology)

Biology 39 (Computational Molecular Biology)

Biology 63 (Developmental Genetics)

Biology 74 (Advanced Neurobiology)

Biology 79 (Genetics and Physiology of Behavior)

Education 50 (The Reading Brain)

Psychology 40 (Introduction to Computational Neuroscience)

Psychology 50 (Issues in Neuroscience)

Psychology 51 (Issues in Information Processing)

Psychology 52 (Issues in Learning and Development)

Psychology 60 (Principles of Brain Mapping)

Psychology 64 (Sensory Psychology)

Psychology 67 (Experimental Study of Animal Behavior)

Psychology 80s (Seminar courses with a neuroscience emphasis)

Some Education courses that contain a neuroscience emphasis (approved on a year-to-year basis).

Some Mathematics and Computer Science courses for students interested in computational neuroscience (approved on a year-to-year and per student basis).


1) For students who elect to take the Biology 12/13 sequence to satisfy their cellular/molecular neuroscience requirement, you can take Psychology 46 as one of your four elective credits.

2) For students graduating in 2009 and after, you can only get credit for taking Psychology 6 or Biology 34, but not both.

3) At the beginning of each academic year, the Neuroscience Oversight Committee will announce which courses qualify for elective and culminating experience credit.

Culminating experience (Cannot be used to satisfy the electives requirement)

Students satisfy the requirement by completing one of the following courses.

Biology 74 (Advanced Neurobiology Seminar)

Psychology 80’s level seminar (Seminar with neuroscience emphasis)

Psychology 90 (Independent Research)

Psychology 91 (Honor’s Research)

Psychology 90—(Independent Neuroscience Research) This course is designed to enable students to engage in independent laboratory research under the direction of a neuroscience faculty member. Students may take up to two terms of independent research. Students are required to write a final report of their research.

Psychology 91—(Honors Neuroscience Research) This course is designed to enable especially qualified students, usually seniors, to engage in independent laboratory research under the direction of a neuroscience faculty member. Students must take at least two terms of Psychology 91. A student must have a minimum grade point average of 3.30 in the major and 3.00 overall to enroll and must enroll by the Fall term of the senior year. The honors thesis will be evaluated by a two-person thesis committee approved by the Neuroscience Committee. Thesis committee members must be identified prior to the student signing up for Psychology 91. The thesis committee must include a regular faculty member of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. The other individual must have an active academic appointment at Dartmouth. A prospectus of proposed research is due by the end of the fall term for approval by the Neuroscience Committee. The student is expected to submit a written thesis, give a presentation and pass an oral examination administered by the thesis committee. The thesis committee will make recommendations to the Neuroscience Committee regarding the awarding of Honors or High Honors. A student must have a minimum GPA of A- (3.66) to attain high honors.


D. J. Bucci (Psychological and Brain Sciences), S. J. Vélez (Biological Sciences)

The Minor in Neuroscience is jointly sponsored by the Department of Biological Sciences and the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. It is intended to provide formal recognition for students who have concentrated some of their academic work in the interdisciplinary area of Neuroscience. The courses come from the Departments of Biological Sciences, Psychological and Brain Sciences, and others. The minor can accommodate majors in either department as well as majors in all other departments. The minor requires seven courses: two prerequisites, two required courses, and three electives. Many of the courses may require permission of the instructor in addition to prerequisite courses.

Prerequisites (1 course):

Psychology 1 - Introductory Psychology: Psychology 6 - Introduction to Neuroscience or 34 - Neurobiology.

Required courses: (2 courses) (Prerequisites as shown.)

Psychology 46 - Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience (Psychology 6 or Biology 34) or Biology 12 (Biology 11) - Cell Structure and Function, Psychology 65 - Physiology of Behavior (Psychology 1 or 6, and Psychology 26 or Biology 34)

Electives: (3 courses) (Prerequisites as shown)

The electives are primarily in two categories, biology and psychology. These courses require prerequisites as listed.


Biology 27 - Animal Behavior (Biology 14). You cannot count both Biology 27 and Psychology 67 toward the minor.

Biology 37 - Endocrinology (Biology 12, 13)

Biology 39 - Computational Molecular Biology (Biology 13)

Biology 63 - Developmental Genetics (Biology 38 or 43 or permission)

Biology 74 - Advanced Neurobiology (Biology 34)

Biology 79 - Genetics and Physiology of Behavior (Biology 45 and permission


Psychology 21 - Perception

Psychology 26 - Physiological Psychology (Psychology 1 or 6). Cannot be taken after Psychology 65

Psychology 28 - Cognition

Psychology 40 - Introduction to Computational Neuroscience

Psychology 50 - Issues in Neuroscience (Prerequisites vary; check specific course.)

Psychology 51 - Issues in Information Processing (Prerequisites vary; check specific course.)

Psychology 52 - Issues in Learning and Development (Prerequisites vary; check specific course.)

Psychology 60 - Principles of Human Brain Mapping fMRI (Psychology 1 or 6, and 10, and one course from the 20’s series, and permission)

Psychology 64 - Laboratory in Sensory Psychology (Psychology 1 or 6, and permission)

Psychology 67 – Experimental Study of Animal Behavior (Psychology 1 or 6, and 10, and permission). You cannot count both Psychology 67 and Biology 33 toward the minor.

Psychology 80s - Seminar courses with a neuroscience emphasis

Other Issues:

A standard minor in Neuroscience may be approved by the Neuroscience Undergraduate Committee chair (Note: Required and Elective courses cannot count toward both the major and minor.)