University of Rochester

Undergraduate Programs


BS Degree in Biological Sciences: Neuroscience

Twenty courses (some with companion labs) are required to complete the Neuroscience major. Some students may complete additional credits depending on the courses chosen. Independent study credits (e.g. NSC 395) may not be substituted for any major requirements.

Introductory Biology Courses

Two introductory courses and one companion lab:

  • BIO 110 Principles of Biology I (Fall/Spring) or BIO 112 Biology Perspectives I (Fall)
  • BIO 111 Principles of Biology II (Spring) or BIO 113 Biology Perspectives II (Spring) with Lab
    The following labs are acceptable:
    • BIO 111P (available through Spring 2015)
    • BIO 113P (available through Spring 2013)
    • BIO 117P (available beginning Spring 2016)

Plus one of these:

  • BIO 198 Principles of Genetics (Fall) or BIO 190 Genetics & the Human Genome (Fall)
  • BIO 210 Cell Biology (Spring)
  • BIO 250 Intro to Biochemistry (Spring) or BIO 252 Principles of Biochemistry (Spring)

Note: The genetics lab (BIO 198P) is recommended but not required.

Biology Diversification Electives

Two electives required. These courses must be chosen from within the biological sciences, but from outside the Neuroscience curriculum. Each biology diversification elective must be 200-level or higher and at least 4 credits. While most courses with BIO course numbers are eligible, as well as other biology tracks such as MBI and BCH, students must confirm their choices with an advisor. Courses which are NOT eligible include BIO 208, BIO 214 (may be used for the statistics requirement), BIO 256, BIO 270W, BIO 272W, and BIO 275W. If a student takes more than one course from the introductory group above (e.g., BIO 198 and BIO 250), the additional course(s) may be used toward the diversification elective requirement.

Neuroscience Core Courses

Three courses and one companion lab:

  • NSC 201/P Basic Neurobiology with Lab (Fall)
  • NSC 203 Laboratory in Neurobiology (Spring)
  • NSC 301 (Fall) or NSC 302 (Spring) Senior Seminar in Neuroscience (2 credits)

Note: NSC 201, NSC 201P, and STT 212 must be completed BEFORE NSC 203 is taken.

Neuroscience Electives

Three courses required. One course must be from Group A and one from Group B. The third elective may be either a Group C course, or an additional elective from A or B. Graduate courses (400 and 500 level) are available only to seniors with excellent academic records. These courses may not be available every year, and permission of the instructor is required.

Group A:

  • NSC 243/BCS 243 Neurochemical Foundations of Behavior (Fall)
  • NSC 249/BCS 249 Developmental Neurobiology (Spring)
  • IND 447 Signal Transduction (Spring)

Group B:

  • NSC 244/BCS 244 Neuroethology (Spring)
  • NSC 245/BCS 245 Sensory and Motor Neuroscience (Spring)
  • NSC 248/BCS 248 Neuroeconomics (Fall*)
    *offered during spring for the 2015-2016 academic year only

Group C:

  • NSC 242/BCS 242 Neuropsychology (Fall)
  • NSC 246/BCS 246 Biology of Mental Disorders (Spring)
  • NSC 247/BCS 247 Topics in Computational Neuroscience (Spring)
  • BCS 508 Cognitive Neuroscience (Fall)
  • BCS 513 Intro to fMRI (Fall)

Allied Fields

Nine courses; companion labs are required for chemistry and physics.

  • Two semesters of general chemistry
    • CHM 131 Chemical Concepts, Systems, & Practices I (Fall)
    • CHM 132 Chemical Concepts, Systems, & Practices II (Spring)
  • Two semesters of organic chemistry
    • CHM 203/207 Organic Chemistry I with Lab (Fall) or CHM 171/173 Freshman Organic Chemistry I with Lab (Fall)
    • CHM 204/208 Organic Chemistry II with Lab (Spring) or CHM 172/210 Freshman Organic Chemistry II with Lab (Spring)
  • Two semesters of calculus
    • MTH 141 Calculus I (Fall/Spring) or MTH 161 Calculus IA (Fall/Spring) or MTH 171 Honors Calculus I (Fall)
    • MTH 142 Calculus II (Fall/Spring) [MTH 143 recommended] or MTH 162 Calculus IIA (Fall/Spring) or MTH 172 Honors Calculus II (Spring)
  • Two semesters of calculus-based physics
    • PHY 113 General Physics I (Fall/Spring) or PHY 121 Mechanics (Spring)
    • PHY 114 General Physics II (Fall/Spring) or PHY 122 Electricity & Magnetism (Fall)
  • One semester of statistics
    • STT 212 Applied Statistics for Biological and Physical Sciences I (Fall/Spring) or STT 214 Biostatistics (Spring)

AP Credits

AP Credits are acceptable for Calculus, Physics, and Chemistry. AP Biology credits do not satisfy any course requirements for the Neuroscience major. Students with AP bio credits are eligible for the BIO 112-113 sequence, but must still take a full year of introductory biology. AP Statistics does not automatically satisfy the statistics requirement for the NSC major; students with AP stats credit should contact Dr. Kathy Nordeen ( about taking a proficiency test. Students who have previously completed another introductory statistics course such as STT 211, PSY 211, STT 213, ECO 230, or DSC 262 should consult with the department. Students with AP credit for CHM 131 who advance to the CHM 171-172 organic chemistry sequence may take CHM 132 or may substitute an additional upper-level chemistry or biology elective to complete the introductory chemistry sequence. More advanced courses such as MTH 164, STT 216, PHY 141, etc. are generally acceptable as substitutions for the courses listed here.

Upper Level Writing Requirement

Successful completion of the NSC 203 laboratory and the Senior Seminar will satisfy the upper-level writing requirement for the Neuroscience major.

Transfer Credit Policy

  • Transfer credits from domestic colleges and study abroad programs are permitted for the Neuroscience major with approval from the appropriate department(s). Incoming transfer students should seek course approval as soon as they arrive on campus. All other students must obtain approval for transfer credits before the course is taken.
    • You will need a transfer course approval form and the syllabus for each course you plan to take. Course approval forms can be obtained from the Academic Services counter in Lattimore 312.
  • For courses with Neuroscience content, the Director of the undergraduate program can sign off on the courses directly.
  • For courses you wish to use in your major that are not Neuroscience content (e.g., biology diversification electives, statistics, allied field courses), you must first get the approval of the department where the course would be offered if you were taking it at the University of Rochester.
    • Once you have a signature from the appropriate department on your course approval form, the NSC Director can then sign off that the course can be applied to your major requirements.
  • Course approval forms and syllabi that are ready for the Director’s signature can be dropped off with the Undergraduate Coordinator in Meliora 363 for your convenience.
  • No more than one transfer course may be used as part of your Neuroscience electives.
    • Students must maintain the appropriate distribution between Group A, B, and C NSC electives. The department will assign the transfer course to a group at the time of approval.
  • Additional transfer credits may be applied to other parts of your major at the discretion of the department. Allied field courses and biology courses are frequently approved.
  • The NSC 203 lab and the senior seminar (NSC 301/302) may not be transferred.
  • Students who transfer to the University of Rochester from another institution may use transfer credits for a maximum of nine of the requirements of the Neuroscience degree.