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Skidmore College
Neuroscience Program

Majors

To fulfill the major, students must complete the following:

  1. Core courses:
    NS 101: Neuroscience: Mind and Behavior
    NS 201: Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience OR NS 202: Neurophysiology
    BI 107 Molecular and Cellular Foundations of Life
    BI 108 Organismal Biology
    CH 125: Principles of Chemistry
    PS 202: Research Methods in Psychology I
  2. Advanced Research Methods Requirement-take one of the following classes:*
    PS 303: Research Methods in Psychology II
    PS 304: Physiological Psychology
    PS 314: Psychology of Reading
    PS 325: Perception Research Methods
    PS 327: Computational Methods in Psychology and Neuroscience
    NS 201:Cellular + Molecular Neuroscience OR NS 202 Neurophysiology (when not taken as a core course)
    BI 242: Molecular Biology
    BI 245: Principles of Genetics
    BI 247: Cell Biology
    BI 311: Biological Electron Microscopy
    BI 341: Neurodevelopment
    BI 344: Biological Clocks
    BI 352: Topics in Biology with Lab (when topic is appropriate for NS majors)
    BI 368: Advanced Light Microscopy
    CH 341: Biochemistry: Macromolecular Structure and Function with Lab
    *If a course is taken to satisfy the Advanced Research Methods requirement, it cannot also be used to fulfill one of the elective requirements listed below, or as a core course.
  3. Integrative course: NS 277 Integrative Seminar in Neuroscience Research
  4. Elective courses:
    a. 100 and 200-level Electives - Take any three of the following courses:
    CS 106 OR CS 107: Introduction to Computer Science OR Introduction to Computer Science with Animations and 2D Games
    NS 201: Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience OR NS 202 Neurophysiology, if either is not taken as Advanced Research Methods or as a core course
    BI 242: Molecular Biology
    BI 244: Comparative Vertebrate Physiology
    BI 245: Principles of Genetics
    BI 247: Cell Biology
    PS 208: Cognition
    PS 213: Hormones and Behavior
    PS 221: Clinical Psychopharmacology
    PS 225: Perception
    PS 231: Neuropsychology
    PS 232: Introduction to Cognitive Science
    CH 221: Organic I
    PY 207 - General Physics I
    b. 300-level Electives - Take any four of the following courses:
    NS 304: From Molecules to Memory
    NS 305: Sleep: A Neurobiological Perspective
    NS 312: Advanced Topics in Neuroscience
    NS 314 Mapping the Cerebellum: Structure, Connectivity & Bioinformatics
    NS 315: Mechanisms of Alzheimer's Disease
    BI 311: Biological Electron Microscopy
    BI 316: Animal Behavior
    BI 341: Neurodevelopment
    BI 342: Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience
    BI 343: Endocrinology
    BI 344: Biological Clocks
    BI 352: Topics in Biology with Lab (when topic is appropriate for NS majors)
    BI 368: Advanced Light Microscopy
    PS 304: Physiological Psychology
    PS 314: Psychology of Reading
    PS 323: Psycholinguistics
    PS 325: Perception Research Methods
    PS 327: Computational Methods in Psychology and Neuroscience
    PS 341: Seminar in Cognitive Neuroscience: Left Brain/Right Brain
    CH 341: Biochemistry: Macromolecular Structure and Function with Lab
    CS 322: Artificial Intelligence
  5. Optional independent research courses (with approval of faculty member)
    a. 200-level Research
    NS 275: Neuroscience Research
    b. 300-level Research
    NS 371A: Research in Neuroscience (1 credit)
    NS 371B: Research in Neuroscience (2 credits)
    NS 371C: Research in Neuroscience (3 credits)
    NS 375H: NS Senior Research I (fall semester only)
    NS 376H: NS Senior Research II (spring semester only)

    NOTE: With the exception of NS 277, none of the courses that count toward the major may be taken on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis.

Recommendations and Advice

Tutorial project: Students are strongly encouraged to enroll in Introduction to Neuroscience Research (NS 275) and Research Experience in Neuroscience (NS 371) prior to completion of the Neuroscience major. These courses allow students to obtain valuable research experience by working directly with Neuroscience faculty. Highly motivated students may wish to pursue a senior tutorial project (NS 375/NS 376), which is a yearlong, intensive research thesis conducted in collaboration with a Neuroscience faculty. Generally speaking, majors should consider taking NS 275 in their sophomore and/or junior year, and NS 371 in their junior year as a prelude to senior research.

