Neuroscience - Major

For information, contact Dr. Audrey Ettinger,, 610-606-4666, ext 3512

Program Description

The interdisciplinary field of neuroscience 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. Students complete courses offered by the Biological Sciences, Psychology, Chemical and Physical Sciences, and Math Departments.

Housed within the Department of Biological Sciences, the Neuroscience major is appropriate for students interested in the workings of the nervous system and its relationship to behavior, and those with an interest in human health. It prepares students for admission to graduate and professional programs in neuroscience, medicine and related health professions fields, as well as for immediate employment in research laboratories. A student completing this course of study will earn a BS degree in Neuroscience, and will have completed the set of courses required by most health professions programs.

Participation in independent research at Cedar Crest is strongly encouraged; many students also complete internships off-campus. Students wishing to complete the thesis option should refer to the thesis requirements listed below. In conjunction with the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience, students majoring in Neuroscience have opportunities to present their research in a professional setting and to participate in service learning experiences.

Neuroscience majors are subject to all policies of the Department of Biological Sciences. Students may not declare multiple majors in any combination of: Biology, Environmental Conservation (B.S. or B.A.), Genetic Engineering, Integrated Biology, or Nuclear Medicine Technology.

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 student 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.

Total Number of Credits Required by Program

The Neuroscience Major requires 80-82 total credits, distributed as follows:

Biology Core Courses: 20 credits
Neuroscience Core Courses: 14 credits
Neuroscience Electives: 6-8 credits
Cognate Courses (Biology, Psychology, Chemistry, Physics, Math): 40 credits

Program Requirements

Admission and retention in the neuroscience program requires a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.0, 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.

Course Requirements

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 advisors to determine the courses needed to complete the major.

BIO 248 Biostatistics 3 credits
BIO 350 Junior Colloquium 2 credits
BIO 356 Science, Ethics and Society 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
NEU 200 Introduction to Neuroscience 3 credits 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

Plus choose two additional courses from the following:
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 3 or 4 credits
BIO 335 Molecular Genetics I 4 credits
BIO 336 Molecular Genetics II 4 credits
NEU 348 Diseases of the Nervous System 3 or 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

Additional course requirements for the Thesis Option

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). Most majors from the Department of Biological Sciences require students to 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. Requirements towards fulfilling the thesis include: a.) two semesters (4 credits) of Independent Research (BIO 353) or b.) two semesters of Independent Research (BIO 243); and one semester of Independent Research (BIO 353), and one semester (1 credit) of Senior Thesis and Presentation (BIO 354) with grades of C- or better.

Liberal Arts Curriculum Requirements fulfilled within the Major

Students fulfill the Technology, Oral Presentation, and Information Literacy requirements through successful completion of the following required courses: BIO 122, BIO 235, BIO 236, BIO 350, and BIO 356. Students also fulfill the Natural Sciences requirement (BIO 121, BIO 121L, BIO 122), Mathematics and Logic requirement (MAT 141, MAT 142), Writing-2 requirement (BIO 356) and one Social Sciences course (PSY 100).

Program Outcomes

All Majors within the Department of Biological Sciences have the following three outcomes:

  • Students can apply the foundation concepts and principles of the Biological Sciences, including cellular structure and function, genetics and molecular biology, evolution and organismal diversity, and ecology.
  • Students can discuss the interaction of science and society, including the ethical practice of science, within the local, national, and global community.
  • Students can write about and interpret the methodologies of scientific research.

Neuroscience Major Outcomes:

  • Students will demonstrate, through recall, recognition, and application, understanding of core concepts and principles of neuroscience, including basic neuroanatomy, signaling within and across neurons, sensory transduction, neuropharmacology, neural circuits, functional neural systems, cognitive neuroscience, and/or experimental methods.
  • Students will engage in critical analysis and scientific reasoning through interpretation of primary literature in neuroscience and related fields.