Neuroscience Program

Director: Patti Simone

Assistant Director: Christelle Sabatier

Neuroscience examines the bidirectional relations between the nervous system and behavior and includes perspectives from a variety of disciplines including biology, psychology, chemistry, computer science, philosophy, and engineering. The neuroscience curriculum at Santa Clara is structured so that students learn to analyze the complexities of human and non-human behavior using multiple approaches. Students learn how individual neurons produce and process electrochemical signals required for cellular communication (cellular and molecular neuroscience). Students study neural circuits that process sensory information from the environment and produce motor behavior and other adaptive output (systems neuroscience). Students study thought, emotion, and behavior by looking at the structure and function of brains in normal and diseased states (behavioral and cognitive neuroscience). Majoring in neuroscience prepares students for graduate work and careers in a variety of fields that seek to better understand and impact the nervous system, cognition, and mental health.

Requirements for the Major

In addition to fulfilling the Undergraduate Core Curriculum requirements for the bachelor of science degree, students majoring in neuroscience must complete the following requirements:

  • NEUR 1, 10, 150, 190
  • BIOL 21, 24, 25 (or 1A, 1B, 1C), 122, 160
  • CHEM 11, 12, 13, 31, 32
  • MATH 11
  • MATH 12 or CSCI 10
  • PHIL 32
  • PSYC 1, 165, 169
  • One from BIOL 110, 120, 165, 174, 175
  • One from PSYC 130, 138, 166, 167, 196
  • One additional course from: BIOL 110, 119, 120, 124, 165, 171, 174, 175; CHEM 141
  • One additional course from: COMM 100A, 176A; PHIL 113, 117, 153, 158, 160, 161; PSYC 166, 167, 196
  • Recommended Pre-Health courses: PHYS 11, 12, 13 or PHYS 31, 32, 33 and CHEM 33, 141

Lower-Division Courses

1. Introduction to Neuroscience

Introduced fundamental concepts in neuroscience. Emphasizes the interdisciplinary nature of neuroscience and applications of multiple approaches in neuroscience to understanding real-world grand challenges (e.g., Alzheimer's disease, cognition, addiction). In addition, students will consider the importance of biological and environmental factors on brain and behavior. (4 units)

10. Explorations in Neuroscience

A course with a focus on foundational knowledge essential to the field (e.g., neurons, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology) with an introduction to research methodologies to be able to understand and conduct neuroscience research. In addition, all students will engage with important ethical issues in neuroscience related to these topics. Prerequisites: BIOL 1A or 21 and NEUR 1 or permission of instructor. (4 units)

Upper-Division Courses

150. Neuroscience Research Seminar

Junior-level course using journal readings and invited neuroscientists from on and off campus to discuss research from several disciplines (e.g., biology, chemistry, engineering, ethics, psychology). An opportunity for majors to develop a high level of scientific literacy and quantitative, analytical skill so as to competently judge the scientific merit of original research and its representation by popular media and be introduced to neuroscientists in a variety of fields and professions. Course may be repeated multiple times. Prerequisites: NEUR 10, ENVS 110/ BIOL 160. (2 units)

190. Neuroscience Capstone

This senior-level capstone experience engages students in research experience, literature reviews, and/or collaborations with neuroscience professionals to pursue their own interest in the field. Prerequisites: NEUR 150. (5 units)

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