Behavioral Neuroscience Major

The behavioral neuroscience major is run jointly by the Departments of Behavioral Sciences and Biology, and it has two curricular options.

Which option should I choose?

Choose the Behavioral Sciences option if:

    • You are pursuing a career in behavioral neuroscience/behavioral sciences.

Choose the Biology option if:

    • You are pursuing a career in neuroscience/biology

Please work with your faculty advisor(s) to design the best set of experiences for your path.


Behavioral Neuroscience - Behavioral Sciences Option

Recommendations & Requirements

  • Students should complete all 100- and 200-level requirements before accumulating 60 credit hours (junior status). 
  • All prerequisites must be completed prior to enrollment in the following courses.

Required Courses (61 credit hours)

The behavioral neuroscience major requires a minimum of 58 credit hours for the biology track option and 61 credit hours for the behavioral science track option.

BIOL 172: Exploring Molecular Biology
3 credit hours

Recommended prerequisite or co-requisite: CHEM 115 or CHEM 238
This course examines the structure and function of nucleic acids and proteins. The molecular mechanisms of replication, transcription, mRNA processing and translation will be emphasized. In addition, regulation of these processes will be explored. Lecture and laboratory. Intended for students majoring in biology or related disciplines.

BIOL 181: Mechanisms of Genetic Inheritance
3 credit hours

Prerequisite:  BIOL 172
This course will apply the knowledge acquired in BIOL 172 to the inheritance patterns of genetic traits between individuals and within populations. Lecture and laboratory.

BIOL 182: Evolution
2 credit hours

Prerequisite: BIOL 181. 
An introduction to the principles of evolutionary biology, including the history, processes and patterns of evolution as well as systematic biology.

BIOL 323: Functional Neuroscience
4 credit hours

Prerequisite: BIOL 181 and BIOL 364
Explores the cellular and molecular biology of the nervous system in order to provide an in-depth analysis of such topics as sensation and perception, consciousness and sleep, learning and memory, neuroplasticity and neural regeneration. This course has been approved as an Honors qualified course.

BIOL 327: Psychopharmacology
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: BIOL 172 or PSYC 356.  
This course will explore the effects of drugs on behavior as well as how these effects are mediated by changes in synaptic activity. Emphasis is given to psychoactive drugs, such as alcohol, barbiturates, inhalants, benzodiazepines, psychostimulants, psychedelics, analgesics and antidepressants. This course has been approved as an Honors qualified course.

BIOL 364: Neuroanatomy
4 credit hours

Prerequisite:  BIOL 172. 
An in?depth study of the biology of the nervous system emphasizing the relationship between neuroanatomy and neurophysiology. Lecture and laboratory.

CHEM 238: Inorganic Chemistry
3 credit hours

A fundamental course in the study of inorganic chemistry. Topics include atomic structure, chemical bonding, molecular structure, nomenclature of inorganic compounds, fundamentals of inorganic complexes and an introduction to the chemistry of main group elements.

CHEM 238-L: Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory
1 credit hours

A fundamental laboratory course in the study of inorganic chemistry. Topics include the preparation of inorganic complexes, resolution of chiral transition metal compounds, ion conductivity and a preparation of a main group inorganic compound.

CHEM 312: Organic Chemistry Reactions
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: CHEM 238. 
This lecture course studies the chemistry of all major organic functional groups in one semester. Topics include nomenclature, stereochemistry and some mechanisms and theory. Emphasis is placed on the reactions and their application in synthesis.

CHEM 312-L: Organic Chemistry Reactions Lab
2 credit hours

Prerequisite: CHEM 238-L
This laboratory course has a 1?hour lecture component that introduces the lab and complements CHEM 312. It develops organic lab skills and techniques through organic reaction experiments and applications of spectroscopy and instrumentation.

MATH 231: Calculus I
4 credit hours

Prerequisite:  Two years of high school algebra and one semester of high school trigonometry. 
A study of the fundamental principles of analytic geometry and calculus with an emphasis on differentiation.

PSYC 101: Introduction to Psychology
3 credit hours

This is a survey course providing a study of the behavior of living organisms, particularly human behavior. Typical problems are methods and measurement in psychology, theoretical systems, learning, motivation, perception, personality and psychopathology.

