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Neuroscience

Neuroscience is an interdisciplinary field of study that employs the tools and perspectives of biology, psychology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics to achieve a better understanding of brain function, of behavior, and of mind. The Neuroscience Program offers two interdisciplinary majors in neuroscience: Neuroscience and Biopsychology.

The Neuroscience major is designed for students interested in how the brain functions as well as how it contributes to mind and behavior. The major provides an opportunity for students to explore brain function using multiple approaches, and addresses our current ideas regarding thought, emotion, neuropathology and behavior. Students interested in graduate study or professional work in the cellular, molecular, evolutionary or system levels of neuroscience or in areas including pharmacology, biotechnology and biomedicine would find this major particularly appropriate.

The Biopsychology major is designed for students whose main interests are mind and behavior, and who wish to examine the neural underpinnings of these phenomena. Students with an interest in graduate study or professional work in fields such as behavioral neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, physiological psychology, clinical psychology, behavioral genetics, animal behavior, or psychiatry may find this major attractive.

Advanced Placement. At this time, there is no advanced placement examination in Neuroscience. The Neuroscience and Biopsychology majors require course work in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Psychology. Advanced placement credit for work in these disciplines will be counted as meeting the course work requirements for Neuroscience or Biopsychology, if the department in which the advanced placement examination is taken also accepts advanced placement credit as meeting course requirements in its major.

Entry-Level Course Sequence Suggestions. Students wishing to major in Neuroscience or Biopsychology are advised to take Biology 118 and 119 in their first semester (well-prepared students should consider taking Chemistry 101 or 103 in the first semester as well). By the end of the sophomore year, students would do well to have taken either Neuroscience 201 or 204, and should have completed Chemistry 102 or 103, Biology 118 and 119, and a course in statistics. In addition, a Biopsychology major should have completed Psychology 100. A Neuroscience major is advised to complete Biology 213 no later than the first semester of the junior year.

Major. The Neuroscience Program offers two majors: Neuroscience and Biopsychology.

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Neuroscience Major

Neuroscience Major. The Neuroscience major consists of approximately 45 credit hours as follows:

I. Biology

A. BIOL 118 - Organismal Biology and BIOL 119 - Organismal Biology Laboratory
B. BIOL 213 - Cell and Molecular Biology

II. Chemistry

A. CHEM 101 - Structure and Reactivity and CHEM 102 - Chemical Principles
(CHEM 103 - Topics in General Chemistry may replace CHEM 101 and 102.)

B. CHEM 205 - Principles of Organic Chemistry

III. Course work in statistics:

MATH 113 - Statistical Methods for the Social and Behavioral Sciences, or MATH 114 - Statistical Methods for the Biological Sciences; or PSYC 200 - Research Methods I

IV. Neuroscience
A. NSCI 201 - The Brain: An Introduction to Neuroscience or
NSCI 204 - Human Neurobiology
B. NSCI 211 - Laboratory in Neuroscience
C. Three 300-level NSCI lecture/discussion courses
D. Two 300-level NSCI laboratory courses

(A 300-level combined laboratory and lecture course of 4 or more hours, fulfills 1 course from both C. and D.)

V. Additional course work from amongst the following (minimum of 7 hours) -- at least one laboratory course from Group A:

Group A: Biology 120 - Genetics, Evolution, and Ecology; 201 - Invertebrate Biology; 203 - Vertebrate Structure and Evolution; 302 - Developmental Biology; 303 - Microbiology; 308 or 309 - Nucleic Acids and Molecular Genetics; 312 - Animal Physiology; 313 - Cell Physiology; 314 - Cell Physiology Research; 327 - Immunology; 328 - Immunology Laboratory; Chemistry 254 - Bioorganic Chemistry.

Group B: Biology 211 - Genetics; 329 - Virology; 333 - Laboratory in Mammalian Cell Culture; Computer Science 299 - Seminar: Mind and Machine; Psychology 305 -Human Psychophysiology; Psychology 420 - Seminar: Explorations in Cognitive Neuropsychology.

