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Neuroscience (NEUR)

The program in neuroscience offers students an interdisciplinary major representing biology, psychology, animal behavior, chemistry, mathematics, biomedical engineering, and physics. The neuroscience major is intended to give students opportunities through coursework and research experience to study the nervous system, and its development and influence on behavior (broadly defined). Our faculty are active and productive scholars who involve students in their research programs, and thus we view research experience as a key aspect to the learning process.

The neuroscience major is offered within the Bachelor of Science degree program. All students are strongly encouraged to participate in research with faculty as volunteers in their laboratories or through independent studies and honors theses. Faculty interests and facilities include cell and molecular wet labs, electroencephalography for studying brain activity and cognitive/affective and perceptual processes, animal behavior labs for studying behavior and development in vertebrates (we house four species of primates, as well as rats, fish, turtles, mice, prairie voles, and bats), and invertebrates (e.g., flies and honey bees). We also have facilities for studying vision, cognition, and hormones and behavior. Students who succeed in neuroscience will be well-equipped to go on to graduate study in neuroscience, biology, psychology, and medicine, as well as to work in a variety of other disciplines including fields relating to biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, or medical instrumentation.

Bachelor of Science In Neuroscience

The Bachelor of Science major in neuroscience requires 17 courses (12 basic courses, plus five required 300-level courses). The students choose these five courses from a specified list of advanced neuroscience courses. One of the five may be chosen from a list of related courses as described below.

Of the 17 total courses taken by neuroscience majors, the following 12 courses are required:

Program Requirements
NEUR 100Introduction to Neuroscience1
BIOL 205Introduction to Molecules and Cells1
BIOL 207Genetics1
NEUR/PSYC 250Biopsychology1
NEUR 253Neural Cell Biology1
MATH 201Calculus I1
MATH 216Statistics I1
CHEM 205
CHEM 211
Principles of Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry I
PHYS 211
PHYS 212
Classical and Modern Physics I
and Classical and Modern Physics II
Select one of the following.1
Developmental Psychobiology
Human Cognition
Sensation and Perception
Five advanced neuroscience electives 1,25

Category I

BIOL 322Physiological Mechanisms1
BIOL 324Neurophysiology1
BIOL/NEUR 332Developmental Neurobiology1
BIOL 342Neuroethology1
BIOL/NEUR 363Receptors of Biological Membranes1
BMEG 441Neural Signals and Systems1
NEUR 348Behavioral Pharmacology1

Category II

PSYC 305Developmental Psychopathology1
PSYC 312Biopsychology of Appetite and Obesity1
PSYC/NEUR 313Researching Behavioral Neuroscience1
PSYC 318Cognitive Aging1
PSYC 322Clinical Neuroscience1
PSYC 339Psychology of Music1
PSYC 340Behavioral Neuroscience1
PSYC/NEUR 344Developmental Brain Research1
PSYC 349Cognitive Neuroscience1
PSYC 352Face Perception1

Neuroscience-related Courses

General Neuroscience-related Courses
BIOL 318Principles of Physiology1
BIOL 328Endocrinology1
BIOL 337Biology of Aging1
BMEG 300Biotransport I1
BMEG 409Fabrication and Experimental Design.5
BMEG 461Brain, Mind and Culture1
LING 330Advanced Topics in Psycholinguistics1
NEUR 399Undergraduate Research1
PSYC 324Advanced Psychological Statistics1
Courses Reflect Interests In Cell and Molecular Neuroscience
BIOL 304Biology of Cancer1
BIOL 327Molecular Biology1
BIOL 331Genomics1
BIOL 339Developmental Biology1
BIOL 340Biochemical Methods1
BIOL 347Virology1
BIOL 352Cell Biology1
CHEM 351Biochemistry I1

Courses Recommended but Not Required

MATH 202Calculus II1
BIOL 206Organismal Biology1

Students need not choose any specific course of study or concentration within neuroscience. However, students with interests in particular aspects of the neuroscience major may consider choosing among courses that reflect these interests, such as cognitive and behavioral neuroscience or cellular and molecular neuroscience. Students interested in pursuing such interests should consult with their adviser on how best to accomplish their goals.

The recommended sequence for the neuroscience Bachelor of Science major is as follows:

First Year
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
NEUR 1001PSYC 2501
BIOL 2051MATH 2161
MATH 2011 
 3 2
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
BIOL 2071CHEM 2111
CHEM 2051NEUR 248, PSYC 203, PSYC 204, or PSYC 2521
NEUR 2531 
 3 2
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
PHYS 2111PHYS 2121
300-level advanced neuroscience elective(s)1300-level advanced neuroscience elective(s)1
 2 2
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
300-level advanced neuroscience elective(s)2300-level advanced neuroscience elective(s)1
 2 1
Total Credits: 17

We recommend that students who come to Bucknell with Advanced Placement (AP) credit in calculus begin their CHEM sequence in the first semester of the first year.