Advice on Choosing Electives: Students' choices of electives (both within and beyond the requirements specified by the neuroscience major) may be guided by interests as well as professional goals. For example, in the Core course Principles of Chemistry (CH 125), students are introduced to fundamental concepts of chemistry that are necessary for understanding basic mechanisms in the neurosciences; students wishing to deepen this understanding are encouraged to take additional courses in chemistry, including organic chemistry and biochemistry. Examples of Projected Paths through the Major are intended as illustrations of groupings of electives informed by different kinds of interests and goals. For each illustration, suggestions are offered for electives within and beyond the major.

Core courses: Students are strongly encouraged to complete the six lab-based core courses (NS101, NS201, BI107, BI108, CH125, and PS202) by the end of their sophomore year in preparation for their upper level courses.

Projected Paths through the Major

Path 1: A Biobehavioral Neuroscience Focus

Within major: Consider these electives: BI 245 Principles of Genetics, BI 316 Animal Behavior, BI 341 Neurodevelopment, BI 344 Biological Clocks, PS 213 Hormones and Behavior, PS 304 Physiological Psychology, NS 304 From Molecules to Memory, NS 305 Sleep: A Neurobiological Perspective
Beyond major: Additional electives from psychology (e.g., PS 223 Evolutionary Psychology) and biology (e.g., BI 302 Behavioral Ecology, BI 324 Evolution, BI 370 Computer Modeling of Biological Systems).

Path 2: A Cellular/Molecular Focus

Within major: Consider these electives: BI 242 Molecular Biology, BI 245 Principles of Genetics, BI 247 Cell Biology, BI 342 Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, CH 221 Organic Chemistry I, CH 341 Biochemistry, NS 201 Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience OR NS 202 Neurophysiology (when not taken as a core course), NS 304 From Molecules to Memory, NS 305 Sleep: Neurobiological Perspective, NS 315: Mechanisms of Alzheimer's Disease, NS 314: Mapping the Cerebellum: Structure, Connectivity & Bioinformatics.
Beyond major: Additional courses from biology (BI 360 Gene Expression I: DNA Metabolism, BI 363 RNA Metabolism) and chemistry (CH 222 Organic Chemistry II, Macromolecular Structure and Function with Lab).

Path 3: A Cognitive Neuroscience Focus

Within major: Consider these electives: PS 231 Neuropsychology, PS 225 Perception, PS 314 Psychology of Reading, PS 323 Psycholinguistics, PS 341 Seminar in Cognitive Neuroscience: Left Brain/Right Brain), BI 245 Principles of Genetics, CS 106 Introduction to Computer Science I, CS 107: Introduction to Computer Science with Animations and 2D Games.
Beyond major: Additional courses from computer science (e.g., CS 206 Introduction to Computer Science II).

Path 4: A Cognitive Science Focus

Within major: Consider these electives: CS 106 Introduction to Computer Science I, PS 225 Perception, PS 232 Introduction to Cognitive Science, PS 327 Computational Methods in Psychology and Neuroscience.
Beyond major: Additional courses from computer science (e.g., CS 206 Introduction to Computer Science II, CS 306 Computability, Complexity, and Heuristics) and philosophy (e.g., PH 241 Mind, Thought, and Consciousness).

Path 5: A Health Professions Focus

Within major: Consider these electives: CH 221 Organic Chemistry I, CH 341 Biochemistry: Macromolecular Structure and Function with Lab, PS 231 Neuropsychology, BI 242 Molecular Biology, BI 244 Comparative Vertebrate Physiology, BI 245 Principles Of Genetics, BI 247 Cell Biology, NS 304 From Molecules to Memory, NS 305 Sleep: A Neurobiological Perspective, PY 207 General Physics I.
Beyond major: Additional courses from biology (BI 306 Mammalian Physiology), chemistry (CH 222 Organic Chemistry II), physics (PY 208 General Physics II), calculus (MA 111 Calculus I, MA 113 Calculus II), Sociology, Anthropology, Exercise Science and English.

Note: Those students interested in pre-med and other health professions should consult with the Health Professions Advisory Committee for guidance in selecting courses.


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