 

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Biopsychology Major

The biopsychology major consists of approximately 45 credit hours as follows:

I. Biology
A. BIOL 118 - Organismal Biology and BIOL 119 - Organismal Biology Laboratory
B. BIOL 120 - Genetics, Evolution and Ecology

II. Chemistry
CHEM 101 - Structure and Reactivity and CHEM 102 - Chemical Principles
(CHEM 103 - Topics in General Chemistry may replace CHEM 101 and 102)

III. Neuroscience
A. NSCI 201 - The Brain: An Introduction to Neuroscience or
NSCI 204 - Human Neurobiology
B. NSCI 211 - Laboratory in Neuroscience
C. NSCI - Two 300-level lecture/discussion courses
D. NSCI - One 300-level laboratory course
(A 300-level combined laboratory and lecture course of 4 or more hours fulfills 1 course from both C. and D.)

IV. Psychology
A. PSYC 100 - The Study of Behavior
B. PSYC 200 - Research Methods I
C. Two of the following courses:
PSYC 214 - Abnormal Psychology
PSYC 216 - Developmental Psychology

PSYC 219 - Cognitive Psychology or PSYC 220 Cognitive Neuropsychology

D. One of the following laboratories
PSYC 302 ­ Developmental Psychology Laboratory
PSYC 303 ­ Laboratory in Cognitive Psychology

PSYC 307 ­ Laboratory in Cognitive Neuropsychology

V. Additional course work from amongst the following (minimum of 3 hours):

NSCI ­ Any additional 300-level lecture/discussion course

BIOL 203 - Vertebrate Structure and Evolution
BIOL 211 - Genetics
BIOL 213 - Cell and Molecular Biology

CSCI 299 - Seminar: Mind and Machine

PHIL 228 - Philosophy of Mind

PSYC 206 - Sensory Processes and Perception

PSYC 214, 216 or 219 if not already taken as part of IV-C above

PSYC 300 - Research Methods II

PSYC 305 - Human Psychophysiology

PSYC 420 - Seminar: Explorations in Cognitive Neuropsychology

Any variation in meeting major requirements, as described above, must be approved in writing by the Director of the Program in Neuroscience. Similarly, course credit earned away from Oberlin must be approved by the Program Director before it can serve to satisfy major requirements.

Supporting Courses. The majors offered by the Neuroscience Program are by nature interdisciplinary, requiring preparation in a variety of scientific disciplines. While the Program has tried to require only those courses that are most generally useful, experience suggests that certain courses not specified may be either useful or necessary in gaining admission to graduate programs in particular specialties. For instance, a student preparing for graduate school in cellular neuroscience might consider studying physics, physiology, immunology, and biochemistry. A student planning on pursuing cognitive neuroscience should consider advanced work in mathematics and computer science. A student with a particular interest in animal behavior might wish to select additional courses such as Animal Physiology, Vertebrate Structure and Evolution, and Biological Anthropology.

Majors should select courses in close consultation with their advisors to obtain the most appropriate supporting courses consistent with their goals and interests.

Minor. The Neuroscience Program does not offer a minor.

Research Opportunities. Students interested in research on or off campus are encouraged to discuss with their advisors the various research options that are available. Enrollment in Neuroscience 607 - Independent Research is by consent only. For information on the Honors Program, see below and the Neuroscience Program Worldwide Web page in "Oberlin Online."

Honors. During the second semester of the junior year or earlier, students wishing to enter the honors program in Neuroscience should discuss their interest with one of the Neuroscience faculty. If the faculty member is able to work with the student, he/she will help the student develop an appropriate research project proposal. To be formally accepted into the honors program, a research proposal is submitted to the Neuroscience Program early in the first semester of the student's senior year. Proposals are judged for their quality and feasibility. Students whose proposals are approved enroll in Neuroscience 607 - Independent Research.

Pre-Medical. Students planning to apply to medical school may major in any subject, provided they take those courses required for admission. Early in their academic career at Oberlin, they should discuss their plans with one of the pre-medical advisors. Please refer to the "Pre-Medical" section earlier in this catalog for a list of pre-medical advisors.

