Requirements

The Neuroscience Program offers a major and a minor. Students are eligible to declare a neuroscience major or minor after completing at least one Foundations in STEM course and one Intermediate or Additional Neuroscience course. Alternatively, students who have completed Introduction to Neuroscience (NEUR 110) are eligible to declare a neuroscience major or minor, although it is not a requirement for either program. Students interested in neuroscience are strongly encouraged to contact a neuroscience advising faculty member, who can answer questions about the program and direct students to courses in the neuroscience curriculum that match their interests. Every year, neuroscience faculty host an informational session about the neuroscience program for all interested students. Details about the requirements for the neuroscience major and minor, as well as answers to some frequently asked questions, can be found below.

Major

Students take 14 courses to satisfy the neuroscience major requirements.

These courses cover fundamental principles of STEM disciplines that are required for studying neuroscience.

  • BIOL 161: Intro to Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • CHEM 181: Atoms & Molecules or CSCI 131: Techniques of Programming
  • MATH 135: Calculus 1 or equivalent
  • PHYS 115: Introductory Physics 1: Mechanics, Fluids and Waves
  • PHYS 116: Introductory Physics 2: Electromagnetism, Optics and Modern Physics
  • STAT 220: Statistics (or equivalent subject to program approval)

These courses cover fundamental principles of neuroscience and reinforce connections between neuroscience and other STEM disciplines. They also introduce students to neuroscience research papers.

  • #BIOL 269: Neurobiology (with optional BIOL 299: Neurobiology Lab)
  • #NEUR 210: Neuroethology with Physics
  • #NEUR 220: Neural Circuits & Systems

These courses cover principles and topics in neuroscience. Intermediate Neuroscience Core Courses (listed above) may also count as Additional Neuroscience Courses; students are encouraged to use Intermediate Neuroscience Core Courses to fulfill this requirement. An academic advisor will guide the student in course selection to ensure breadth and depth appropriate for the student’s interests.

  • NEUR 110: Introduction to Neuroscience
  • *NEUR 310: Advanced Seminar in Neuroscience
  • BIOL 390: Physiology or BIOL 391: Physiology Lecture
  • *BIOL 399: Experimental Approaches Neuro
  • PSYC 220: Perception & Social Neuroscience or PSYC 222: Sensation & Perception
  • PSYC 221: Physiology & Behavior
  • PSYC 235: Cognitive Neuroscience
  • *PSYC 315: Biology of Mental Disorders
  • *PSYC 316: Drug Abuse: Brain and Behavior
  • *PSYC 321: Neuroanatomy & Behavior
  • *PSYC 362: Cognitive Neuropsychiatry
  • *PSYC 327: Predictive Coding in the Brain
  • CSCI 363: Computational Vision

These courses cover scientific principles and broader topics relevant to neuroscience. Intermediate Neuroscience Core Courses or Additional Neuroscience Courses (listed above) may also count as electives.

  • #BIOL 230: Developmental Biology or BIOL 232: Developmental Biology Lecture
  • #BIOL 261: Genetics or BIOL 262: Genetic Analysis
  • #BIOL 266: Cell Biology
  • BIOL 283: Evolution
  • #CHEM 221: Organic Chemistry I or #CHEM 231: Equilibrium and Reactivity
  • CHEM 289: Advanced Organic Chemistry
  • #CHEM 300: Instrumental Chemistry / Analytical Methods
  • CHEM 309: Spectroscopy
  • CHEM 317: Nanotechnology
  • BIOL 301: Biochemistry or CHEM 301: Biochemistry
  • CSCI 307: Data Mining
  • CSCI 347: Artificial Intelligence
  • MATH 241: Multivariable Calculus
  • MATH 244: Linear Algebra
  • PHYS 221: Methods of Physics
  • PHYS 223: Modern Physics or #PHYS 223 & PHYS 225: Modern Physics Lab
  • #PHYS 231: Optics & PHYS 233: Optics Lab
  • PSYC 253: Evolution of Behavior
  • PSYC 236: Cognition & Memory
  • PSYC 223: Animal Learning
  • PSYC 338: Consciousness & Control
  • STAT 225: Experimental Design
  • STAT 226: Bayesian Statistics
  • STAT 231: Linear Models
  • STAT 232: Categorical Data Analysis
  • STAT 375: Probability Theory
  • STAT 380: Statistical Computing
  • STAT 381: Statistical Learning

These courses cover questions about the conduct and purpose of science or specific issues in the scientific study of life and mind.

