Major in Neuroscience
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
|PSYC 6||Introduction to Neuroscience||
|PSYC 10||Experimental Design, Methodology, and Data Analysis Procedures||
Any 4 of the following 11 courses:
|MATH 3||Introduction to Calculus||
|MATH 4||Applications of Calculus to Medicine and Biology||
|MATH 8||Calculus of Functions of One and Several Variables||
|CHEM 5||General Chemistry||
|CHEM 6||General Chemistry||
|PHYS 3||General Physics I||
|PHYS 4||General Physics II||
|ENGS 20||Introduction to Scientific Computing ||
|COSC 1||Introduction to Programming and Computation||
|COSC 10||Problem Solving via Object-Oriented Programming||
|COSC 31||Algorithms (Formerly COSC 25)||
Required – (8 courses including 004 core courses and 004 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 40s level or higher.
Four electives from the approved list on the PBS website, http://www.dartmouth.edu/~psych/undergrad/major-in-neuroscience.html.
Culminating experience (1 course) (Cannot be used to satisfy the electives requirement)
Any one of the three courses listed below OR any approved psyc 80's seminar, see approved on the PBS website, http://www.dartmouth.edu/~psych/undergrad/major-in-neuroscience.html
|BIOL 74||Advanced Neurobiology||
|PSYC 90||Independent Neuroscience Research||
|PSYC 91||Honors Neuroscience Research||
PSYC 090—(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.(Note:If one term is to serve as Culminating Experience, the other term cannot be used as an elective). Students are required to write a final report of their research. Prerequisite: PSYC 006 or BIOL 034 and PSYC 010 or BIOL 029. 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.
PSYC 091—(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 PSYC 091. A student must have a minimum grade point average of 3.30 in the major and3.00 overall to enroll and must enroll by the end of the second week of 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 PSYC 091. 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: PSYC 006 or BIOL 034 and PSYC 010 or BIOL 029. 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.
With permission of the Neuroscience Steering Committee, other courses that are appropriate given the student’s area of specialization may be taken for credit.
- Students who elect to take the BIOL 12/13 sequence to satisfy their cellular/molecular neuroscience requirement can take PSYC 46 as one of the four elective credits.
- Whichever course is taken to satisfy the PSYC 21/28 requirements, the other course may be taken for elective credit.
- Multiple offerings of PSYC 50, PSYC 51, PSYC 52, and PSYC 80 courses of the same number may be taken as long as they cover different topics.
- You can only get major credit for taking PSYC 6 or BIOL 34, but not both.
- Students who take PHSL 150 or PEMM 211 should register for PSYC 90 and have permission of the instructor.
- PSYC 6 and PSYC 10 and BIOL 34 cannot be taken as an NRO.
- Courses that are taken as part of another major or minor cannot be used as elective courses for Neuroscience.
- At the beginning of each academic year, the Neuroscience Steering Committee will announce which courses qualify for elective and culminating experience credit.
- Students will not be allowed to earn credit for both PSYC 26 and PSYC 45.