PSYC 331: Biological Bases of Clinical Disorders
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: BIOL 172 or PSYC 101
This course will provide an overview of the basic neuroanatomical and neurophysiological contributions to psychiatric disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, schizophrenia, somatoform disorders, cognitive disorders, and disorders of childhood and adolescence. Pharmacological treatments will also be addressed.

PSYC 348: Psychoneuroimmunology
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: BIOL 172 or PSYC 356
Examines the bidirectional interaction between the brain, behavior and the immune system. Students in this course will study both human-and animal?based literature. Topics include the brain, behavior and immune interface, behavioral and psychosocial characteristics linked with immune function, the impact of stress and coping, sickness behavior, and immunoenhancement. This course has been approved as an Honors qualified course.

PSYC 356: Biopsychology
3 credit hours

Examines the physiological, ontogenetic and functional foundations of human and animal behavior. Emphasizes central nervous system mechanisms that mediate processes such as arousal and sleep, hunger and satiety, learning and memory, aggression and violence, human psychopathology, and the psychoactive properties of recreational and therapeutic drugs.

Choose one course from the following: 

MATH 227: Introduction to Statistics
3 credit hours

Prerequisite:  One year of high school algebra. 
A course to acquaint the student with the basic ideas and language of statistics including such topics such as descriptive statistics, correlation and regression, basic experimental design, elementary probability, binomial and normal distributions, estimation and test of hypotheses, and analysis of variance.

OR

BSCI 275: Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: CRIM 102 or PSYC 101 or SOCI 101.  Co-requisite:  BSCI 275-L. 
This course provides an overview of descriptive and inferential techniques behavioral scientists use to help guide decision?making. Emphasis is given to hypothesis testing, to include coverage of t?tests, one?way ANOVA, regression, and correlation, as well as APA?formatting issues.

BSCI 275-L: Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences Laboratory
1 credit hours

Co-requisite:  BSCI 275. 
A laboratory to complement Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences. SPSS basics are emphasized.

Required Coursework Specific to the Behavioral Sciences Option

BSCI 109: Scientific Writing
1 credit hours

This course introduces students to professional writing styles used in the behavioral sciences, emphasizing the guidelines of the American Psychological Association. The course is also designed to familiarize students with library databases used to conduct empirical literature reviews.

BSCI 200: Research Methods for the Behavioral Sciences
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: CRIM 102 or PSYC 101 or SOCI 101. 
Considers the major methods of the social sciences, including applied statistics. Topics include research design, surveys, secondary data and other unobtrusive methods, evaluation research, sampling and research reports.

BSCI 359: Advanced Behavioral Research I
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: BSCI 109BSCI 200BSCI 275BSCI 275-L. 
Students enrolled in this course complete the initial stages of an original, team-based research project to include conducting and writing a literature review, devising a research design strategy and applying ethical protection of human participants. It is essential that students complete Scientific Writing, Research Methods for the Behavioral Sciences and Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences with lab before taking Advanced Behavioral Research I. Course fee required.

BSCI 361: Advanced Behavioral Research II
3 credit hours

Prerequisite:  BSCI 359. 
As a continuation of Advanced Behavioral Research I, students enrolled in this course complete their original, team-based research project. This involves conducting the study, data analysis, reporting the findings in the context of a scientific paper and delivering a formal presentation of the research. Course fee required. This course has been approved as an Honors qualified course.

BSCI 380: Undergraduate Internship Experience
3 credit hours

Internships are designed to help students better understand the connection between theoretical perspectives and practices in the workplace. Before registering, students are required to meet with the behavioral sciences internship director to learn more about expectations, requirements, and responsibilities. Students must have junior or senior status and a GPA of 2.50 or better to be eligible for internships. This course has been approved as an Honors qualified course.


You are not permitted to double major in behavioral neuroscience and psychology or behavioral neuroscience and biology (BA or BS). However, you are permitted to major in behavioral neuroscience and minor in psychology but not biology.

Students must complete these three classes before taking BSCI 359:

BSCI 109: Scientific Writing
1 credit hours

This course introduces students to professional writing styles used in the behavioral sciences, emphasizing the guidelines of the American Psychological Association. The course is also designed to familiarize students with library databases used to conduct empirical literature reviews.