Transfer of Credit. The Neuroscience Program accepts courses taken at other universities and colleges as meeting the requirements for the major if, and only if, the courses are judged to be equivalent in content to courses offered at Oberlin College. In all cases, at least half of the courses a student counts toward meeting major requirements must be taken at Oberlin. A request for permission to substitute a course taken away from Oberlin for the major should be made in advance, prior to enrolling in the course. It is the student's responsibility to make sure proper transfer credit forms are completed and placed on file in the Registrar's office.

Winter Term. During Winter Term, the Program offers a number of individual research opportunities in the laboratories of faculty members. Also, students are encouraged to participate in one or more of the many off-campus research and internship opportunities at research laboratories, hospitals, and clinics offered throughout the country.

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Courses in Neuroscience

201. The Brain: An Introduction to Neuroscience 4 hours
4NS

An introductory course in neuroscience that familiarizes students with the information that is central to work in the neurosciences. Students will learn the basics of brain structure and function (neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and neuropharmacology), and how we move and perceive the world (motor and sensory systems). This foundation will be used to explore what is known about regulatory systems such as sleep and dreaming; higher cognitive processing such as learning, memory, and language; and what happens in the brain when things go wrong (such as in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases). Neuroscience and Biopsychology majors should take the laboratory that accompanies this course (NSCI 211). Prerequisite: BIOL 118, or at least sophomore standing, or consent of instructor. Enrollment Limit: 75. Neuroscience, Biopsychology, and Psychology majors given priority. Students cannot receive credit for both NSCI 201 and NSCI 204.

Sem 1 NSCI-201-01 TuTh 9:00-10:50 Mr. Braford, Mr.Smith

204. Human Neurobiology 4 hours
4NS

An introduction to neuroscience emphasizing physiological and neural processes and their relationship to human behavior. The course covers information about brain structure and function (neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, neuropharmacology), attempts to show how the neurosciences help us understand complex cognitive processes such as learning, memory, perception and language, and contributes to our knowledge of topics such as weight regulation, sleep, sexuality, pain, and pathological conditions such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer's dementia. Neuroscience and Biopsychology majors should take the laboratory that accompanies this course (NSCI 211).
Prerequisite:
BIOL 118, or at least sophomore standing, or consent of instructor. Enrollment Limit: 75. Neuroscience, Biopsychology, and Psychology majors given priority. Students cannot receive credit for both NSCI 201 and NSCI 204.

Sem 2 NSCI-204-01 TuTh 9:00-10:50 Mr. Smith

211. Neuroscience Laboratory 1 hour
1NS

An introductory neuroscience laboratory that exposes students to a variety of research techniques employed by neuroscientists: neuroanatomical procedures for staining and examining brain tissue; physiological procedures for recording the electrical activity of nerve cells, as well as commonly used techniques used to explore brain-behavior relationships (lesions, electrical and chemical stimulation). Some labs use computer simulations. Prerequisite: Previous or current enrollment in NSCI 201 or NSCI 204. Notes: CR/NE grading. Enrollment Limit: 12. Neuroscience, Biopsychology, and Psychology majors given priority.
Sem 1 NSCI-211-01 W 1:30-4:30 Mr. Loose
NSCI-211-02 Th 1:30-4:30 Mr. Braford/Staff
NSCI-211-03 F 1:30-4:30 Staff
Sem 2 NSCI-211-01 M 1:30-4:30 Staff
NSCI-211-02 Tu 1:30-4:30 Mr. Smith

313. Molecular Approaches in Neurobiological Research 4 hours
4NS

Next offered 2002-2003.

319. Neurophysiology: Neurons to Networks to Behavior 3 hours
3NS, QPh

Our brains allow us to perform extraordinarily complicated functions ranging from perceiving the world, to deciding to walk, to timing the onset of puberty, to being self-aware. Particular neurons interact to accomplish these and many other feats. How such neural circuits function is studied in this course by examining first how neurons receive, integrate and transmit information. Then, these principles are combined with present theories on how groups of neurons produce both simple and complex behaviors. Students will analyze and discuss relevant portions of the recent scientific literature. Prerequisites: NSCI 201 or NSCI 204, or consent of instructor. Enrollment Limit: 30.