  • PHIL 227: Philosophy of Race
  • PHIL 250: Medical Ethics
  • PHIL 261: Philosophy of Mind
  • PHIL 271: Philosophy of Science
  • PHIL 272: Philosophy of Biology
  • PSYC 305: History & Theory of Psychology

Additional Requirements and Advising Notes for the Neuroscience Major

  • The major must include at least 2 laboratory or project-based courses at the 200+ level (#).
  • One semester of research for credit can count as a major requirement (additional neuroscience course, elective, or historical or theoretical perspective course) and/or a laboratory or project-based course (#), subject to review and approval by the Neuroscience Program Director.
  • The maximum number of courses that may be used from any single department is 4. Foundations in STEM courses and research for credit (400-level) shall not count toward total courses from a department.
  • For courses in the Foundations in STEM category, the corresponding departmental policy regarding AP credit will apply.

Minor

Students take 6 courses to satisfy the neuroscience minor requirements.

  • CHEM 181: Atoms & Molecules
  • CSCI 131: Techniques of Programming
  • PHYS 116: Introductory Physics 2: Electromagnetism, Optics and Modern Physics
  • BIOL 269: Neurobiology (with optional BIOL 299: Neurobiology Lab)
  • NEUR 210: Neuroethology with Physics
  • NEUR 220: Neural Circuits & Systems
  • BIOL 230: Developmental Biology
  • BIOL 261: Genetics or BIOL 262: Genetic Analysis
  • BIOL 266: Cell Biology
  • BIOL 269: Neurobiology (with optional BIOL 299: Neurobiology Lab)
  • BIOL 301: Biochemistry I or CHEM 301: Biochemistry
  • NEUR 110: Introduction to Neuroscience
  • NEUR 210: Neuroethology with Physics
  • NEUR 220: Neural Circuits & Systems
  • BIOL 283: Evolution
  • PHIL 261: Philosophy of Mind
  • PSYC 220: Perception & Social Neuroscience or PSYC 222: Sensation & Perception
  • PSYC 221: Physiology & Behavior
  • PSYC 223: Animal Learning
  • PSYC 235: Cognitive Neuroscience
  • PSYC 253: Evolution of Behavior
  • PSYC 236: Cognition & Memory
  • PSYC 399: Animal Cognition
  • BIOL 390: Physiology or BIOL 391: Physiology Lecture
  • CSCI 363: Computational Vision
  • NEUR 310: Advanced Seminar in Neuroscience
  • BIOL 399: Experimental Approaches Neuro
  • PSYC 315: Biology of Mental Disorders
  • PSYC 316: Drug Abuse: Brain and Behavior
  • PSYC 321: Neuroanatomy & Behavior
  • PSYC 362: Cognitive Neuropsychiatry
  • PSYC 327: Predictive Coding in the Brain

Additional Requirements and Advising Notes for the Neuroscience Minor

  • Students may overlap no more than two courses with major requirements.
  • Foundations in STEM courses shall not count toward overlap with major requirements.
  • Students may use no more than two courses from their major department.
  • Students must include courses from at least three departments in the minor.
  • Students are not required to take BIOL 161, but it is highly recommended and serves as the prerequisite for many cellular/molecular approach course options.

Frequently Asked Questions

There is no one course that is the ‘best’ first neuroscience course for every student. For many students, intermediate-level psychology (e.g., PSYC 221: Physiology & Behavior) or biology (e.g., BIOL 269: Neurobiology), along with a background in one or more foundational STEM disciplines (e.g., BIOL 161 or CHEM 181) is a good place to start.

Introduction to Neuroscience (NEUR 110) is another entry point, which emphasizes connections between neuroscience concepts and other STEM disciplines. It is designed for first-year students and others who have not previously completed other introductory life science courses (e.g., BIOL 161 or CHEM 181) or intermediate courses with a neuroscience focus (e.g., PSYC 221 or BIOL 269). NEUR 110 counts for the neuroscience major and minor, but it is not required for either program.

Finally, you can always contact a neuroscience advising faculty member to help find a course that is well-suited to your own unique background and interests.

Students are eligible to declare a neuroscience major or minor after completing at least one Foundations in STEM course and one Intermediate or Additional Neuroscience course. Alternatively, students who have completed Introduction to Neuroscience (NEUR 110) are eligible to declare a neuroscience major or minor.

The neuroscience minor can be paired with any major at the College. To date, neuroscience minors have majored in biology, chemistry, computer science, economics, health studies, mathematics, music, philosophy, physics, psychology and sociology.

Yes! Courses used for the neuroscience major or minor can also be used to fulfill common area requirements.

Yes!  Students in the neuroscience program have participated successfully in these programs.  Study abroad students are able to complete some of their neuroscience coursework at other institutions with prior approval from the Neuroscience Director.

So many things! The Careers in Neuroscience page hosted by the Princeton Neuroscience Institute has an excellent list of possible careers to pursue with a neuroscience degree.