How do our brains produce behavior, thought and language? What goes wrong in psychiatric and neurological illness? How do drugs affect the brain? How do our brains change over a lifetime? These are the kinds of questions that neuroscientists address every day. If you have an interest in the answers to these questions—and how the workings of the human nervous system relate to human behavior—consider exploring this field in greater depth by pursuing a major in neuroscience.
The neuroscience major at Cedar Crest College will prepare you for graduate education, medical school, other health professions programs or immediate employment in laboratory and research positions. The neuroscience major includes all of the coursework required for entry into most medical schools and other health professions programs.
Many of our recent neuroscience alumnae have gotten great employment and educational opportunities, including:
- Participating in a one-year fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, followed by studying in the master of public health program at Johns Hopkins University
- Studying at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine
- Studying at the Palmer College of Chiropractic
- Studying Neuroscience at University of Massachusetts Medical School
- Working as ISO coordinator for the Regional Analytical Services at DuPont
- Working towards master's degree in clinical counseling and health psychology at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
- Working towards doctorate of veterinary medicine program at the Royal Veterinary College in London, UK
Neuroscience is an interdisciplinary field that is concerned with basic brain function and its relationship to complex processes of behavior and cognition, as well as to the mechanisms of neurological and mental illness. The neuroscience program at Cedar Crest College reflects the multidisciplinary nature of this exciting and growing field and provides a multilevel approach, from molecular mechanisms to the study of the mind.
During your studies, you will complete courses in the biological sciences, psychology, the chemical and physical sciences and mathematics. This will help you gain a deeper understanding of how the mind and body work. In fact, students majoring in neuroscience frequently add a second major or a minor in psychology.
Our program puts a strong emphasis on hands-on research. Beginning your first year here, you will participate in a wide variety of research projects led by faculty-scientists with both experience and passion. Students have previously studied adult stem cells, molecular control of development, the effects of herbal medicines on the nervous system, and animal behavior.
Student Erin O'Donnell presents her research
After your first year, you are encouraged to conduct independent research and are given the opportunity to present your findings at local, state and national conferences.
Cedar Crest's neuroscience program is a founding member institution of the Lehigh Valley chapter of the Society for Neuroscience. As members of this award-winning local chapter of the leading national organization in the field you will have access to a wide variety of resources and opportunities including service learning opportunities during Brain Awareness Week, interactions with distinguished visiting neuroscientists, and involvement in an annual research conference focused on undergraduate neuroscientists.
Program Mission Statement
The mission of the neuroscience program is for women to gain understanding and skills relevant to the broad field of neuroscience, including current issues, trends, and questions in the field, within the context of the core concepts of biology. The program's interdisciplinary curriculum provides students with content knowledge across the field, training students to become future leaders in the field. Graduates of the program are qualified to work as scientists, to pursue further graduate training in neuroscience or other scientific fields, or to enter training programs for health professionals.
Admission and retention in the neuroscience program requires a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.250, and no less than a C- in required courses. Students must earn a grade of C- or better in prerequisite courses before proceeding to subsequent courses. Attendance at all laboratory sessions is mandatory. An internship in the student’s area of interest is strongly recommended.
The neuroscience major requires 81-83 total credits, distributed as follows
- Biology Core Courses: 21 credits
- Neuroscience Core Courses: 14 credits
- Neuroscience Electives: 6-8 credits
- Cognate Courses (Biology, Psychology, Chemistry, Physics, Math): 40 credits
Biology Core Courses
- BIO 121 Principles of Biology I 4 credits
- BIO 122 Principles of Biology II 4 credits
(Students with Advanced Placement credit for BIO 121 and/or 122 are required to take the BIO 121 and 122 Labs.)
- BIO 235 Ecology, Evolution and Genetics 4 credits
- BIO 236 Cell and Molecular Biology 4 credits
Students who have previously taken BIO 222 or BIO 231 should consult their advisers or the department website to determine the courses needed to complete the major.
- BIO 350 Junior Colloquium 2 credits
- BIO 356 Science, Ethics and Society 3 credits
Neuroscience Core Courses
- NEU 200 Introduction to Neuroscience or PSY 229 Introduction to Biological Psychology 3 credits
- NEU 220 Sensation and Perception 4 credits
- NEU 330 Neuropharmacology 3 credits
- NEU 340 Neuroscience Methods 4 credits
- BIO 248 Biostatistics 3 credits
- CHE 111 Chemical Principles 4 credits
- CHE 112 Chemical Equilibrium and Analysis 4 credits
- CHE 205 Organic Chemistry I 4 credits
- CHE 206 Organic Chemistry II 4 credits
- MAT 141 Calculus I 3 credits
- MAT 142 Calculus II 3 credits
- PSY 100 General Psychology 3 credits
- PSY 317 Learning 4 credits OR PSY 336 Cognitive Psychology 4 credits
- PHY 101 Introductory College Physics I 4 credits
- PHY 102 Introductory College Physics II 4 credits
Choose two courses from the following. (Note: See “Neuroscience Electives by Category” for topical lists that may help you select electives best suited to your interests.)
- CHE 307 Biochemistry I 3 or 4 credits
- BIO 217 Anatomy and Physiology I 4 credits
- BIO 224 Animal Behavior 3 credits
- BIO 332 Developmental Biology 4 credits
- BIO 335 Molecular Genetics I 4 credits
- BIO 336 Molecular Genetics II 4 credits
- NEU 348 Diseases of the Nervous System 4 credits
- PSY 250 Life-Span Development 3 credits
- PSY 309 Abnormal Psychology 3 credits
- PSY 317 Learning 4 credits
- PSY 332 Comparative Animal Behavior 3 credits
- PSY 336 Cognitive Psychology 4 credits
- CIS 135 Introductory Programming in C++ 3 credits
- CIS 136 Advanced Programming using C++ 3 credits
While students may choose any of the listed courses for their neuroscience electives, the following topical lists offer guidance for students with particular interests.
Brain Health and Disease
- NEU 348 Diseases of the Nervous System
- BIO 217 Anatomy and Physiology
- BIO 332 Developmental Biology
- PSY 309 Abnormal Psychology
Brain and Behavior
- BIO 224 Animal Behavior
- PSY 317 Learning
- PSY 332 Comparative Animal Behavior
- PSY 336 Cognitive Psychology
Molecular Approaches to the Brain
- NEU 348 Diseases of the Nervous System
- BIO 332 Developmental Biology
- BIO 335 Molecular Genetics
- CHE 307 Biochemistry
All students, particularly those who are interested in attending graduate school or obtaining a research-based job following graduation, are highly encouraged to participate in independent research, which may culminate in a thesis.
The thesis option begins during the student’s junior year as part of Junior Colloquium (BIO 350). As part of the thesis option students will develop a research proposal to investigate an original research question. This experience allows the students to go beyond the basic course information, select a problem that interests them, and apply what they have learned in their coursework to a novel situation.
As part of the thesis option, students will spend a minimum of two semesters working with a faculty member to conduct the research outlined in their proposal. They will then develop a written thesis detailing their project and present their final project to the department in the form of a seminar talk or poster.
The title of a student’s thesis will appear on her transcript if she completes two semesters (4 credits) of Independent Research (BIO 353) and one semester (1 credit) of Senior Thesis and Presentation (BIO 354) with grades of C- or better.
Click here for the requirements checklist.