Sem 2 NSCI-319-01 TuTh 9:35-10:50 Mr. Loose

320. Neuroanatomy 3 hours
3NS

A comprehensive analysis of the organization of vertebrate nervous systems is approached from a structural perspective with emphasis on the human central nervous system. Principles of organization are stressed. Prerequisites: NSCI 201 or NSCI 204, or consent of instructor.

Sem 1 NSCI-320-01 MWF 10:00-10:50 Mr. Braford

321. Studies in Neuronal Function 2 hours
2NS

Students will investigate how neurons communicate and interact. The first 4-6 weeks in the laboratory will familiarize the student with methods used to investigate the actions of living neurons and with the design of experiments. The remainder of the semester will focus on the design, performance, and analysis of an original experiment. Students may need to schedule some additional laboratory time to complete their independent experiment. Prerequisites: NSCI 211 and either junior/senior standing, or previous or concurrent enrollment in NSCI 319 Enrollment Limit: 10.

Sem 2 NSCI-321-01 Th 1:30-4:30 Mr. Loose

324. Laboratory in Neuroanatomy 0.5 hours
0.5NS

This laboratory introduces students to neuroanatomical and neurohistological methods and techniques. Both the gross and fine microscopic anatomy of the nervous system are studied. Prerequisites: Previous or current enrollment in NSCI 320. Notes: CR/NE grading. Enrollment Limit: 16.

Sem 1 NSCI-324-01 M 1:30-4:30 Mr. Braford MODULE 2

325. Neuropharmacology 3 hours
3NS

The basic principles of neuropharmacology and the actions of drugs on the nervous system and behavior are discussed. In addition to the reading in the textbook, students will read and analyze original research papers with the intention of understanding current research issues. Topics such as addiction, drugs and mental illness, drugs' effects on learning, etc., will be examined. Students who take this course should consider taking the accompanying laboratory (NSCI 327). Prerequisites: NSCI 201 or NSCI 204. Enrollment Limit: 25. Neuroscience, Biopsychology, and Psychology majors given priority.

Sem 1 NSCI-325-01 MWF 9:00-9:50 Mr. Smith

327. Neuropharmacology Laboratory 0.5 hour
0.5NS

This laboratory is designed to introduce students to a selected number of procedures used to explore the actions of drugs on the nervous system. The lab will use the hippocampal slice as a preparation for exploring drug effects at the cellular level. It will teach students basic biochemical (HPLC, receptor binding) procedures used to study brain function and it will expose students to selected behavioral procedures for studying drug effects on behavior. Co-requisite: NSCI 325. Notes: CR/NE grading. Enrollment Limit: 10. Neuroscience, Biopsychology, and Psychology majors given priority.

Sem 1 NSCI-327-01 M 1:30-4:30 Mr. Smith MODULE 1

NSCI-327-02 Tu 1:30-4:30 Mr. Smith MODULE 1

331. Hormones, Brain, and Behavior 3 hours
3NS

Hormones have an impact on just about everything we are and do, from our personalities and moods to our growth, fluid regulation, and reproductive behavior. This class explores what hormones are, and how they act to alter bodies and behavior. This field of study is sometimes called endocrinology/neuroendocrinology. Prerequisites: NSCI 201 or NSCI 204, or consent of the instructor. Enrollment Limit: 30.

Sem 2 NSCI-331-01 MWF 9:00-9:50 Ms. Thornton

332. Neuroendocrine Research Methods 1-2 hours
1-2NS, WRi

This laboratory will introduce a number of the principles and basic techniques used to study how hormones interact with the brain. Also, we will use the study of hormones to learn more about how to design and run scientific experiments. Some experiments will require participation outside of scheduled laboratory meetings. Prerequisites: Previous or current enrollment in NSCI 331. Enrollment Limit: 12.

Sem 2 NSCI-332-01 W 1:30-4:30 Ms. Thornton

339. Developmental Neurobiology 3 hours
3NS

Next offered 2002-2003.

341. Laboratory in Developmental Neurobiology 0.5 hours
0.5NS

Next offered 2002-2003.

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