Contacts | Program of Study | Declaring the Major | The Major | Grading | Summary of Requirements for the Major in Neuroscience | Honors | Minor Options | Courses

Department Website: http://neuroscience.uchicago.edu/undergraduate

Program of Study

Neuroscience is the study of neurons and neural systems and their outputs: sensation, perception, homeostasis, and behavior. Neural function is investigated at the levels of molecules, cells, circuits, organisms, and species, making neuroscience inherently multidisciplinary. In addition to established neuroscience career paths in academia, medicine, and the pharmaceutical industry, new careers for students of neuroscience are emerging in economics, software development, and other fields requiring "big data" analysis or a mechanistic understanding of how humans think. The course of study in the undergraduate major in neuroscience will provide students with the background and skills appropriate for these diverse careers.

The University of Chicago offers a bachelor of arts (BA) degree and a bachelor of science (BS) degree in Neuroscience. The Neuroscience major is designed to accommodate students with the range of scientific variety that one finds at the professional level of neuroscience, including physics, chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics, biology, psychology, and medicine. Neuroscience faculty at the University of Chicago have expertise in all of these areas and are distributed across the Biological Sciences, Social Sciences, and Physical Sciences Divisions. Majoring students have the opportunity to take a broad range of courses or to specialize in a particular area. In addition, a number of Neuroscience courses are open to all College students, both prospective neuroscientists and non-scientists.

Declaring the Major

Students who wish to major in Neuroscience should declare the major in their second year.

(Because the Neuroscience major is being introduced in the 2016–17 academic year, the Class of 2020 and subsequent classes can design a plan of study in Neuroscience from their first year. Students in the Classes of 2018 and 2019 may also be able to major in Neuroscience, depending on the courses they have already taken, although there is no way to guarantee this. Students in these classes should consult with their College advisers to see if majoring in Neuroscience is feasible.)

The Major

The basic degree in Neuroscience is the BA, for which requirements are described below. A BS is awarded to students who complete an additional three quarters of Neuroscience electives, which must include one to three quarters of faculty-supervised research (scholarly or experimental) resulting in a written thesis (see Requirements for the Bachelor of Science Degree in Neuroscience below).

The major curriculum includes nine required Neuroscience courses, which provide a comprehensive overview of the field. The BA requires another 700 units of elective courses, which must be selected from the list below. Electives can be chosen for a broad exposure or tailored for depth in a particular area, such as cellular/molecular, systems, cognitive, and computational neuroscience and machine learning. Students must have their program of elective courses approved by the office of the director of undergraduate studies.

ELECTIVES
No more than three of the following eleven BIOS courses:300
Mathematical Modeling for Pre-Med Students
Perspectives of Human Physiology
Biochemistry and Metabolism
Fundamentals of Cell and Molecular Biology
Fundamentals of Genetics
Fundamentals of Physiology
Integrative Physiology
Fundamentals of Developmental Biology
Principles of Developmental Biology
Molecular Biology of the Cell
Biological Systems
Biological Dynamics
Principles of Physiology
No more than one of the following two-course CMSC sequences:200
Computer Science with Applications I-II
Introduction to Computer Science I-II
Honors Introduction to Computer Science I-II
BIOS 24218Molecular Neurobiology100
BIOS 24246Neurobiology of Disease I100
BIOS 24206Peering Inside the Black Box: Neocortex100
BIOS 24208Survey of Systems Neuroscience100
BIOS 24249Neurobiology of Seeing100
BIOS 26210Mathematical Methods for Biological Sciences I100
BIOS 26211Mathematical Methods for Biological Sciences II100
BIOS 24231Methods in Computational Neuroscience100
BIOS 24232Computational Approaches to Cognitive Neuroscience100
BIOS 24408Modeling and Signal Analysis for Neuroscientists100
BIOS 20200Introduction to Biochemistry100
NURB 32400Synaptic Physiology100
NEUR 33400Genetic Approaches in Neurobiology100
PSYC 20300Biological Psychology100
PSYC 20700Sensation and Perception100
PSYC 23890Learning and Memory100
PSYC 25460The Body in the Mind100
PSYC 25750The Psychology and Neurobiology of Stress100
CMSC 15400Introduction to Computer Systems100
CMSC 25020Computational Linguistics100
CMSC 25025Machine Learning and Large-Scale Data Analysis100
CMSC 25050Computer Vision100
CMSC 25400Machine Learning100
PHYS 12300General Physics III100
or PHYS 13300 Waves, Optics, and Heat
NSCI 29100Neuroscience Thesis Research100
NSCI 29101Neuroscience Thesis Research100
NSCI 29102Neuroscience Thesis Research100
NSCI 29200Neuroscience Honors Thesis Research100
NSCI 29201Neuroscience Honors Thesis Research100
NSCI 29202Neuroscience Honors Thesis Research100

