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Neuroscience

Course Descriptions

Neuroscience Courses:

NS 341 Behavioral Neuroscience (4 SH). Analysis of how nervous system activity underlies sensory, perceptual and higher cognitive activities including motivation, memory, language, thought, and mental illness. A laboratory is included. Prerequisite: PSY 101 or BIO 201. (Also listed as PSY 341 and BIO 433.)

NS 434 Neurobiology (4 SH). This course is an exploration of advanced topics in the field of neurobiology, with the focus being the nervous system as the central control and integrating system in animals. It reviews fundamental neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, as well as more specific topics such as sensory systems, neuroendocrinology, and nervous system development and disease. Recent advances published in the field of neurobiology will also be discussed. The lab component will be complementary to material covered during lectures. Prerequisite: BIO 334 or consent of instructor. (Also listed as BIO 434.)

NS 590-594 Field Experience/Internship (1-4 SH). An opportunity for students to work in a research or applied setting. Regular contact with the Westminster College internship instructor is required. A reading list developed prior to actual internship activities, a journal and a paper integrating the readings, internship experience and other college course work are also required. Prerequisite: junior level standing.

NS 631, 632 Neuroscience Research I, II (4 SH). A two-semester guided research project. Projects can be supervised by any department participating in the neuroscience major. Students must participate in PSY 601, 602.

NS 640, 650 Independent Study (1-4 SH). Supervised, individual investigation of a topic of special interest, generally in the form of an experimental project. However, any activity which affords an opportunity for learning not usually provided by the classroom situation is seriously considered. Prerequisites: written approval of the program coordinators after submission of an application, including a prospectus, to the department at least two weeks before preregistration.

NS 650 Research Scholars (2 SH). The research scholars program is for those exceptional students who choose to do a more extensive, three-semester capstone research project in neuroscience. Students eligible for this program must have a 3.5 GPA overall, a 3.5 GPA in neuroscience courses, have taken at least three psychology courses, obtained a letter of reference from a faculty member, and must submit a writing sample to the chair of the psychology department. Students accepted into the program begin their projects in the spring of their junior year and defend a thesis in the spring of their senior year. Students must show concurrent enrollment in PSY 601 and 602.

NS 660, 670, 680, 690 Honors Research (1-4 SH). Students enrolled in Honors Research participate in PSY 601, 602, NS 631, 632. Students must have a 3.5 GPA in three or more neuroscience classes and complete a departmental application for admission to the program.

Required Supporting Courses:

BIO 201 Cell Biology and Genetics (4 SH). This course serves as an introduction for students who have chosen biology or molecular biology as a major or minor. A combination of lectures, laboratory exercises, and assignments will introduce students to ways of observing and thinking about fundamental concepts and processes in the following areas of biology—biochemistry, cell structure and function, metabolism, genetics, and biotechnology. Various resources will be utilized to reinforce biological concepts, learn new laboratory skills, and improve critical thinking skills. Multiple sections offered every Fall Semester; one section offered every Spring Semester.

BIO 202 Evolution, Form and Function (4 SH). BIO 202 is the second in a series of three foundational courses in biology, designed to serve as an introduction for students who are taking a biology or molecular biology major or minor. Using explorative lectures coupled with investigative laboratories, BIO 202 will focus on evolution, the structure and physiology of plants and animals, and animal development. Concepts and practices of experimental design, data analysis, and interpretation of results will be reinforced and extended through integrated laboratory activities. Prerequisite: completion of BIO 201. Offered Spring Semester.

BIO 302 Cell and Molecular Biology (4 SH). A study of molecular structure and function in eukaryotic cells. Topics include organic molecules that contribute to cells the function of cells, membrane transport and signal transduction, gene expression, intracellular transport, structure and motility, energy conversions, tissue composition and cell division. Laboratory exercises will reinforce many of concepts covered in lecture. Required for the molecular biology major. Prerequisite: C- or better in BIO 201. Offered Fall Semester.

BIO 303 Molecular Genetics and Heredity (4 SH). This course serves as a broad introduction to the structure and function of nucleic acids, processes that regulate expression of genetic information, and processes that direct inheritance of genetic information. Prokaryotic and eukaryotic organism will serve as model systems for studying topics such as nucleic acid structure, function, replication, damage, repair, and control of gene expression. Additional topics include, but are not limited to, Mendelian genetics, epigenetics, population genetics, and the genetics of cancer. Weekly laboratory exercises are an essential component of this class and will be used to explore various molecular and biochemical techniques for isolating, replicating and analyzing nucleic acid sequence as well as studying modes of inheritance. Required for the molecular biology major. Prerequisite: C- or better in BIO 201. Offered every other Spring Semester.

BIO 304 Developmental Biology (4 SH). A study of the mechanisms of organism development from fertilization to birth. Both molecular and classical morphologic aspects of development are covered, with emphasis on the vertebrates. A laboratory is included. Prerequisite: C- or better in BIO 202.

BIO 334 Physiology (4 SH). An introduction to the physiology of cells and animals. Major emphasis is placed on the functional interrelationships that exist within cells and organisms. A laboratory is included. Prerequisite: C- or better in BIO 202. Offered Fall Semester.

