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Academic Program

Neuroscience examines the bidirectional relations between the nervous system and behavior and includes perspectives from a variety of disciplines, including biology, psychology, chemistry, philosophy and engineering. As an interdisciplinary field, neuroscience applies various methodologies to study the molecular, cellular, developmental, evolutionary, structural, functional, and pathophysiological aspects of the nervous system and its relation to behavior and cognition.  The neuroscience curriculum at Santa Clara is structured so that students learn the multiple levels of analysis needed to understand the complexities of human and non-human behavior. At the cellular and molecular level, students learn how individual neurons process and produce electrochemical signals to support inter-cell communication.  At the systems level, students learn how neurons interact to form circuits through which sensory information from the environment is processed and motor behavior and other adaptive output is produced. At the cognitive level, students study human thought, emotion, and behavior by looking at the structure and function of human brains in normal and diseased states.  Education in neuroscience will prepare students for a variety of fields that are well-positioned to help understand, treat, and possibly prevent many of global disorders from Alzheimer’s disease, autism and alcoholism to Zika virus-induced microencephalopathy.

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 departmental requirements:

  • NEUR 1, 10, 150, 190
  • BIOL 1A, 1B, 1C, 122, 160
  • CHEM 11, 12, 13, 31, 32
  • MATH 11 and 12 or MATH 11 and CSCI 10
  • PHIL 32
  • PSYC 1, 165, 169
  • One from BIOL 110, 120, 123, 165, 174, 175
  • One from PSYC 130, 138, 166, 167, 196
  • One additional from: BIOL 110, 119, 120, 123, 124, 165, 171, 174, 175, CHEM 141, CSCI 168
  • One additional from: COMM 100A, 176A, PHIL 113, 117, 153, 158, 160, 161, PSYC 130, 138, 166, 167, 196

**Recommended Pre-Health Courses: PHYS 11, 12, 13 or PHYS 31, 32, 33, MATH 12 and CHEM 33

Download the Neuroscience Major Course Checklist to keep track of your classes!

Abbreviations:

CTW = Critical Thinking and Writing component of new core (2 courses)
RTC = Religion, Theology and Culture component of new core (3 courses)
CI = Culture and Ideas component of new core (3 courses)
DIV = Diversity component of new core (1 course)
STS = Science, Technology, and Society component of new core (1 course)
CE = Civic Engagement component of new core (1 course)
SS = upper division Social Science electives (2 courses)
NS = upper division Natural Science elective (2 courses)
LANG = second language (competency through second level required)
ADV WRIT  = Third wiring course
ELSJ = Experiential Learning for Social Justice
PHIL 32 = Neuroethics