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
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)
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
(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
(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.