May 26, 2024  
Course Catalog 2017-2018 
Course Catalog 2017-2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


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Tracie Paine, Chair, Associate Professor of Neuroscience
Lynne Bianchi, Pre-Medical Program Director, Professor of Neuroscience
Bradley Carter, Visiting Assistant Professor of Neuroscience
Christopher Howard, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience
Gunnar Kwakye, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience
Leslie Kwakye,  Assistant Professor of Neuroscience
Michael Loose, Professor of Neuroscience
Monica Mariani, Visiting Assistant Professor of Neuroscience
Patrick Simen, Associate Professor of Neuroscience
Janice Thornton, McGregor Professor of Neuroscience

Neuroscience is an interdisciplinary field of study that employs the tools and perspectives of biology, psychology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and medicine to achieve a better understanding of brain structure, brain function, behavior and the mind. The Neuroscience major is designed for students interested in the cellular, chemical, and structural organization of the brain and the relationship between the brain’s operation and perception, thought, emotion, and behavior. Opportunities are available for students to use multiple approaches at many levels of analysis including molecular, cellular, systems, and behavioral levels.

The Neuroscience major is appropriate for any student with an interest in the field. It will also serve those students interested in graduate study or professional work in any area of neuroscience or in fields such as animal behavior, behavioral genetics, biopsychology, pharmacology, clinical psychology, biotechnology, medicine, or public health. To be well prepared for graduate or professional study in these fields, students will generally need to take additional course work over and above the minimum required to fulfill the Neuroscience major. Students should consult closely with their advisors to determine the most appropriate set of courses consistent with their interests and goals. 

Advanced Placement

There is no advanced placement examination in Neuroscience. Advanced placement credit for a course within the Neuroscience major that is taught by another department will be accepted for credit toward the Neuroscience major if the relevant department accepts advanced placement credit for the course toward its major.

Entry-Level Course Sequence Suggestions

Students intending or considering a major in Neuroscience may wish to consult a Neuroscience faculty member during the first or second year. The following courses should be completed by the end of the sophomore year: Biology 100, Chemistry 101 and 102 (or 103), Neuroscience 201 and Neuroscience 211. Additionally, completion of Biology 213 during the sophomore year is recommended. Furthermore, students should have the introductory biology and chemistry courses completed prior to taking any upper level neuroscience courses (300 level and above). 


Neuroscience Major

Any variation in meeting the major requirements indicated below must be approved in writing by the Chair of the Neuroscience Department. Similarly, the department chair must approve course credit earned away from Oberlin before it can serve to satisfy requirements for the major.

Courses in which a student has earned a letter grade lower than a C- or P cannot be used to fulfill the requirements of the major.

The requirements for the Neuroscience major are as follows:


Qualified students may take CHEM 103 - Topics in General Chemistry in place of CHEM 101 and 102.


THREE Lecture/Discussion Electives, TWO of which must be NSCI courses, distributed as follows:

At least ONE of the following courses with a behavioral/cognitive perspective:

NSCI 350 - Behavioral Neuroscience (Not offered in 17-18)

Two of the Following Laboratory Electives:

NSCI 334 - Laboratory in Hormones and Behavior (Not offered in 17-18)
NSCI 341 - Laboratory in Developmental Neurobiology (Not offered in 17-18)
NSCI 361 - Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory (Not offered in 17-18)

The following course may take the place of a NSCI Laboratory course:


PSYC 305 can be used to meet either a lecture or a lab requirement, but not both.


Senior Seminar in Neuroscience

Supporting Courses

Neuroscience is inherently an interdisciplinary field.  Certain additional courses outside the major are useful or necessary for gaining admission to graduate programs in particular specialties.  Biology 213 (Cell and Molecular Biology) is recommended and should be optimally completed in the sophomore year.  Students preparing for graduate school in cell and molecular neuroscience might also consider taking courses such as  organic chemistry (CHEM 205), bioorganic chemistry (CHEM 254), biochemistry (CHEM 374), physics (PHYS 103, 104),  immunology (BIOL 327), physiology (BIOL 312) or genetics (BIOL 310).  Students planning to pursue graduate work in cognitive or computational neuroscience could consider additional work in mathematics (e.g. MATH 220, 232), computer science (e.g. CSCI 150, 290) and other courses listed in the Cognitive Sciences Concentration section of the catalog.  Students with particular interests in animal behavior or brain evolution might select additional courses such as animal physiology (BIOL 312), evolution (BIOL 218), and biological anthropology (ANTH 102).


The Neuroscience Department 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 available. Enrollment in NSCI 607 Research is by consent only. Information on the Honors Program is available below and on the Neuroscience Department’s web page at


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 or more of the Neuroscience Faculty and submit a Statement of Interest Form to the Department. If a faculty member is able to work with a student, he/she will help the student develop an appropriate research project proposal. To be formally accepted into the Honors Program, a student’s research proposal is submitted to the Neuroscience Department 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 NSCI 607 Research. Admission to the Honors Program requires a minimum of GPA of 3.1 in the major.

Pre-Medical and Health Career Preparation

Students planning to apply to medical school may major in any subject, provided they take those courses required by medical schools for admission. Early in their academic careers at Oberlin, students should discuss their health career plans with one of the Health Career advisors. For a list of these advisors contact Lynne Bianchi, Pre-Medical Program Director, Professor of Neuroscience.

Transfer of Credit

The Neuroscience Department accepts courses taken at other colleges and universities as meeting 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, including at least two upper level NSCI courses and one lab, as well as the senior seminar. A request to the Chair of the Neuroscience Department 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 of credit forms are completed and placed on file in the Office of the Registrar.

Winter Term

During Winter Term, the Neuroscience Department 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 in laboratories, hospitals and clinics throughout the country.

Advanced Courses

NSCI 339 - Developmental Neurobiology (Not taught in 17-18)
NSCI 341 - Laboratory in Developmental Neurobiology (Not taught in 17-18)
NSCI 350 - Behavioral Neuroscience (Not taught in 17-18)
NSCI 360 - Cognitive Neuroscience (Not taught in 17-18)
NSCI 361 - Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory (Not taught in 17-18) 




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