Required for the major: The major includes required background and foundations courses, electives, and senior work. Required background courses in biology, psychology, and chemistry, establish a foundation in science necessary for upper-level study. Foundation courses teach students to approach neuroscience from three intellectually different, but related directions. Elective courses offer opportunities to explore a wide variety of neuroscience related areas. Senior work requires all majors to integrate their specific training through research or a senior seminar. Students may be exempt from some introductory courses through placement or bypass exams. For more information on placing out of a specific course, contact the chairperson of the relevant department.
Required Background Courses:
PSYC 0105 Introduction to Psychology
BIOL 0145 Cell Biology and Genetics
CHEM 0103 Fundamentals of Chemistry 1
Either PSYC 0201 Psychological Statistics or BIOL 0211 Experimental Design and Statistical Analysis
NOTE: PSYC 0105 & BIOL 0145 are pre-requisite to NSCI 0251 and should be taken in the first year.
We strongly recommend CHEM 0103 & either PSYC 0201 or BIOL 0211 be taken by the end of the second year.
Foundations Courses: (all three are required)
NSCI 0251 Fundamentals of Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience (Not open to juniors or seniors)
NSCI 0252 Fundamentals of Behavioral Neuroscience (Currently only open to NSCI Majors with the prerequisite of NSCI 0251)
Fundamentals of Philosophical Neuroscience—Students must take one of the following:
PHIL 0352 Philosophy of Mind
PHIL 0360 Consciousness
PHIL 358 Rationality and Cognition
Majors must take three electives chosen from within or across the Biological, Psychological, or Philosophical groupings below:
Biological Studies of Neuroscience
BIOL 0216 Animal Behavior
BIOL 0225 Human Genetics
BIOL 0235 Sexual Selection
BIOL/NSCI 0270 Neural Disorders
BIOL 0305 Developmental Biology
BIOL 0350 Endocrinology
BIOL 0370 Animal Physiology
Psychological Studies of Neuroscience
PSYC 0202 Research Methods
PSYC/NSCI 0302 Conditioning and Learning
PSYC/NSCI 0303 Sensation and Perception
PSYC/NSCI 0305 Cognitive Psychology
PSYC/NSCI 0309 Psychopharmacology
PSYC/NSCI 0311 Neuropsychology
PSYC/GSFS 0330 Psychology of Gender
RELI/PSYC 209 Mindfulness and Psychology
LNGT 0226 Phonetics & Phonology
Philosophical Studies of Neuroscience
PHIL 0214 Science and Society
PHIL 0216 Science and the Quest for Truth
PHIL 0220 Knowledge and Reality
PHIL 0280 Logic & Formal Semantics
*PHIL 0352 Philosophy of Mind
PHIL 0354 Philosophy of Language
*PHIL/NSCI 0358 Rationality and Cognition
*PHIL 0360 Consciousness
RELI/PHIL 0320 Yogacara Depth Psychology and Philosophy of Mind
* If not taken already to satisfy the Fundamentals of Philosophical Neuroscience requirement
Senior Work: A senior seminar in a neuroscience area, approved by the program (current courses include BIOL/NSCI 0420, BIOL 0475, BIOL/NSCI 0480; PSYC/NSCI 0411; PSYC/NSCI 0414, PSYC/NSCI 0419, PSYC/NSCI 0430; PSYC/NSCI 0434; PSYC/NSCI 0435; PSYC/NSCI 0438, or a NSCI relevant BIOL, PSYC or PHIL 0400-level course approved in advance by the NSCI Program) OR senior research (NSCI 0500, NSCI 0700 and NSCI 0701). During winter term and as course offerings change there may be others that are available for NSCI seminar credit. Seniors can do research with any faculty in the program, or with certain faculty in other departments provided the research project is approved by the neuroscience faculty and the project is related to understanding the nervous system and the mind.
Study Abroad: Study abroad can be a valuable experience that is encouraged, though majors must consult with the Office of Off-Campus Study and their advisor about the advisability of specific programs. Because the requirements for the NSCI major are complex, we recommend that students study abroad for a single term rather than an entire year. It is expected that the required courses listed for the major specifically by number (i.e. PSYC 0105, BIOL 0145, PSYC 0201 or BIOL 0211, NSCI 0251, NSCI 0252, and PHIL 0352, PHIL 0360, or PHIL 0358) would be completed at Middlebury. However, NSCI electives may be taken abroad if they are determined to satisfy program requirements and are approved by the advisor and program director. Students generally receive major credit for a maximum of two courses taken abroad. The NSCI program does not grant major credit for Independent Study projects completed abroad.
Independent Research and Program Honors: Majors are encouraged to undertake independent research (NSCI 0500, NSCI 0700, NSCI 0701) with any faculty member in the program. Students considering any senior research should begin conversations with faculty early in their junior year. Those eligible for high honors in neuroscience must (1) complete at least two semesters of thesis-related research (one term of NSCI 0500 or NSCI 0700 and one term of NSCI 0701); (2) have a minimum GPA of 3.3 in major courses (excluding NSCI 0500/0700/0701); (3) present a public seminar describing the background, methodology, results, and greater significance of their research; (4) submit a written thesis and (5) successfully defend their thesis before a committee comprised of at least three faculty members, two of which must be Neuroscience faculty, plus others as needed, who may recommend High Honors after considering these five components of a thesis.