BSCI 200: Research Methods for the Behavioral Sciences
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: CRIM 102 or PSYC 101 or SOCI 101. 
Considers the major methods of the social sciences, including applied statistics. Topics include research design, surveys, secondary data and other unobtrusive methods, evaluation research, sampling and research reports.

BSCI 275: Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: CRIM 102 or PSYC 101 or SOCI 101.  Co-requisite:  BSCI 275-L. 
This course provides an overview of descriptive and inferential techniques behavioral scientists use to help guide decision?making. Emphasis is given to hypothesis testing, to include coverage of t?tests, one?way ANOVA, regression, and correlation, as well as APA?formatting issues.

Students who fail or do not successfully complete BSCI 359 will be removed from the Advanced Behavioral Research I and II course sequence. Students will not be allowed to register for and/or audit BSCI 361 during the following spring semester. Failing students must re-attempt the 359/361 sequence the following fall semester.


Behavioral Neuroscience - Biology Option

Recommendations & Requirements

  • Students should complete all 100- and 200-level requirements before accumulating 60 credit hours (junior status). 
  • All prerequisites must be completed prior to enrollment in the following courses.

Required Courses (58 credit hours)

BIOL 172: Exploring Molecular Biology
3 credit hours

Recommended prerequisite or co-requisite: CHEM 115 or CHEM 238
This course examines the structure and function of nucleic acids and proteins. The molecular mechanisms of replication, transcription, mRNA processing and translation will be emphasized. In addition, regulation of these processes will be explored. Lecture and laboratory. Intended for students majoring in biology or related disciplines.

BIOL 181: Mechanisms of Genetic Inheritance
3 credit hours

Prerequisite:  BIOL 172
This course will apply the knowledge acquired in BIOL 172 to the inheritance patterns of genetic traits between individuals and within populations. Lecture and laboratory.

BIOL 182: Evolution
2 credit hours

Prerequisite: BIOL 181. 
An introduction to the principles of evolutionary biology, including the history, processes and patterns of evolution as well as systematic biology.

BIOL 323: Functional Neuroscience
4 credit hours

Prerequisite: BIOL 181 and BIOL 364
Explores the cellular and molecular biology of the nervous system in order to provide an in-depth analysis of such topics as sensation and perception, consciousness and sleep, learning and memory, neuroplasticity and neural regeneration. This course has been approved as an Honors qualified course.

BIOL 327: Psychopharmacology
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: BIOL 172 or PSYC 356.  
This course will explore the effects of drugs on behavior as well as how these effects are mediated by changes in synaptic activity. Emphasis is given to psychoactive drugs, such as alcohol, barbiturates, inhalants, benzodiazepines, psychostimulants, psychedelics, analgesics and antidepressants. This course has been approved as an Honors qualified course.

BIOL 364: Neuroanatomy
4 credit hours

Prerequisite:  BIOL 172. 
An in?depth study of the biology of the nervous system emphasizing the relationship between neuroanatomy and neurophysiology. Lecture and laboratory.

PSYC 101: Introduction to Psychology
3 credit hours

This is a survey course providing a study of the behavior of living organisms, particularly human behavior. Typical problems are methods and measurement in psychology, theoretical systems, learning, motivation, perception, personality and psychopathology.

PSYC 331: Biological Bases of Clinical Disorders
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: BIOL 172 or PSYC 101
This course will provide an overview of the basic neuroanatomical and neurophysiological contributions to psychiatric disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, schizophrenia, somatoform disorders, cognitive disorders, and disorders of childhood and adolescence. Pharmacological treatments will also be addressed.

PSYC 348: Psychoneuroimmunology
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: BIOL 172 or PSYC 356
Examines the bidirectional interaction between the brain, behavior and the immune system. Students in this course will study both human-and animal?based literature. Topics include the brain, behavior and immune interface, behavioral and psychosocial characteristics linked with immune function, the impact of stress and coping, sickness behavior, and immunoenhancement. This course has been approved as an Honors qualified course.

PSYC 356: Biopsychology
3 credit hours

Examines the physiological, ontogenetic and functional foundations of human and animal behavior. Emphasizes central nervous system mechanisms that mediate processes such as arousal and sleep, hunger and satiety, learning and memory, aggression and violence, human psychopathology, and the psychoactive properties of recreational and therapeutic drugs.