Writing in the Major

Neuroscience students will satisfy the writing in the major requirement by completing BIOL 205 Introduction to Molecules and Cells. In BIOL 205, students are given direct instruction by the professor and through assigned readings from a text on scientific writing. Students will submit sections of four laboratory reports describing the results and conclusions from their experiments. Students will receive feedback on preliminary drafts of each report and will be given an opportunity to discuss their drafts as they prepare their final submissions.

Formal Presentation Experience

Students in the NEUR major will satisfy the formal presentation requirement by completing NEUR 253 Neural Cell Biology. Other NEUR courses also offer instruction on, and assessment of, formal presentations, or leading discussions. Students who are interested in gaining further instruction on presentations might consider taking one or some of the following courses:

ANBE/BIOL 342Neuroethology1
BIOL 324Neurophysiology1
NEUR 248Developmental Psychobiology1
NEUR/PSYC 305Developmental Psychopathology1
NEUR 312Biopsychology of Appetite and Obesity1
NEUR/PSYC 348Behavioral Pharmacology1
PSYC 318Cognitive Aging1
PSYC 339Psychology of Music1
PSYC 349Cognitive Neuroscience1

Information Literacy

Neuroscience students will satisfy their information literacy requirement by completing BIOL 205 Introduction to Molecules and Cells and NEUR 253 Neural Cell Biology. Students may also satisfy their information literacy requirement by completing an independent study (NEUR 399 Undergraduate Research). Students who want their independent study credit to count toward the NEUR major should be prepared to document how their independent study addresses some aspect of neuroscience so as to warrant 300 level NEUR credit. In all these experiences, students receive direct instruction on the gathering and assimilation of scientific literature through a variety of search mechanisms, including, for example, PubMed, Medline, and PSYCinfo.

Culminating Experience

Neuroscience seniors will satisfy their Culminating Experience requirement through any one of the following activities:

  • Registering for Undergraduate Research NEUR 399 Undergraduate Research in their senior year (for a minimum of .5 credit). Students who do so will be graded on their participation and competency throughout the semester and will also be required to submit a written laboratory report based on their practical experiences. As noted above, the content of the independent study should be directly related to some aspect of neuroscience.
  • Successful completion of an Honors Thesis (NEUR 360) in Neuroscience.
  • Students will have the opportunity to register for NEUR 400 Senior Seminar in Neuroscience – a seminar series – (.25 credit) in the spring semester of their senior year. This seminar series will require attendance at no fewer than four lectures. For example: attending lectures given by invited speakers from Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Psychology would fulfill this requirement. Attendance will be mandatory and students will be required to submit a written summary/reaction of each lecture, which will be graded by the members of the NEUR faculty.

Majors in Neuroscience will:

  1. Understand the structure and function of the nervous system.
  2. Understand the neural bases of behavior from a variety of theoretical perspectives.
  3. Understand how the nervous system is manipulated, measured or modeled to understand its processes.
  4. Acquire a broad background in the natural sciences and a basic understanding of psychological principles.
  5. Understand the processes through which scientific information is derived,  evaluated, and communicated.


NEUR 100. Introduction to Neuroscience. 1 Credit.

Offered Fall Semester Only; Lecture hours:3
A survey of the study of the nervous system and its structure and function, ranging from molecular analyses of neurons to electrical and other correlates of human cognition.

NEUR 217. Psychopharmacology. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:4
Psychopharmacology, the study of drugs that affect behavior, begins with an appreciation of neurochemical, pharmacological and behavioral principles in order to understand actions and effects of therapeutic compounds and addictive substances, the two major categories of psychopharmacological drugs. Crosslisted as PSYC 217.

NEUR 244. Introduction to Behavioral Neuroscience. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
Introductory neuroscience coursework offering a foundation in cellular and molecular neuroscience and neurophysiology. Prerequisites: BIOL 205.

NEUR 248. Developmental Psychobiology. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
Addresses development in humans from conception through adolescence with some comparative analysis with non-humans. Emphasis on both normal and atypical cognitive, neuropsychological and neurobiological development. Prerequisite: PSYC 100 or NEUR 100. Crosslisted as PSYC 248.

NEUR 250. Biopsychology. 1 Credit.

Offered Both Fall and Spring; Lecture hours:3
Biological bases of behavior and their relationship to motivation, learning, and perception. Prerequisite: one of the following: NEUR 100, PSYC 100, BIOL 206, ANBE 266 or permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as PSYC 250.

NEUR 253. Neural Cell Biology. 1 Credit.

Offered Fall Semester Only; Lecture hours:3
A core course for neuroscience focused on structure/function relationships in neural cells. Basic protein biochemistry, ion channel activity, protein receptors, cell signaling, electrical properties and response patterns will be emphasized. Recommended for sophomores. Prerequisites: BIOL 205 and PSYC 250 and permission of the instructor.

