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Neuroscience Major

The major consists of thirteen courses, including ten core courses and three electives from the lists to follow. 

Note: The information provided below is a listing of required and elective courses for the major in neuroscience. These courses are offered by other departments and programs within the College. Please refer to the Classfinder and the course offerings of the departments of biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, physics, and psychology for further information, including course descriptions, instructors, and semesters when these courses are offered.

Core Courses

Introductory Level and General Courses
BIOL 1102Biological Principles II1
or BIOL 1109 Scientific Reasoning in Biology
Select one of the following:1
CHEM 1092
Introductory Chemistry and Quantitative Reasoning II
CHEM 1102
Introductory Chemistry II
CHEM 1109
General Chemistry
CHEM 2250Organic Chemistry I1
PSYC 1101Introduction to Psychology1
Select one of the following:1
PSYC 2520
Data Analysis
MATH 1300
MATH 1400
Statistics in the Sciences
Introductory Neuroscience Course
BIOL 2135Neurobiology1
or PSYC 2050 Biological Psychology
Mid-level Neuroscience Courses
Select three of the following:3
BIOL 2553
BIOL 2566
Molecular Neurobiology
BIOL 2510
PSYC 2750
Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory: Affective Neuroscience
PSYC 2775
Laboratory in Cognitive Neuroscience
Advanced Neuroscience Courses
Select one of the following:1
BIOL 3311
Motor Systems Neurobiology
BIOL 3325
Topics in Neuroscience
BIOL 3329
Neuronal Regeneration
PSYC 3050
Hormones and Behavior
PSYC 3055
Cognitive Neuroscience of Memory


Select three electives from the courses listed above (but not already taken), or below:3
BIOL 1101
Biological Principles I
BIOL 2112
Genetics and Molecular Biology
BIOL 2124
Biochemistry and Cell Biology
BIOL 2175
Developmental Biology
BIOL 2214
Comparative Animal and Human Physiology
BIOL 2423
Biochemistry of Cellular Processes
CHEM 2320
CSCI 1101
Introduction to Computer Science
PHYS 1140
Introductory Physics II
PSYC 2010
Infant and Child Development
PSYC 2025
Abnormal Psychology
PSYC 2030
Social Psychology
PSYC 2040
Cognitive Psychology
PSYC 2060
Cognitive Neuroscience
PSYC 2099
Brain, Behavior, and Evolution
PSYC 2510
Research Design in Psychology
Only one semester of independent study (2970–2999 or 4000–4049) or honors projects (4050 or higher) at any level can count toward the major.

Additional Information and Program Policies

  • Normally up to two courses transferred from other institutions can be used toward the completion of the major.
  • The three mid-level neuroscience courses and the required advanced neuroscience course must be taken at Bowdoin.
  • Only one semester of independent study or honors at any level can count toward the major. Independent study in neuroscience may be used to fulfill one of the three elective credits.
  • Students planning to graduate with honors in neuroscience must complete two semesters of advanced independent study during their senior year, in addition to other requirements.
  • Majors who earn a general credit for their AP Chemistry scores based on the department of chemistry's requirements may use that general credit to fulfill the introductory chemistry requirement of the neuroscience major and do not need to take an additional course to replace it.
  • Majors who place out of PSYC 1101 Introduction to Psychology must take a higher level course in psychology to replace the PSYC 1101 Introduction to Psychology requirement of the neuroscience major. In order to receive credit for advanced placement work, students must have their scores officially reported to the Office of the Registrar by the end of their sophomore year at Bowdoin.
  • If majors place out of BIOL 1109 Scientific Reasoning in Biology, thirteen courses related to neuroscience must still be completed.
  • Courses that count toward the major must be taken for regular letter grades (not Credit/D/Fail).
  • Students must earn a C- or better for a course to count toward the major.
  • Only courses that are required for the neuroscience major and a second major or minor may double-count.
  • Neuroscience majors cannot also major in chemistry with a neurochemical concentration; they can, however, major in chemistry with a different concentration.  Biology majors and minors, biochemistry majors, and psychology majors and minors are also prohibited from declaring a major in neuroscience.

Information for Incoming Students

Students interested in majoring in neuroscience should begin by taking PSYC 1101 Introduction to Psychology and/or BIOL 1102 Biological Principles II/BIOL 1109 Scientific Reasoning in Biology, both of which are required for the major. (Please see the student’s biology placement to determine which course is most appropriate.) These courses serve as prerequisites for the two introductory-level neuroscience classes, BIOL 2135 Neurobiology (fall semester) and PSYC 2050 Biological Psychology (spring semester), either of which will prepare students for entry into the mid-level lab courses that form the core of the neuroscience major.

We encourage students interested in majoring in neuroscience to speak with faculty in the neuroscience program early in their Bowdoin career, particularly if they are interested in studying abroad. Students interested in beginning to explore neuroscience in their first year should consider NEUR 1099 Brains in Motion: Exploring the Interface between Mind and Body; however, they should be aware that this course will not count towards the neuroscience major.

Students are also encouraged to consult with the chemistry department about their placement into chemistry courses, as an introductory chemistry course and CHEM 2250 Organic Chemistry I are also required for the major.

This is an excerpt from the official Bowdoin College Catalogue and Academic Handbook. View the Catalogue