While it is possible to complete a double major in Neuroscience and another program, this is not encouraged. Neuroscience majors are generally better suited to achieving breadth through a combination of courses that provides the desired expertise in neuroscience and carefully selected courses outside of neuroscience.

Requirements for the Bachelor of Science Degree in Neuroscience

Students can earn a BS in Neuroscience by completing three quarters of Neuroscience elective courses over and above the BA requirements, which must include one to three quarters of faculty-supervised research that results in a written thesis (NSCI 29100, NSCI 29101, NSCI 29102 Neuroscience Thesis Research). The additional courses and the thesis work require approval by the office of the director of undergraduate studies and the thesis advisor. The thesis may be either research-based or literature-based.

Grading

All courses used to satisfy prerequisites and requirements must be taken for quality grades. Students must pass all required courses with an average GPA of 2.0 or higher to continue in the program.

Summary of Requirements for the Major in Neuroscience

GENERAL EDUCATION
One of the following two-course BIOS sequences:200
How Can We Understand the Biosphere?
   and Introduction to Quantitative Modeling in Biology (Basic) *
How Can We Understand the Biosphere?
   and Introduction to Quantitative Modeling in Biology (Advanced) *
Microbial and Human Cell Biology
   and Human Genetics and Developmental Biology
One of the following two-course MATH sequences:200
Elementary Functions and Calculus I-II
Calculus I-II *
Honors Calculus I-II
One of the following two-course CHEM sequences:200
Introductory General Chemistry I
   and Introductory General Chemistry II
Comprehensive General Chemistry I-II *
Total Units600
MAJOR: BACHELOR OF ARTS
CHEM 11300Comprehensive General Chemistry III *100
PHYS 12100-12200General Physics I-II *200
STAT 22000Statistical Methods and Applications *100
BIOS 24203Fundamentals of Neuroscience100
BIOS 24204Cellular Neurobiology100
BIOS 24205Systems Neuroscience100
PSYC 20700Sensation and Perception100
NSCI 20100Neuroscience Laboratory 100
Seven electives700
Total Units1600
MAJOR: BACHELOR OF SCIENCE
CHEM 11300Comprehensive General Chemistry III *100
PHYS 12100-12200General Physics I-II *200
STAT 22000Statistical Methods and Applications *100
BIOS 24203Fundamentals of Neuroscience100
BIOS 24204Cellular Neurobiology100
BIOS 24205Systems Neuroscience100
PSYC 20700Sensation and Perception100
NSCI 20100Neuroscience Laboratory 100
Seven electives700
Three additional electives **300
Total Units1900
*

Credit may be granted by examination.

**

Must include one to three courses of NSCI 29100, 29101, 29102 Neuroscience Thesis Research or NSCI 29200, 29201, 29202 Neuroscience Honors Thesis Research

NSCI 20100 Neuroscience Laboratory will not be available in the 2016–17 academic year. It will be available for the first time in the 2017–18 academic year and each year after that.

Honors

To obtain honors in Neuroscience, students must have a minimum cumulative GPA (3.25) at the point of entering the honors track, no later than the end of the third year. Entry into the honors track must be approved by the director of undergraduate studies. Students must do experimental research for three quarters and submit a thesis (NSCI 29200, NSCI 29201, NSCI 29202 Neuroscience Honors Thesis Research). As part of the research course work, honors students participate in regular group meetings in which they share their research with each other and supervising faculty, and receive guidance on formulating testable hypotheses, experimental design, report writing, and oral presentations. They also receive training in the responsible conduct of research. Experimental research may not be credited toward honors in more than one major.