CHEM 238: Inorganic Chemistry
3 credit hours

A fundamental course in the study of inorganic chemistry. Topics include atomic structure, chemical bonding, molecular structure, nomenclature of inorganic compounds, fundamentals of inorganic complexes and an introduction to the chemistry of main group elements.

CHEM 238-L: Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory
1 credit hours

A fundamental laboratory course in the study of inorganic chemistry. Topics include the preparation of inorganic complexes, resolution of chiral transition metal compounds, ion conductivity and a preparation of a main group inorganic compound.

CHEM 312: Organic Chemistry Reactions
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: CHEM 238. 
This lecture course studies the chemistry of all major organic functional groups in one semester. Topics include nomenclature, stereochemistry and some mechanisms and theory. Emphasis is placed on the reactions and their application in synthesis.

CHEM 312-L: Organic Chemistry Reactions Lab
2 credit hours

Prerequisite: CHEM 238-L
This laboratory course has a 1?hour lecture component that introduces the lab and complements CHEM 312. It develops organic lab skills and techniques through organic reaction experiments and applications of spectroscopy and instrumentation.

MATH 231: Calculus I
4 credit hours

Prerequisite:  Two years of high school algebra and one semester of high school trigonometry. 
A study of the fundamental principles of analytic geometry and calculus with an emphasis on differentiation.

Choose one course from the following: 

MATH 327: Mathematical Statistics
3 credit hours

Prerequisite:  MATH 326. It is recommended that students receive a grade of C or better in MATH 326 to be successful in this course. 
This course takes the material from MATH 326 into the applications side of statistics including functions of random variables, sampling distributions, estimations and hypothesis testing.

OR

BSCI 275: Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: CRIM 102 or PSYC 101 or SOCI 101.  Co-requisite:  BSCI 275-L. 
This course provides an overview of descriptive and inferential techniques behavioral scientists use to help guide decision?making. Emphasis is given to hypothesis testing, to include coverage of t?tests, one?way ANOVA, regression, and correlation, as well as APA?formatting issues.

BSCI 275-L: Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences Laboratory
1 credit hours

Co-requisite:  BSCI 275. 
A laboratory to complement Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences. SPSS basics are emphasized.

Required Coursework Specific to the Biology Option

BIOL 351: Junior Seminar I
1 credit hours

Prerequisite:  BIOL 181. 
This course provides biology majors with information on pre? and post?graduate opportunities, prepares them for graduate studies related to biology by developing a resume and statement of purpose, and gives them experience speaking publicly on biological topics using appropriate technology. S/U grading.

BIOL 352: Junior Seminar II
1 credit hours

Prerequisite:  BIOL 351. 
Using the scientific literature and in consultation with a faculty mentor, students will develop a proposal for an independent research project in the biological sciences and publicly present the proposal to their peers. This course has been approved as an Honors qualified course.

BIOL 494: Senior Seminar II
1 credit hours

Prerequisite:  BIOL 483 or 484. 
Students present the results of their Senior Seminar I project to faculty and peers in a public forum.

PHYS 211: General Physics I
5 credit hours

Co-requisite:  MATH 231. 
The principles of mechanics, heat, sound, light, electricity and some topics from atomic and nuclear physics are presented. Calculus and vector analysis are used extensively. Intended for science majors. The workshop format — integrated laboratory and lecture — emphasizes experiment, data collection and analysis, and group work. Three two-hour sessions per week. Offered fall semester.

Choose one from the following:

BIOL 483: Senior Seminar I: Practicum
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: BIOL 200. 
Students complete an off?campus work experience in a professional field of interest and write a literature review on a biological topic related to the profession in consultation with a faculty mentor. A minimum of 135 hours must be completed during the off-campus experience.

BIOL 484: Senior Seminar I: Research
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: BIOL 200. 
Students complete an original field, laboratory, database, or literature research project in consultation with a faculty mentor. This course has been approved as an Honors qualified course.

You are not permitted to double major in behavioral neuroscience and psychology or behavioral neuroscience and biology (BA or BS). However, you are permitted to major in behavioral neuroscience and minor in psychology but not biology.