Skip to main content


Information on this website is posted for historical reference only. Please visit the Office of the Registrar for current requirements.



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 for the broad spectrum of neuroscience, which spans molecular, cellular, systems, behavioral, and cognitive components. Then, students are expected to choose a set of electives that will lead them towards a broad understanding of the neuroscience field, as well as techniques used by neuroscientists to study the brain. With this background students are encouraged to engage in a 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, including advanced seminars or independent research, that emphasize cell or molecular biology. The list of electives is flexible. In consultation with their advisor, students develop an elective list that is subject to approval by the Neuroscience Steering Committee.

A central mission of the major is to encourage students to work closely with sponsoring faculty to learn experimental methods in neuroscience. Students fulfill their culminating experience by either conducting research in neuroscience under the direction of a faculty advisor or taking an upper level seminar with an emphasis in neuroscience. 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 School of Medicine, the Thayer Engineering School, and other departments within the College of Arts and Sciences, subject to approval by the Neuroscience Steering Committee.

Potential majors are encouraged to begin planning their course of study by the end of their first year. Information concerning course requirements, transfer credit, checklists, along with a worksheet to help in planning your schedule can be viewed on the PBS department website. Sign-up for courses requiring permission is also handled through the PBS department website starting in May of the prior academic year in which the course will be taught. 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.


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)

Any 4 of the following 10 courses:

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

Chemistry 5, 6 (General Chemistry I, II)

Physics 3, 4 (General Physics I, II)

Computer Science 5, 8, 25 (Introduction to Computer Science, Problem Solving with Computer Science, Algorithms)

Engineering Sciences 20 (Introduction to Scientific Computing)

Required – (8 courses including 4 core courses and 4 electives)

Core Courses:

Psychology 21 (Perception) or Psychology 28 (Cognition)

Psychology 45 (Behavioral Neuroscience)

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

Psychology 65 (Systems Neuroscience)

Electives: Four electives from the list below or other courses as approved on an annual basis by the Neuroscience Steering Committee. Of the four electives taken for neuroscience major credit, two of them must be at the 50’s level or higher.

Biology 27 (Animal Behavior)

Biology 37 (Endocrinology)

Biology 39 (Computational Molecular Biology)

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 80s (Seminar courses with a neuroscience emphasis)

Physiology 150 (Seminar in Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience)

PEMM 211 (Seminar in Neurobiology of Disease)

With permission of the Neuroscience Steering Committee, other courses that are appropriate given the student’s area of specialization may be taken for credit.


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

2) Whichever course is taken to satisfy the Psychology 21/28 requirements, the other course may be taken for elective credit.

3) Multiple offerings of Psychology 50, 51, 52, and 80 courses of the same number may be taken as long as they cover different topics.

4) You can only get major credit for taking Psychology 6 or Biology 34, but not both.

5) Students who take Physiology 150 or PEMM 211 should register for Psychology 90 and have permission of the instructor.

6) Psychology 6 and 10 and Biology 34 cannot be taken as an NRO.

7) Courses that are taken as part of another major or minor cannot be used as elective courses for Neuroscience.

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

9) Students in the Classes of 2010 and 2011 who have already taken Psychology 26 are not required to take Psychology 45. Also, students will not be allowed to earn credit for both Psychology 26 and Psychology 45.

Culminating experience (1 course) (Cannot be used to satisfy the electives requirement)

Biology 74 (Advanced Neurobiology Seminar)

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

Psychology 90 (Independent Neuroscience Research)

Psychology 91 (Honor’s Neuroscience 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. Prerequisite: Psychology 6 or Biology 34 and Psychology 10 or Biology 29. Enrollment is via the PBS Department website along with written permission of the advisor and then written permission of the Chair of the Neuroscience Steering Committee. The staff.

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 their senior year. The honors thesis will be evaluated by a two-person thesis committee approved by the Neuroscience Steering 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 Steering Committee. The student is expected to submit a written thesis, give a presentation and pass an oral examination administered by the thesis committee and attended by at least one member of the Neuroscience Steering Committee. The thesis committee will make recommendations to the Neuroscience Steering Committee regarding the awarding of Honors or High Honors. Prerequisite: Psychology 6 or Biology 34 and Psychology 10 or Biology 29. Enrollment is via the PBS Department website along with written permission of the advisor and then written permission of the Chair of the Neuroscience Steering Committee. Students electing to do an Honor’s thesis should consult the PBS Department website for further details. The staff.


The Minor in Neuroscience is sponsored by 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 minor requires six courses: one prerequisite, 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) or Psychology 6 – (Introduction to Neuroscience) or Biology 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 - Systems Neuroscience (Psychology 6 or 45, or Biology 34)

Electives: (3 courses) (Prerequisites as shown)

The electives are similar to the elective courses described for the Neuroscience major. One of the three electives must be at the 50s level or higher.

Other Issues:

Required and Elective courses cannot count toward both the major and minor.