BIO 335 Anatomy and Physiology I (4 SH). First of a two-course sequence studying the anatomical and physiological principles of the human body, including a survey of the major organ systems of the human body and their relationship to health and disease. Emphasis is placed on cells, tissues, and the musculo-skeletal, nervous, and endocrine systems. A laboratory is included. Prerequisite: C- or better in BIO 202. Offered Fall Semester, alternate years.

BIO 336 Anatomy and Physiology II (4 SH). Second of the two-course sequence studying the anatomical and physiological principles of the human body. Emphasis is placed on the cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, urinary, immune, and reproductive systems. A laboratory is included. Prerequisite: C- or better in BIO 335. Offered Spring Semester, alternate years.

MTH 131 Applied Calculus (4 SH). A one-semester study of applications of differential and integral calculus with emphasis on polynomials, exponential functions, logarithmic functions, business and economics applications. This course is for individuals with a good high school background in mathematics. This course does not provide the background for a student to continue on to Calculus II. Not available to students who have credit for MTH 150, MTH 152, or MTH 250. Prerequisites: C or better in MTH 130 or permission of the instructor or department chair.

MTH 150 Calculus I (4 SH). This course will focus on the fundamentals of differential calculus. Topics considered include functions, limits, continuous functions, differentiation and integration of functions with one real variable, applications of differentiation and the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. Students will be introduced to some basic calculus proofs. This course is suggested for all students who expect to continue for any advanced degree including finance, law, and medicine.

PSY 101 Introduction to General Psychology (4 SH). Principles of human and animal behavior. The study of individual, group and institutional behavior in context. Offered every semester.

PSY 201 Statistical Methods and Analysis (formerly Research Methods and Analysis) (4 SH). An introduction to the experimental methodology, descriptive data analysis, statistical inference, and philosophy of science that are most germane to psychology. A laboratory is included. Prerequisites: PSY 101, MTH 131 (or permission of instructor).

PSY 601 Psychology Capstone: Senior Studies I (2 SH). Senior Capstone seminar which addresses psychological research, its strengths, weaknesses and applications beyond psychology. Students must register for Senior Studies I concurrently with Advanced Research I (611, 621, 631, 641, or 651). Students will prepare and review proposals for senior theses and begin preliminary research. Prerequisites: PSY 201 and junior level standing. Offered Spring Semester.

PSY 602 Psychology Capstone: Senior Studies II (2 SH). Continuation of Senior Studies I. Students must register for Senior Studies II concurrently with Advanced Research II (612, 622, 632, 642, or 652). Students will conduct, revise, review and formally present senior theses. Prerequisite: PSY 601. Offered Fall Semester. Successful completion of this course and the Advanced Research II course satisfies the Liberal Studies Capstone requirement.

Elective and Recommended Courses:

BIO 304 Developmental Biology (4 SH). A study of the mechanisms of organism development from fertilization to birth. Both molecular and classical morphologic aspects of development are covered, with emphasis on the vertebrates. A laboratory is included. Prerequisite: C- or better in BIO 202.

BIO 363 Animal Behavior (4 SH). An introduction to the fascinating fields of animal behavior. This course focuses on the relationships between animals and their environments through adaptation, communication and social organization. It also explores other exciting issues such as, what animal behavior can teach us about ourselves, how economic game theory has been used to explain evolution of behavior, and how our understanding of animal behavior is changing the way we treat them. The lab component consists mainly of field work and bench work in the form of animal observations and a possible field trip to a wild animal facility. Prerequisites: C- or better in BIO 202 or PSY 201; willingness to spend significant amounts of time watching animals. (Also listed as PSY 315.)

CHE 117 Principles of Chemistry (4 SH). A course emphasizing stoichiometry, chemical equilibria, acids and bases, chemical kinetics, thermodynamics, electrochemistry, nuclear phenomena, and interactions of science and society. In the laboratory program students will investigate chemical systems, analyze observations and data, devise explanations, and communicate results. Prerequisites: High school chemistry and an acceptable score on a placement test or completion of CHE 111 or ES 160 with a grade of C- or better. Offered Fall and Spring semesters.

CHE 180 Inorganic Chemistry (4 SH). A study of the energetics of the bonding and reactions of inorganic compounds. Emphasis is given to the periodicity of the chemical and physical properties of the elements. Major themes of the course include effective nuclear charge, lattice energy, charge density, acid/base theories, and the descriptive chemistry of all of the elements. The laboratory includes the investigation of the energetics of reactions, the synthesis and analysis of coordination compounds, qualitative chemistry, and the communication of results. Prerequisite: CHE 117 with a grade of C- or better. Offered Fall and Spring semesters.

CHE 261 Organic Chemistry I (4 SH). An overview of organic chemistry. Organic molecules are compared by their functional group, focusing on nomenclature, physical properties, and the major chemical reactions used in synthesis and identification. Emphasis is also given to the areas of acidity, basicity, stereochemistry, aromaticity, and spectroscopy. Laboratory activities involve techniques for determination of physical and chemical properties, and methods of purification. Prerequisite: CHE 117 with a grade of C- or better. Offered Fall and Spring semesters.