NEUR 305. Developmental Psychopathology. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
Addresses the behavioral phenotypes of a variety of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders in the context of theories and processes of normal development. Genetic and neurobiological underpinnings of disorders are discussed. Prerequisites: NEUR 248 or PSYC 248 or permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as PSYC 305 and PSYC 605.

NEUR 312. Biopsychology of Appetite and Obesity. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
Reading and discussion of scholarly research on the neural, physiological, and endocrine signals that influence the psychology of appetite, food reward, eating behavior, and obesity in humans and animal models. Prerequisite: PSYC 250 or NEUR 250. Crosslisted as PSYC 312.

NEUR 313. Researching Behavioral Neuroscience. 1 Credit.

Offered Both Fall and Spring; Lecture hours:3
Following a general orientation to behavioral genetics and pharmacology using mice, we will conduct group experiments. Each student will then develop and conduct an independent research project. Prerequisites: PSYC 215 or MATH 216 and PSYC 250 or an applied research methods course and permission of instructor. Crosslisted as PSYC 313 and PSYC 613 and NEUR 613.

NEUR 319. Topics in Neuroscience. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3; Repeatable
Occasional seminars on selected topics of current interest in neuroscience. Prerequisites: BIOL 205, BIOL 207 and NEUR 100, junior or senior status and permission of the instructor.

NEUR 322. Clinical Neuroscience. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
Through case studies, guest lectures, and review of primary literature this course will explore fundamental mechanisms that underlie diseases and disorders of the brain and central nervous system. Prerequisites: PSYC 250 or NEUR 250. Open to Biology, Neuroscience, and Psychology majors. Crosslisted as PSYC 322 and PSYC 622.

NEUR 332. Developmental Neurobiology. 1 Credit.

Offered Spring Semester Only; Lecture hours:3,Recitation:1
Primary literature-based senior seminar on topics in developmental neurobiology. Prerequisites: BIOL 205, BIOL 207, and either BIOL 206 or NEUR 100, junior or senior status, and permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as BIOL 332 and BIOL 632.

NEUR 340. Behavioral Neuroscience. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
Advanced study of the relationship between the brain and behavior. Seminar discussion of complex problems in the field of behavior neuroscience including genetics, mood disorders, drug abuse, cognition and consciousness. Prerequisite: PSYC 250 or permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as PSYC 340 and PSYC 640 and NEUR 640.

NEUR 344. Developmental Brain Research. 1 Credit.

Offered Spring Semester Only; Lecture hours:3; Repeatable
Students learn a variety of assessment techniques in developmental neuropsychology and neuroscience (including EEG) and conduct quantitative research culminating in written and oral reports. Crosslisted as PSYC 344 and PSYC 644 and NEUR 644. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

NEUR 348. Behavioral Pharmacology. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
Focus on drugs that affect the nervous system, drugs of abuse, therapeutic drugs, drug action, behavioral changes as a result of long-term drug use, animal models and human studies. Prerequisites: PSYC 250 or BIOL 205 and permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as PSYC 348 and PSYC 648.

NEUR 360. Honors Thesis. 1 Credit.

Offered Both Fall and Spring; Lecture hours:Varies,Other:15; Repeatable
Prerequisite: permission of the department and permission of the instructor.

NEUR 363. Receptors of Biological Membranes. 1 Credit.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:3
A course focused on the receptors and channels that function in biological membranes. The primary research literature will be used to explore the molecular bases of cellular communication, neuronal connectivity, and sensory transduction. Prerequisites: BIOL 205 and either BIOL 206 or NEUR 253. Crosslisted as BIOL 363 and BIOL 663.

NEUR 399. Undergraduate Research. .5-2 Credits.

Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours:Varies,Other:Varies; Repeatable
Research on any aspect of neuroscience. Research topics may be posed by students or faculty. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

NEUR 3NT. NEUR Non-traditional Study. 1-2 Credits.

Offered Fall, Spring, Summer; Lecture hours:Varies,Other:Varies
Non-traditional study course in neuroscience. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

NEUR 400. Senior Seminar in Neuroscience. .25 Credits.

Offered Spring Semester Only; Lecture hours:1
NEUR majors may elect to attend a lecture series in the spring semester to satisfy the Culminating Experience requirement. Students will prepare written reactions to each seminar, graded as pass/fail. Prerequisites: senior status and NEUR majors and permission of the instructor.


Director: Kevin P. Myers

Affiliated Faculty: Elizabeth A. Capaldi, David W. Evans, Judith E. Grisel, Andrea R. Halpern, Peter G. Judge, Heidi Lorimor, Elizabeth C. Marin, Aaron Mitchel, Kevin P. Myers, Jennifer Rice Stevenson, Joseph V. Tranquillo, T. Joel Wade

Coordinating Committee: Elizabeth C. Marin, Kevin P. Myers, Jennifer Rice Stevenson