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Neuroscience

Neuroscience is an interdisciplinary field that seeks to understand the functions and diseases of the nervous system. It draws on knowledge from neurobiology as well as elements of psychology and cognitive science, and mathematical and physical principles involved in modeling neural systems. Through the Neuroscience concentration, students develop foundational knowledge through courses in biology, chemistry, and mathematics as well as three core courses in neuroscience. They are also required to develop facility with research methodologies (through courses in statistics and laboratory methods) before moving into specific topics in the field (e.g., visual physiology, neurochemistry and behavior, and synaptic transmission and plasticity). Members of the Neuroscience faculty are affiliated with the Brown Institute for Brain Science, a multidisciplinary program that promotes collaborative research about the brain. Prospective concentrators should contact neuroundergrad@brown.edu in order to have a faculty advisor assigned to them.

Standard program for the Sc.B. degree

The concentration combines a general science background with a number of specific courses devoted to the cellular, molecular, and integrative functions of the nervous system. The concentration allows considerable flexibility for students to tailor a program to their individual interests. Elective courses focus on a variety of areas including molecular mechanisms, cellular function, sensory and motor systems, neuropharmacology, learning and memory, animal behavior, cognitive function, bioengineering, theoretical neuroscience and computer modeling. 

You may find this following form useful for mapping out your courses, be sure to use it before meeting with your concentration advisor for the first time: [link to advising contract PDF]

The concentration in neuroscience leads to an Sc.B. degree. The following courses, or their equivalent, are required for the degree. Keep in mind that there are multiple ways to fulfil the various requirements and your concentration advisor can help you go through your options and optimize your course of study:

Background Courses:
MATH 0090Single Variable Calculus, Part I ((only needed as a prerequisite for MATH 10))1
MATH 0100Single Variable Calculus, Part II ((or equivalent))1
PHYS 0030Basic Physics A (Mechanics *see NOTE)1
PHYS 0040Basic Physics B ( Electromagnetism)1
BIOL 0200The Foundation of Living Systems ((or placement test))1
CHEM 0330Equilibrium, Rate, and Structure1
CHEM 0350Organic Chemistry I1
Note: ENGN 0030 may be used instead of PHYS 0030, but ENGN 0040 is NOT equivalent to PHYS 0040.
Core Concentration Courses:
NEUR 0010The Brain: An Introduction to Neuroscience1
NEUR 1020Principles of Neurobiology1
NEUR 1030Neural Systems1
One critical reading course1
Mechanisms and Meaning of Neural Dynamics
Communication In the Brain: What We Know and How We Know It
Developmental Neurobiology
Independent Study (*Two Semesters)
The Moral Brain
The Craving Mind
1930/40 Topics in Neuroscience
NOTE: Critical reading courses are small discussion based courses, with around 20 students, with a focus on primary literature around a neuroscience related topic. Other courses not listed here could also fulfil this requirement, please check with your concentration advisor.
One statistics course1
Essentials of Data Analysis
Principles of Biostatistics and Data Analysis
Principles of Biostatistics and Data Analysis
Essential Statistics
Statistical Inference I
Statistical Methods
Introductory Statistics for Social Research
Statistical Analysis of Biological Data
Applied Statistics for Ed Research and Policy Analysis
One lab methods course1
Introduction to Computational Neuroscience
Experimental Neurobiology
Big Data Neuroscience Lab
Structure of the Nervous System
Neural Computation in Learning and Decision-Making
Computational Neuroscience
Independent Study
*Two Semesters of NEUR1970 can be used to fulfill one critical reading, lab, or elective requirement
Sleep and Chronobiology Research
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Theory and Practice
Neural Modeling Laboratory
Computational Cognitive Neuroscience
Principles of Physiology
Four electives related to neuroscience 14
Four courses that will enhance your understanding of the field of neuroscience. While electives need not be from the neuroscience department, the following list are common courses taught by Neuroscience and other departments that are often used as electives. We encourage students to explore the broader course catalog and consult with their concentration advisor to explore the full range of electives, rather than limiting themselves to this list:
Biology of Hearing
Introduction to Computational Neuroscience
Introduction to Neurogenetics
Mechanisms and Meaning of Neural Dynamics
Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Developmental Neurobiology
Experimental Neurobiology
Big Data Neuroscience Lab
Experimental Neurobiology
Structure of the Nervous System
Neural Computation in Learning and Decision-Making
The Diseased Brain: Mechanisms of Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders
Independent Study
*Two Semesters of NEUR1970 can be used to fulfill one critical reading, lab, or elective requirement
Statistical Neuroscience
All NEUR 1930/1940 Seminar Course
Introduction to Sleep
Memory and the Brain
Laboratory in Genes and Behavior
Animal Languages
The Neural Bases of Cognition
Translational Models of Neuropsychiatric Disorder
Cognitive Control Functions of the Prefrontal Cortex
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Theory and Practice
Computational Cognitive Neuroscience
Affective Neuroscience
The Nature of Attention
Perception, Attention, and Consciousness
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
The Moral Brain
Cell Physiology and Biophysics
Topics in Signal Transduction
Physiological Pharmacology
Neuroengineering
The Craving Mind
Human Genetics and Genomics
Cognitive Neuroscience of Meditation
List 2: Selected common non-neuro courses (no more than 2) - student must be able to justify why it enhances their understanding of Neuro
Genetics
Principles of Physiology
Biology of the Eukaryotic Cell
Molecular Genetics
Introduction to programming
Life Under Water in the Anthropocene
Perception and Action
Completing the Concentration Research Requirement As with other ScB concentrations, neuroscience concentrators are required (beginning with the class of 2023) to do the equivalent of one semester of independent study, research or design. This is a chance for the student to explore and apply the concepts that they have learned in their concentration courses. The following are ways in which this research requirement can be met. After consulting with your concentration advisor, be sure to include how you will fulfill your research requirement in the appropriate box within ASK: 1. Enrolling in independent study courses (NEUR 1970, CLPS 1970/80 or BIO 1950/60) for work in a lab. Keep in mind to count this towards your concentration two semesters or one semester and a summer are required. 2. Enrolling in independent study (NEUR 1970) to work with a faculty member to explore an integrative topic related to neuroscience. See our section on independent study for more information. 3. Enrolling in a course-based research experience, also known as a CURE course. Current related CURE courses are NEUR 1630, CLPS 1195, CLPS 1591, but there might be new ones coming down the pipeline. 4. Participating in a structured summer research program (eg. an UTRA or an REU) that is equivalent in scope and scale as would be pursued during a semester of independent research. 5. Pursue a design or independent research project related to neuroscience that could be associated with a different course. 6. Anyone writing an honors thesis automatically fulfils the research requirement, in order to document your research requirement, please describe your plan in your Concentration Agreement and in ASK, be sure to discuss it with your concentration advisor to make sure it is appropriate. Honors: Honors in Neuroscience requires a thesis and presentation based on a research project , and quality grades in the concentration. Guidelines and information on faculty research as well as details about declaring Honors are available in the Undergraduate Neuroscience Page [https://www.brown.edu/academics/neuroscience/undergraduate-concentration].
Total Credits17