2003-2004
UNDERGRADUATE RECORD
College of Arts and Sciences
General Information  |  Academic Information  |  Departments and Programs  |  Faculty
Course Descriptions

Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience

Overview Neuroscience is the multidisciplinary study of the nervous system. In addition to focusing on basic scientific problems related to psychology, biology, and chemistry, neuroscience also forms the fundamental basis of many medical specialties, including psychiatry, neurology, and neurosurgery. The basic and applied nature of the field has attracted a large number of scientists during the past 25 years.

Increasingly, neuroscientists must be well trained in a variety of scientific disciplines to keep up with the rapid advances in the field. A successful neuroscientist must be trained in fields spanning from molecular neurobiology to cognitive neuroscience. The program in neuroscience is designed to provide majors with the necessary skills to master this highly-multidisciplinary scientific field.

The objectives of the major are:
1. To provide students with a structure for coursework that assures a solid grounding in natural science and an overall familiarity with neuroscience as a discipline.
2. To sponsor events that communicate neuroscience research and activities on grounds, as well as provide students with information on research careers. Such events include special lectures, symposiums and workshops on graduate school and career options.
3. To foster active participation by undergraduate students in Neuroscience Graduate Program laboratories across the grounds by providing opportunities to conduct research in neuroscience laboratories in the College and in the School of Medicine.

Faculty  The director of the program is David Hill, Professor of Psychology. The Program's Advisory Committee is composed of four neuroscientists. They are the current director of the Neuroscience Graduate Program and three faculty members appointed by the Chair of Psychology, the Chair of Biology, and the Chair of the Department of Neuroscience in the School of Medicine, respectively. The director and the advisory committee will select students for the major, advise majors and determine the ongoing direction of the program. The faculty primarily responsible for classroom training are neuroscientists in the Biology and Psychology departments, all of whom are also members of the Neuroscience Graduate Program. Faculty from the School of Medicine that are also members of the Neuroscience Graduate Program (in over 15 departments) will also participate in the program through teaching and through mentoring research projects.

Students  The major is designed for students with a strong interest in the biology of the nervous system and a desire to conduct original research in the field with U.Va. neuroscientists. A maximum of 25 students will be selected for the program each year from a pool of applicants. Students will be chosen on the basis of prior academic performance and an essay explaining the student's interest in neuroscience. The program will provide majors with a background for continued study in graduate and professional schools.

Requirements for Major  Thirty credits are required for the major in neuroscience with at least a 2.5 GPA in the major. Students are dropped from the major if they fall below a cumulative GPA of 2.5 for all designated neuroscience courses. At least two courses at the 400 or 500 level in neuroscience designated courses with at least one each from the Department of Biology and one from the Department of Psychology are required. The courses of current topics in neuroscience, research, and honors thesis do not count toward this requirement (a list of designated courses follows).

Distinguished Majors Program in Neuroscience Outstanding majors with an overall GPA of 3.4 may apply at the beginning of their sixth semester. The program includes a thesis (NESC 497 & 498) consisting of empirical research that must be reviewed at least one month prior to graduation. Upon successful completion of the program, students will normally be recommended for a baccalaureate award of Distinction, High Distinction or Highest Distinction.

Additional Information  For more information, contact the director, David Hill, Department of Psychology, PO Box 400400, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904; (434) 982-4728; dh2t@virginia.edu.

Courses Related to a Major in Neuroscience
Prerequisites In order to apply for the major, students must be enrolled in, or have already completed the following courses and have a C+ or better in all courses to declare the major.

(1) BIOL 201 & 202 Introductory Biology
(2) PSYC 220 Introduction to Psychobiology or BIOL 317 Introduction to Neurobiology
(3) CHEM 141 Introductory College Chemistry
(4) CHEM 142 Principles of Chemistry
(5) CHEM 141L Chemistry Laboratory
(6) CHEM 142L Chemistry Laboratory
(7) MATH 121 Applied Calculus 2 or MATH 131 Calculus 1 (MATH 131 is strongly recommended)

Note: Courses listed in (1) and (2) above also count toward the 30 required credits for the major. Course listed in (3), (4), (5) and (6) do not count toward the 30 credits. CHEM 181, 182, 181L and 182L also satisfy the requirements listed in (3) through (6).

Core Courses In addition to the prerequisites, the following courses are required for the major and count towards the 30 credits requirement.

(1) BIOL 300 Cell and Molecular Biology
(2) PSYC 420 Neural Mechanisms of Behavior or BIOL 408 Neuronal Organization of Behavior
(3) NESC 491 Current Topics in Neuroscience (required of all 4th year majors)
(4) NESC 492 Current Topics in Neuroscience (required of all 4th year majors) Electives Approved for the Major The following is a list of designated courses offered on a regular basis; however, the list is not exhaustive.



Course Descriptions

TOP

NESC 398 - (3) (Y)
Current Topics in Neuroscience I

Prerequisite: major in Neuroscience.
Current developments in the interdisciplinary field of neurosciences will be examined, from molecular neurobiology through cognitive neuroscience. Instruction will be based on readings of original literature, presentation of original and new data from Neuroscience faculty and attendance of seminar talks as part of the Neuroscience Graduate Seminar series.

NESC 399 - (3) (Y)
Current Topics in Neuroscience II

Prerequisite: major in Neuroscience.
Current developments in the interdisciplinary field of neuroscience will be examined, from molecular neurobiology through cognitive neuroscience. Instruction will be based on readings of original literature, presentation of original and new data from Neuroscience faculty and attendance of seminar talks as part of the Neuroscience Graduate Seminar series.

Electives Approved for the Major

The following is a list of designated courses offered on a regular basis; however, the list is not exhaustive.

Biology

BIOL 203 - (2) (Y)
Biology Laboratory

BIOL 204 - (2) (Y)
Biology Laboratory

BIOL 301 - (3) (Y)
Genetics and Evolution

BIOL 325 - (3) (Y)
Introduction to Animal Behavior

BIOL 344 - (3) (Y)
Endocrinology

BIOL 405 - (3) (Y)
Developmental Biology

BIOL 417 - (3) (Y)
Cellular Neurobiology

BIOL 419 - (3) (Y)
Biological Clocks

BIOL 427 - (3) (Y)
Animal Behavior Laboratory

BIOL 501 - (4) (Y)
Biochemistry

BIOL 517 - (4) (Y)
Molecular Genetics

Psychology

PSYC 321 - (3) (S)
Psychobiology Laboratory

PSYC 521 - (3) (IR)
Developmental Psychobiology

PSYC 525 - (3) (IR)
Hormones and Behavior

PSYC 526 - (3) (IR)
Psychobiology and Memory

PSYC 527 - (3) (IR)
Chemistry of Synaptic Transmission

PSYC 531 - (3) (IR)
Functional Neuroanatomy

PSYC 532 - (3) (IR)
Chemical Senses: Taste and Smell

PSYC 533 - (3) (IR)
Neural Networks Models of Cognition & Brain Computation

PSYC 535 - (3) (IR)
Neurochemical Systems in Learning and Memory

Neuroscience

NESC 395, 396, 495, 496 - (3) (S)
Research in Neuroscience

NESC 497 - 498 - (3) (Y)
Distinguished Majors Thesis

NESC 504 - (3) (Y)
Cognitive Neuroscience

NESC 520 - (5) (Y)
Neurobiology



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