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Professors: Allan Berlind (Director)(Biology), Catherine Best (Psychology), David Bodznick (Biology), Roderick V. Jensen (Physics), John Seamon (Psychology), Harry Sinnamon (Psychology)

Associate Professors: John Kirn (Biology), Janice Naegele (Biology)

Assistant Professors: John Kirn (Biology), Chun Luo (Psychology), Stephen Petrill (Psychology)

Departmental Advising Experts (2000-2001): Allan Berlind (Biology), Harry Sinnamon (Psychology)


Neuroscience is a discipline that probes one of the last biological frontiers in understanding ourselves, in that 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 levels of biological organization (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 in the foreseeable future. At Wesleyan, the neurosciences are represented by the teaching and research activities of several faculty members in the biology, psychology, and physics departments.

I. Requirements for the major

Foundation courses

BIOL205 Principles of Biology I: The Cell and the Molecular Basis of Heredity

BIOL215 Principles of Biology I: Laboratory (0.5 credit)

BIOL206 Principles of Biology II: Eukaryotic Genetics and Developmental Biology

BIOL216 Principles of Biology II: Laboratory (0.5 credit)

BIOL207 Principles of Biology III: Physiology, Ecology, and Evolution

BIOL217 Principles of Biology III: Laboratory (0.5 credit)

CHEM141/142 Introductory General Chemistry or

CHEM143/144 Principles of Chemistry I

CHEM251/252 Organic Chemistry

PHYS111/112 Introductory Physics or

PHYS113/116 General Physics

Core course

NS&B213 Behavioral Neurobiology

Advanced courses: Five advanced courses from the following list are required. Two must be cross-listed with biology, two cross-listed with psychology, and one a methodological course.

Cross-listed with biology

NS&B224 Hormones, Brain, and Behavior

NS&B245 Cellular Neurophysiology

NS&B249 Neural Systems and Behavior

NS&B254 Comparative Animal Behavior

NS&B345 Developmental Neurobiology

NS&B348 Animal Orientation and Migration

NS&B351 Approaches to Understanding the Neurobiology of Memory and Learning

NS&B517 Topics in Neuroethology

NS&B575 Neuronal Cell Death in Development and Disease

Cross-listed with psychology

NS&B220 Introduction to Cognitive Psychology

NS&B221 Human Memory

NS&B222 Sensation and Perception

NS&B255 Neural Mechanisms of Movement

NS&B275 Neuroanatomy

NS&B282 Clinical Neuropsychology

NS&B325 Cognitive Neuroscience: Mechanisms of the Mind

NS&B329 Seminar on Perception and Visual Cognition

NS&B332 Developmental Behavioral Genetics

NS&B352 Biology of Language and Communication

Methodological courses

NS&B223 Laboratory in Behavioral Neurobiology

NS&B247 Laboratory in Neurophysiology

NS&B250 Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory

NS&B274 Computers and Data Analysis

PSYC200 Statistics: An activity based approach

PSYC201&214 Psychological Statistics & Lab

NS&B333 Topics in Computational Neuroscience and Biophysics

II. 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 nonneuroscience areas of biology and psychology, complement the NS&B major and should be considered, in consultation with your advisor, when planning your program of study.

III. Substituting outside courses for credit to the major

A. 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. Generally, the two-semester introductory biology sequence common at other schools would not be sufficient to substitute for all three of the introductory biology courses here.

B. 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.

IV. 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. These courses receive graduation credit but not major credit. See the pamphlet "Research in the Neuroscience Behavior Program" available in room 257 HA for descriptions of the ongoing research programs in the laboratories of the NS&B faculty.

V. Seminars

The program periodically invites neuroscientists outside of 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 4 p.m. on Wednesday or Thursday. Students are encouraged to attend.

VI. Honors in neuroscience and behavior

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.

VII. 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.

VIII. Teaching apprentice program

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&B 491/492), which is usually one course credit and operates in either the graded or credit/no credit modes. Apprentices are usually given a modest stipend.

IX. Steps in becoming an NS&B major

One or more of the foundation courses in biology (205, 206, and 207) 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 BIOL205 and 206 along with chemistry in the frosh year. In the sophomore year, one would take BIOL207 in the fall and Behavioral Neurobiology (NS&B213) in the spring. The other required courses and research tutorials would be spread out over the last two years. BIOL205 should be taken no later than fall of the sophomore year for students considering an NS&B major.

X. Admission to the major

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 part I, above. At least one of these credits must be either NS&B213 or BIOL205.

XI. For more information, see the program director, Allan Berlind.


Last Update 8/99

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