CHE 262 Organic Chemistry II (4 SH). A study of organic reactivity. This course details organic molecules by reactivity and emphasizes the differences between organic reactions. Specifically, organic reactions will be surveyed by type of reaction keying on the movement of electrons, molecular orbitals, and energetics. Spectroscopy is employed to monitor structural changes. Laboratory activities also probe the reactivity of molecules and explore the relationship between structure and reactivity. Prerequisite: CHE 261 with a grade of C- or better. Offered Spring Semester.

CHE 380 Principles of Biochemistry (4 SH). A chemical study of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids in a biological context. Emphasis is placed on the structure to function of these biological molecules and their context within organisms. Energy transductions and concepts of metabolism are also introduced. Prerequisite: CHE 261. Offered Fall and Spring semesters.

CS 151 Principles of Computer Science I (4 SH). A broad introduction to the discipline of computer science, with attention given to many components of the field. Topics include an examination of subfields of computer science, computer representation of data, an introduction to hardware structure, and fundamentals of programming languages. Special emphasis is given to techniques for problem solving and algorithm development, designing and implementing computer programs, and software analysis and verification methods. Prerequisite: prior programming experience recommended.

CS 152 Principles of Computer Science II (4 SH). A continuation of the study of the discipline of computer science. This course includes an introduction to data structures, simulation, and scientific uses of computing. Programming for searching and sorting data is covered, as well as an introduction to recursion. Prerequisite: CS 151.

CS 271 Neural Networks: The Computing Perspective (4 SH). A study of the structure, construction and capabilities of computational devices including neural networks, and their practical application to solving real-world problems. This is a cluster course, therefore students must also register for Neural Networks: The Biopsychological Perspective (PSY 261).

PHI 218 Philosophy of Mind. The philosophy of mind is one of the most rapidly developing and vigorous areas in contemporary philosophy. New techniques in neuroscientific imaging are providing a steady flow of data requiring philosophical analysis and interpretation. Guided reading will be supplemented by historical primary sources and articles on neuropsychology. Since it is highly desirable that both philosophy majors and students of neuropsychology be given the opportunity to study philosophy of mind, this course will normally be offered as part of a cluster with PSY 262: Neuropsychology of Mind.

PHY 141 Foundations of Physics I (4 SH). The first semester of an introductory study of physics (mechanics, heat, electricity, magnetism, waves, light and modern physics) without calculus. Basic principles used in both semesters are introduced in the first semester. Some emphasis will be given to applications of physics to biological systems. A laboratory is included. Prerequisite: a good background in high school mathematics including algebra and trigonometry. Offered Fall Semester.

PHY 142 Foundations of Physics II (4 SH). The second semester of an introductory study of physics (mechanics, heat, electricity, magnetism, waves, light and modern physics) without calculus. Some emphasis will be given to applications of physics to biological systems. A laboratory is included. Prerequisite: PHY 141 or PHY 151. Offered Spring Semester.

PHY 151 Principles of Physics I (4 SH). The first semester of an introductory study of physics (mechanics, heat, electricity, magnetism, waves, light and modern physics). Basic principles used in both semesters are introduced in the first semester. Some basic concepts of calculus may be introduced as needed. A laboratory is included. Co-requisite: MTH 150 or higher. Offered Fall Semester.

PHY 152 Principles of Physics II (4 SH). The second semester of an introductory study of physics (mechanics, heat, electricity, magnetism, waves, light and modern physics). Calculus methods will be used. A laboratory is included. Prerequisite: PHY 151; Co-requisite: MTH 152 or higher. Offered Spring Semester.

PSY 261 Neural Networks: The Biopsychological Perspective (4 SH). An introduction to how biologically-oriented psychology analyzes such topics as memory, intelligence and consciousness as emerging from principles of neurocomputation. A cluster course. Must also register for CS 271.

PSY 262 Neuropsychology of Mind (4 SH). This course surveys the contributions of psychology and neuroscience to understanding human thought and human nature. Particular attention is paid to scientific approaches in studying consciousness and the field of clinical neuropsychology. A cluster course. Must also register for PHI 218.

PSY 281 Principles of Learning and Memory (4 SH). Analysis of the variety of mechanisms by which our behavior and our representations develop from experience. Prerequisite: PSY 101.

PSY 351 Cognition (4 SH). Memory, problem solving, language and intelligence considered from information processing and alternative views. Prerequisite: PSY 101.

PSY 401 Abnormal Psychology (4 SH). An examination of the theoretical and empirical approaches to understanding abnormal human behavior with an introduction to the nature, causes and treatment of various psychological disorders. Prerequisite: PSY 101.

PSY 431 Developmental Psychopathology (4 SH). An overview of problems and processes that lead to abnormal development in childhood and adolescence. Included is an in-depth examination of early psychological disorders. Prerequisites: PSY 101 or 221.

 

What can you do with a Neuroscience degree?

Imagine yourself in a research laboratory investigating drug discovery, going to medical school, writing scientific articles, working in industry, or teaching other, future neuroscientists.