Academic Catalog 2021-2022 
    Jul 18, 2024  
Academic Catalog 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Neuroscience, B.S.

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The neuroscience major consists of three tracks: The Bioscience track, the Cognitive track, and the Computational track.

  • The Bioscience track focuses on the biological basis of neural development, function, and plasticity. Students will develop an understanding of the nervous system and its role in cognition, perception, and action at the molecular, cellular, and systems level.
  • The Cognitive track provides students with an understanding of how neural networks and brain mechanisms give rise to specific mental processes and behavior. Students begin with the processes that have been traditionally studied in the area of cognitive psychology, but can tailor the program to include phenomena that are traditionally studied in developmental or clinical psychology as well.
  • The Computational track focuses on issues related to developing computational models of neuronal and mental processes. Students will develop an understanding of artificial intelligence that uses biologically plausible methods.

Requirements for the Major:

The neuroscience major consists of four parts: (1) a core of required courses that all majors must take; (2) required courses in one of three tracks - bioscience, cognitive, or computational; (3) a general elective; (4) a senior writing requirement. Unless noted below, course descriptions are listed under their home departments. It is not possible to be an interdepartmental major in Neuroscience.

2. Required and cognate courses in one of three tracks:

Bioscience Track:

Cognitive Track:

Computational Track:

Additional Courses for All Majors

4. Senior Writing Requirement (WS):

Requirements for Honors:

In addition to meeting college-wide requirements, honors in Neuroscience requires: (1) a minimum grade point average of 3.30 in the major (including thesis grades, but not including the CHM or MTH cognate courses listed in #2 above); (2) a minimum of three grades of A or A- in the required courses for all majors (see #1 above); (3) satisfactory completion of a senior thesis with a minimum grade of A-; (4) presentation of the student’s work, usually at the Steinmetz Symposium. Any non-adjunct professor or lecturer in the Psychology, Biology, or Computer Science departments may advise a senior thesis; faculty members not in those departments must be affiliated with the Neuroscience program in order to advise senior theses. Adjunct faculty members may only advise theses with explicit approval of the Neuroscience program director(s). However, to do a thesis advised by a faculty member not affiliated with the Neuroscience program, students must receive permission from the program director(s) in advance. Students are advised to start the process of finding a thesis topic and advisor as early in the junior year as possible.

Course Selection Guidelines for the Neuroscience Major:

It is recommended that students in this major start with BIO 103 , BIO 104 , and PSY 210  as these courses are prerequisites for Neuroscience students to take the neuroscience-related courses in the Psychology department without taking PSY 100 , which does not count toward the Neuroscience major. After completing PSY 210 , Neuroscience students may take other Psychology courses without first completing PSY 100. Students are strongly encouraged to take PSY 200 , PSY 210, BIO 205   , BIO 242  and CSC 106  (or CSC 103 ) as early as possible, preferably in the sophomore year. CSC 106  is preferred over CSC 103 , but both satisfy the same requirement. Students are also advised to take CHM 101  prior to taking BIO 205  . Although not required, it is typical that Cognitive Track majors take senior seminars in the Psychology department, and Bioscience Track majors take senior seminars in the Biology department. Normally, courses taken outside of Union College will not be counted toward the major. However, exceptions can be made under extenuating circumstances on an ad-hoc basis. To receive Neuroscience credit for courses taken elsewhere, students must contact the program director(s) to request permission, and the courses must match a Union course or have similar neuroscience content to Union courses that do receive credit.


*MTH 110  may alternatively be satisfied by taking the first two courses in the MTH 100-101-102 sequence.

Health Professions: doctoral programs (MD/DO/PhD) often require additional courses in chem (orgo), biochem, physics, as well as psychology and sociology (100s); other professional tracks may require Anatomy & Physiology (often taken at a nearby institution alongside Union classes).

Clinical Courses: (required for grad school in therapeutic realm: neuropsychologist, psychologist, psychiatrist, neurologist, counselor/therapist, occupational therapy…) PSY 213  , PSY 250  , PSY 351  , PSY 451  , PSY 352  .

NS Honors Society (Nu Rho Psi): major/minor in NS, 3 terms of college (min cum GPA of 3.20), 3 NS courses (min NS GPA of 3.50)

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