Clusters and Minors

The department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences provides several ways for students to learn about the brain and how it governs our behavior. In addition to our undergraduate majors, which provide the broadest and deepest coverage of our domain, the department offers smaller sets of courses grouped in Clusters and a Minor, that provide a generous introduction to the field and allow students freedom to pursue topics of special interest.

Clusters

Students will be able to satisfy The College's distribution requirements for natural science courses by taking a connected group of three courses (a cluster) provided by the department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences alone or in conjunction with another department. Because we offer a range of courses at introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels, students can form clusters in different ways, choosing to emphasize breadth or depth. All clusters offered by the department require at least one foundation course followed by one intermediate course.

BCS 001: Mind and Brain

A general introduction to perception, cognition, learning, memory, and development, considering both the nature of these processes and the brain mechanisms that underlie them.

  • BCS 110: Neural Foundations of Behavior
  • BCS 111: Foundations of Cognitive Science OR BCS 112: Cognitive Psychology*
  • AND one of these:
  • BCS 151: Perception and Action
  • BCS 152: Language and Psycholinguistics
  • BCS 153: Cognition
  • BCS 183: Animal Minds

*NOTE: Students cannot take both BCS 111 and BCS 112.
Because of "overlap" rules, this Cluster is not available to most Psychology majors.

BCS002: Language and Cognition

An introduction to the mental processes involved in human language and cognition.

*NOTE: Students cannot take both BCS 111 and BCS 112.

BCS003: The Senses

An introduction to the human senses, particularly vision and hearing, covering both the basic sensory processes and higher-level perceptual ones.

  • BCS 110: Neural Foundations of Behavior
  • BCS 151: Perception and Action
  • AND one of these:
  • BCS 220: The Intelligent Eye
  • BCS 221: Auditory Perception
  • BCS 222: Foundations of Vision: Perception and Computation
  • BCS 245: Sensory and Motor Neuroscience

BCS004: Mind, Brain, and Development

An introduction to the brain and cognitive processes, with a special emphasis on their development.

  • BCS 110: Neural Foundations of Behavior
  • BCS 111: Foundations of Cognitive Science OR BCS 112 Cognitive Psychology*
  • BCS 172: Development of Mind and Brain

*NOTE: Students cannot take both BCS 111 and BCS 112.
Because of "overlap" rules, this Cluster is not available to most Psychology majors.

BCS005: Perception and Development

An introduction to perception, cognition, their development, and their underlying brain mechanisms.

  • Choose one:
  • BCS 110: Neural Foundations of Behavior
  • BCS 111: Foundations of Cognitive Science
  • BCS 112: Cognitive Psychology
  • AND
  • BCS 151: Perception and Action
  • BCS 172: Development of Mind and Brain

BCS006: Language and Cognitive Development

An introduction to the development of language and cognition and their underlying biological mechanisms.

  • BCS 110: Neural Foundations of Behavior
  • BCS 172: Development of Mind and Brain
  • BCS 259: Language Development

BCS007: Biology and Behavior

An introduction to animal behavior and its underlying biological and evolutionary mechanisms.

BCS008: Neurobiology

An introduction to the biology of the brain and the neural mechanisms underlying behavior.

  • BIO 110: Principles of Biology I OR BIO 112: Biology Perspectives I
  • BCS 240: Basic Neurobiology
  • AND one of these:
  • BCS 221: Auditory Perception
  • BCS 242: Neuropsychology
  • BCS 243: Neurochemical Foundations of Behavior
  • BCS 244: Neuroethology
  • BCS 245: Sensory and Motor Neuroscience
  • BCS 246: The Biology of Mental Disorders
  • BCS 249: Developmental Neurobiology

BCS009: Neuropsychology

An introduction to the biological mechanisms that underlie behavior with special emphasis on abnormal behavior.

  • BCS 110: Neural Foundations of Behavior
  • BCS 242: Neuropsychology
  • BCS 246: The Biology of Mental Disorders (Prerequisite: BIO110)

Related Clusters

Music and Sound Clusters

Minors

Students can build a six-course Minor in Brain & Cognitive Sciences. The organization of the minor allows students freedom to explore the field broadly, or to specialize somewhat.

For the Class of 2009 and before

For students declaring a minor in Brain and Cognitive Sciences and a major in another subject, no more than one course may be used to satisfy both major and minor requirements. Students who are applying both BCS 110 and BCS 240/NSC 201 toward the completion of the BCS minor may not overlap any additional courses.