Minor Options

A minor in Neuroscience is not offered. The College offers a minor program in Computational Neuroscience, and students majoring in Biological Sciences have the option of completing a Specialization in Neuroscience.

Neuroscience Courses

NSCI 20100. Neuroscience Laboratory. 100 Units.

This course has three components in series, representing (1) molecular neuroscience, (2) cellular electrophysiology, and (3) computation and psychophysics. The course meets one afternoon each week for four hours of laboratory time, including a didactic introduction. Students will be graded on their laboratory reports.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: TBD. Not offered 2016–17; will be offered 2017–18
Note(s): This course will not be available in the 2016–17 academic year. It will be offered in the 2017–18 academic year and each year thereafter.

NSCI 20110. Fundamental Neuroscience. 100 Units.

This course is a rigorous introduction to the study of neurons, nervous systems and brains. The systems anatomy and physiology of the vertebrate brain will be covered in depth. Common features of neural circuits, such as those subserving the stretch reflex, will be examined. The biology of brain evolution and development will be introduced. A highlight of this course will be student dissections of sheep brains and the laboratory presentation of human brain dissections by the instructors.

Instructor(s): C. Ragsdale, P. Mason      Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): At least two quarters of Biological Sciences instruction (including courses taken concurrently) or consent of instructor.

NSCI 20120. Cellular Neuroscience. 100 Units.

This course describes the cellular and subcellular properties of neurons, including passive and active electrophysiological properties, and their synaptic interactions.  Readings are assigned from a general neuroscience textbook. 

Instructor(s): R. A. Eatock, W. Wei, Staff      Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): NSCI 20110, along with completion of MATH 13100, or MATH 15100, or MATH 16100

NSCI 20130. Systems Neurobiology. 100 Units.

This course covers vertebrate and invertebrate systems neuroscience with a focus on the anatomy, physiology, and development of sensory and motor control systems. The neural bases of form and motion perception, locomotion, memory, and other forms of neural plasticity are examined in detail. We also discuss clinical aspects of neurological disorders.

Instructor(s): D. Freedman, Staff      Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): NSCI 20110, and NSCI 20120 or consent of instructor

NSCI 29100. Neuroscience Thesis Research. 100 Units.

Scholar or Research Thesis.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Summer,Autumn,Winter,Spring
Prerequisite(s): By consent of instructor and approval of major director.

NSCI 29101. Neuroscience Thesis Research. 100 Units.

Scholar or Research Thesis.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Summer,Autumn,Winter,Spring
Prerequisite(s): NSCI 29100, and consent of instructor, and approval of major director.

NSCI 29102. Neuroscience Thesis Research. 100 Units.

Scholar or Research Thesis.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Summer,Autumn,Winter,Spring
Prerequisite(s): NSCI 29100, and consent of instructor, and approval of major director.

NSCI 29200. Neuroscience Honors Thesis Research. 100 Units.

Research Thesis and Seminar.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Summer,Autumn,Winter,Spring
Prerequisite(s): By consent of instructor and approval of major director. Open to Neuroscience majors who are candidates for honors in Neuroscience.

NSCI 29201. Neuroscience Honors Thesis Research. 100 Units.

Research Thesis and Seminar.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Summer,Autumn,Winter,Spring
Prerequisite(s): NSCI 29200, and consent of instructor, and approval of major director. Open to Neuroscience majors who are candidates for honors in Neuroscience.

NSCI 29202. Neuroscience Honors Thesis Research. 100 Units.

Research Thesis and Seminar.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Summer,Autumn,Winter,Spring
Prerequisite(s): NSCI 20201, and consent of instructor, and approval of major director. Open to Neuroscience majors who are candidates for honors in Neuroscience.


Contacts

Undergraduate Primary Contact

Director of Undergraduate Studies
Peggy Mason
SBRI J239
773.702.3144
Email