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Minor in Behavioral Neurosciences

Director: Schatz

Behavioral Neurosciences Advisory Board: Garrigan, R. Murray, Vacca, Watrous

Program Overview

Behavioral neuroscience is a field of endeavor that uses interdisciplinary approaches to study and understand the interaction of brain processes and complex behaviors, human and animal. It is an integration of traditional disciplines as diverse as biology, chemistry, computer science, philosophy, and psychology. The behavioral neuroscience minor is intended to be a first step for undergraduate students contemplating professional, academic, and/or research careers in neuroscience, medicine, neuropsychology, pharmaceuticals, veterinary medicine, and/or animal science.

Program Purpose and Specifics
The mission of the behavioral neuroscience minor includes:

  • advancing understanding of nervous systems and the part they play in determining behavior.
  • providing students with multidisciplinary training and perspectives needed to approach issues of interest in the broad area of the biological support of behavior.

The learning objectives of the program include fostering in students:

  • an understanding of theories, concepts, and research findings within the field of behavioral neuroscience.
  • the usage of appropriate methodologies to develop knowledge and to examine questions within the field of behavioral neuroscience.
  • the ability to apply a knowledge base to phenomena within the field of behavioral neuroscience.
  • an awareness and an adoption of values and ethical standards shared by professionals within the field of behavioral neuroscience.

The Minor

Students complete the Behavioral Neurosciences with six courses: 3 "core" courses, and 3 electives.

Core Courses:

The following 3 core courses are required

PSY 206

Neuroscience Foundations or BIO 412: Neurobiology

PSY 207

Behavioral Neuroscience

PSY 208

Cognitive Neuroscience

Elective Courses
To ensure the interdisciplinary nature of the program, students wishing to complete the minor must select elective courses offered by at least two participating departments other than their own major.

Courses currently offered by the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Education/Special Education, Interdisciplinary Health Services, Philosophy, Physics, and Psychology that might support the proposed minor are listed below. Students must complete at least three electives, chosen from among:


BIO 101


BIO 401

Animal Behavior

BIO 402

Advanced Cell Biology

BIO 405


BIO 407

Developmental Biology

BIO 408


BIO 411

Molecular Genetics

BIO 412


BIO 417

Systemic Physiology


CHM 210

Organic Chemistry I

CHM 210L

Organic Chemistry Laboratory I

CHM 215

Organic Chemistry II

CHM 215L

Organic Chemistry Laboratory II

CHM 340


CHM 340L

Biochemistry Laboratory

CHM 430

Mechanisms in Organic Chemistry

CHM 480

Inorganic Biochemistry

Computer Science

121 Computer Science II

201 Data Structures

202 Computer Architecture

261 Principles of Programming Languages

342 Computer Vision

362 Intro to Artificial Intelligence

Education/Special Education

160 Introduction to Special Education

310 Assessment: Identification and Progress Monitoring

330 Educating Students with Low Incidence Disabilities

424 English Linguistics

Interdisciplinary Health Services

110 Psychological Aspects of Health, Illness & Disability

253 Nutrition: Health and Disease

263 Theories of Addiction & Addictive Behavior

357 Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders

458 Epidemiology


322 Philosophy of Science

473 Science, Mind and Philosophy


101 General Physics I

102 General Physics II

101L General Physics Laboratory I

102L General Physics Laboratory II

105 University Physics I

106 University Physics II

105L University Physics Laboratory I

106L University Physics Laboratory II

110 Physics: Concepts and Applications

253 Survey of Nanotechnology

261 Electronics I

262 Electronics II

307 Electricity and Magnetism

419 Biophysics

421 Physics of Fluids


100 Introductory Psychology

101 Introductory Psychology (Freshman Seminar)

120 Lifespan Development

121 Child Development

122 Abnormal Psychology for Non-Psychology Majors

201 Biological Basis of Behavior

210 Research Methods

220 Sensation and Perception

221 Animal Learning and Memory

222 Neuropsychology

223 Health Psychology

224 Psychopharmacology

225 Comparative Animal Behavior

226 Psychology of Emotion

232 Abnormal Psychology for Psychology Majors

Students may petition the Behavioral Neurosciences Advisory Board to receive credit for courses not listed above. The determination of the appropriateness of courses for inclusion in the minor will be made by the director of the program, in consultation with an advisory board. Courses may be taken for Behavioral Neuroscience credit only if the student’s work in the class meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • Coursework includes a substantive treatment of brain/behavior relationships.
  • Coursework includes a substantive treatment of methodology, techniques, and approaches relevant to neuroscience.
  • Coursework in other ways contributes to an understanding of the relationship between nervous systems and behavior or other issues typically addressed by neuroscientists.

As an assessment of a course’s contribution to the student’s growth and development as a neuroscientist, the student will typically be required to write a research paper or other substantive project, the focus of which is a topic within the broad discipline of behavioral neuroscience, as part of his/her coursework.