Students are asked to provide a copy of their major declaration form when applying for a BCS minor.

For the Class of 2010 and after

For students declaring a major in Brain and Cognitive Sciences and a minor in another subject, no more than two courses may be used to satisfy both major and minor requirements. Students who are Neuroscience majors and are minoring in BCS may use both BCS 110 and BCS 240/NSC 201 for the minor, but may not overlap any additional courses. Students who are majoring in disciplines other than Neuroscience may use both BCS 110 and BCS 240/NCS 201 to complete the minor, and may overlap one additional course.

Students are asked to provide a copy of their major declaration form when applying for a BCS minor.

The Minor in Brain & Cognitive Sciences
(6 courses required)

  • BCS 110: Neural Foundations of Behavior
  • BCS 111: Foundations of Cognitive Science
  • AND Two of the following are required:
  • BCS 151: Perception and Action
  • BCS 152: Language and Psycholinguistics
  • BCS 153: Cognition
  • AND Two electives. These electives should form a progression with the core courses or be an associated methods or laboratory course. At least one course must be numbered between 200 and 299. Independent study courses (39x) CANNOT be included.

All minors are based on the two foundation courses (Neural Foundations of Behavior, and Foundations of Cognitive Science). These courses are augmented by two of the department's core courses, each of which provides a thorough treatment of one of the major problems we study (Perception and Action, Cognition, and Language). Students must also take two elective courses, at least one of which is numbered between 200 and 299. The electives should be chosen to form a progression with the core courses or be an associated methods or laboratory course. The department offers a broad range of elective courses on such topics as Language, Perception, Development, or Behavioral Neuroscience.

Related Minors

Requirements for a Minor in Psychology as a Natural Science
(4 courses required in addition to PSY 101)

  • At least one natural science psychology core courses (PSY 110, Neural Foundations of Behavior, PSY 112, Cognitive Psychology, or PSY 113, Biopsychology of Social and Clinical Behaviors.
  • At least one course from the following: PSY 152, Language and Psycholinguistics; PSY 151, Perception and Action; or PSY 153, Cognition.
  • One or two further further natural science psychology courses, at least one of which is numbered 200 level or above. Independent study courses are acceptable.
  • This minor satisfies a natural science divisional requirement.

Requirements for a Minor in Music Cognition as a Natural Science
(6 courses required)

  • BCS 260: Music and the Mind
  • ONE of the following: BCS 110: Neural Foundations of Behavior, BCS 111: Foundations of Cognitive Science, OR BCS 112: Cognitive Psychology
  • TWO of the following: BCS 152: Language and Psycholinguistics (pre-requisite BCS 110, 111, or 112, or LIN 110), BCS 153: Cognition (pre-requisite BCS 110; BCS 111 recommended), BCS 221: Auditory Perception, BCS 265: Language and the Brain
  • TWO courses in music theory: (Students who place out of these courses take the next in the sequence.) MUR 111: Theory I (or TH 101 if ESM student), MUR 112: Theory II (or TH 102 if ESM student)

Visual Science

Students who major in Brain & Cognitive Sciences may also wish to minor in Visual Science. The Center for Visual Science (CVS) resides in Meliora Hall and shares a number of faculty with BCS. CVS fosters research at Rochester on how the eye and brain allow us to see. Together with a strong interdisciplinary faculty with excellent laboratory resources and technical support, CVS represents an unusual opportunity for students to experience the frontiers of research on the visual system and brain function. To make these opportunities more accessible to undergraduates, we offer both a Minor and a Research Minor in Visual Science. The Minor emphasizes coursework while the Research Minor emphasizes hands-on experience in a modern vision laboratory. For students declaring a minor in Visual Science and a major in Brain & Cognitive Sciences, no more than one course may be used to satisfy both major and minor requirements.

Please contact (275-4597) for more information.

Requirements for a Minor in Visual Science
(5 courses required)

Requirements for a Research Minor in Visual Science
(5 courses required)

  • One of the following:
  • BCS/CVS/PSY 110: Neural Foundations of Behavior
  • BCS/PSY 111: Foundations of Cognitive Science
  • AND
  • BCS/CVS 151: Perception and Action
  • BCS 223/OPT 248: Vision and the Eye
  • Two semesters of CVS 391: Independent Research in Visual Science
    (These may be either with the same faculty member in CVS or with two different faculty members.)

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